Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Democrats’

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

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 ?

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.

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.

The Sun newspaper recently came out in support of the Conservatives. Many national newspapers have been questioning the Conservative Party’s relationship with News International, the owners of The Sun.

Why? Take a look at my letter to Jeremy Hunt, the Tory’s Shadow Media Secretary by clicking here.

Speaking at the hustings in Farnham

There is a tragedy unfolding in the current recession. It is the prospect of a lost generation of young people, unable to secure University places and unable to find work. Most politicians are not talking about it. After all in recent elections only a small proportion of people under 25 years old have voted, so there may not be many votes in taking up their cause.

What may shock you is that nationwide 40% of unemployment is accounted for by young people aged 16-24 years. If current trends continue as many as 1 in 4 young people could be out of work by the end of the year.

For all those people of older generations who are now considering voting in a new Tory government I would ask you to cast your minds back to 1979, the last time there was a change in government to the Tories. Mass unemployment amongst young people was one consequence of the policies that followed, with a lifelong impact on vast numbers. I hope that we do not see such a scenario again.

I have worked with young people almost all my working life and my organisation works to a mission statement that aims to ‘Empower young people to fulfil their God-given potential’. Whether or not people have our faith-based ethos everyone can surely agree that our society is enriched by unlocking the potential of the young, rather than letting them languish on benefits.

I welcome the policy proposals of Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, launched last week. He calls it a ‘Lifeboat for the lost generation’. It is a set of crisis management measures funded by reversing the cut in VAT from the end of this month. It includes some great ideas such as paid internships for young people, fully-funded adult apprenticeships for those over 18 years, more university and college places and removing a lot of the crazy rules that stop young people on Job Seekers Allowance from bettering themselves.

The enthusiasm, passion, idealism, talents and inventiveness of youth are greatly needed in an ever more competitive world economic environment. I fear that the economic policies of the Conservative Party would not release that potential, but instead could see our country return to the dark era of the early 1980s. That is one reason why I am passionate about fighting to win this constituency come the General Election.

Mike Simpson
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for South West Surrey

What goes through your mind as you watch the television News these days? Bewilderment at the sums of money we, as taxpayers, have put into the Banks to save them? Anger at the politicians and so called ‘financial experts’ who landed us in this mess? Or perhaps it’s a feeling of resignation because you look at politicians and think ‘they’re all as bad as each other’.

The last year has shown beyond doubt that those in power who claimed all was well, were either deluded or deceitful. We have all been let down. Is it possible to change the way our country is run? We certainly need to!

We have had 12 years of ‘New Labour’, ending in arrogance, incompetence, sleaze and in-fighting. Before that we had 18 years of the Conservatives ending in arrogance, incompetence, sleaze and in-fighting. Is there a different way? I believe there is. In simple terms I believe the key is not to give so much power to so few people.

The top bankers who messed up so catastrophically, only did so much damage because of the almost unlimited power they had. Politicians tend to make their worst decisions when they have too much power and don’t need to consult or reflect on consequences. The problem is that the political class and the elites who run our government, banks and economy, don’t want to give up any of their power or privilege and all the accompanying perks. We need to challenge that power and privilege which has failed so spectacularly.

We also need to dramatically reduce the extent of government interference in our lives and roll back the ‘big brother’ state. We must give people much more power in their communities, particularly over public services, schools and local health services.

In Parliament we must have a more considered and honest approach rather than the same old political dog fight. There are some huge issues to deal with.

Decisions about what to do about public and private sector pension funds need political parties to work together so that none tries to gain a temporary electoral advantage. The same is true in respect of the hard choices to make about climate change and government debt.

Please contact me if you would like to share in my campaign.

Click here for Mike’s main website

Read more about Mike Simpson

Mike Simpson Liberal Democrat candidate for South West Surrey in the May 2010 General Election

As the war in Afghanistan takes a heavy toll of young British lives there have rightly been demands that we must provide the best possible equipment for our troops. It is also vital that those who return injured both physically and mentally are properly cared for. A friend told me of the superb work of Major Phil Packer – a disabled officer in the Royal Military Police. He spoke at Haslemere Hall recently. His fundraising campaigns have raised huge sums for Help for Heroes. Such charity work is inspirational. For Phil’s website click here

Sadly the care offered by the NHS to military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder is not so inspirational according to the head of the charity Combat Stress. Commodore Toby Elliott says his charity has 9,000 registered patients but the government provides for less than half of them. He says that NHS mental health pilot schemes are inadequate and may end up providing a patchy service. 300 former service personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are being treated by the charity, which looks after veterans with psychological injuries. See the Combat Stress website by clicking here

Whatever we may think of the Afghan war and the rather muddled war aims set by the powers that be, our troops are putting their lives on the line there. We have an absolute duty to provide high quality care and support for those who return disabled, injured or traumatised. Whilst the work of many hard working charities is to be applauded, it must be the responsibility of our government to ensure that these young men and women receive the best possible treatment.

Mike Simpson
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for South West Surrey
Click here for www.mikesimpson.org.uk