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Countdown to General Election 7th May 2015


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An important year for all concerned. Let's hope that it turns out better this time round - I have had enough of this government's inflicted misery. Only 65% of the electorate voted with 36.1% of them voting Conservative, 29% voting Lib Dem, 23% voting and 11.9% voting for others.
Any ideas on which way this years election is going to pan out? I imagine we will be told all the usual lies leading up to the general election and find ourselves, back where we started, in the mire again. No change for the plebs.
An interesting article in The Mail on Sunday by Sir Roy Strong looking ahead to what 2015 has in store. Found I agreed with a lot he said.
A distinguished commentator's brilliant analysis of what the New Year has in store: Our longest serving monarch? Meltdown for the ruling class? Historian and author SIR ROY STRONG says: Roll on, 2015!
The Queen will become Britain's longest-serving monarch on September 9, surpassing the reign of her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria
Next year sees a milestone in British history. On September 9, our present monarch will have reigned longer than her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, making her the longest serving in our history. 
Like Victoria, Elizabeth II has come in old age to be a hugely venerated figure. The majority of the population cannot remember a time without her. Indeed, most Britons will have been born during her reign.
And yet there remains the fact that we are at the close of the second Elizabethan age. Students of history will tell you that the final years of any era are characterised by uncertainty. 
Certainly, the modus operandi of the House of Windsor – a style that was set by Edward VII and has continued pretty much unaltered ever since – will eventually have to change to meet the challenges of a new generation and a new century.
We are unlikely to witness that change in 2015, because we are fortunate in having a monarch who seems set for more years of being both happy and glorious. But putting that piece of good news to one side, few people will deny that there is a general malaise in society, a feeling of unease, dissatisfaction and disillusionment.
I don’t think that in all my 80 years (I will be that age next August) I have registered such an all-pervading sense of the lack of direction. Who are we and where are we going? We no longer seem to know.
In my lifetime there was the clear and optimistic post-war vision of the 1940s and 1950s in the Welfare State after the deprivation of the war. It gave the population free healthcare and access to the talented, by means of grants and scholarships, to higher education.
Then came the ‘you’ve never had it so good’ era of Harold Macmillan, which lifted the material living standards of the average citizen to undreamed of heights. After the ghastly, turbulent blip of the 1970s came the Thatcherite vision of a free enterprise society, rewarding energy and hard work by banishing the chains of state ownership and bureaucracy.
Yet David Cameron’s initial concept of the ‘Big Society’ vanished down the tubes pretty quickly, to be followed by his somewhat dispiriting ‘We’re all in this together’. And indeed so we are, but it seems with no sign of ever getting out of it.
The General Election in May is certainly going to be one of, if not the, landmark elections since 1945.
Until now, the various parties presented visions as to where we were heading, ones which the different constituent parts of the island could share – whether urban or rural, north or south. Alas, with the advent of the campaign for Scottish independence, any hope of such united aspirations is vanishing fast.
The irony is that the initial loss of the vote for independence, which was thought to be the last word on the topic, has in fact turned out to be the exact reverse. In many ways it has intensified the campaign and brought retribution on the Labour Party north of the border.
We forget that the Union is only 300 years old and wasn’t popular then. Scotland has a separate legal system and national church among a litany of other institutions that spell separation rather than togetherness.
And then where does the monarchy fit into this new scheme of things? Strictly speaking, the Queen is Elizabeth I of Scotland and II of England; an adjustment to her formal title should have been made in 1998, the year of devolution. We seem to have forgotten that the monarchy, seen from afar, is to the majority of the Scots a remote, south of England institution.
If the end result of the devolution vote is that the Scottish Labour Party goes under, it will only add to a scenario of the dissolution of the existing political configurations.
In the case of the somewhat goofy Ed Miliband, he will discover it really is true (as one commentator wrote recently) that his party now represents a section of society that no longer exists.
In the case of the Conservatives, there will be losses to Ukip and who knows what fissures in the case of the Liberal Democrats. But do not worry. British history tells us that every so often there’s a meltdown to meet the needs of a new era – 2015 could be one of those moments. Roll on, I say.
What all of this also reflects is the public’s total disillusionment with the political class. They are seen as a self-perpetuating oligarchy who make politics their career and who rarely have any experience of a workshop floor. They are now cast as a self-seeking, righteous clique whose last desire is to reform itself.
The so-called reform of the House of Lords remains an unresolved constitutional mess. No one either has achieved the redrawing of the constituency boundaries, which is another scandal. And all of that we owe to political in-fighting with never a thought for the wider public, which ostensibly our MPs serve.
