Politicians are often held in contempt by an electorate that thinks that they do not tell them the truth. They have a point. Nevertheless the voters want to believe politicians and are often prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. They want to trust the people they elect to high office.
Take these examples:
– when David Cameron told the country before the last election that the Tories would not institute a ‘top-down reorganisation of the NHS’ the voters wanted to believe him. They were disappointed.
– when Lib Dem MPs signed pledges to tell students that they would not introduce an increase in student fees, they wanted to believe them. They were disappointed.
– when Chancellor George Osborne and his Lib Dem sidekick Danny Alexander told the electorate that ‘we are all in this together’, they wanted to believe them. They were disappointed.
So what about our local Liberal Democrat MP, Greg Mulholland? Can you trust him?
He would like you to believe that you can. If you visit his website you will find he writes about himself in the following terms:
Whilst other politicians rely on spin, Greg is known as a plain speaker who is not afraid to speak his mind.
Well, he speaks his mind but does he refrain from spinning? Let’s see.
Under the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition’s new planning regulations, Labour-run Leeds City Council, like all councils in England, is required to draw up housing development plans to cover the next fifteen years. Accordingly the Council is presently undertaking a consultation exercise.
The Council is required by law to consult widely on all possibilities, including brownfield and greenfield sites. In doing so it is following the new Lib Dem and Conservative National Planning Policy Framework. National newspapers have reported that the Framework document was in part designed by a Taylor Wimpey executive – and we have posted on the Tories, Developers and the Green Belt before. Taylor Wimpey is the company that is presently seeking to build on land they own at Moseley Wood Gardens.
So how has our self-defined non-spinner described the Council’s actions?
On 9th July, Mr Mulholland posted a statement about housing in Leeds on his website. His post included a question he had asked in Parliament – also quoted in the Telegraph and Argus. Here it is in full.
“Does the Secretary of State understand the anger in north Leeds at the fact that Labour-run Leeds city council is bringing forward plans to concrete over much of our green belt with hundreds, if not thousands, of new homes?”
Mr Mulholland knows that this is not true. The Council has no plans to do anything except consult. The consultation process is still in full-swing.
Any fair-minded person will see that. Mr Mulholland’s smears are an insult to the Leeds City planners who are striving to inform the public of the options available. Any person who has visited one of the 17 public meetings on site allocations knows this.
He is clearly spinning a line: ‘scare-mongering’, anxious to protect his vulnerable status as Leeds NW MP. His smears are distinctly unhelpful to anyone of us who understands that housing is a major problem for Leeds and who wants to do something about it.
Spinning is not good enough, Mr Mulholland. Your constituents deserve better. Maybe it is time for you to rewrite your website?