Local Liberal Democrats also found themselves on the receiving end of criticism after the group acknowledged the imminent launch of the Conservative manifesto by posting a spoof image of Theresa May in front of the ‘Ed-Stone’ on Friday (May 12).
This in itself could have been good satire, especially as she is accused of stealing many of Ed Miliband’s ideas, but the mock-up clearly missed this fact.
Instead it claimed that among the Tory pledges to be unveiled were ones to ‘kill disabled people’, ‘kill foreign people’ and ‘kill pensioners.’
Naturally the post was not up for long, but the damage was done.
Some of those who had seen it said they were ‘disgusted’ by the post while another quipped: “Only the Liberal Democrats could take a terrible Labour idea and somehow make it even worse.”
A spokesman for the Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats defiantly stated that although they took it down ‘as it may cause offence to some of our members and the residents of Tunbridge Wells’ they still ‘acknowledge the sentiment of the post’ and listed all the terrible things the Tories have planned.
It appears that hedging answers is not just the preserve of sitting MPs.
Rocky start for Greg Clark
IT WAS not the most auspicious of starts for some of those campaigning to get our vote at the upcoming General Election.
Greg Clark demonstrated his ability to doggedly dodge answering a straightforward question on the Good Morning Britain TV show last week in a case this paper is now calling ‘Nine Gate’.
The Conservative candidate was asked by controversial host Piers Morgan: “Why, under the Conservative government over the past seven years, have nurses in some hospitals in this country had to pay £100 a month to park their car – to then go and save lives?”
Unusually playing the role of the ‘good guy’, Mr Morgan then asked: “So do you think it’s wrong?”
It is a question many local healthcare workers would also want answered, for although those at Tunbridge Wells Hospital pay considerably less, it still racks up to over £200 a year. And besides, it is the principle that matters.
Not one to rock the boat by giving an opinion without first getting clearance from Tory HQ, Mr Clark replied: “Listen I think – whether it’s nurses, whether it’s other staff in hospitals – they do a great job.”
Asked if nurses ‘do have free parking?’ The Business Secretary said ‘it is a matter for NHS trusts’ but people ‘should be able to park to do their jobs’.
“So you think they should have free parking?” Mr Morgan interjected.
Clearly not briefed that his boss was about to announce the most interventionist manifesto in Conservative history, Mr Clark started to say he didn’t think ‘we should take a central government view of control…’ before his adversary asked for his ‘personal view’ on the issue.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Clark’s ‘personal view’ was that hospital workers ‘are doing a valuable job’.
Other answers to broadly the same line of questioning were, ‘it depends on the circumstances of the place’…that, despite plans to introduce energy price caps, central government ‘shouldn’t get involved’… nurses ‘should be well treated by their employers’… it’s ‘for the trusts’ to decide and ultimately, ‘it’s a local thing’.
In response to a request of comment by the Times Mr Clark said: “Every hospital is different in the number of carpark spaces it has, and hospitals have to meet the needs of staff, patients and visitors. That’s why these things have to be decided by the local NHS. A hospital with a small number of parking spaces for its size will need a different approach to one with abundant parking.”
Charles Woodgate, the labour candidate for Tunbridge Wells said: “It seems that Greg Clark finds it difficult to answer a straight question. Hospital parking should be free in England as it already is in Scotland and Wales.”
Liberal Democrat candidate, Rachel Sadler it ‘sickens’ her that medical workers should pay to park and if elected she would ‘fight to end this injustice.’
A spokesman for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS said: “A charge is made to help cover car park running costs and our staff transport scheme.
Red faces after Labour leaflet
KENT Labour are looking for a new copywriter for the General Election after literature for their recent county council election campaign was found wanting.
Although the term ‘throwing stones in glass houses’ aptly describes a journalist criticising someone else’s grammar, the campaign leaflet from one local election Labour hopeful in Maidstone Rural South is quite a sight.
The leaflet states each councillor gets a £20,000 budget to spend, and asks “Do you know what your Councillor have spent it on?”
Apparently Labour’s Marlyn Randall would have spent it on community ‘projectsl’ and on “environmental improvements across the area to improve resident’s local environments.”
It also pledges to prevent future ‘unstainable’ housing developments, improving sports ‘fcilities’ and, strangely states “Kent should not be in the bottom five per cent of the county, Pledge main text here.”
Apparently it was not enough to win over the voters of Maidstone Rural South, who went with the Tories instead.