And where, one may ask, are the giants of vision and oratory? Gone, gone, seemingly for ever. What we listen to most of the time are ventriloquists’ dummies articulating what the last focus group told them to say. We live in the golden age of box-ticking and don’t forget it. Whatever else is taught at Eton it cannot include the art of oratory.
Just to add to the fun of the fair, there’s another anniversary in 2015 – the battle of Waterloo, the heroic moment when the Duke of Wellington led the pan-European forces not far from Brussels and in the aftermath of the Duchess of Richmond’s famous ball to a glorious victory over the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. Will we celebrate this? Or will we, as happened on the 300th anniversary of the Union of England and Scotland in 2007, sweep it under the carpet in the interests of togetherness and ever-closer union?
On the horizon in 2017, if the Conservatives return to power, is a referendum as to whether we stay part of the European Union. What is striking, looking back to 1973 when we joined it, is that the longer we are part of the Union, the more unhappy and uneasy we seem to become.
We were certainly part of the Roman Empire but not the Holy Roman Empire or the one of Napoleon. Indeed, the whole of our history has been in the opposite direction, with the defeat of the Spanish Armada, of the armies of both Louis XIV and the French Emperor, not to mention a German Emperor and Hitler.
The polls show a nation divided as to whether to be in or out. Both legislation and decision-making in Brussels seem increasingly to impinge on what has set us apart. Globalisation also threatens the island in another way.
Much that is brewing for the luckless voters next May to think about stems – I suspect – from facts that government knows about, but which we don’t. David Cameron’s sudden concern with immigration and a desire to reach some kind of curbing on the influx would suggest that the true figures of that influx are way in excess of what we are told.
What it spells out to me is that the Government has done a forward projection in what that huge explosion in our population on a tiny island will mean in terms of social provision, education, welfare and benefits as the century progresses.
They have to be added to the cost of providing for an ageing population. We are still up to our eyes in debt and it is taken for granted by all parties that whoever comes to power must cut yet again. None of that bodes well.
There are other divisions which could also fester. It is clear to me that sorting out a resentful England may in the long run be more of a nightmare than sorting out Scotland. Living, as I do, in the shires, I am more than conscious that rural England counts for nothing in the eyes of the political class. 
The Countryside Alliance’s march on London was the biggest demonstration that the city has ever seen since the Chartists in the Victorian period. And yet their demands were ignored. There has been a huge revival of local loyalties in the last couple of decades and a strong revulsion against the dominance of London the city state. 
In the past, when both Lords and Commons was made up of people who came from and had been born and worked in the counties, there was constant interplay. The old hereditary Lords had their hands in the soil of their locality. All gone. When I go to London now I enter a different world aware, on any bus ride, that I am one of the few who speaks English.
How ironic that 2015 also sees the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the Great Charter of 1215 that limited the power of an autocratic and unpopular monarch, marked the beginning of the idea that the people should be consulted and, in the long term, led to parliamentary democracy. I’ve no doubt the anniversary will be marked by an outburst of self-congratulation by our MPs. They should be ones of mourning as to how far they’ve dragged the institution down into disrepute.
Its most famous clause reads: ‘No freeman shall be arrested, or kept in prison… or banished, or in any way brought to ruin… unless by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.’ Try telling that to British citizens held without trial as part of the so-called War on Terror.
So 2015 is not going to be an easy year. There’s an absence of ‘bread and circuses’ to take the public’s minds and eyes away from what might be cruel realities. There’s no Royal jubilee, only a second child for the Duchess of Cambridge to cheer us on our way.
Nor is there an equivalent of the Olympics with its apotheosis of our Health Service, which appears to be on its last legs. One bonus is that we are officially at peace after two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which we could afford. Long may that peace last.
Looking back, we are right to feel aggrieved by the political class. They have, in fact, betrayed us. They have perpetually promised things that they could not deliver. When I think of them, a line from the old Book of Common Prayer confession comes to mind: ‘We have left undone those things which we ought to have done. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done and there is no health in us.’
One of their worst crimes has been to spend money which we haven’t got in a perpetual quest to stay in office. I am of the generation that will not have to pay the price for that wanton prodigality. My heart goes out to the next two generations who will have to suffer and meet the bill. That, sadly, will be the story of Britain in the 21st Century.
This disillusionment with politicians and the whole political system has already bred a desire to look elsewhere for leadership. Sooner or later there will be a vacuum to be filled. The figure that fills that space at the moment is the one unfaltering human being who alone has remained true to the oath she swore at her Coronation – the Queen.
As she stands on the threshold of becoming the longest reigning monarch in a thousand years of British history, it is safe to say that she has steadfastly served her people with an old-fashioned sense of duty, service and patriotism which should remain a source of inspiration for each and every one of us – not least our discredited politicians. Long may she reign!


