Liberal Party Policy
Thirsk and Malton Election: May 27th 2010
The policies laid out below are those which I would campaign for if elected as your MP. They are 90% in agreement with the Liberal Party Nationally, ‘That's why I'm a Liberal.' The Liberal Party has no party whip.
I am not told what to think believe or stand for, I will never vote against my conscience and the Liberal Party would never expect me to. For those areas not covered please view the national site or contact me (buttons on the left)
We were conned by the bankers. They were eventually persuaded/forced to apologise. We, the public, paid for this abuse.
We were conned by the MPs. They were eventually persuaded/forced to apologise. We, the public, paid for the abuse.
We are now being conned again.
The main political parties do not tell the public where the services cuts will come; the cuts 'not now' of the Labour Party, 'cuts now' of the Conservatives and the 'savage cuts' of the Liberal Democrats.
This is underlined by the Institute of Fiscal Studies who said "None of the parties had made it clear where the public spending cuts would fall"; and "The Conservatives were planning the biggest squeeze on public spending since World War II".
The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates that:
Just like the bankers deception and then the MPs, there are hints of the cuts, but not a clear vision.
It may be possible in the future, just like the bankers and MPs, to persuade/force them to apologise. The public will still pay for the abuse. The Liberals would make no cuts. Instead of cuts Liberals would:
Before the introduction of the minimum wage businesses throughout Britain said "The minimum wage will put hundreds of thousands of people on the dole."
It didn't. What it did do was to reduce the abuse of people working for £1 per hour and in some cases even less. Derisory wages meant that people had to claim benefits. As a result the state was supporting people so that they could provide cheap labour for employers. If a company cannot exist without abusing its workers then it shouldn't be in business.
The minimum wage has been a success. However, it is still a 'minimal' wage. It is not possible to live on this level of pay. Workers still need to claim benefits. All employees must be paid at least at a rate that is liveable. This would need to be in excess of £10 per hour.
Before long this should feed its way through the system. As a result the need for benefits will reduce. This in turn will help to keep taxes down. Above all a living wage will give the worker both dignity and choice.
Those in business, who oppose this, need to think of another area of abuse. If an item of clothing is for sale at only £1, the logic indicates that someone must have been abused to produce this item for sale at such a low price. Exporting British manufacturing jobs to low wage economies are wrong for Britain, wrong for British firms and wrong for British workers. Low wages are wrong for the overseas workers. Labour promised an 'Ethical Foreign Policy'. Imports must be scrutinised more carefully. In the words of Abraham Lincoln "Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong".
The minimum wage must be lifted for all adults to the 'living wage' immediately. It is morally right and therefore must be politically right as well.
The state pension is a good example of the glossy promises not fitting the facts. The average European state pension is 60% of average earnings; in Britain it is 30%. Tony Blair ‘solemnly promised' to restore the link broken by Mrs. Thatcher. That promise was smashed. Liberal Democrats say they will restore the earnings link. This does not increase the pension. It freezes it at half what is needed.
In opposition Labour opposed means testing. In government they extended means testing for pensioners. A ‘living pension' is a ‘right', not something to beg for. The Labour candidate claims to be the only candidate to support the Winter Fuel Payment. Promising £250 sounds good until the loss of Tony Blair's ‘solemnly promised' £5,000 per year is compared. Do you trust him?
The Liberal Democrats would freeze the state pension but those between 60 and 65 would lose the £250 winter fuel allowance. So instead of re-instating the £5,000 shortfall they are making a cut of £250. No mention of this among the glossy promises. Do you trust them?
The Conservatives set in motion the halving of the state pension. Now they say nothing about increasing the pension. The Conservative candidate says ‘I will help the elderly'. Do you trust her?
The whole concept of the National Health Service was drawn up by a Liberal. It was a wholly public and paid for service, free at the point of delivery. Slowly, charging has crept in for prescriptions, eye tests and dentists. Through PFI and paying the private sector to do the 'simple operations', privatisation has more than begun.
The next stage in the private direction is giving NHS Trusts the right, in effect, to opt out of the NHS. Liberals would halt and reverse any creeping privatisation.
Abolish the Strategic Health Authorities – they are not needed.
Health Authorities should be brought under the democratic control of Local Councils.
This would enable a greater co-operation between health, social services and housing.
Protect the terms and conditions of all employees.
TRAINING DOCTORS, NURSES AND DENTISTS
Britain must train all the medical people we need. In 2003 Britain recruited 60 nurses from Malawi. This was as many nurses that Malawi had trained in a year. It is an International disgrace that a wealthy country should recruit a whole years trained nurses from one of the poorest countries in the world.
The other side of the coin is that people medically trained in Britain must work for the NHS for an agreed period of time. Beyond that salaries should be sufficient to retain them.
No more production for productions sake.
No more designing things not to last – 'planned obsolescence'.
