Posts Tagged ‘SW Surrey’

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Jeremy Hunt tried to claim for a 1p phone call

The Conservative MP for South West Surrey won the award for the most penny-pinching expense claim, as all the national newspapers told us today. Jeremy Hunt, who last summer was estimated by the Spectator Magazine to be worth £4.1 million, tried to claim for a 1p mobile phone call.
And it wasn’t some technical error. The claim was actually hand written!
Like my mother would say, “Look after the pennies ….”

See the actual claim by clicking here

For the Spectator report estimating Jeremy’s wealth click here

Updated 2nd June 2009 10.15 hrs
Last Friday Jeremy Hunt MP held a public meeting to explain himself over his expenses.

In response to my questions Mr Hunt admitted that the Conservative Party Agent for the area has lived rent-free in his taxpayer funded ‘second home’ in Farnham.

Current Parliamentary rules say,

‘Claims cannot relate to party political activity of any sort, nor must any claim provide a benefit to a party political organisation’.

The 2006 rules said,

‘You must ensure that arrangements for your ACA (second home) claims are above reproach and that there can be no grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money. You must avoid any arrangement which may give rise to an accusation that you are, or someone close to you is obtaining immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds or that public money is being diverted for the benefit of a political organisation.’

Taxpayers are entitled to ask why we are paying for the Conservative Party’s professional agent to have free accommodation at taxpayers expense in Jeremy Hunt’s second home.

Jeremy Hunt said at the public meeting that he thought this was for just 7 months ‘after the election’ and that he had allowed her to use a room, but after I emailed him to ask him to explain how his agent was on the electoral roll up to September 2008, Mr Hunt changed his account of events.

He now says that she lived there for over 2 years after the election.

In contrast local residents interviewed by a reporter said that they ‘never see’ Jeremy Hunt at the address.

Jeremy Hunt says that his Hammersmith address is his main home. He has owned this property from October 1997.

In the interests of genuine ‘transparency’ I call on Jeremy Hunt to explain himself fully. Perhaps he might explain to his electorate why he thought it was OK to have his Political Agent live at his taxpayer-funded ‘second home’. We await with much interest his attempt to justify this sorry state of affairs.