To all who helped in our campaign in SW Surrey and who gave me your vote – thank you

There is of course great disappointment but also a once in a lifetime opportunity for our Party to secure electoral reform and fairness in our voting system. I hope that Nick Clegg will take that opportunity.

Cameron has not ‘sealed the deal’ with the electorate and won their trust.

So far as South West Surrey is concerned we must assess where we are and where we go from here, but for the time being a period of reflection is needed. It must also be said that my opponent Jeremy Hunt has proved a popular MP and I pay tribute to him.

A tsunami of support for the Tories swept across the South of England and we could not stand up against it. But we must also remember our duty to stand by our Liberal Democrat values. Nearly a third of the voters of South West Surrey voted for us and they deserve nothing less.

Mike Simpson

After our successful campaign to save Farnham’s Water Meadows we have launched a new ‘Protect Our Greenspace’ campaign in Badshot Lea

• You will get a fresh voice at Westminster

• I will challenge the political establishment on behalf of ordinary people

• I will speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves

• I will work to bring real reform to our political system

• I will live in the constituency, not in London & I will commute to work

• I will not claim for a ‘second home’

• I will work full-time as your MP

What I Stand For

Here’s a summary of my main campaign themes and how I’ve tried to fulfil them over the last 12 months:

I have four campaign themes which dominate my political philosophy:

Speaking up for Ordinary People

• I have spoken out against the plans for the Key Site development in Godalming and fought for affordable housing on the site.
• I have used my position to publicise the plight of Dan Eley, a young man from Godalming who used to work with street children in South America but suffered a broken neck and was left paralyzed, and stuck in Colombia. The Lib Dems put out 14,000 leaflets which publicised Dan’s situation.
• I have been outspoken in respect of the affairs of the standing MP Jeremy Hunt. Hunt has suffered the embarrassment of having to repay over £12,500 of his MP’s expenses claims, after I raised questions at a public meeting in May 2009.

Seeking a Fair Deal for the Vulnerable

• I strongly support the Royal British Legion’s Campaign for better care for returning veterans, having worked with army veterans through the YMCA.
• I am supporting the Act for Justice group in Haslemere, campaigning against human trafficking.

Campaigning for a Sustainable Community

• I chaired the successful campaign to save Farnham’s Water Meadows
• I am now fighting the proposals to double the size of Badshot Lea village
• I raised strong objections to the TAG flights proposal which involved the expansion of Farnborough Airport

Investing in our Children and Teenagers

• Seeking to help and empower young people is key to my agenda, as I have worked with them for many years in my role as a CEO of the YMCA.
• I strongly support the Lib Dems’ plan to phase out University Tuition fees. It’s too late for my own children, but I don’t want to see generations of young people saddled with huge debts just as they start out in life.

Vince Cable wrote to the voters of South West Surrey – his letter is reproduced below my YouTube video

Vince Cable kindly wrote this letter urging voters in South West Surrey to support me on Thursday:

Dear Elector

This election is not decided. The British people have a real decision to make at the polls and, for the first time in a long time, you have real power to make a change that goes beyond the choice between two bickering parties. Most importantly it is a choice about how to ensure economic recovery that is sustainable.

The MPs’ expenses scandal has been a disaster for UK politics. But by exposing those with their snouts in the trough, it empowers the public to make a choice. It creates a wake-up call about the frailty of the present voting system, where MPs believe that have a job for life and that they can ’milk the system’ and get away with it.

I have always argued that we need to go further than reforming MPs’ expenses; we need to elect MPs totally committed to wholesale reform. Your Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Simpson will be a strong voice in Parliament. He is a man committed to challenging the political establishment and he has all the right credentials for such a role.

The opinion polls suggest that people are rightly unhappy with the Labour Government yet have no real confidence in George Osborne and the Tories. The choice presented to the electorate is to lurch from incompetence to inexperience. I think you deserve more. To get the economy back on track requires the best minds, working effectively together. It requires fair taxes and common sense that you can trust. The Liberal Democrat Party is committed to sound economics. Our priority is to secure the long term financial viability and vitality of the economy.

