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Archive for National Politics

A Grand Coalition?

red blue

Colchester Lib Dem Nick Barlow writes on his blog here about how, if the SNP are excluded from power, we may end up with a Grand Coalition of Conservatives and Labour:


…The interesting thing about Britain is that the structure of competition has blown wide open since 2010, with the old two-party structure seemingly gone. We’re in a position where a new – and possibly much more open – structure is being formed, and this election will be crucial in that process. However, while we may get an open structure, it will also be a very skewed one if one party remains locked out of power because all the potential partners for them won’t come to any agreement with them. That doesn’t have much effect when it’s a small fringe party with a handful of seats but when it’s a party with a significant number of seats it has a major effect on government formation. You can ignore them all you want, but they can still vote in Parliament.

As examples, consider what’s happened in Sweden and Germany recently. Both have relatively large parties that are excluded from being part of government formations (the Sweden Democrats on the right in Sweden, and Die Linke on the left in Germany), but taking them out of the equation makes it very hard for traditional groupings of parties to form a majority. In Sweden, neither left nor right could get a majority, and Germany had to have a CDU-SPD grand coalition because nothing else would form a workable majority.

Beyond the whole issue of telling the people of Scotland that their votes don’t count if they cast them for an unapproved party, excluding the SNP from any say in power runs the risk of leaving no workable coalitions except for a grand coalition between Labour and the Tories. I still think it would take us two inconclusive elections to get the point where one could be formed, but we’re going to get to a point where that’s the only logical solution left on the table. Well, we could go for electoral reform and an entirely new system that reflected the people’s views much better than the current one, but that would be really crazy talk.

We had a Tory- Labour coalition on Rochford District Coucnil some years ago…

Mike Pitt On the NHS

A Downhall and Rawreth resident (not one of our team) asked Mike Pitt “Will you keep the NHS free at the point of use?” – and received this response:

mike pitt rosette

Yes. I will be alongside my Liberal Democrat colleagues in fighting to keep NHS services free at the point of use.
We have made the NHS one of our priorities at this election: we are committed to increasing the funding by £8billion by the end of the parliament, and are the only party to have provided a clear and costed plan for this funding. I am pleased some of the others agree it is needed now.
If you would like more detail I am happy to do so, but I thought a short answer to a short question would be appreciated.
Thanks for getting in touch,

Riding Roughshod Over Some Else’s Property….

houses2The Conservative Party’s proposal to allow the sell-off of housing association homes has been criticised from the left – and from the right.

Lib Dem Nick Barlow writes on his blog:

Back in 2010, the Tories made a big play of how they would transform the country through localism and the Big Society. Localism would free communities from the dead hand of Whitehall controlling everything, while the Big Society would encourage a new era of civic involvement, getting people involved in community organisations, allowing them to really make a difference.

If the first leaks from their 2015 manifesto are anything to go by, both those ideas have been thrown into the bin, which has then been set on fire and the ashes scattered to the four winds to prevent any prospect of them ever coming back together again. Community-based organisations are to be ripped apart by Government policy, while councils will have to follow diktats from the centre in order to raise the money to fund this dismemberment.
———-
Housing associations are private non-profit organisations, generally run by members of the community they’re based in and providing a valuable service in providing social housing. The proposed Tory policy will declare them to be nothing more than another arm of the state, in order to compel them to sell off their housing at below the market rate. Yes, because we’re not suffering enough problems in the housing market thanks to forcing councils to sell their stock off cheaply, they’ll go on to compound the error by doing the same to housing associations. Remember, these aren’t government-owned organisations, and yet the Tories – the usual champions of property rights – seem to see no problem in riding roughshod over someone else’s in pursuit of their policy.

(Of course, this policy won’t apply to other private landlords, and tenants in the private rented sector won’t get any right to buy their homes no matter how long they’ve lived there. Perhaps if Housing Associations were allowed to donate to the Tories, they’d have been exempted from this policy too?)

Even the most barking policy to sell assets off at below market price has a cost, and in order to fund this, they’ve decided to show how much they’ve decided localism was a bad idea by committing to a true policy of anti-localism…..

Meanwhile in the Daily Telegraph, Julia Hartley-Brewer describes the idea as “dumb, economically illiterate and – even worse – morally wrong.”

…by helping those 1.3 million lucky souls in housing association homes, Mr Cameron won’t do anything to help the many more unlucky ones who aren’t and, indeed, will actually make life that little bit harder for everyone else who wants to share in his property-owning dream.

