Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Eastleigh By Election tomorrow

I have been 3 times to Eastleigh for the by election, including yesterday morning. It will clearly be a tight run thing. Both the Liberal and Conservative candidates are good local candidates who care passionately about their area. The key issue I found on the doorstep was not Chris Huhne or Rennard's misdemeanours, the AAA rating, or anything Labour was saying but the concern of local people that the Liberal Council had decided to build on green fields in the heart of the constituency.
As always with local housing decisions this was a very key issue. In Hamble the gravel pit played a part. All these issues are local ones raised by local people wanting proper local representation. In my view that is right.
But the politics of prejudice were best shown by Ukip. A woman handed me a leaflet in  Eastleigh from Ukip that saddened me hugely. It is difficult to deal with opponents who play upon people's fears, and who promise what is patently not true and not possible to deliver:
The Ukip leaflet promised to reduce everyone's taxes, increase the military / police / pensions etc, send more people to prison and introduce free student grants.
They back this up with immigration messages that imply 4 million + people will leave their home countries of Romania and Bulgaria and come to the UK. This is totally untrue.

The Romanian Prime Minister wrote in the Times on Monday with the express words "Don't worry, there will be no flood of Romanians".
Contrary to popular belief Romanians are already free to travel abroad, and the vast majority of them have gone to Latin based countries like Spain, Italy and France to work. Their own PM wrote in Mondays Times:
"If the immigration process continues, which is unlikely, it will definitely not focus on the UK". He went on to add that -"our people are our most valuable, cherished and significant resource. And we will do our utmost to keep them in our country. This why Britain can rest assured. They will not rush to Britain in January 2014. They will be busy developing their own country. Meanwhile we would be happy to welcome British people here - be it for a holiday in the sleepy villages that Prince Charles loves so much [the Prince visited last summer] or for a strong pint in the Old Town of Bucharest."      
I cannot be in Eastleigh tomorrowe as I catch the morning flight north but I will be watching the result with interest.