Do not let anyone try to persuade you that a balanced parliament will be detrimental to our country. Far from it. A parliament balanced with a strong, Liberal Democratic presence will result in a House of Commons composed of true representatives of the electorate and sound, sensible policies brought about by discussions and consensus and not by political dogma.

Vote for your Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Simpson, and help create a government capable of rebuilding our economy and our political system.

Yours sincerely

Vince Cable

The opinion polls in tomorrow’s papers (Sun and Guardian) show that Cameron has failed to win the trust of the British electorate. The Conservative party are supposed to be the main opposition to Labour and yet even with the banking crisis, the MPs’ expenses scandal and the spiralling government debt, the Tories have failed to close the deal with the electorate.

Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems have proved to be credible, likeable and respected. Let’s hope that the voters will not have last minute nerves about putting their x where their heart lies.

The figures are:

YouGov poll for the Sun: CON 34%(-1) LAB 28% (+1) LDEM 29% (+1). No significant change from yesterday.

ICM poll in the Guardian: CON 33%(-3), LAB 28%(-1), LDEM 28%(+1).

The Lib Dem Team of Clegg and Cable is the best choice for Britain

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat finance spokesman warned this week that Britain risks sliding into a Greek-style fiscal crisis unless the next government takes drastic action to cut borrowing.

Taxes must rise sharply over the next decade to bring down borrowing, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. They suggest that taxes will have to rise by the equivalent of a 6p in the pound on income tax! They also said the UK economy faces sluggish growth and rising unemployment this year.

The Governor of the Bank of England governor Mervyn King is reported to have warned that “Whoever wins this election will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be.”

Who would want to take the economic reins of power in such a scenario?

I ask another question – ‘In such dire circumstances who will be best suited to reduce the government debt, oversee a much needed restructuring of the banking sector, whilst protecting the vulnerable from cuts in vital government services?’ It will not surprise you that my answer this question is Vince Cable, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats.

The next government could make the situation a lot worse. We need sound financial judgement if we are to recover and not sink into a second recession. Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats have consistently got the analysis right over the economy. We must tackle government debt without choking off the economic recovery

We cannot afford to take a leap in the dark with Osborne and Cameron. Many people are fearful of the mass job losses and VAT increases likely to follow a Conservative win. Cuts and tax increases will be needed but who will bear the brunt of these?

Vince says, “The public will accept austerity for a time if the burdens are fairly shared”.

Vince Cable and the Lib Dems are determined to make our tax system fairer and we would raise the tax threshold so that nobody earning less than £10,000 would pay any income tax. This would be paid for by a tax on mansions worth over £2million, closing tax loopholes and making airlines pay for the pollution they cause.

Raising the tax threshold will benefit the average tax payer by £700 per year, but it will also have the added benefit of greatly increasing the incentive to work rather than languish on benefits.

Our manifesto sets out a carefully costed plan of cuts and spending commitments that would result in a £10billion cut in the deficit. Much more needs to be done and that will include hard choices about benefits and public sector pensions for example.

Nick Clegg proposes a ‘Council on Financial Stability’, involving representatives of all parties, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chair of the Financial Services Authority. We face the kind of dire circumstances that require all Parties to work together if we are to avoid major social division when cuts and tax rises are implemented.

A strong Liberal Democrat presence in Parliament will ensure a wise, prudent and compassionate approach to the crisis we face.

I have been struck by how many local small business people are outraged by the foolish and illiberal digital economy act which Labour rushed through Parliament with support from my opponent Jermey Hunt. I wrote an open letter to Mr Hunt on 5th April about this.

On 11th April I called for the Digital Economy Act to be repealed.