Britain must come off the opium of growth.
We need to look at what is needed.
We must produce what we need using as little as possible of finite resources: metals and of course fossil fuels.
So as to assist in the above Britain must maximise re-use and repair. Then everything must be recycled. The ultimate aim for waste must be to reduce it to zero.
Liberals were the first to highlight the problems of acid rain and climate change. We call for the economical use of energy in transport, power generation, and buildings including domestic homes.
There must be a massive investment into renewable energy; thermal, solar, wind, tidal, ocean currents, heat pumps etc.
-this will create jobs and manufacturing as well as reducing the use of fossil fuels.
Liberals believe that large scale electricity and gas production and their distribution must be under democratic control. They are too important for profit making and competition. These vital ingredients of our society must be part of a co-ordinated Energy Policy.
There must be a review of the British finite resources. These must be viewed as part of Britain's 'capital'.
FOOD AND FARMING
There is a massive link between the way and where our food is produced, used and wasted on one hand, and the environment. Importing out of season fruit and vegetables by aircraft and then throwing a large fraction away is wrong for a whole raft of environmental reasons:
Observing the 'Law of return' (recycling food to feed pigs and make compost) is vital to producing healthy food, saving money and reducing damage to the environment.
There is not the space here to expand on the GM debate www.gmFreeRyedale.org.uk. However the public have said a loud and clear ‘No to GM'. It will NOT bring more profit to farmers. Risk to the environment and humans are the two main environmental reasons why Britain must not grow GM crops.
Education should be a lifelong process – not something that is done to children'. It must stop being a series of hoops to jump through and hurdles to clear.
The vast majority of the present high earners, cabinet ministers and others with their hands on the levers of power all had free university education and student grants. At that time taxes were used to pay for their university education, Now they want to keep income tax down for themselves and make the students pay. A full-blown case of 'I'm all right Jack'.
Labour and Conservatives are happy with this philosophy. The Liberal Democrats are not happy, but are phasing out the Loans over 6 years. Scrapping Student Loans and Top-up Fees right away would not cost a penny. It may cost a small amount of money in 4 years time when the students started to pay back. Do the Liberal Democrats believe we will be in a recession in 4 years time?
Education must not depend on the ability to pay.
There is a ridiculous amount of teachers' time and effort spent on SATS and Offsted inspections. The National Curriculum should be replaced by a far less proscriptive framework upon which Local Authorities and individual schools could build, to suit the needs of their pupils
Children who have 'special needs' have traditionally been put into Special Schools. The modern trend is to move pupils into mainstream education. In many cases this is the best route, in others it is not. The best route for each individual pupil must be chosen and the funding to go with it. Above all the authorities must listen to parents.
Schools must stay in the public sector. The Conservative policy of parents setting up their own school has one massive problem. Money to build these 'free schools' would come from the other surrounding schools. The new schools would thus benefit at the cost of others. This would widen the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Opposite to what is needed.
Public schools have, like medicine, no relevence to most people. Public schools must be made redundant by raising the level of the State Schools; education at a high standard for all, not just the very well off. Liberals are totally opposed to money buying better education.
Just Like other public services there should be no cuts in education. Unless we invest in our people we will not compete in the modern world.
So what are the potential solutions to the above problems? Tony Blair and Labour have done nothing since to alleviate the bullying by the supermarkets. One simple and logical answer is to put in place a guaranteed farmgate price.
Opponents of this approach say; how would it be decided? How would it be phased? It is against the 'Free Market'. These are exactly the arguments used against the ‘minimum wage'. They claimed that the minimum wage would put hundreds of thousands on the dole queue. It didn't.
A guaranteed farmgate price would be agreed between farmers and the government each year. If farmers were so inefficient that they couldn't produce for this price, they would at least know where they were. It would stop the bullying by supermarkets. It would stop the ‘armlock'.
The other parties support an ombudsman. An ombudsman would not make paying less than the cost of production illegal. A guaranteed farmgate price would make it illegal. Supermarkets are unlikely to break the law.
Family farms should be able to make a reasonable income. They should not be making their living by an increase in the value of their farm. One of the present problems is that small farms disappear. The farmhouse is sold with a ‘paddock'. The majority of the land is then sold to a larger farm. In the pub trade planning permission is needed to convert a pub into a domestic house. Two similar laws are needed for farming:
These policies would keep smaller and family farms in existence. Secondly, the bottom rungs of the ladder would remain for people to enter farming.
These ideas need to be campaigned for. If they are not achieved farming will continue in the relentless move from family farming to agribusiness.
