Voters will judge Clegg on performance in coalition

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I really must take issue with Joan Stratford who wrote on 26/3/2015: ‘How anyone who lives in the Hallam Constituency can vote Labour astounds me.’ I haven’t decided who to vote for yet, but I hope I will be clearer in what I do than Ms. Stratford. Nick Clegg is a good candidate, but so, I think, is Labour’s Oliver Coppard,

who has said that if elected, he will take no further employment outside of parliament.

Ms Stratford’s letter is a complaint about Labour councils over the last 48 years, but not once does she flesh out any individual complaint. ‘The behaviour of the Labour Party towards the residents of Hallam caused me to leave the party.” So, what was the nature of that behaviour? I, too left the Labour Party over the war in Iraq, so I can give a reason for my leaving. Ms. Stratford, as a headmistress, had further experience of the ‘unfair behaviour of the Labour Council.’ What did that unfair behaviour consist of? Then she goes on to claim that it would be ‘unhealthy to have the whole of it (presumably the council) in the hands of one political party.’ But the nature of party politics is for parties to seek a majority in government.

I’ve lived in Sheffield Hallam for almost as long as Ms Stratford. Viewed overall, it is a wealthy, leafy suburb and it would not be right for a Labour council to spend as much money here as in other, often very needy areas of the city.

I would guess that the majority of residents in Hallam are fairly well-off and need less council support than other constituencies. Is this unfair?

As for Nick Clegg, he has been an excellent constituency MP and, overall, good for Sheffield, as was his predecessor, Richard Allen. As to the tory MPs who represented us for so long, the less said the better. The coming election, though, is not just about local matters and people will judge Mr. Clegg on his performance at national level which has, in my view, fallen short. The Lib Dems have supported tory policies on the NHS, even after Cameron had promised that there would be no drastic privatisations or reorganisations. Danny Alexander has been to the forefront of George Osborne’s austerity programme and then there was Vince Cable’s botched privatisation of the Post Office, sold off for much less than it was worth; then the about turn on student grants.

None of this is much to be proud of.

The student grant fiasco leads Ms Stratford to ask: ‘ . . . when did you last see a poor student?’ I don’t know whether students are poor simply by looking looking. Perhaps the ones that Ms Stratford sees are those with parents welathy enough to subsidise them? To suggest that students (all of them?) ’stopped throwing their dummies out of the pram, etc.’ is just insulting. In any case, why shouldn’t students have a social life?

David Bacon

Dewar Drive, Millhouses, Sheffield S7 2GQ