I have been delighted to receive strong support from the local E-Commerce community. Here’s one comment:

“As a local businessman who voted Conservative in every election to date I’m changing to vote for Mike and the Lib Dems. I’m very impressed with the Lib Dems strong pro-business policies, in particular their balanced and sensible approach to E-commerce and the digital economy.” James Firth

And it’s not just the Act that is a problem in Farnham. Read this comment by local film and television producer Jack Jewers who I met recently:

“Britain’s digital infrastructure is seriously under-developed and it really does hurt us. In most of Farnham, broadband access comes down old copper phone wires (rather than fibre optic cables), so the average broadband speed is barely 2MB. That makes the internet slow and unreliable. I’m a filmmaker by trade and have recently moved two businesses here from London because I want to support my home town. However I may be forced to move back to the city because I cannot get the reliable, high-speed web access I need. There are wider implications of this too. Imagine if the thousands of people who live in our area could commute digitally, what a difference it could make to the environment, not to mention to our crowded trains. Given all of this, I simply cannot understand why, when Britain lags so far behind Europe and the wider world on digital infrastructure, Parliament chose to pass a bill (the Digital Economy Bill) that limits digital growth instead of one that improves access. I fear we’re going to be left behind, and that companies like mine will find it hard to compete with better wired businesses elsewhere in the world.”

Mike Simpson will press for sustainable funding for youth facilities across South West Surrey

I recently visited the Wey Centre in Haslemere where I met a group of young people following concerns about the lack of facilities they have available to them.

I listened to Sharon Mitchell and a group of young people who have formed a charity, ‘Stars in the Helping’. It was set up last year to provide help for children in Kenya. They have been sending children clothes and have also paid for food to be provided in Kenya. They visited villages in the area last August, working in orphanages. As a result they are going to help rebuild a school next year.

Sharon said “It was great for Mike to come and see the efforts of some of the local children in Haslemere. It is important that we increase the profile of the charity so that we can increase our membership, helping young people get motivated”.

I have a lot of experience in working with young people having been employed by the YMCA for over twenty years, currently as a Chief Executive Officer. I have worked with hundreds of disadvantaged young people including those with drug and alcohol problems, homeless young people and pupils at risk of exclusion from school.

I have become increasingly concerned with the inadequate facilities that there are for young people. Young people are sometimes targets for criticism. The lack of appropriate facilities for them can lead to problems with members of the public in open space areas.

The Wey Centre is a much needed facility that deserves sustainable funding and quality youth work provision by Surrey County Council. I was very inspired to hear about the young people who are involved in Stars in the Helping and the impact they are having on the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.

There’s been so much concentration on the TV debates that you may have missed some of our best policies as set out in our manifesto!

So I thought I would list a random collection:

We will introduce a Banking Levy on bank profits, so that banks pay for their tax-payer guarantee.

Bring in step-on-request for night buses, so that you are let off the bus as close to your home as possible.

Launch an ‘Eco Cash-back’ scheme for the first year of the new government. This will give you £400 if you install double glazing, replace a boiler or install micro-generation.

We will uprate the state pension annually by whichever is the higher of growth in earnings, growth in prices or 2.5% whichever is the higher.

Invest £400 million in refurbishing shipyards so that they manufacture offshore wind turbines and other marine renewable energy equipment.

Allow Mums and Dads to share parental leave between them, introducing much greater flexibility.

Phase out University tuition fees over 6 years, helping to reduce the appaling burden of debt being loaded onto young people.

Legislate to end unfair bank and financial transaction charges so you cannot be charged more than the costs incurred.

Give a pay rise to the lower ranks of the armed forces so that their pay is brought into line with the starting salary of their emergency service counterparts.

Impose maximum interest rates for credit cards and store cards following consultation with the financial industry and consumer groups.

Scrap ID cards and use the savings to pay for 3,000 more police on the beat.

Make Network Rail refund a third of your ticket price if you have to take a rail replacement bus service.

Abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission and return decision-making, including housing targets, to local people.

Scrap ‘home information packs’ for when you buy a home saving you money.

There is growing support for our campaign to Save The BBC I am standing against Jeremy Hunt, the Tory’s Shadow Culture Secretary. If I beat him it will be a major blow to the Tory plans for the Beeb. And it looks like I can win, given the huge swing to the Lib Dems across the country.

Leading actors are today calling for voters ‘to protect the BBC on polling day’.

And across the country other groups are setting up to fight for BBC independence which is threatened by Tory plans. I wrote to the Tory Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt about his own position some months back.

