Archive for the ‘Liberal Democrats’ Category

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On 11th April I called for the Digital Economy Act to be repealed.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