I voted for Nick Clegg, writes Carlton Reeve, the independent candidate for Sheffield Hallam.
I was one of the 27,324 people in Sheffield Hallam who supported the Lib Dems in 2010.
I believed them when they said they were different. I believed them when they made their promises. I believed them when they talked about fairness.
I don’t believe them any more.
For many of us in Sheffield Hallam, the Lib Dems represented the last hope that party politics could work.
I’m heartbroken to say we were wrong.
The coalition shows how parties act in their own interests.
That’s why I’m standing as an independent. I don’t want to represent a Westminster party.
I don’t want represent some corporate funder or political lobbyist. I want to represent the people of Sheffield Hallam.
I won’t be tied to party interests. I’ll be free to represent Sheffield on an issue-by-issue basis in a way party members can’t.
I’ll be free to support local residents, like John, who I met last week at the Burngreave food bank.
For years John has looked after his dad but sadly, at Christmas, John’s dad died.
No one told John that needed to fill out some different forms now.
So his benefits were stopped.
For the last month, John has had nothing. If it wasn’t for a charity food bank, John would be starving.
John isn’t the only one in our city who is suffering from Government policies that have targeted the poorest and most vulnerable. Our hospitals, our schools and our police have all been hurt by savage coalition decisions.
When Westminster politicians tell us how Sheffield is flourishing, it reveals how divorced from reality they are.The Government’s relentless cuts haven’t addressed the causes of the 2008 economic crisis.
They have undermined our ability to recover instead.
Yet all the main parties tell us they will make even more cuts over the next few years.
I think we should grow our economy so that we can tackle our debt and afford the public services that make everyone’s life better. Let’s stop the cuts and start thinking about our future. Here’s how: Let’s get international businesses to pay a fair amount of tax, let’s invest in education and training, let’s improve our transport network, let’s secure devolved power for Yorkshire and let’s get our fair share of government and EU funding.
The last five years have shown we need someone to stand up for our NHS. Stand up for our schools.
Stand up for people preparing for work. Stand up for our manufacturers and businesses. Stand up for those in need.
As an independent, I’ll stand up for you, for John and for Sheffield so that we can all have prosperity with compassion.
The Star is hosting an exclusive election debate with the candidates for Sheffield Hallam in the run-up to the general election.
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