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Tea with Pickles: "Do you want five more years of Gordon Brown?"

Eric Pickles 2 2010 Eric Pickles gives his daily take on the election campaign.

I am genuinely puzzled. I watched the debate on Thursday and like millions of others, I reached the conclusion that if Gordon Brown is the answer it must be a very rude question.  I am not saying that Mr Clegg didn't do well, but my main puzzlement is that I can see no trace of it on the ground. What I did see was David Cameron looking like a serious leader ready to get us out of the huge economic mess the Prime Minister has left us in.

Like hundreds of our candidates and thousands of our supporters canvassing across the country over the weekend, there was no discernable movement away from us from our pledges.

I remain convinced that people are not going to elect a government on the basis of one and a half hours of television. As one elector put it to me on a sunny doorstep on Saturday afternoon:

"Yes, sure, Clegg did do well but it is not going to change my vote, the last thing I want to do is let Gordon Brown in by the back door of a hung Parliament."

Let's be clear - this country needs change and everybody knows it.

We need to take decisive action, especially as we tentatively come out of the recession.

Of course, the Liberal Democrats are vulnerable on their policy of throwing away our nuclear deterrent in uncertain times, their commitment to an amnesty for illegal immigrants which will only encourage more illegal immigration, and their refusal to protect the NHS.

But as much as it's right to talk about these things, the main threat that the Lib Dems pose is a hung Parliament, propping up Gordon Brown who can't deliver the change we need.

Our country needs change from an overpowering incompetent state. We need to give people an opportunity to shape their country through our Big Society proposals.  We need change that passes power down to and through local government to real communities who want to make a difference.

The question remains on the doorstep: "Do you want five more years of Gordon Brown?"

The answer is that if you vote Liberal Democrat or Labour you will. Only by voting Conservative can we be sure of the change we need.

Eric Pickles


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