It’s clear that the Murdoch press are desperate for a Tory victory as they would have much to gain from Tory plans. Nick Clegg’s rise could lock Murdoch out of UK politics for years.

Another very good reason to vote Lib Dem!

In case you missed this –

Goldman Sachs says buy the pound as there’s little to fear from a hung Parliament

Check out the Daily Telegraph (!) piece here

The Tories are getting desperate. As the Lib Dems surge in the polls and look like spoiling the Tory (premature) election celebration party, the knives are out for Nick Clegg. All the Tory press are in full assault mode today.

One of the most ridiculous attacks is to say that the financial markets and the value of the pound will collapse if the people of Britain dare to vote for anything other than a resounding Tory majority. Actually for a month we have been looking at a hung parliament as a likely outcome and the markets know it. Markets don’t wait to see what happens. They seek to predict what is going to happen. So they have done just that.

I don’t rule out some market volatility before and after election day BUT the current state of markets reflects what traders predict will happen and that is a hung parliament.

Surprise surprise – The result is not financial Armageddon.

A month ago the FTSE 100 share index of leading companies was valued at 5650 points. This morning as I write this it is on 5732 points.

A month ago the £ was worth $1.51. This morning it is worth $1.54. The increase in the value of the pound against the Euro is even greater.

So much for the nonsense of the Tory scare stories.

Nick Clegg today launched plans to stimulate a green economy

This plan represents a great opportunity to green our economy, our businesses and our homes. And we will create 100,000 new jobs in the process.

One aspect of the Lib Dems’ plan is to give subsidies to people who improve the energy efficiency of their homes (our £400 ‘Eco Cash-back’ scheme). I support local initiatives such as Greening Godalming aimed at greening our homes and cutting our carbon footprint.

I have also fought to protect our green environment from inappropriate development and that’s why I led the campaign to save Farnham’s Water Meadows, alongside Jo Aylwin.

After our successful campaign to save Farnham's Water Meadows we have launched a new 'Protect Our Greenspace' campaign in Badshot Lea - the Tory controlled Council are considering doubling the size of the village!

The latest threat to our environment in South West Surrey is the Tory plan for Badshot Lea. They are considering doubling the size of the village.

The great thing about the Water Meadows campaign was how the whole community got behind it. I hope everyone will come together to stop the crazy plans for Badshot Lea as well.

Mike Simpson, Prospective Liberal Democrat MP in Gostrey Meadow, Farnham

This election is likely to centre on two issues; economic competence and the expenses scandal. Vince Cable of the Lib Dems is respected as being the most astute and honest of the potential Chancellors, way ahead of George Osborne. A hung Parliament will see Dr Cable taking the economic reins of the country to the relief of millions. We cannot afford the amateur economist Mr Osborne, because nobody has the faintest idea how he would balance the books. Many fear it will be them who will pay in the mass job losses and tax increases so carefully hidden to date.

The Conservatives’ slick presentation reminds me of Blair in 1997. It is not yet clear if the electorate will fall for that again.

The bigger issue is of course the economy and the huge government debt we face. I for one would rather entrust decisions about this to Vince Cable than to George Osborne. I sincerely hope that the electors of South West Surrey will not take a leap in the dark with Osborne. This election gives us all the opportunity for a real political change. With a hung Parliament we are likely to get Vince and sound economics at last.

If it is accurate – the latest Opinion Poll on voting intentions must be very worrying for Cameron and his team. I don’t know if media-savvy Jeremy Hunt has been advising Cameron before last night’s debate, but if he has then he deserves the sack from the Tory front bench team.

Apparently Mr Hunt has been role-playing Nick Clegg in the Tory rehearsals for the debate. Clearly it is not a role that Mr Hunt has performed accurately – because Mr Cameron had no answer to the natural and relaxed manner of Mr Clegg.

Outside of the bear-pit of Parliament – where Nick Clegg is scoffed at by the boorish MPs of some sections of Parliament, there is no answer to his appeal. If he can’t be shouted down then his common sense straight talking is a winner.

See the poll by clicking here

After our successful campaign to save Farnham’s Water Meadows we have launched a new ‘Protect Our Greenspace’ campaign in Badshot Lea

I thought I should set out why I’m standing in this election!

