Liberal Democrats

Colour Blind Politics: A new Way Of Voting

by Down and out in Dover and district, with Len Oldfeep Sunday, April 26 2015

 

 

If you are still undecided on which way to vote in the upcoming elections Queen legend Brian May says vote colour-blind.

The guitarist wants the public to vote for the candidate who they believe will best represent them in parliament and not just be a puppet for  the ‘party whip’.  Forget about party politics it’s the individuals principles that counts.

The idea is to try and get a more diverse group of MPs in the House of Commons to fight for what the public wants rather than what is best for one all-powerful party.

Which prospective Dover candidate speaks to you and who is just talking pure bunkum? Below I have profiled each member and ask who would you vote for if you voted colour blind?

 

Charlie Elphicke: The Tory boy has enjoyed an impressive run as Dover’s MP and been at the heart of many positive changes in the town including the new hospital build and seeing off the privatisation of the port.

Nickname: Charlie ‘Sell our port off to the French or whoever’ Elphicke.

For: Voting out of the EU if no reforms, lorry parks,  a solution to operation stack and reform on the European bill of human rights; Mr Elphicke tabled his own bill, the British Bill of Rights,  in the House of Commons.

Against: Gay marriage due to his religious beliefs but pro civil partnerships and fracking in beautiful villages such as Eythorne, Tilmanstone and Guston.

Controversy: Was criticised for trying to buy a piece of land adjacent to his home in St.Margarets Bay for £1,000 from the council to extend and benefit his own property. Mr Elphicke denied this claiming the plan was always to restore it to a picnic area for the community.

Typical quote: “Back in 2010, things looked bleak. Our port was about to be sold off to the French or whoever.”

 

Jolyon Trimingham: A relative newcomer, not a lot is known about this green yet. However he has made his mark at the local hustings and other events with his quick wit and heckles. Lives in Whitstable and works in Dover Eastern Docks. At 27 he graduated from Oxford University with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics which might instil some confidence in voters. Admits he has no hope of winning.

For: Staying in the EU, a tram line connecting the docks to Dover priory station via the town centre, creating jobs with a social housing programme of renovating the many but beautiful dilapidated buildings in Dover and an above –ground grassed over tunnel from Aycliffe to the port to mask freight traffic.

Against: More austerity and Fracking, takes part in direct action campaigns against nuclear power.

Controversy: None at time of writing but if Mr Trimingham ever got caught mixing his plastics with paper come recycling day the Greens might blush.

Typical quote: Asked what he would do about Dover’s traffic woes: “Why should I think of a solution now? No one else has given one for the last 20 years.”

 

Clair Hawkins: Local gal Clair, born in Dover and brought up in Deal, is a real life Leslie Knope; fiercely proud of where she’s from and probably believes it’s the best place on earth. Her mum and dad even head up her campaign team. All this enthusiasm can only mean good things for Dovorians.

Nickname: ‘Hawkeye’.

For: Staying in the EU but reforms needed, promoting  the living  wage while increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour, freezing gas and electricity bills until 2017 and a joined up approach to regeneration of the whole of Dover not just the DITZ.

Against: Tax avoidance by big business, zero hour contracts and out of touch politicians who don’t live in the real world.

Controversy: Former councillor Keith Sansum and others were critical that Miss Hawkins was chosen as Labours candidate from a woman only short-list.

Typical quote: “In all my work I have been committed to reducing inequality, raising aspiration and fulfilling potential.”

 

David Little: A UKIP member since 2013 Mr Little has charmed his way into the affections of many Dovorians with his friendly, approachable style. He has come out on top at some of the recent hustings events and UKIP is making gains in the area all the time. He is deft at swatting away any UKIP controversy that comes his way and claims to be a ‘libertarian’.

Nickname: Has Been Referred to as ‘Bill Gates look-a-like’ but I feel he’s more lembit Opik’s right-wing twin.

For: Building affordable social housing on brown field sites for local people, a network of lorry parks on the M20 and M2 and getting out of the EU.

Against: Has been critical of the DITZ ‘vanity project’ and how much we spend on foreign aid.

Controversy: Offending almost everyone by posting a map of Britain on twitter describing Africa as ‘bongo bongo land’ and employing a Bulgarian gentleman to deliver his election leaflets.

Typical quote: On Clair Hawkins being a one nation socialist: “What the f**k is that?”

 

Sarah Smith: Has been working and living in the area for twenty five years. Last year she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer but vowed to continue her campaign. Not afraid to speak out against popular opinion the Lib Dem promotes a long-term collaborative strategy for Dover.

For: Staying in the EU but reforms needed, securing the £44 million HGV levy that will help to pay for better roads and put an end to Dover’s traffic misery, Miles Thompson’s idea of a tunnel linking the A20 with the Docks, re-connecting the town with its seafront, mental health equality and a better education for every local child.

Against:  More cuts to vital local services.

Controversy: Has been openly critical about the DTIZ St James development plans arguing a more sensitive design is needed.  

