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Letter: Good Luck to This Thoughtful, Astute Councillor

Published on: 6 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 6 Nov, 2021

From: Philip Brooker

former Conservative borough councillor for Merrow

In response to: I Stand By My Decision to Join the Conservatives

I write to welcome Cllr Jan Harwood’s decision to join the Conservatives and to provide a liberal and pragmatic approach to Guildford Borough Council (GBC), and the people of Merrow, whom I formerly represented as a Conservative councillor.

His thoughtful opinion piece gives great insight into the current state of both national and local politics.

The Conservatives are a right-of-centre party whereas all mainstream opposition parties are left-of-centre. Labour, the Scots Nats, the Lib Dems and the Greens all compete against themselves for the left of centre vote putting their individual unique “selling points” above a collective whole.

Conservative, or predominantly Conservative, governments have been in power for 68 years out of the last 100, Labour only 32. If you accept the view that the Blair/ Brown government was “soft Conservative”, a view still put forward by many of its own activists, this increases to 80 out of 20.

Cllr Harwood has identified this reality when he states “[the Lib Dem’s] insistence on not adapting to 50+ years of electoral failure is, in my opinion, inexcusable” and he objects to the “distaste for posturing and virtue signalling that has become prevalent in modern politics.”

He goes on to point out that “the Conservative party has demonstrated the greatest ability to shift and adapt to the ever-changing political landscape.”

And therein lies the nub of the issue: the Conservatives have historically evolved to represent the majority views of the electorate rather than to stand on the sidelines making petty political points and putting forward either outdated views or current views only held by minority pressure groups. It is called responding to the democratic will of the British people.

Cllr Harwood develops the myth of “the great evil that is every Conservative party member”. It is this myth which is perpetuated at every available opportunity by pressure groups posing as political parties that allows people like the deputy leader of the Labour party, Angela Rayner, to call a Conservative MP “scum” in the chamber of the House of Commons, and more recently at the Labour Party Conference where she also included the terms “racists” and “misogynists”, with very little public backlash, as if this was a generally understood common position.

The test would be to ask what the reaction would have been if a Conservative Cabinet minister had publicly said similar things about the opposition. It just doesn’t happen; and why not? It is simply because the Conservatives are tolerant of differing opinions and consider such opinions as misguided, rather than evil.

Cllr Harwood concludes that he will “work in any capacity available to me and with anyone who is willing to fight alongside me regardless of the colour of badges they wear”. These are the words of a pragmatist who wishes to make a difference and I share very similar views, as I hope my period in office at GBC demonstrated.

Good luck to Cllr Harwood and with his new Conservative colleagues, I wish him every success.

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test 4 Responses to Letter: Good Luck to This Thoughtful, Astute Councillor

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 6, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    He could have gone Independent.

    • Daniel Hill Reply

      November 7, 2021 at 10:55 am

      It’s so sad that GBC politics has become a breeding ground for so much hate. We should all be congratulating Cllr Jan Harwood who has stood up for what he believes.

      Hopefully, the penny will drop with voters that this is exactly the kind of politicians we need, rather than the robots we have who are afraid to have their own opinions and only seem capable of towing the local party line no matter the cost.

      • Wayne Smith Reply

        November 7, 2021 at 8:51 pm

        It’s difficult to know just what Cllr Harwood believes in? By his own admission he has never truly “belonged” to any political party but was happy to stand for the Lib Dems for ten years despite seemingly considering them a lost cause for the last +50 years.

        As for standing up for his own opinions and not towing the party line, how will the rank and file Conservative councillors in Cllr Spooner’s failed group get on with that?

        The electorate deserve to be able to vote for candidates that wont flip-flop to different political parties as the whim takes them.

        As Jim Allen says – he could have gone Independent.

  2. David Roberts Reply

    November 7, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    As politicians go, Cllr Harwood is a nobody. But since I’m on record for calling him an “orange Tory” I can’t say he’s joined the wrong party. He is a perfect fit with the party so well described by its former leader, Sir John Major, yesterday, and chose the perfect week in which to defect. I doubt if we’ll ever hear of him again.

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