I have to confess I laughed out loud when I read what my erstwhile opponent Nadine "I'm 5ft 3 and need every inch of my Louboutin heels to look my male colleagues in the eye. If high heels were banned in Westminster, no one would be able to find me" Dorries, had said about me, apparently I am "behaving like a Japanese prisoner of war who doesn't realise the conflict is over" - well thanks first to Caron Lindsay for springing to my defence and secondly to Gareth Epps who sent me a nice message suggesting I should wear the comment as a badge of honour.
I suppose what I find hugely amusing and characteristically ironic in Ms Dorries' comment, is that it was made virtually in the same breath as her assertion that she would "rather die than enter into a pact with the Lib Dems!" er.........no truce there then missus! And I have to say on this occasion we are in total agreement - that makes two of us who would rather die than enter into a pact with each other, although my prediction is that in her case this will not be necessary as I doubt very much she will be the Tory candidate in Mid Beds at the next election.
What I also find odd, given the contest is over, is that she still takes such an interest in me. The only way she could have known of my concerns about the coalition is either through following my blog or Twitter.....
There is no doubt that Palinesque Ms D hates Lib Dems more than she hates Labour - unsurprising given her patently illiberal and uncaring attitude, the opinion of one person who contacted me during the election campaign sums it up nicely "she has a hanging brick where her heart should be". I can't imagine her signing up to our belief in a "fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and where no one should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity".
Her attitude towards our own Evan Harris demonstrates this clearly, her glee when he lost his seat, referring to him as "Dr Death" and painting him as our party's answer to Lucifer. Actually, I may not agree with Evan Harris on some things, nor he me, but he is one of the most intelligent, gracious, thoughtful and impressive human beings I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Of course he takes a different view from those of us who have a belief in God he doesn't share, but that has never deflected him from working with all of us for our shared objectives of making this world a better place to live in, frankly if you asked me to choose between Evan and Nadine about who most closely reflects the compassion and humanity of Christ, there would be no contest! And yet she is the one who claims to be a "Christian"!!! I tell you what Nadine, give me a man whose whole motivation is care and compassion for his fellow men and women any day over someone whose whole motivation seems to be to look after herself and her children and let the rest of the world go hang. Who holds high office purely because, as Nick Clegg has accurately pointed out, you could put up a donkey with a red or blue rosette in some constituencies and they would get elected. Who gets "confused" about whether she produced an annual report or not and in a "confused" state publishes a leaflet on her blog that apparently cost nearly £10,000 to produce, but contains not a word about the work for her constituents but just a couple of pictures of foetuses and a report on what she had been doing on the anti-abortion campaign. Come off it Nadine, surely you couldn't have been so confused that you thought that tatty leaflet would have a) cost such a ridiculous amount of money or b) was something you would have put through every door in Mid Beds???
And then there is her attitude to those on benefits who commit the heinous crime of Tweeting. Her incoherent argument was that it was OK for those who were genuinely disabled - but then seemed to relish the opportunity to have a pop at one of her constituents, without knowing anything about her true circumstances. "Ms Humphrey Cushion" is a friend of mine; I met her at the infamous Flitwick hustings, where she, along with other Mid Beds constituents, challenged me about what I stood for as a candidate. Since then I have got to know her and I have to say, that while we have different political persuasions, on so many issues we totally agree, she is a caring, kind and humane person. And yes, shock horror; I have met her in the pub! But, because of that, I have seen firsthand just how much pain she is permanently in - having to sit holding her neck because of the pain. And let's not forget, that until she became too ill to continue, she did one of the most important and badly rewarded jobs as a carer - a job that no doubt exacerbated her condition and one she couldn't possibly continue to do at the moment.
The logical conclusion from Dorries' argument is that if you are living on benefits you have no right to a social life. Now in my day job we train those working with young people to help them manage their money more effectively. One of the exercises we do is "essential/non essential". Participants are asked to discuss and agree whether a range of things are essential or not, one of them being going down the pub. This usually evokes lively debate, but the conclusion is often, yes it is essential. For those who are on benefits or living with disabilities, the isolation can be soul destroying and can have a hugely damaging impact on their confidence and self esteem. Not to even be allowed to socialise because you are living on benefits is scandalous, especially coming from a woman who thinks spending 100 times as much on one pair of shoes as someone living on benefits may spend on the occasional night out! And while "National Insurance" may not be hypothecated, the clue is in the name - something most of us, including Ms Cushion, are willing pay to "insure" against a time when we may be unable to work.
Anyway Nadine, unlike you, I am happy to offer you the right of reply and to put the record straight here on my blog, where I do have comments enabled. And in the meantime, please don't you go worrying about those less fortunate than yourself now will you? You go off and buy yourself a nice little pair of Louboutins at our expense so you can make sure they can see you in Westminster.