Talking of agribusiness, one of the biggest abuses is the UK subsidy imbalance. The Common Agricultural Policy was designed to support farmers, keep the price of food down and help the environment. It has become support for a massive bureaucracy and agribusiness. The support would be far better put into supporting a guaranteed farmgate price. Last time round this produced food mountains; maybe not a problem with increasing world population. So just 'cap the CAP' so that Small and Family Farms are supported up to a limit of say £20,000 (discuss). The present uncapped system gives the following
This money would be better used to increase the money the less well off have for food.
Britain lacks a co-ordinated transport system. Such a system should provide environmentally friendly links. Liberal policy would produce a democratically controlled integrated system. Local bus services must link with trains so that the timetables mesh together. Equally the 'need to travel' should be reduced.
Home working should be encouraged.
Out of town retail and leisure facilities must be discouraged.
Increased cycle track provision.
Liberals opposed deregulation of bus services. Deregulation has resulted in a loss of evening and Sunday services.
All public transport must be wheelchair, bicycle and shopping friendly.
Liberals opposed the privatisation of the railways. They were right. Railways must be publically owned as a national network
Liberals believe that rail fares should be pegged at half the cost of running a small car.
A large proportion of freight must be transferred from road to rail.
A nationwide introduction of the Automatic Train Protection system (ATP).
Liberals do not believe Britain should have more major road building. The other side of the coin is that Public Transport must be comfortable, secure, reliable and very competitively priced. This combined with a massive reduction of freight on the roads will lead to a reduction in road traffic. The good Public Transport and the reduction in freight must happen first.
It is ridiculous that individuals should be paying ….... At present an aircraft full of people collects vastly more tax than the same aircraft flying nearly empty. This is the exact opposite of what is needed. The logic is to tax aircraft fuel in the same way as motor fuel is taxed.
There is a strong case for a new generation of air ships. Yes, they would be much slower but the fuel use would be much reduced.
SCRAP TRIDENT AND BAN ALL ARMS SALES
Trident was a weapon designed to join in a war alongside the USA and USSR in the mutual destruction of the planet. The US and Russia are now negotiating to reduce their nuclear arsenals. On that logic why doesn't Britain get rid of Trident?
The other argument for nuclear weapons is that having nuclear weapons stops the other countries from having them. While Britain has had nuclear weapons the nuclear club has been joined by China, India, Pakistan and Israel. This policy simply hasn't worked.
The scrapping of Trident would save £2billion per year. Not replacing it would save a further £100billion compared with Tory and Labour updating costs. It would also save £billions compared with the unknown Liberal Democrat policy of replacing it with an unknown nuclear weapon.
THE ARMS TRADE
Selling arms is wrong. It is wrong in the same way that selling slaves was wrong. The slave trade was considered vital to the British economy. That was a cornerstone in the argument against abolition. The economic argument however did not stand up against the humane argument against slavery. Equally, the money argument does not stand up against the selling of weapons.
Iraq was an illegal war that Britain should not have gone into. There is little evidence that it has worked. The death of thousands of soldiers and millions of civilians is a totally unacceptable price. It was a war but ‘not in my name'.
A war that cannot be won. This is not a criticism of our military personnel; it is a statement of military fact. Many nations, including the British and the USSR, have gone to war in Afghanistan and come home with their tails between their legs. It is a tribal country that wishes to be tribal. Britain as the US poodle should not try to force Afghanistan to become a western democracy and a ‘single unified state'. Afghanistan needs financial support/trade and communications. This is far more likely to create permanent change than the killing of Afghans, including many civilians.
Is it possible that the USA wants Afghanistan to speak as a single nation re a pipeline? This would give it the same motive as Iraq – OIL.
Britain must not use any torture or allow the use of any evidence obtained by torture, nor send people to countries that use torture. Any country that condones torture or uses evidence obtained by it must be publicly condemned. Not only is torture wrong, any evidence obtained by it is extremely unreliable. There is no reason for its use whatsoever.
TRIAL BY JURY MUST BE MAINTAINED
The recent move to have ‘complex' fraud cases without a jury is the first step down a dangerous road.
One of the reasons given for this is that the cases are too difficult and long for jurors to cope with. This is not good enough. Maybe a case could start with more than 12 jurors. Whatever, the decision must be made by ‘fellow citizens'.
The second reason is that some jurors have been intimidated. This could be resolved by changing the law so that the ‘jury tamperer' would be treated as if the accused is ‘found guilty of the original charge'; with further punishment for intimidating the jurors.
The jury system has served Britain well. It must not be tampered with.
REFORM THE EU OR GET OUT
Liberals believe in co-operation between nations. Nowhere is this more important than in Europe. We are however, critical of the EU in its present form. The EU does not serve the individual nations, businesses or people of Europe well. The present grasp of the EU extends too far. Liberal policy is to reduce this grip. If the EU will not reform then we believe that Britain would be better off outside of the EU. We want a Liberal Society that maintains friendly, business and social relations with the EU. Britain must not be bullied by or subordinate to the EU.
|Last Updated: 10-05-10|