Oh and by the way I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas, as it looks as if 2015 is not going to be a prosperous year for many of us.
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An interesting, and slightly depressing read.


I am just wondering when our local politicians are going to wake up to the fact that the local elections are also imminent??


I would hope that with the exception of our few regular councillor contributors, we will hear a fair bit more from others who have signed up on here.(and would hope a few more would join!)


Colin....I think you may have done this before, but is it worth emailing all councillors, and our MP's, an invite to sign up??If they really want to engage with the electorate, this would be a great start!


There are members on Hereford Voice from right across the county, and many other residents read it regularly.


Isn't it about time our local representatives started embracing this medium of communicating with the good folks of Herefordshire??

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I note that Election politics is being spouted by all the Parties on the News Channels , do wonder , bearing in mind that the Elections are in 5 months time if the average person in the street will be so bored they will not bother to vote ?

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Following the debate on here that a lot local councillors are rather shy to come on board to discuss issues raised by their electorate, this piece In the Guardian today does highlight the importance of engaging with us.

The Labour leader has pledged to have four million conversations with voters in the four-month run-up to the election – but is that even feasible? Let’s do the maths …
This year, Ed Miliband will face the toughest challenge of his life. No, not winning the general election. And, no, not performing a basic motor skill without getting called a gurning wazzock by the press. This year, Ed Miliband is going to have more conversations than anyone.
That’s his election promise to you. Speaking in Salford today, Miliband promised supporters that he’d have four million conversations with voters in the space of four months. However, four million conversations in four months seems like a lot. Is it even feasible? Here’s how the numbers break down.
122 days
This is how long we have left until election campaigning ends, which gives Miliband the target of:
32,786.8 conversations per day
Even allowing him a generous eight hours of downtime to sleep and go to the toilet and slap some feeling back into his exhausted face, that means that he would have to conduct:
2,049.1 conversations an hour
Or 34 conversations a minute, which doesn’t seem like a particularly meaningful length of time to convince someone to vote for you. Perhaps it would be better if Ed roped in the entire 27-strong shadow cabinet to help him out, because then he could manage:
75.8 conversations an hour
Given that it roughly takes a Question Time audience member 35 seconds to ask anything, not including the time it takes to decode any actual question fragments from whatever garbled personal anecdote they blurted out, these still won’t count as conversations. So let’s say all 258 Labour MPs joined in. That would reduce things down to:
7.9 conversations an hour
Which sounds horrific, but feasible. Better yet, throw in all 650 Labour candidates and that figure goes down to:
3.1 conversations an hour
That means those four million lucky targets will get almost 20 minutes of full face-to-face conversations about Labour and the state of the country. If everybody pulls together and works at full steam, that could be just enough to hit Ed Miliband’s target.
Of course, this is all assuming that none of the campaigners get caught mumbling something obnoxious about a rude voter, causing the campaign to be shut down for several days so that everyone can embark upon an enormous Gordon Brown-style apology tour. Which, since they’re each going to be talking to about 6,000 people, is almost guaranteed. Best not to get your hopes up, Ed.


At least someone give us 5 minutes or a couple of posts.


Countdown timer to General Election 7th May 2015


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Very interesting!


It IS very important, in my humble opinion, that candidates make time to make themselves available to the electorate on a forum like this. You can very quickly form an opinion of somebody, as either being a go-getter, a fixer of issues, a hands-on sort it outer, or an all talk and no action!