What Motivates Me?

I got re-motivated about politics when the Iraq War was being prepared for by Bush and Blair. When my marriage broke up in the mid 1990s I left politics. I had to because I was looking after my twin children and had a full time job, so I had no spare time for politics. It may sound corny but I would say that bringing up my children as a single Dad is the most important and worthwhile thing I’ve ever done.

After a few years I dabbled a bit in politics again but what really got me energised was the run-up to the war in Iraq. The deceit of Blair and Bush angered me as it did many people. I never believed there were weapons of mass destruction (see my recent Blog post on this). I felt compelled to get re-involved in the Lib Dems because they were the Party who stood solidly against the madness of Iraq.

I know what a bad name politicians have these days but that’s NOT a reason to abstain from politics – it should motivate us to try and do something to change things. That’s why I’ve called this Blog ‘Shaking Up Politics’.

What I Stand For

Here’s a summary of my main campaign themes and how I’ve tried to fulfil them over the last 12 months:

I have four campaign themes which dominate my political philosophy:

Speaking up for Ordinary People

• I have spoken out against the plans for the Key Site development in Godalming and fought for affordable housing on the site.
• I have used my position to publicise the plight of Dan Eley, a young man from Godalming who used to work with street children in South America but suffered a broken neck and was left paralyzed, and stuck in Colombia. The Lib Dems put out 14,000 leaflets which publicised Dan’s situation.
• I have been outspoken in respect of the affairs of the standing MP Jeremy Hunt. Hunt has suffered the embarrassment of having to repay over £12,500 of his MP’s expenses claims, after I raised questions at a public meeting in May 2009.

Seeking a Fair Deal for the Vulnerable

• I strongly support the Royal British Legion’s Campaign for better care for returning veterans, having worked with army veterans through the YMCA.
• I am supporting the Act for Justice group in Haslemere, campaigning against human trafficking.

Campaigning for a Sustainable Community

• I chaired the successful campaign to save Farnham’s Water Meadows
• I am now fighting the proposals to double the size of Badshot Lea village
• I raised strong objections to the TAG flights proposal which involved the expansion of Farnborough Airport

Investing in our Children and Teenagers

• Seeking to help and empower young people is key to my agenda, as I have worked with them for many years in my role as a CEO of the YMCA.
• I strongly support the Lib Dems’ plan to phase out University Tuition fees. It’s too late for my own children, but I don’t want to see generations of young people saddled with huge debts just as they start out in life.

If you want to know more about my background you can click here to find out.

I was out door-knocking last night in Godalming and was surprised by the number of people who raised the issue of MPs’ expenses but who didn’t know about Jeremy Hunt. There are very few MPs who have had to repay more than him but people don’t know about it. So for the record here are some facts:

1. Mr Hunt had to repay many thousands of pounds following investigations by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards;
2. Unlike many MPs who claimed for ridiculous things which were ‘within the rules’, Mr Hunt actually broke the rules. The Standards and Privileges Committee said in their report ‘We agree with the Commissioner that Mr Hunt committed two breaches of the rules’.
3. In one year alone Mr Hunt claimed £12,000 for his ‘second home’ in Farnham (he lived in Hammersmith and as far as I know he still does) but Hunt actually only stayed at the Farnham property for 60 nights that year, so the cost of his claim to the taxpayer was £200 per night;
4. He has now admitted that his political Agent lived in his Farnham home (he says for ’3 or 4 nights per week’) at taxpayer’s expense;
5. This was a breach of the rules because ‘it provided a personal benefit to the agent from public funds’;
6. Mr Hunt had to repay £9,558.50 of the expenses he had claimed on his ‘second home’ in Farnham because of this;
7. In addition Mr Hunt had to repay £1,996 in expenses because he had claimed for two properties at the same time! (his home in Hammersmith and his ‘second home’ in Farnham);
8. In addition Mr Hunt had to repay £466 in respect of Council Tax claims and according to an interview in the Surrey Advertiser he has also repaid £659.75 because he double claimed on a stationery bill;
9. This makes a grand total of £12,680.25 in repayments that I know about;
10. In the separate investigation by Sir Thomas Legg only 16 MPs had to repay more than £12,500 out of a total of 646.