Selling off social housing at a discount is great for those individual families who benefit, but are these really the families that are most in need of the state’s help?

Why should people who have already enjoyed the benefits of secure tenancies in affordable social housing now be granted extra help worth up to £102,000 (and, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of pounds more when they later sell their property) while millions of others get absolutely nothing?
———
First of all, many of those 1.3 million tenants – the poorest – won’t be in any position to get a mortgage to buy their home, regardless of the generous discounts, while those who are able to take advantage of the scheme are unlikely to be those in the direst need.

Indeed, there are many people living in housing association homes who are not in any need at all and are more than capable of renting in the private sector or buying their own home but are understandably reluctant to relinquish a home with a subsidised rent.
———
This, then, is a policy which (almost by definition) will help people who are in a better position to help themselves than many others.

It’s all very well rewarding hard work but what about all the many millions of other families who also work hard on low incomes but who are stuck paying sky-high private sector rents? What about their dreams of home ownership?

“Babies Will Become Heathier”

sun

 

As the coalition government brings in new rules allowing shared parental leave, and the Lib Dems propose extensions on that, the Daily Mail outlines the health benefits:

How paid parental leave helps your baby: Children with a stay-at-home parent are less likely to develop asthma and hearing problems … and the health benefits last for SEVEN years

  • A baby is more likely to become a healthy child with paid parental leave
  • If a parent stays at home with paid leave for baby’s first months, the child is less likely to develop health issues, including asthma and hearing problems
  • A seven year study followed the health of more than a thousand babies
  • Paid leave has the greatest impact on health of babies in families with a lower socio-economic status
  • Parents are likely to stay at home and breastfeed their baby for longer
  • Government-funded leave’s more beneficial than workplace-funded leave

 

The Main Lib Dem Policies

Mark Pack writes:

The full set of Liberal Democrat policies for the 2015 general election will appear in the party’s manifesto, which is due to be published shortly. However, the front page of the manifesto, setting out the top Lib Dem policy priorities, has already been released….

policiesClick on the image to enlarge it.

Rayleigh And Wickford Parliamentary Election- Mike Pitt

mike pitt  crop

 

We have a really good candidate. His name is Mike Pitt and he is definitely worth voting for.

Mike has a very strong background in education and business. After attending a comprehensive school, Mike went on to Cambridge University where he obtained a degree in mathematics. After gaining business experience he re-trained in education and now teaches maths –  in a comprehensive school.  He currently lives in Cambridge and is also a Cambridge City councillor. (Incidentally he wasn’t impressed about how Rochford run their cabinet system when we explained it to him).

He’s somebody who’s very bright, hardworking and with a social conscience. He’s easy to chat to, understands how councils work and how to improve them.

Over the last five years the coalition has been clearing up the financial mess left by the last Labour government. (Remember the note left by the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury - “There’s no money left”). Having a stable coalition was crucial, because it helped the government to keep borrowing costs low – maybe the lowest interest rates ever .  Now we can concentrate more on maintaining and improving services. To quote our candidate:

Like most of us I am proud of the NHS, and acknowledge its pressures. Under Liberal Democrat spending plans Health Service funding will be at least £8bn higher per year in real terms by 2020. The Liberal Democrats are the only political party to set out a credible road map for how we will safeguard the NHS over the next parliament. We can’t however do this without finishing the job of deficit reduction: not cutting services for the sake of it but ensuring a fair share of the load being met by a contribution from the richest in society through targeted tax changes. In particular we will continue progress made on tax avoidance and target £6billion more by 2017/18.

mike and chris

 

 

7 Illegal Things NOT To Do In An Election

More from the same guy tomorrow, but about something totally different – pedestrian crossings….

Linda Kendall To Stand For Parliament As An Independent

We’ve seen on Facebook that Linda Kendall is planning to stand for parliament in Rayleigh and Wickford Constituency as an independent. That certainly makes things more interesting!

It’s difficult to predict how she will do. Constituencies are big areas to cover when you are campaigning.

It will be seen as a blow to UKIP – Linda was a council candidate for them 2 years ago.