I really would like it to be clarified as to whether "The Rules" mean they are not allowed to post, and engage, with us the great unwashed!!

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I actually put a small bet on Sarah Carr (Lib Dem) winning in 2010 ... Lost bet! The Lib Dems have blown it on a serious level Nationally over various stuff ... Local UKIP people have had some in-fighting ... Labour around here have never featured in a General Election ... I doubt Jesse will even need to knock any doors this time to drum up support ... 

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Thanks Megaland for that information - must say that I think that I am getting bored already .

I accept fully that it's the Politicians that guide / dictate our future but , in my humble opinion the majority of people who vote will have already made their mind up - guess that I have !

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Well there's no way I'm bored......I've been waiting a long time for these elections to come around, and I shall be banging on about them right up until polling day!


Never has it been more important that folks get up off their sofas and go and use their vote!


Think Edgar Street Trees. Think Incinerator Project.  Think Hoople and Balfour Beatty and Hereford Futures and all the other companies that get such a huge slice of our money! Think about the deceit, the bare faced lies, the subterfuge.Think potholes, grass cutting and refuse. Think about the effect that this administration have had on the most vulnerable members of our society.


Think you want things done differently????


Then make your feelings known at the ballot box!


Yes....difficult decisions will still need to be made, everything is not going to be peachy just by seeing off this cabinet, things will still be tough.....but at least lets get some honesty, some integrity, hell a little bit of decency back into local politics.


I might just go around knocking on doors, not as any representative, but just to urge folks to do just that....it's YOUR vote, YOUR choice, YOUR opportunity to effect change in Herefordshire....Please, don't anybody waste it!

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A lot of people say that UKIP have no policies. I have taken this off their website and find that I agree with a lot of their policies. The only exception is their policy on fracking - this I do not support as it threatens our water courses and supplies. Anyone got any comments about these policies, and what do the other parties say about their policies which contradict UKIP's standpoint. Time to get informed, the election clock is ticking down. 