There are more embarrassing facts about Mr Hunt’s claims but I thought I’d stick to the main points here.

Mike supports local green campaigners at the Greening Godalming launch

Housing emits 27% of the UK’s carbon emissions. By retrofitting old houses with energy saving measures we could save between 60 and 80% of their carbon footprint. We will also save money on our fuel bills.

Government should help homeowners and social housing landlords in a massive retrofit process. German experience has shown that money spent by Government can stimulate up to six times the amount in energy improvements. By providing grants and low interest finance that makes repayment costs lower than fuel bill saving, the UK would move closer to meeting the goal of using 80% less carbon by 2050.

I support local Greening campaigns like Greening Godalming.

Government must have the courage and determination to take such bold steps. Not only would our carbon emissions fall but the jobs created would be very welcome in our current economic state.

Despite my opponent Jeremy Hunt and the Tories backing Labour to vote through the deeply flawed Digital Economy Act this week we must not accept it as a ‘fait accompli’.

If elected on 6th May I will be pressing my Party and the others to urgently repeal the Digital Economy Act and to subject all the proposals to proper and rigorous Parliamentary scrutiny.

Why? Because:

- it’s a flawed piece of legislation which hadn’t been properly thought through or examined before it became law
- it was rushed through in the dying days of a failed administration after a general election had been called
- it seriously restricts people’s civil liberties (the opposite of the Lib Dems’ proposed Freedom Bill)
- the Government was too lazy to go into the details before legislating due to the lobbying of certain industries
- the Government was too lazy to pay attention to the impact on other businesses, which is remarkable at a time of economic crisis
- the law was supported, rather than opposed, by the Conservatives, who recognised it was flawed but passed it anyway – another example of the Labservatives

Mike Simpson

As the Conservatives look set to help Labour push the flawed Digital Economy Bill into law before the election, Mike Simpson, Lib Dem candidate for SW Surrey, questions his opponent in the election – the Conservative media spokesman.

Dear Mr Hunt

Digital Economy Bill: another Parliamentary scandal?

I am puzzled: why are you and the Conservatives working with the Government to get the Digital Economy Bill passed before the election?

It can’t be because consumers will have to pay an extra £300 million for internet security to avoid being disconnected or have their bandwidth throttled. Or because businesses could find their websites blocked through spurious copyright claims. Or because all of us will have to replace our analogue radios with digital radios by 2015. Or because the Bill will force universities, libraries, small businesses and others to shut down wifi hotspots. Or because photographers and other independent creators are up in arms as they could have their creative work stolen and published on the internet for commercial purposes.

Even if you don’t spend much time in SW Surrey, I hope you noticed that many complaints have been posted on your own blog, that there have been thousands of #debill tweets complaining about the Bill in the past month, that over 18,000 people have e-mailed MPs in the past 2 weeks, that hundreds of people have demonstrated outside Parliament and that technology companies are against the Bill, saying that it could disrupt the internet and warning that this type of legislation should not be passed in a rush.

Of course, there has been heavy lobbying by major media interests and unions, mainly based of an argument which cannot withstand any statistical or economic scrutiny. On one side the major record companies and the Labour candidate in SW Surrey are trying to take us back to the pre-internet era when they didn’t face so much competition. On another, major publishing interests are keen to make use of whatever material they can find on the Internet.

It seems to be Big Business vs consumers, artists and web-based small businesses. You may vaguely remember that there are a lot of the latter in SW Surrey, which is what has helped keep Farnham’s local shops open in spite of the current recession.

I think it is totally undemocratic to push this 24,000 word Bill through now, without the usual 80-90 hours of Parliamentary time it would normally deserve. I also think it is far more about protecting dinosaurs from consumers, artists and small businesses than about Freedom, creativity and the internet. If you and the Conservatives still insist on pushing this into law before the election, and if the people of SW Surrey elect me in your place, I will work to reverse it and to make sure that we have a Government which listens to the people, not corporate lobbying.