Typical quote: “We have put up with an awful lot of grief with not a lot of investment from the government in Dover and it’s not good enough.”

To learn more about Brian Mays common decency campaign visit:  www.commondecency.org.uk

 

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Categories: Conservatives | democracy | Driving | election | Government | Labour | Liberal Democrats | UKIP | Next Dover MP

Manston, Miller and Mr Farage: The top political stories of the week

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Friday, April 11 2014

Here's my round-up of the top political stories of the week in Kent and beyond:

1. After trying to stave off calls to quit, Maria Miller capitulated to the inevitable and quit her job as culture secretary. Few Kent MPs seemed prepared to comment in public about the saga which left Mr Cameron facing questions about his judgement. One that did was Tracey Crouch, the Chatham and Aylesford MP, who said Mrs Miller was right to resign but expressed frustration that MPs elected in 2010 were being tarred with the same brush despite the expenses rules being tightened.

2. Rarely out of the political spotlight, the definitely not shy or retiring UKIP leader Nigel Farage had another week in the headlines. A poll suggested that if he chose to stand at the general election in Folkestone and Hythe against Conservative incumbent Damian Collins, he would run him close but may not win. Bring it on, said Mr Collins. Mr Farage dropped an even heavier hint that he was eyeing up a Kent seat in 2015 but declined to say which one. Our bet? It will be Thanet South.

3. There may have been a spectacular increase in people cycling but Kent's track record on encouraging more people to use two wheels rather than four was under the spotlight. Census figures suggested fewer people were  cycling to work than ten years ago - compared with more forward-looking places like Brighton and London. The Green county councillor Martin Whybrow denounced the county council for its track record, altlhough given that the Conservative leader of KCC is an enthusiastic rally car driver, maybe he shouldn't have been that surprised.

4. An unfortunate piece of timing left some people wondering whether David Cameron was "running frit' after a scheduled and heavly trailed interview with Radio Kent was abruptly cancelled - supposedly so he could make a telephone call to a fellow unnamed Prime Minister.  Was it coincidence that the interview was due to take place the day after Maria Miller quit? Who knows.

5. Uncertainty continues over the fate of Manston Airport as the final flight by KLM took off on Wednesday and the airline boss of the Dutch operator made clear the carrier would most definitely would not be coming back. There continue to be talks over a possible buyout and owner Ann Gloag has agreed to consider a rescue plan drafted by staff. A case of watch this space.

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Categories: Liberal Democrats | Politics | Precept

County Hall's £165k shake-up manager. And councillors lunch row rumbles on..and on

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Monday, March 7 2011

While Kent County Council seems fairly convinced that paying £165,000 for the services of a transformation project manager for less than a year was worth it, I rather doubt taxpayers' will see it that way. (I suspect one or two council employees might also find it rather hard to swallow).

But you could argue - as KCC has - that contracting Jeff Hawkins for a six-figure sum has been value for money because he has helped the authority come up with a leaner structure that will help save more than four times that sum every year.

The related question that needs asking is why, if we follow the argument that has often been advanced by KCC in relation to executive pay levels, the authority felt it was 'unable to find a full time dedicated programme manager with the skills and experience needed for delivering this scale of programme.'

How KCC is paying £165,000 for a shake-up manager>>>

I'm sure Jeff Hawkins is a perfectly capable and skilled adviser. But was there no-one at County Hall capable of steering through this programme, complex though it might be? Surely these kind of changes are exactly what we pay our most highly paid public sector executives to oversee?

Incidentally, it's worth noting that councillors were not involved in signing off the appointment and did not need to be, a situation that has since led to some changes relating to the recruitment of such contractors. 

It's also worth pointing out that you would have had some trouble locating the information regarding the costs of securing Mr Hawkins' services among the hundreds of invoices of more than £500 published monthly by KCC as he is employed by Kent Top Temps - and there are literally hundreds of invoices submitted by Kent Top Temps to KCC each month.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Meanwhile, the rather unseemly row over whether county councillors should forego their free lunches on days when there are full council meetings at County Hall rumbles on.

I'm always surprised - perhaps I shouldn't be - that politicians appear congenitally incapable of understanding that although the sums involved are relatively trivial, it is this kind of thing that really irritates voters. MPs were exactly the same when confronted with exposure of some of their more modest but nevertheless eye-catching claims in the expenses scandal.

Anyway, it sounds like efforts are being made to bring down the costs although I haven't spoken to anyone yet outside KCC who thinks that the right thing to do would be to continue with the lunches but have councillors pay for them. If, as it seems, they already receive as part of their basic allowance a sum to cover subsisdence, why are we meeting the costs on full council days?

Still, at least it looks like our democratically-elected representatives are to agree to a pay cut. A plan to cut their allowances by 2% is being drawn up, meaning county councillors will see their basic yearly allowance of £13,000 reduced by about £260.

Which is something - although perhaps the prospect of a pay cut explains why they are being so intransigent about their free lunches.

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Categories: Freedom of Information | Liberal Democrats

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