The following statements represent highlights of UKIP's policy announcements as made at the Doncaster Conference. More detailed announcements will be made in the run up to the 2015 General Election.
What a UKIP Government will do
Protecting jobs and increasing prosperity
- We would review all legislation and regulations from the EU (3,600 new laws since 2010) and remove those which hamper British prosperity and competitiveness.
– We would negotiate a bespoke trade agreement with the EU to enable our businesses to continue trading to mutual advantage. 
– UKIP would not seek to remain in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EEA) while those treaties maintain a principle of free movement of labour, which prevents the UK managing its own borders.
– We would reoccupy the UK’s vacant seat at the World Trade Organisation, ensuring that we continue to enjoy ‘most favoured nation’ status in trade with the EU, as is required under WTO rules.
Repairing the UK Economy 
– UKIP will increase personal allowance to the level of full-time minimum wage earnings (approx £13,500 by next election).
– Inheritance tax will be abolished.
– We will introduce a 35p income tax rate between £42,285 and £55,000, whereupon the 40p rate becomes payable.
– UKIP will set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax to ensure big businesses pay a minimum floor rate of tax as a proportion of their UK turnover.
Reducing debts we leave to our grandchildren
– UKIP will leave the EU and save at least £8bn pa in net contributions.  
– UKIP will cut the foreign aid budget by £9bn pa, prioritising disaster relief and schemes which provide water and inoculation against preventable diseases.
– UKIP will scrap the HS2 project which is uneconomical and unjustified.
– UKIP will abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change and scrap green subsidies. 
– UKIP will abolish the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
– UKIP will reduce Barnett Formula spending and give devolved parliaments and assemblies further tax powers to compensate.
Prioritising Education and Skills
– UKIP will introduce an option for students to take an Apprenticeship Qualification  instead of four non-core GCSEs which can be  continued at A-Level. Students can take up apprenticeships in jobs with certified professionals qualified to grade the progress of the student. 
– Subject to academic performance UKIP will remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering, maths on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees.  
– UKIP will scrap the target of 50% of school leavers going to university.
– Students from the EU will pay the same student fee rates as International students.
– UKIP supports the principle of Free Schools that are open to the whole community and uphold British values.
– Existing schools will be allowed to apply to become grammar schools and select according to ability and aptitude. Selection ages will be flexible and determined by the school in consultation with the local authority.  
– Schools will be investigated by OFSTED on the presentation of a petition to the Department for Education signed by 25% of parents or governors.
Honouring the Military Covenant
– We will resource fully our military assets and personnel.
– UKIP will guarantee those who have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of 12 years a job in the police force, prison service or border force
– UKIP will change the points system for social housing to give priority to ex-service men and women and those returning from active service.
– A Veterans Department will bring together all veterans services to ensure servicemen and women get the after-service care they deserve. 
– Veterans are to receive a Veterans’ Service Card to ensure they are fast tracked for mental health care and services, if needed.
– All entitlements will be extended to servicemen recruited from overseas.
– UKIP supports a National Service Medal for all those who have served in the armed forces.
The National Health Service
– UKIP will ensure the NHS is free at the point of delivery and time of need for all UK residents.
– We will stop further use of PFI in the NHS and encourage local authorities to buy out their PFI contracts early where this is affordable.
– We will ensure that GPs’ surgeries are open at least one evening per week, where there is demand for it.
– UKIP opposes plans to charge patients for visiting their GP.
–We will ensure that visitors to the UK, and migrants until they have paid NI for five years, have NHS-approved private health insurance as a condition of entry to the UK, saving the NHS £2bn pa. UKIP will commit to spending £200m of the £2bn saving to end hospital car parking charges in England.
– We will replace Monitor and the Care Quality Commission with elected county health boards to be more responsive scrutineers of local health services. These will be able to inspect health services and take evidence from whistle-blowers.
– UKIP opposes the sale of NHS data to third parties.
– We will ensure foreign health service professionals coming to work in the NHS are properly qualified and can speak English to a standard acceptable to the profession.
– UKIP will amend working time rules to give trainee doctors, surgeons and medics the proper environment to train and practise.
– There will be a duty on all health service staff to report low standards of care.  
Controlling and managing our borders 
– UKIP recognises the benefits of limited, controlled immigration.
– UKIP will leave the EU, and take back control of our borders. Work permits will be permitted to fill skills gaps in the UK jobs market.
– We will extend to EU citizens the existing points-based system for time-limited work permits. Those coming to work in the UK must have a job to go to, must speak English, must have accommodation agreed prior to their arrival, and must have NHS-approved health insurance.
– Migrants will only be eligible for benefits (in work or out of work)  when they have been paying tax and NI for five years and will only be eligible for permanent residence after ten years.
– UKIP will reinstate the primary purpose rule for bringing foreign spouses and children to the UK.  
