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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2010

Patronising and arrogant: Lib Dems and Tories show true colours

As a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in the Higham Hill ward in Waltham Forest in north east London, I participated in an informal 'information afternoon' organised by the local Mencap centre on 22 April. It was organised to provide an opportunity for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers to meet local candidates.

Senan

The Liberal Democrat representative, standing in the council election, began with a patronising explanation: "I'm. Here. To. Explain. About. The. Political. System. And. About. The. Main. Three. Parties." Then he turned towards us and corrected himself, adding that there are small parties participating too!

Despite taking this condescending and superior attitude, he was actually unable to answer questions on the allocation of money to save essential services and more or less admitted that he did not know what his party stands for.

In fact, he asked to use the internet to find the answer to a question! He returned a little later, only to inform some of the most vulnerable people that the country doesn't have money for the services they require, due to the recent economic crisis.

How far removed from reality are these people? They seek support on the basis of telling people there is no funding for their much-needed services.

I pointed out how much money could be saved through ending the scam of the uncollected taxes of the rich, the waste of money on privatisation and war and I drew attention to the need to democratically plan how we use the enormous wealth of society to meet the needs of all, especially the vulnerable.

Louise, who runs the centre, explained that every time they asked for more funding they have been given the same answer: 'there is no money!' She explained that, where previously the centre had 26 staff, it has now been reduced to five! Neither the Liberal Democrat nor the Tory candidate, who turned up late, had anything to say about that.

None of the parties could promise any more money to improve services or to create accessible jobs for the most vulnerable people. In fact, Labour has increased the stress and pressure on many vulnerable people, announcing plans to force a million people with incapacities off benefit and into work.

They have however made no attempt whatsoever to create more socially useful jobs and taken no serious measures to counter the discrimination against people with special needs.

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In The Socialist 5 May 2010:

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