Mike Simpson
Lib Dem Prospective MP for SW Surrey
www.mikesimpson.org.uk
twitter.com/mikesimpsonuk

Mike Simpson discusses pressure for housing in Badshot Lea. The Tory controlled Waverley Council are considering doubling the size of the village!

Why is Badshot Lea being targeted by Tory-controlled Waverley Borough Council for major housing development which would double the size of the settlement?

In February I spent an afternoon with Badshot Lea Councillors, looking around the village and the neighbouring green spaces. I was shocked to read the Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment which suggests that the village might accommodate another 950 homes. The village clearly could not cope with such growth and the level of developer’s contributions would not be adequate to rectify major infrastructure problems in and around the village. In any case much of the land is unsuitable due to its frequent flooding.

Waverley Borough Council commissioned Baker Associates to conduct the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and Badshot Lea is the largest housing site identified by them, with one area alone being earmarked for up to 850 houses.

The refusal to agree to the proposed eco-settlement at Dunsfold will inevitably lead to huge pressures on other areas to take major housing development. I will be urging Waverley Council to ensure a fair and reasoned approach to the allocation of housing and that at least 25% of any new housing is affordable housing for local families. Once again Farnham is being pushed by Waverley Council to take the pressure off other areas, but if past experience is anything to go by, Farnham will not get the facilities and services it needs to cope.

Hunt is said to be taking an interest in the issue, but he really needs to lobby his fellow Conservatives and get them to see sense over this issue. I suspect that, with the General Election coming up, there might be a re-think, at least for the time being.

The Conservatives have been raising millions of pounds for their election campaign and they’ve been spending millions too! Remember the airbrushed giant posters of David Cameron’s head and then the scare story posters of the so called ‘death tax’? Well it doesn’t seem to have helped them – they are going into reverse in the polls.

People have wised up to politics over the Blair years. They want to vote for genuine people not slick advertising. And they want to know what their politicians stand for!

It’s hard to see what Cameron and his followers stand for.

Do they stand for the rich and powerful?
Do they stand for ‘families’ (what about people like me who have been single parents for many years?)
Do they stand for Thatcherite cuts to public services?
Or is it a sort of soft focus nice but tough image they are going for?

I honestly don’t know, but I think their instincts are the same as they ever were i.e. protect privilege and squeeze those least able to afford it; cut education and health whilst encouraging people to go private; talk green but support big business polluters’ interests; talk tough on the banks but do nothing to upset their friends in high places in the City; and most importantly of all – never agree to any real reform of our political system because that might ruin their chances of ruling the Country on their own.

If I’m wrong about these Tory instincts I’d love to hear what the Conservative Party DO stand for.

Why not email me your thoughts at info@mikesimpson.org.uk ?

Dan Eley

Many of you reading this may not know about the campaign to Help Dan Eley. He’s a guy from Godalming, who went to school at Frensham Heights. Diana Clift set up a Facebook Group (Help Dan)

Dan used to work with street children in South America and taught English at a school in Cali, Colombia. He had a terrible accident on 1st Jan 2010. He dived into a river in a remote area and broke vertebrae in his neck.

The great news is that Dan is apparently now strong enough to travel and the air ambulance is ready to bring him home to England early next week. However Diana says his progress is still unpredictable.

I have been in contact with his family and offered whatever support I can give. I’m sure that the love and care of his family and friends will be the biggest boost to his spirit.

Diana says, “Thank you all you wonderful people all over the world! Please keep your support, prayers and messages coming. Together we’ll help Dan and his family get though this.”

I doubt if Tony Blair’s performance ( and I use that word advisedly) at the Iraq Inquiry yesterday will change people’s minds about the Iraq war, but it might just raise a few more questions in the minds of the public about Mr Blair himself.

He could have expressed some regret for the loss of life of British soldiers or Iraqis. He could have regretted the two dodgy dossiers put together by his dodgy team and others. He could have regretted the boost to recruitment for terrorist groups resulting from the crusade that he and his buddy Mr Bush launched. But Mr Blair says he has no regrets. That blinkered zealot-like heartlessness was shocking, especially with grieving relatives sat just behind him.