– UKIP will not offer an amnesty for illegal immigrants or those gaining British passports through fraud.
– UKIP will return to the principles of the UN Convention of Refugees which serves to protect the most vulnerable.  
Foreign Aid
– UKIP will target foreign aid at healthcare initiatives, inoculations against preventable diseases and clean water programmes with a much-reduced aid budget administered by the Foreign Office.
– British  organisations will be offered the contracts to deliver the remaining aid following removal of the EU Procurement Directive.
– UKIP will repeal the Climate Change Act 2008 which costs the economy £18bn a year.
– UKIP supports a diverse energy market including coal, nuclear, shale gas, geo-thermal, tidal, solar, conventional gas and oil.
– We will scrap the Large Combustion Plant Directive and encourage the re-development of British power stations, as well as industrial units providing on-site power generation.
– UKIP supports the development of shale gas with proper safeguards for the local environment. Community Improvement Levy money from the development of shale gas fields will be earmarked for lower council taxes or community projects within the local authority being developed.
– There will be no new subsidies for wind farms and solar arrays.
– UKIP will abolish green taxes and charges in order to reduce fuel bills.
Agriculture and Fishing
– By leaving the EU, the UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy.  Outside the EU UKIP will institute a British Single Farm Payment for farms.  
– UKIP will let the British parliament vote on GM foods.
– UKIP will leave the Common Fisheries Policy and reinstate British territorial waters.
– Foreign trawlers would have to apply for and purchase fishing permits to fish British waters when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels.
– Food must be labelled to include the country of origin, method of production, method of slaughter, hormones and any genetic additives.
– UKIP will abolish the export of live animals for slaughter
Welfare and Childcare
– UKIP opposes the bedroom tax because it operates unfairly, penalising those who are unable to find alternative accommodation and taking insufficient account of the needs of families and the disabled.
– Child benefit is only to be paid to children permanently resident in the UK and future child benefit to be limited to the first two children only.  
– UKIP will ensure there is an initial presumption of 50/50 shared parenting in child custody matters and grandparents will be given visitation rights.
– UKIP supports a simplified, streamlined welfare system and a benefit cap.
– We will scrap HS2.
– UKIP opposes tolls on public roads and will let existing contracts for running toll roads expire.
– UKIP will maintain pensioner bus passes.
– UKIP will require foreign vehicles to purchase a Britdisc, before entry to the UK, in order to contribute to the upkeep of UK roads and any lost fuel duty.
– UKIP will ensure that speed cameras are used as a deterrent and not as a revenue raiser for local authorities.
Housing and planning
– UKIP will protect the Green Belt. 
– Planning rules in the NPPF will be changed to make it easier to build on brownfield sites instead of greenfield sites.  Central government is to list the nationally available brownfield sites for development and issue low-interest bonds to enable decontamination.
– Houses on brownfield sites will be exempt from Stamp Duty on first sale and VAT relaxed for redevelopment of brownfield sites.
– Planning Permission for large-scale developments can be overturned by a referendum triggered by the signatures of 5% of the District or Borough electors collected within three months.
Democracy and the Constitution
– UKIP will overcome the unfairness of MPs from devolved nations voting on English-only issues.
– UKIP supports the recall of MPs as was originally promised in the Coalition Agreement, whereby 20% of the electorate in a constituency must sign a recall petition within eight weeks. The approval of MPs will not be required to initiate a recall petition.
– UKIP will introduce the Citizens’ Initiative to allow the public to initiate national referendums on issues of major public interest.
Law and Order
– UKIP will withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.  
– UKIP will reverse the government’s opt-in to EU law and justice measures, including the European Arrest Warrant and European Investigation Order. We will replace the EAW with appropriate bi-lateral agreements.
– UKIP will not give prisoners the vote.
– UKIP believes that full sentences should be served and this should be taken into account when criminals are convicted and sentenced in court. Parole should be available for good behaviour on a case-by-case basis, not systematically.
– We will repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new British Bill of Rights. The interests of law-abiding citizens & victims will always take precedence over those of criminals.  
– UKIP recognises and values an overarching, unifying British culture, which is open and inclusive to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background.
– Official documents will be published in English and, where appropriate Welsh and Scots Gaelic.
– UKIP will ensure that the law is rigorously enforced in relation  to ‘cultural’ practices which are illegal in Britain, such as forced marriages, FGM and so-called ‘honour killings’
– We will review the BBC Licence Fee with a view to its reduction. Prosecution of non-payments of the Licence Fee would be taken out of the criminal sphere and made a civil offence.
– UKIP will amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas.   
– UKIP opposes ‘plain paper packaging’ for tobacco products and minimum pricing of alcohol.
Employment and Small Businesses
– Businesses should be able to discriminate in favour of young British workers.
– Repeal the Agency Workers Directive.
– Conduct a skills review to better inform our education system and qualifications
– Encourage councils to provide more free parking for the high street.
– Simplify planning regulations and licences for empty commercial property vacant for over a year. 
– Extend the right of appeal for micro businesses against HMRC action.




