|Oldham and Saddleworth go to the polls today in a byelection|
Today is the Oldham and Saddleworth by-election. It was brought about by the harsh judgement (but one that has to be respected) that the democratically elected Member of Parliament, Phil Woolas had lied about his election opponent. Given the tumultuous parliamentary history of these Isles, there must be hundreds of past politicians who similarly would have been stripped of their seats, if they had been prosecuted for their views on political opponents.
Nevertheless, the decision of the court stands and maybe in the future will help raise the level and quality of debate in elections. It will certainly act as a deterrent to any candidate who thinks it safe to engage in dirty tactics or personal attacks.
Today is decision time as to who would make the best MP for the constituency.
Debbie Abrahams is the Labour Party candidate and is someone who stands up for what she believes in. Back in 2006 she resigned in protest at changes brought in by Labour over healthcare reform. That shows she is not afraid to stick to her convictions and principles and not just speak out but to take action. It's not a weakness but an asset. Oldham and Saddleworth need someone who will be a tough constituency MP and based on her past record Debbie looks like she will be a great champion for the area in the House of Commons.
Debbie has spoken about her concerns with transport, policing, jobs and the economy and especially healthcare. Those are the words of someone who cares about real issues affecting real people and her confidence is apparent when speaking.
Voting Labour will also send a strong signal to the Coalition that in spite of winning a court battle to overturn the election result and highlighting lies that were allegedly made by Phil Woolas and his election team, that the voters in Oldham and Saddleworth want to be heard. Their concerns about rising tuition fees, rising taxes, fewer jobs and the affects of the public sector cuts need to make their way into No. 10. The Coalition has made the wrong choices about how to improve the economy and have failed to distribute the burden fairly.
Bankers do not need a tax cut (compared to last year) whilst ordinary folk are losing jobs and seeing the standard of living plummet.
Today I hope Debbie Abrahams is elected as the new Labour MP for Oldham and Saddleworth.