John Wiseman, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale has picked up some attention for his recent entry on Labour Home where he made a plea to Gordon Brown to reinstate the 10p rate of tax.

He's running into a lot of flak, some of it to be frank quite ghastly with plenty of ad hominem attacks thrown in against him too. He has also picked up a lot of support too, with for example Grimmer weighing in on this issue too.

The Labour Party, according to my membership card is a democratic socialist party. If members of the Westmorland and Lonsdale Labour Party and the public there think the 10p rate should be re-introduced then their candidate should be representing them and speaking out on their behalf - that's the candidate's first priority, represent the party membership and the working class. The Labour Party is a broad political party that is rich with a diverse set of opinions, far more so than the other two political parties so of course we're not all going to agree on everything all the time. Long may that continue and long may our members and candidates have the right to freedom of speech and the freedom to criticise. This is a strength - not a weakness.

Those calling on John Wiseman to "shut up" and represent the party leadership top-down need a strong reminder of what living in a democratic society and working within a democratic organisation means.