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A LibDem Perspective

December 20, 2021 2:10 PM
By Cllr Kathryn Field in Battle Observer

A LibDem Perspective

As Lady Bracknell might have said, "To lose one rock solid parliamentary seat to Liberal Democrats in
a year may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two rock solid parliamentary seats to Liberal
Democrats and lose your Brexit advisor at a critical time and first deny then condone illegal Downing
Street partying and try to change external earnings laws to protect law-breaking chums, might be
regarded as incompetence".
Against this background Mr Johnson's Trumpian attempts to muzzle the
BBC, give ministers the right to over-rule the judiciary, and greatly expand powers to lock up
protestors, all smack of George Orwell more than Oscar Wilde's splendid Lady B. Not so much a
Peppa Pig World, more the world of Orwell's 1984 or his porcine protagonist, Napoleon. It
increasingly appears that Mr Johnson's principle protection is the absence of talent amongst
potential leadership contenders. It is difficult to think of a peacetime period when our country has
been in greater need of firm, fair, open, consistent and honest leadership, nor of a Prime Minister
less well endowed with any of those capabilities.

While much of the above might be discounted as 'political knockabout', it was the sense of
unfairness and 'one rule for us, no rules at all for them' that rightly drove much of the protest in
Brexit-supporting North Shropshire. Any attempt to introduce and enforce further COVID measures
is severely undermined if we see our leaders thumbing their noses at those same requirements.
Those who have lost their £20 Universal Credit uplift or are struggling to feed their families or keep
them warm or afford the cost of travelling to work must despair when they hear of the lucrative
contracts handed out to politicians' chums or donors, or of the increasing calls by Tory MPs to cut
the taxes that fund the services most of us rely on.

Enough of this, it's Christmas and this Christmas Eve I really did want to focus on being positive. First
I want to congratulate all my colleagues in the Rother Alliance. In these most testing of times, and
despite the lack of prior experience of some of the members, the Alliance has remained strong, firm
and dynamic. A number of people I meet at Local Government conferences are in awe of what we in
Rother are achieving by co-operating across party political lines, working in close partnership with
our officers, and continuing to listen to our residents.

Next I want to express my admiration for all those selfless volunteers who have given their time to
help our community, whether at vaccination centres, Food Banks, or any of the other charities
helping those in greatest need, as well as those who have donated to support those causes. Also to
those musicians, artists, performers and event organisers who have continued to give some colour
to life in difficult times.
Finally I must, predictably, give a big shout out to the wonderful people of Battle and its
neighbouring villages, not just for entrusting me with their support for nearly 30 years, but for the
backing given to our community and our High Street. Last week's late night shopping saw no fewer
than four new businesses open, offering spices, cider, interior décor, and health services, and I'm
aware of plans for several other premises. Top of my husband's wish list is the return of a curry
restaurant! We also now have a second 'yarn bombing' group to brighten up the High Street.
I doubt many of us will mourn the passing or 2021: let's hope and work and plan for a much better
2022.
A LibDem PerspectiveHappy Christmas!

Cllr Kathryn Field