Please bear in mind that this only applies to the Liberal Democrats in Streatham Constituency or even only Brixton Hill. You might have Liberal Democrats in your area but it is unlikely that anything they promise will have any connection to the promises in my area.
Because I was due at the Barbican this afternoon, I reneged on my promise to go canvassing this morning. At least it meant that I was in when there was a knock on the door. Turns out to be someone canvassing my vote for the multi-millionaire Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate.
I asked "Why should I vote Liberal Democrat? What have they ever done for this area?"
She told me that they had never had the opportunity to do anything. So I said that they had run the council - badly - for four years. It didn't seem to be news to her that they had run the council (2002-2006) - despite her earlier statement - because she explained that they ran the council because when they took it over it was being run into the ground and the government was about to take over and put it in special measures.
I have to say that was completely news to me. I must have taken my eye off the ball in the years leading up to the 2002 election. I wasn't exactly in a good position to know what was going on in Lambeth Council at the time because I was busy...
Oh shucks damn, the 2002 election!
I was a member of Lambeth Council in the years leading up to the 2002 election. As it happens from 2000-01 I worked for a department of a neighbouring authority which was in Special Measures, so I was fairly well-placed to know the difference between 'a lot done, a lot more to do' and 'about to go into special measures'. And I think the Lib Dems at the time knew that, too, otherwise it would have been a key plank of their election campaign*
I told her she had been fed a pile of bullshit, and she turned her attention to their candidate. I asked what he had ever done for the community. Her reply was that he does a lot - a LOT - of casework.
Me: Of course he does, he's the Parliamentary candidate. What did he do before he decided to run for Parliament?
Her: People don't work for the community unless they want to be elected for office.
Me: That's not true - there are lots of people 'round here' who work for the community without any desire to stand for office.
Lamely she said he was involved in lots of groups - churches and so on (churches, plural - don't most people pick a church and stick with it?).
I laughed and said he just wants to buy the constituency, with all the leaflets that he keeps paying to produce. She explained that he's not paying for it, it's Liberal Democrat money.
"Oh," I said, "that's all right them; Lib Dem money scattered like fairy dust from the Lib Dem money fairy."
Shall I put you down as a Labour voter?" she asked, sounding a bit unsure.
"Oh I think so," I replied suitably patronisingly. I think I did quite well for a virgin - this was the first time I have ever been canvassed by a member of an opposition party!
A few months ago I was leafletted by another Lib Dem.
There were so many leaflets she had to knock on the door rather than use the letter box. I asked her to take them away, I didn't want them.
She tried to insist that I took them "They are Liberal Democrat leaflets personally addressed to you!"
What was sad is that this woman is a councillor. She was elected at the same time as me, indeed she was elected for the ward in which I then lived.
There were very few women councillors back then, so we tended to be quite friendly between the groups, even if only on a very superficial level - chatting about the weather as we touched up our lipstick in the Ladies rather than pulling glarey faces. She and I conversed at christenings and funerals and it wasn't unusual for us to sit together when we happened to get the same bus after meetings.
And yet, she had no clue whatsoever...
* Labour got the same number of seats as the Lib Dems - ironically with a greater proportion of the vote - but the Lib Dems went into alliance with the Tories so that they could play at being in power