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Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Labour stupidity cancelled out by the Lib Dems' lack of credibility.

Having set out where my vote's going this early, I'm obviously going to be spending the next 37 days grinding my teeth at every stupid, ignorant, counter-productive and downright indefensible leaflet and argument from the Labour campaign, all whilst still trying to convince myself I've made the right decision.  For instance, a sensible position for Labour to take on law and order would be to recognise crime has continued to fall in spite of the state of the economy and the cuts to the police.  It should therefore follow it is absurdly wasteful for the prison population to continue to be at a record level, and one of the very first things you could do to alleviate the pressures on the system would be to make clear no one should serve a short sentence for mere possession of drugs for personal use.

Except, of course, Labour remains anything but sensible on law and order, especially around election time.  THE LIB DEMS: SOFT ON CRIME, DRUGS AND THUGS screams a leaflet, the yellow peril having "made it harder" for the police to use DNA evidence, sent Anjem Choudary a pallet of hydrogen peroxide and given out crack to schoolchildren.  I exaggerate, but not by much.  You'd also mind less if the leaflet was clearer on where the Lib Dems have gone so wrong, only for the solutions apparently to be to scrap police and crime commissioners, which is fair enough but has nothing to do with the above, put "more bobbies on the beat", and "strengthen professional standards".  Jesus wept.  Responding to the complaints from among others the Transform charity, which quite rightly branded Labour's defence of jailing people for simple possession as "medieval", the party also said the Lib Dems "should explain why under this government drugs treatment has become much harder to access".  Or perhaps Labour can explain what help it is to a hard drug user to be sent to prison when they could instead be required to seek treatment.  That wouldn't be tough though, would it?

It's not even as though the Lib Dems aren't setting themselves up as a massive target elsewhere.  Their big promise today was to spend £3.5bn extra on mental health care should they be returned to government, only considering every single Lib Dem policy comes with a big question mark after it due to how we know they'll abandon a shedload of pledges for the slightest glimpse of power, who knows whether or not it would be a "red line".  To give the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg himself some credit, they have recognised mental health care has been underfunded for too long, whether you agree with their wider idea of a "zero" target for suicides or not.  £3.5bn, if it truly was extra spending, would be exactly the kind of money needed to help bring down the current waiting times for treatment, as well as help to address the chronic shortage of beds that has seen under-16s have to spend weekends in police cells rather than in hospital.

Only, as Kat explains in the video supposedly meant to support the party's commitment, the Lib Dems in coalition have presided over a NHS that has seen mental health become even less of a priority.  She was lucky in that her parents had private health insurance, so that on both occasions when she was overcome by her eating disorder she was able to get the treatment she needed on an inpatient ward.  On the second occasion this was only however after she had tried to get help via the NHS, which ended with the assessment deciding she wasn't sick enough to meet their criteria.  Predictably this led to Kat blaming herself for not being sick enough, leading to her starving herself further, to the point where she once again had to rely on private healthcare.  It doesn't exactly strike as an endorsement of the Lib Dem stewardship of the NHS, enlightened as they might be on mental health.  Why then should anyone trust them to put this right when they have made clear a vote for them is a vote for another coalition, with all that entails for the policies outlined in their manifesto? 

Answer came there none.

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