Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 7 January 2010


If it is humanly possible, I advise you to hibernate for the next two or three months and re-emerge in mid March. If you can escape, seize the moment. If you have a gite in Gibraltar or a bolthole in Barbados, flee there immediately. The enemy I urge you to avoid is not just our exceptionally cold weather, although that is bad enough, but the dire implications of the start of the 2010 general election campaign that clearly began this week.

Now don't get me wrong, I believe passionately in democracy and each party setting out its stall so that voters have a clear choice. As I urged in my last column, please exercise your right to vote. But after four months of frenetic political attack and rebuttal, claim and counter-claim, riposte and parry, we will all be driven bonkers by the time the election actually arrives.

I am sure that I am not supposed to say these things, but my reaction to this week's frenzied launch in which I took part, was one of sorrow. I understand why we all do it, but it is far too early and possibly even counter-productive. Yes we need a campaign to tease out the strengths and weaknesses in the arguments and policies of each party, yes we need to test the party leaders and see what they are like under fire, yes we need to know what each party will do for us if elected, but that normally takes place over three or four weeks not four months.

There are some enthusiasts, who love all of this and savour every blow and counter-blow, drool over the nuances of each party's position on VAT on off-shore widgets, but they are a tiny minority. Most of us recognise the importance of politics at election time, but get very fed up with the constant argy-bargy.
I will not be starting my election campaign until Parliament is dissolved. I will be issuing no press releases condemning my opponents to outer darkness. Of course, if telephoned by the press and asked about the plans of the other parties I shall doubtless find myself saying that they are ill-judged or that the sums don't add up or both. Other than that, why don't we just get on with the job of serving the country and wait until the election campaign is called before we indulge in this ritual slaughter? Escape while you still can.

posted by Gary @ 10:20