Our five Prospective Parliamentary Candidates recently visited The Journal offices to tell us a little more about themselves, their policies and values, for a special video that we have made, which can be viewed at: https://goo.gl/vIfQMd For those of you without web access, or who are not social media savvy, the candidates explain, in their own words, what they would do for our area, should they be elected on 8th June. If you would like to hear them in person, there will be a hustings event at Midsomer Norton Town Hall this Thursday, 1st June at 6.55 p.m. More information can also be found at: www.bathnes.gov.uk/elections
Sally Calverley, Green Party
“Only the Green Party takes climate change seriously. Our policies are about working together to tackle this challenge, build a fairer future and share what we have more fairly.
“In North East Somerset, our priorities are:
“A say on the Brexit deal and on your future. If the deal isn’t good enough, we’ll be able to say “No!” and stay in the EU.
“Local jobs and local homes for local people. We all want to earn a living and have pride in what we do. And homes we can afford and that are what local people (not developers!) want.
“A modern, reliable travel network. Getting to work, school or hospital should be easy and cheap. The Green Party are about finding better answers to old problems.
“Fight for money to be spent on services for rural areas. Rural towns deserve the same level of services as Bath. Fast broadband is not a luxury!
“Give a hand to young people starting out in life. Fairer rents and wages as well as free education.
“Guarantee free, easy to access NHS and social care. If you are sick or caring for someone who is, you shouldn’t have to worry about how to pay for it. Or how to get there.
“The Green Party will charge family firms less tax than big corporates.
“Investment in new technologies and clean energy. We reject fracking completely and will fight to stop it. Instead, we’ll invest in better, greener solutions to our energy needs that provide new, permanent jobs.
“We stand for confident, caring, modern Britain and a fairer future. A strong Britain that is a leader in Europe and the world.
We can – and will – build a fairer future.”
Shaun Hughes, Independent
Shaun has lived in Midsomer Norton for the past 23 years where he has a successful business within the Military and Aerospace Electronics Industry.
He says: “The Conservatives tell us this is all about Brexit, and that’s clearly not true, and now that we’ve seen their manifesto, we can see the danger of a large Tory majority, with issues ranging from dementia tax to fox hunting.
“Brexit is a major challenge for our nation during the coming years, and I fully support Theresa May’s strategy, however, let’s not ignore the serious local issues we need to tackle, increasing crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour, declining high streets, serious cuts to our Police and Health Services.
“There is also a constant pressure for the building of new housing without the infrastructure to support it. Already our surgeries, hospitals and police officers are stretched to the limit; we need to have a clear, coordinated plan to invest in our existing community.”
“Our current MP seems to align himself more with Nigel Farage than the UK Government, a supporter of UKIP and happy to push us out of Europe at any cost. However, this is the real world where job losses are not just acceptable collateral and increases in the cost of food, fuel and heating impact on peoples’ lives.
“I believe that our MP should be part of our community, not watching from the side-lines. Our MP should have a hands-on understanding of the issues we face on a daily basis.
“This is a wonderful place to live, and we need someone in Westminster fighting to protect it and push to improve the services that we rely on. My priority is to put the needs of North East Somerset first.”
Robin Moss, Labour
Robin lives in Radstock and works in Keynsham for a Youth and Community Trust, providing activities and services for young people. He is active in his local community, chair of a partnership that is responsible for £1M of Lottery money, and an independent chair of the local Special Needs board. He is Councillor and leader of the B&NES Labour group, as well as a member of the local Fostering panel.
“Locally, this is a contest between a Conservative MP who wants to reduce our legal rights and protections at work, as consumers or in our environment and myself; as a Labour candidate, who believes that the law should be there for all of us, not just in the interests of the wealthy few.”
“I believe that our future in the UK is as a high value, high skill, high wage economy for the benefit of all. This has to include investment in our public services, such as education and transport, so we have the infrastructure to support business and encourage growth.”
“We also have a choice around taxation. We can either have tax cuts, or we can have investment in public services; we cannot have both. Labour’s plans around taxation are fair, based around ability to pay, but also a determination to make sure we all pay our way. For too long, large corporations and the very wealthy have ‘avoided’ their social responsibility.”
“The reason this election has been called is that the Conservative Government’s Brexit discussions with the EU are spiralling out of control, threatening the security and living standards of all of us. The Brexit vote was to Leave, but the British people must have a say in what the final settlement looks like.”
“This election gives a clear choice between a Labour candidate for the many, or a Conservative candidate for the few.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative
This election revolves around two things. First, we need a Government that can negotiate Brexit successfully.
The decision to leave has been made, but details are yet to be settled. It is clear that “no deal is better than a bad deal”; trading on a World Trade Organisation basis as we do with most countries would work well, giving us the majority of the advantages of a free trade deal. What we must avoid, is being tied in by EU rules without being a member. There can be no place for the European Court of Justice, the regulations attached to the single market or membership of the Customs Union, which would prevent us from doing deals with the rest of the world.
As for money, there is no legal basis for the claims being made by the European Commission. We may want to remain part of specific programmes, but as a third country and as a volunteer, not a conscript. The best deal will be achieved by being strong when necessary and generous where possible.
Of the candidates for Prime Minister, Mrs May has the right qualities to succeed.
The second great matter of this election is that the parties offer very different prescriptions for the nation. No longer can it be said that the two main parties are much the same; when the Shadow Chancellor quotes Marx favourably, we know there is a real choice. The Labour Party has reverted to red in tooth and claw socialism which has failed all over the world. Its economic policy is to spend, its defence policy to surrender, and its EU policy to kowtow. Jeremy Corbyn holds his beliefs honestly, but in practice, they would be catastrophic. Conservatives stand for prudent economics, strong defence and individual liberty, a winning combination.
Manda Rigby, Liberal Democrat
I am running for parliament because, like many of you, I am very worried about what the future holds for our country.
I am worried that the current government is trying to scare the British people into supporting what it calls ‘strong and stable’ leadership, when it is anything but. Real strength does not mean caving in as soon as you encounter opposition, as the Tories have done repeatedly. Brittleness is not strength, and is not what is needed for the upcoming Brexit negotiations. We deserve better.
I am worried that the Tories want a dementia tax that will force anyone unlucky enough to need extended social care to sell their home, but at the same time cannot be honest with the British people when they are forced into an embarrassing U-turn.
I am worried that our Government claims to be delivering economic success, despite the fact that economic growth figures are being downgraded.
I am worried that the previous incumbent MP, Mr Rees-Mogg, has called for more Eton-educated MPs in Parliament, but supports cuts to state education, reintroducing grammar schools, and an end to free school lunches for children.
I want to return to the quintessential British values of openness and tolerance.
I want to return to an NHS that thrives, not just survives. This will cost a little more in taxes, which will be ring-fenced and targeted to where it is more needed.
I want the chance to fight for you, for your children, and for the values we all cherish.
North East Somerset deserves an MP who will hold the Tory Government to account as an effective opposition. If you feel as I do that change is needed, please lend me your vote.