The Cat Manifesto

Felix Black small

Welsh Lib Dem Peter Black (no relation) writes here about the charity Cat Protection’s 10 point manifesto for the General Election. it includes:

– Compulsory microchipping of owned cats
– A national database of cats entering the UK legally so those entering illegally without a rabies vaccination can be identified without delay
– Updating the DangerousDogs Act to allow prosecution of owners whose dogs attack cats
– Inclusion of animal welfare in the National Curriculum
– Clear labelling of flowers, plants and household products that are toxic to cats
– Outright ban on snares
– Stricter regulation on the ownership of air guns and crossbows

Red and Green – Clashing Colours

Over the border in Southend West, things seem to be turning unfriendly between Labour and the Green Party.

To find out more, read the latest from Labour parliamentary candidate Julian Ware-Lane here.

The Coalition’s Planned Road Improvements

roads1

The Gov.uk has an interactive map of the coalition’s proposed road improvements – you can find it here.

The two projects closest to us are:

roads2

and

roads3

The M25 is scheduled to be 4 lanes throughout by the end of this year….

Essex Street Lights Switch-off To Be Raised In Commons

street-lights-1
The decision by Essex County Council to switch-off street lights at midnight is to be raised in the House of Commons this morning by Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell.
Liberal Democrat Sir Bob has had his name drawn for this morning’s Questions to the Secretary of State for Transport – and he has said that he will be asking about the road safety consequences for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians because of the black-out.
Sir Bob – who is a former Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Road Safety Group – has tried to get Essex County Council to alter its policy, but the Council has refused to do so.

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Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
Ron Oatham Ron Oatham Bruce Smart Bruce Smart Chris Stanley Chris Stanley
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Latest Comments

  • Chris Black: Oz, yes other majority parties can definitely behave differently. I’ve seen three majority groups...
  • John Mason: This is a significant watershed not just for Rayleigh, Sweyne Park Ward, but for the whole of Rochford...
  • Oz the Positive: Would any other majority party behave any differently ?
  • Chris Black: Geoff , I spoke to County Highways yesterday, the junction has been inspected, and its on the list to be...
  • Christine Paine: I would like to wish all the non Tory candidates the very best of luck in the election. If they take...
  • Christine Paine: Janet, I saw the queue of traffic Saturday and decided to go London Road way. London Road/Crown Hill...
  • David Montgomery: The car that Clive is sitting in in the photo above has a Buckler DD2 chassis.
  • Janet Warner: AND AGAIN! On Saturday it took me the best part of half an hour to get from the Carpenters Arms...
  • Ruth Keetch: I love Rayleigh Mount…jus t taken my 7 yr old son there and told him that this “used to be...
  • Oz the Positive: A little bit of light relief, how about from the High Street down Crown Hill to Rayleigh...
  • admin: Hi Jim, yes I saw that and was going to link to it today. Will do so later on after Ron and I done our...
  • Jim Cripps: The Echo has been running a piece on the recent ( recurring ) local Highway problems for the last week or...
  • admin: Good point Geoff, as you know we reported it in February, I will make a phone call on Monday…
  • Geoff: If there is any paint left any chance of marking the junction at Harbets Way/ Downhall Park Way ?, I will send...
  • Oz the Positive: Folks, as we all just can’t get enough of the election this is a useful site ( from the BBC )...
  • Ron Oatham: The email detailing the changes went to Rawreth Parish council, not Rayleigh Town Council and to Stephen...
  • Ron Oatham: I note the bit about “maximisi ng the efficient use of brownfield opportunities&# 8221; Is that why...
  • Jim Cripps: This seems at odds with the Royal Town Planning Institute’ ;s rose coloured view in the item listed...
  • Chris Black: Oz, I’m grateful for your concern, but things are OK. Besides – and this shows that some...
  • Oz the Caring...: Chris, I can only echo James’s post @ 13. I have not met anybody that does not value the work...
  • Christine Paine: If they are among the best I hate to think what he worst are like
  • Jim Cripps: A truly stunning manipulation of the facts – you have to admire their ability to talk it up and get...
  • James Newport: Chris, you’re an excellent councillor and have my upmost respect, but seriously save your money...
  • James Newport: It’s not April fools is it?
  • admin: :)
  • Steve Tellis: I would certainly agree that Kingley Wood and adjacent parkland is a beautiful open leisure area. There...
  • Jim Cripps: Admin – I assure you it has’nt been forgotten , we have four teams of three people , each...
  • John Mason: RAG have a large team of residents working on the four main reasons for refusal just in case that The...
  • Chris Black: It’s important that we don’t forget about this appeal just because there’s an election...
  • Chris Black: Christine, I’m not sure how one defines ‘serious& #8217; here. Certainly Mike is capable of...

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500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

Reporting A Problem

If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

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To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

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“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

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