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An interesting policy document from UKIP and like megilleland there are lot's of agreeable points it's just a shame that so many have previous Conservative traits. Need to digest before responding however I'm keen to see the parties out on the street because through the last two elections the door bell never rang! So it will be good to see if they are active in town at weekends and where they pitch their stalls....New retail or Old Town though they may have to think about the exact location.

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Alternative financial systems:


The 2015 general election will take place nearly seven years after the financial crisis of 2008, yet the root causes of the crisis have barely been addressed by mainstream politics. This week the leading civil society groups working on transforming finance are calling for this to change.
A Manifesto supported by 11 organisations, which include Positive Money, Share Action, NEF, Finance Innovation Lab and FoE, is setting out the five major changes that the next government should put in place to create a finance system that serves the needs of society, environment and the wider economy.
Put simply, we’re asking for:
* more diversity in banking, using the Competition & Markets Authority investigation in retail banking to accelerate growth in mutuals, peer-to-peer lending, community and stakeholder banks
* more responsibility in financial markets, encouraged by joining the EU Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) designed to curb unnecessary speculation
* more transparency in savings and investment, backed by a new Responsible Investment Bill
* more sustainability through the expansion of the Green Investment Bank into a broader state investor akin to those in other developed countries such as Germany, France and Japan
more democracy by asking the Bank of England to carry out a review of all monetary policy options available to government and central banks to influence the allocation of credit in the interests of the whole of society and the economy, and a debate over these options in parliament.
Each of these recommendations is backed by a specific campaign with its own coalition of support, but together they form the pillars of a new, sustainable approach to finance. When public outrage at the failures of the financial system was at its height during the Occupy protests, the challenge posed was “what is your alternative?†In the years since the crisis, civil society has begun to show how to create a financial system that is democratic, responsible and fair.
Critics have argued that a sovereign money system, in which banks are unable to create money, would not be flexible enough to meet the needs of an economy. In response, this paper explains the range of policy options that mean that a sovereign money system can be as flexible – or inflexible – as authorities would like it to be.
Worth a try, but I can't see the banks agreeing to this.
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  • 2 weeks later...
First published Wednesday 21 January 2015 in Hereford Times Letters

In the new year parliamentary business is curtailed and MPs have an extra day in their constituencies. To do what? This seems to me to be an unfair advantage over other candidates in the forthcoming elections.
Could we have public debate about the role of an English MP and their effectiveness in our system?
We were promised reform of the House of Lords. Nothing happened because there is no agreement on principles or priorities.
The election in May is expected to be indecisive, as it was last time. I felt troubled by that process and thought it distasteful for party leaders to bargain their way to power.
We could be discussing now how the parties intend to handle an indecisive result this time.
We need local and national politicians to be honest about their limitations. Let us discuss what is possible and what we must do to achieve it.
I can no longer vote for a party, I can only vote for someone with intelligence and ability to listen, with the integrity, hard work and communication skills to make effective decisions, together with the will to bring them about.
Let any promise made this election time be tied to a programme for implementation. Less spin, more accountability.


This Monday 100 days to the General Election.


Countdown timer to General Election 7th May 2015

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Whoever we vote for in the General Election in this County will not make any difference to the end result !


I fully accept that voting in the local Elections are important .My worry is that so many of the Cllrs who make up the HCC are from villages within the County , if they keep their Parishoners happy they stand a very good chance of being re elected .


Please correct me if I am wrong .

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27 January 2015 11:17am
Take note. This is a taste of what's to come for the next few months. We are to be bombarded, saturated, overwhelmed by lies, deceit, spin, twisted and distorted facts, manipulated figures and patronising hypocracy. The hardcore electorate who's political opinion is engraved in tablets of stone will vote as they always do. Another percentage will just vote for their own personal circumstances, not giving a damn about anyone or anything else. 
Its the less fortunate, the less well off, its those who have been hammered mercilessly by this coalition who will be in despair because they can see no way out. Society has created very clear lines over the last five years. The rich, the poor, the haves, the have nots, the north, the south. London has become like the Vatican, a country within a country, what applies to London is not reflected in any other part of the country. The plain truth is, there is no alternative. Socialism is dead. 
Time has redefined poverty. The slums have gone, the filth, the squaller has gone, children in rags and bare feet are all in the past. Yet, we have food banks, soup kitchens, children going hungry. The number of people having to decide between food or heating because they cannot afford both. We don't have work houses, instead we have unscrupulous employers paying peanuts and the taxpayer has to foot the bill in welfare top ups. We demonise all those on benefits because we are told they are cheaters, scammers, the scum of the earth. We accept cutting benefits, taking food off the table. We accept social cleansing and causing misery to those who are forced to move because of the bedroom tax, but we turn a blind eye to filthy rich bankers, fat cat bonuses and criminal practice's in the financial institutions.
No, this election will make no difference. We don't need to re write Magna Carta, we don't need to clearly define democracy, what we need is a new breed of politicians who actually care, who stand by the principles of truth, honesty, compassion and caring. 
We need governments who will bend over backwards for the good of the people first rather than thinking they are responsible for the rest of the world. What is so wrong with wanting a decent life, a good and safe place to live. What is so wrong in feeling wanted instead of just feeling used and manipulated. What is so wrong in having a country to be proud of.


