An example of Lib/Dem tactics.
Have you ever wondered why so many Tory and Labour activists detest the Liberal Democrats, and often seem more hostile to the Lib/Dems than each other even though the political difference between Labour and Conservative policies may seem to be greater? It's because of the sharp tactics of many Lib/Dems at local level and here is an example.
The Jersey Farm Woodland Park in the parish of Sandridge has been one of the great local successes of the past few years. One of the reasons for this is that it has had enormous support from the community in Sandridge, Jersey Farm, and Marshalwick, including people of all political parties and none.
Given this support, you would think that some of the party political point-scoring which has gone on over the past seventeen years about the events leading up to the foundation of the park could be allowed to drop. Instead it has got worse, in the sense that a selective quote which the Liberal Democrats have used for many years to misrepresent the position of former members of Sandridge Parish Council has been replaced in their most recent Marshalswick leaflets with an outright falsehood.
Nearly two decades ago, on one of the previous occasions when the party now called the Lib/Dems were running St Albans Council, they asked council officers to investigate options for what is now the Woodland Park site. This resulted in a proposal from the Old Albanian Sports Association to develop the area for sports facilities.
I thought that this was an utterly inappropriate site for those facilities, and felt this so strongly that although I went to St Albans School myself I dropped all connections with the OAs for several years so as to be free to campaign against the proposals and to speak and vote in the council chamber against them. However, it is wrong to vilify the OAs for having put forward these plans, which they were encouraged to submit by the council's former officers.
When Sandridge Parish Council discussed the OA proposals, they had grave concerns about them. Unfortunately for the local political careers of most of the councillors at the meeting, they chose to express those concerns as they affected practical matters such as the fact that an open air rifle range was proposed quite near to a hundred houses, that vast amounts of earth would have to be moved to put cricket pitches on the side of a hill, and that proposed arrangements for community use were inadequate given that the land had been given to the council to provide facilities for local residents. They did not object to the principle of sports facilities on the site if there was adequate public access. But nobody who read the full text of the representations which were agreed could possibly imagine that the parish council supported the proposal from the OAs as it stood.
Not one of the Liberal/SDP parish councillors at the time attended that meeting. However, when they saw the minutes, they took the opportunity to score political points against the councillors who had, by selectively quoting the words "no objections in principle" all over their election literature. They conveniently omitted to mention that those words were immediately followed by a long and detailed list of serious objections in practice.
Now the Lib/Dems have gone one stage further and included in their Marshalswick literature the injunction to "Remember Tory Parish Cllrs. voted to hand it over to St. Albans School for playing fields." Even had this been true, writing in this way in 2007 about a meeting held in the 1980s would have been petty. In fact it is complete nonsense and they have not even remembered correctly which organisation wanted the land (it was the Old Albanians, not the school.)
The good thing which came out of this is that local people proposed instead a community park , which was agreed by all parties and brought into being by a lot of hard work. Isn't it about time the Lib/Dems devoted more of their energies to sorting out today's problems and less to smearing people about the events of nearly twenty years ago ?