‘It looks like the leadership have deleated (sic) my post. So much for democracy and freedom of speech. However, This is to reafirm (sic) my leadership challenge in 2010. There is too much infighting within the group…’
– Cllr. Ken Dobson (Lib Dem, City Centre)
Liberal Democrat councillor for Manchester City Centre, Ken Dobson, has repeatedly claimed that posts to his blog have been deleted by ‘the leadership’ in the wake of his announcing his intention to stand for leader of Manchester Liberal Democrats… but ‘the leadership’ was too slow and for a short time Ken Dobson’s campaign posts are out of their reach, safe in Google’s cache.
Dobson’s decision to stand as a unity candidate, immediately sparked a civil war.
Said Ken Dobson: ‘The leadership have deleted my blogg (sic) for a second time. I must be very embarassing (sic) for them. No doubt they will control this blogg (sic) too. But this type of thing is nothing new within the leadership. Gone are the days when members could speak out agaianst (sic) things they thought were wrong and unfair. What about local party members who are being excluded from meetings because they speak up or their face doesn’t fit ? What about the back benchers who don’t get a say or are just brushed aside but then are used as workers delivering leafets (sic) for the leadership ? Then there is all the petty infighting and threats. Members being threatened with their council seat if they speak their mind. They must be running scared. This will all change when I become leader of the group in 2010. Please support me in my campaign to unite the the (sic) party.’
I had the misfortunate of meeting Ken Dobson shortly before the Commonwealth Games came to Manchester and found him to be an excellent example of why the Liberal Democrats are bad for the city. He still lives next to Manchester Velodrome, in the shadow of the City of Manchester Stadium. At that time he saw regeneration, and the Commonwealth Games in particular, as an imposition: ‘it’s not creating jobs for people round here.’
It is no surprise to those of us that know Manchester Liberal Democrats that this civil war has broken out. Their style of pavement politics has created a disparate coalition of nimbys and other conservatives, who have little in common with each other or the national party. They have deliberately avoided producing a positive alternative vision for Manchester for fear of offering Labour something to criticise and because any attempt to unite behind a common set of values would pull the party apart.