Very well put.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Saw this on BBC3 the other night - better than imagined. May get under 25s out to vote one hopes. On iPlayer for the next 27 days.

Comedian Jolyon Rubinstein is on a mission. He wants to find out why the Facebook generation is so disengaged from politics. With the general election just around the corner, according to a recent survey less than a quarter of under 25s plan to vote. Is this just apathy and ignorance? Or is something else going on? The film is packed with stunts, pranks and some pretty serious interviews in which Jolyon seeks to find the answers.
On the way he takes a fire engine armed with fireproof underpants to Conservative Party HQ ('liar, liar, pants on fire'); visits UKIP HQ to use his lie-detecting test to help Nigel Farage root out members hiding a BNP past; takes a union leader a statue of Ed Miliband as Wallace to thank him for getting Ed elected Labour leader - a present from the Conservatives; and tries to raise £50k to have dinner with the PM - it's the going rate for Tory Party donors, he learns.
Is it broken promises by politicians and big money in politics that are so eroding the trust of the younger generation?


Countdown timer to General Election 7th May 2015

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80 days to go and still not much sense coming out, just divisive comment and backstabbing, and to think we could be in the same position after the election. Now that is frightening. I see the Church of England urges EU integration in letter to main Westminster parties. Won't be long before we have an Archbishop of Europe and then we can have another Holy War with the Vatican.

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In view of the post above (21), I don't think DC is going to get many votes from the youth of the country. Shame that most of them won't vote and still get taken for a ride. However his plan will make the unemployment figures great reading before the election.

David Cameron's plan to force young people to work for benefits would see them working 30 hours a week for a fraction of the minimum wage, it emerged today.
The proposals would put young adults who have been out of work, education or training for six months (“neetsâ€) into compulsory community work such as making meals for the elderly or joining local charities.
Under the scheme, Jobseekers’ Allowance would be abolished for 18 to 21-year-olds and replaced with the already announced “Youth Allowance†of the same amount - £57.35 a week, or £1.91 per hour of work.
The Prime Minister claimed that the programme would “effectively abolish long-term youth unemploymentâ€.


Looks like another case of child abuse to me.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Election items/areas that are of concern to me - what are yours?. By the date of the elections we should have created a resonable list for candidates to peruse and come up with some answers



Exit EU and apply border controls, European Arrest Warrant, Police service

Youth unemployment, Community Service

Public services - NHS, Education, Transport


Bank regulation and tax evasion

Privatisation and Outsourcing of local work, zero contracts

Overseas aid


Local issues in City

Bus services - reverse bus cuts in evening in the city

Litter - Create taskforce to clean up city

Local Business encouragement - Business rates, vacant shops, derelict areas

Traffic - remove lights at various junctions

Transparency - where is the money really going - clearer accounts for ease of reading, cut the goobledegook

Culture - Entertainmnet/Sports venue

Libraries - multi use community centres council point of contact

Housing - Use of  brownfield sites, empty space above shops


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I would also add that locally our hospital/healthcare should be a priority.


CAMHS services locally also need to be highlighted.


Social care...... and all that is encompassed within....... need to be firmly on the radar. (day centre provision, respite care, residential placement and family support.)

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Saw this on BBC3 the other night - better than imagined. May get under 25s out to vote one hopes. On iPlayer for the next 27 days.


Countdown timer to General Election 7th May 2015




In The Idependent today:


Despite the widely-held belief that young people are apathetic about politics, new research has found that an overwhelming number of 16-18 year-olds do care.
YouGov research for Speakers for Schools, an educational charity supported by the i paper, found three-quarters of British 16-18 year-olds think the current system needs to be rewired to “better reflect society todayâ€.


700 teenagers were polled on politics and this is what they said:


Peter Kelner, the president of YouGov, explained that if younger people were more actively involved in politics (it is feared as many as 920,000 people - mostly young people and students - have dropped off the electoral register) then it would send shockwaves through Westminster.




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Megilleland, I was speaking to HH today they are replacing the children play area in Kilvert road for a more up to date play area. There is something else may be happening I will tell you when it is confirmed.


What about the rest of the estate? Some areas of the city have multiple play areas.

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