Serious about Lib Dems

SIR – In his Last Word column (Comet, January 11 page 4), Damion Roberts makes three points worthy of reply. 1. It seems to me that every parent, even Ruth Kelly, should have the right to make the best educational provision possible for their children. He

SIR - In his Last Word column (Comet, January 11 page 4), Damion Roberts makes three points worthy of reply.

1. It seems to me that every parent, even Ruth Kelly, should have the right to make the best educational provision possible for their children. Her hypocrisy surely comes as a result of her choice of career - involving forcing others to accept what she can afford to opt out of.

2. Damion repeats the myth that Labour did sensationally well at the 1997 election. They won a lot of seats and a huge majority, yes - but mainly because of the UK electoral system that virtually guarantees unbridled power to any party able to muster about 40% of the vote.

3) Damion's ignorance of local politics is also apparent when he asks if anyone takes the Liberal Democrats seriously any more. To mention a few issues relevant to local council matters, I and my party Group in recent years have been the main (sometimes only) opposition at Stevenage Borough Council; we have conducted residents' surveys and worked on local casework; we alone pointed out illegal council expenditure; we alone queried the secret way in which the membership of Stevenage Leisure Ltd was set up; we alone stood up against Labour trying to shout us down over the Ridgemond Park planning issue; we alone spoke against the undemocratic banning of public questions at Full Council when these embarrassed the Labour Group; I alone argued for over 20 years to make the Mayor of Stevenage a non-party political appointment (now achieved); we alone fought Labour when they changed the rules to insist on having the chair of all local area committees, even when they were not in a majority in the area; I alone initiated the Fairtrade commitment as long ago as 1998 (now at last working towards full status).


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I could go on, but will not, these are some local issues, which the local Liberal Democrats have taken seriously and about which, when they are made aware of them, many local residents agree with us.

ROBIN PARKER

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Leader of the Opposition, Stevenage Borough Council

County Councillor

Hertfordshire County Council

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