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As UK parties begin campaigning, official asks to meet Gambians

Jan 11, 2010, 1:13 PM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, The Point's UK Correspondent

In British politics, it may sound too early to start canvassing votes for a general election supposed to take place next summer (precisely around May), but it is exactly what UK political parties here are doing in an effort to gain votes in a predictably hot election. Meanwhile if the majority of the polls are to go by, the opposition Conservatives are leading with 40 percent, followed by the incumbent Labour government with 30 percent and with less than 20 percent in favour of the Liberal Democrats.

Interestingly, the presence of the Gambian community in London is not unnoticed by some of the politicians, especially in areas inhabited by other West Africans including Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans and Ghanaians. As a result, a well-known politician and leading councillor in the City who normally presides over lots of official activities in and around the area said he is interested in meeting the Gambians.

The official during the course of the week in a personal capacity asked this correspondent to make arrangements for him to meet Gambians and speak to them.

He said: "I want them to be fully represented. I want to speak to them and listen to all their concerns and aspirations. I am aware of the presence of the Gambians in the area and meeting them will be a great thing". As migrants all over the world may sometimes have legitimate concerns and views, The Point has promised to get back to the official as soon as possible.

Excitingly, the main political parties in the country are not taking anything for granted, and even though the polls remain slightly unchanged, David Cameron, the Tory leader is not taking any chances.

Few days ago, he invited the press and set out his policies in an interesting way at the start of the general election campaign. One of the mostly contested issues includes tax - especially plans of tax relief on pension contributions by high earners, the National Health Service (NHS), Education, Immigration and to reward marriage in the tax system.  

Labour alleged that the Tory would spend £16bn on reversing the new 50p tax rate on those earnings above £150,000. Labour officials are accusing the Tories of being a 'party of the rich', but the Tory leader denied such claims as baseless. According to Labour,, the Tories have pledged £21bn of tax cuts; promised to reverse 10 Labour tax rises at a cost of £13.3bn; and announced 30 new spending plans costing £11.1bn.

Prime Minister Brown said that voting the Tories will be a 'serious mistake', especially when Britain is almost out of the recession.But Cameron is adamant and already set out and identified officials who would help him to fulfil his manifesto.

Undoubtedly, Labour officials are equally adamant and have told their opponents that it may not be that easy to remove them from power. Nonetheless, the Tory's nightmare, according to political observers and commentators, may not be the ruling Labour party but the Liberal Democrats who may forced a 'hung Parliament.' This cannot be avoided, especially when the winning party could not be able to have sufficient seats in Parliament to form an 'effective government'. The Liberals are also on the attack. Its leader, Nick Clegg, a known politician both domestically and at the European Union level is also a respected former journalist who cannot be ignored by the main parties. As a result, both parties are demanding to form a coalition with his party, but so far the Liberals are not showing public interest in any such demands. Nick Clegg has said his party is 'not for sale' and rebuffed overtures and further made clear he was not impressed by their 'flirting'. Now party bloggers are using the internet and starting what is described as a 'ruthless campaign' some of them even using Twitter to that effect. Political pundits observed that what is happening is an 'unofficial launching of the general election campaign' but according to them the reason behind it shows how interesting the election would be. Meanwhile, the debates, speeches and canvassing continues.