Many of us who opposed the war predicted the consequences and did not believe Saddam had WMDs in 2001 to 2003 when the Bush/Cheney axis of evil were itching to start a war. Even the 45 minute claim (source: one dissident Iraqi) related to supposed battlefield weapons not WMDs that could threaten any other country. Logic told me at the time that if there was ANY chance that WMDs could have been fired at Israel for example, then Bush and Blair would never have attacked. There was absolutely no way they would have risked chemical weapons landing on Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Blair clearly lied about the WMDs. He knew that the intelligence was ‘patchy and sporadic’ but said the WMDs were ‘beyond doubt’. I believe he knew the 45 minute claim related to supposed battlefield weapons but claimed he did not! I don’t usually read the Mail but CLICK HERE for a great article from 2004.

Following the invasion, the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical, and biological programmes in 1991 and had no active programmes at the time of the invasion.

Please can everyone join the Facebook Group ‘Help Dan’ – he’s a guy from Godalming – as the Facebook Group says, ‘Daniel Eley, a wonderful young man who used to work with street children in South America and is currently teaching English at a school in Cali, Colombia, had a terrible accident on 1st Jan 2010. He dived into a river in a remote area and broke vertebrae in his neck.’ He needs our help. Click here to go to the Help Dan Facebook group
Dan’s family need financial help to pay for an air ambulance to get him home to the UK. Give to the appeal to raise funds by clicking here.

Gordon Brown is digging in to defend himself against the latest plot to oust him. He’s a stubborn fellow so I don’t expect him to resign. Result – certain electoral defeat for Labour.

The best thing people can do is prevent a landslide for Cameron and Co by voting for what many really believe in – which is common sense, reasoned and mature politics which you certainly get from Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and the Lib Dems.

If Cameron wins a big majority then we can expect the divisive and economically disastrous slash and burn policies of the 1980s to return to Britain (and in an even more extreme version). The rich and powerful will be protected whilst services for the disadvantaged will be savaged. If the Tories pursue their amateurish economic policies and cut government spending too soon, then we can expect a renewed vigour to the recession.

Let’s hope the electorate have long enough memories that they will not be fooled by Cameron’s (Blair-like) smooth charmer image and instead will give Vince Cable and the Lib Dems their trust. We need Vince’s measured, wise and mature approach – not the juvenile approach of the Cameroons.

Mike Simpson

Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt have just launched a bid to ditch Gordon Brown as Labour leader and PM weeks before a General Election. Astonishing! Although I have no time for either of them (remember Hoon’s role in the Iraq war) it’s got to be Labour’s only hope of preventing a resounding defeat for them.

Let’s hope all this does not take the spotlight off David Cameron’s economic naivety and ill-thought out tax plans. Gordon actually did rather well in Prime Minister’s Questions today – exposing Cameron’s amateurish policy-making in respect of the married couples allowance and his continued commitment to cutting inheritance tax for a few thousand of the richest people in the land.

Bishop’s Meadow in October 2009

I understand that a rival bid has been made to buy Bishop’s Meadow in Farnham. Alarm bells are ringing!

A speculator has bid close to the asking price so it is critical that we get the maximum possible level of pledges to the Bishop’s Meadow Trust as quickly as possible.

PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN.

We’ve made great progress in our goal of saving Bishop’s Meadow in Farnham. Thousands of pounds have already been pledged with some big backers behind the new ‘Bishop’s Meadow Trust’ that has been set up.

The Lib Dems have taken the lead in setting up the Bishop’s Meadow Trust but the Trust will be controlled by the whole community.

Anyone donating at least £1 will become a member of the Trust and will have a vote at meetings to elect or re-elect Trustees. Regardless of how much a person donates they will only have one vote each. The Trust has been set up in this way deliberately, so that it is truly controlled by the whole community and not by any clique or special interest group.

If you can help the campaign or pledge funds to the Trust you can email me at info@mikesimpson.org.uk

The Trustees will then contact you personally, as the Trust will be non-political in nature.

The Trust is a registered Company limited by guarantee
Company No. 07087967