We have been given permission by the author of this letter, Charlie Wolf of TalkSPORT Radio, to publish it on the blog. Charlie is a good friend of ours, a great radio talk show host and a very angry man.
He is a staunch conservative both in British and American terms and has always voted for that party. He is also immensely proud to be living in Margaret Thatcher’s old constituency.
In the local elections today he took the unusual step of voting Labour, explaining his thinking to the local Conservative Party:
May 4, 2006
Cllr John Marshall, President
Mr Jonathan Herbst, Chairman
Finchley & Golders Green Conservative Association
212, Ballards Lane,
Finchley, London, N3 2LX
Dear Cllr. Marshall & Mr. Herbst,
Re: May 2006 Local Elections
I am a conservative voter though not a Conservative Party member in the Woodhouse Ward. I am generally quite happy with the job that has been done here by the Tories –the level of public services such as clean streets, well maintained roads and a modest rise in Council Tax (bar Mayor Livingstone’s portion)—it is with regret that I must inform you that my votes this morning went to the Labour party. This was a protest vote so it is important that I write and tell you why.
My vote, as small as it may seem, counts, and it is one of the most precious and powerful things I have in a democracy. I am a conservative commentator and talk-show host on a national radio; as strong a position as that is, it does not count as much as my individual vote.
I am sending you a message through my vote. As long as David Cameron is party leader I will not be voting Conservative. This hurts me to do this – there are many good friends who are honourble, hard working MPs and workers at all levels of the party. Lady Thatcher, along with President Reagan, are two heroes of mine and now I live in her old constituency.
In some respects my vote at the council elections will have little consequence for the following reasons;
· The Conservatives will probably continue to control Barnet and I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor.
· The local councils have little bearing on events in England or in their locals. Unlike, for instance, the United States, they have very little tax raising powers or control over essential local services such as schools or the police. Ultimately you are at the control of central government and in this case, John Prescott.
· Mr. Prescott, or for that matter, whatever party is in power has little control with most local issues decided by EU Directive.
This affords me the ability to send you a message that at this stage should have little effect on your party’s fortunes at present, but is more powerful than if I either did not vote or just spoiled my vote.
Where my vote will have more consequence –and the reason you should heed the warnings of this act of conscience in the local elections—is what actions I will take at the next general election.
As long as David Cameron is the party leader I will not vote for Conservative candidates.
At the last election Labour held this “true blue” constituency by a margin of just 741 votes. I voted for the Conservative candidate. In the next election there is ‘all to play for’ but I am afraid to say that as long as David Cameron is the leader of the party you will be able to count on neither my vote nor my support. I cannot say at this juncture who I will vote for but I can promise you whom I will not.
(There is only one standing exception to this pledge not to vote for the Conservative Party, that is the London Mayoral election. Ken Livingstone is an anti-Semite and a loud mouth thug. In that instance you have my assurance of doing whatever possible to see him removed from politics.)
I expect the Conservatives to mount a proper opposition to the current government, not for the leader to faff about with visits to glaciers. I can appreciate the leader’s own personally held beliefs on ‘the environment’ but all he has produced so far is stunt politics that are very little thought out. The trip to Norway was a gaff of monumental proportion that has made the party a laughing stock. It represented empty symbolism and nothing more and has held him up to ridicule and, from myself, contempt.
On what issues Mr. Cameron has pronounced (and I don’t expect a full policy manifesto at this stage), I have found these generally disturbing. His Shadow Chancellor mentions ‘wealth redistribution’, the reform of the NHS is off the table; he has stifled any talk on the EU by telling Eurosceptics there is no place for them on his front bench.
Mr. Cameron needs to drop the spin of Mr. Blair and stop trying to play an outreach programme to the Liberal Democrats. He doesn’t need spin when he has the principles of the Conservative Party and can stand on the shoulders of giants like Thatcher, Churchill and Disraeli. Instead of trying to appease LibDems who will not vote Tory he should be appealing to Middle England, the backbone of this nation that works hard, gets little reward, and is being squeezed until the pips squeak by the Chancellor. President Reagan proved –and now George W. Bush has confirmed—that a low tax economy works and stimulates an economy yet we have heard no firm promises from Mr. Cameron (or Mr. Howard during the last election) to cut taxes.
I expect Conservatives to talk about conservative issues such as better management of the economy the lowering of the tax burden and the overall improvement of services such as the police; the cutting of red tape and interference by government (UK and European) in our lives, the dictum that “the government that governs best governs least” – not to what level my kettle should be filled or the need to hug my neighbour or the other ridiculous suggestions from your spring conference. I find the Conservative Party at present an insult to my intelligence. This is not the party of Thatcher.
Please take this message to your party, Cllr. Marshall & Mr. Herbst. We should not have to worry about electorates voting for the BNP or other fascist parties; there is no need to insult UKIP (who many in you party feel better speak for them), if you would only speak for the people yourselves with a message of positivism and hope. Save the shallow environmental shenanigans –which even on their own don’t intellectually address the issue properly—to others.
CHARLIE WOLF, Radio Talk Show Host
(Writing as an individual)