Flawed thinking: Green hysterics

jonFullerDotOrgJon Fuller advertise his website on his election literature. His sole article (so far) is an exercise in flawed thinking.

The climate changes, indisputable. Some 11,000 years ago we saw the end of the most recent ice age – the world has been warming up since then. This is not a consistent warming up, the mean temperature for our planet actually fluctuates quite a bit.

Some of the warmest years on record have occurred recently, and some of this will be down to the natural climate fluctuations. Some of this will, though, be a by-product of man’s activities.

According to Southend West’s Green candidate, Jon Fuller, there is certainty in the science. He is sure of what he believes, and his hyperbole brooks no argument.

I think he is blinkered. I am an environmentalist, and I do think we should be doing more to arrest global warming, but I think people like Jon damage our prospects. He comes across as irrational.

The science is inexact and opinion varies. However, I have always argued that in of itself, despite climate change, environmentalism is good. Being respectful of the natural world and being careful with scarce resources strikes me as sensible .

There are a whole host of reasons for poverty and starvation, and most of these are down to world of unfairness. We produce enough food to feed everyone, but tied to global capitalism we are unable to fairly distribute it. Whilst we throw away huge amounts of food, others starve.

Using the holocaust to boost one’s arguments is revolting. Whatever Mr Fuller thinks of mass consumption, consumers are not Nazis. Neither are governments merely seeking to make their people prosper.

People want choice. People want to travel. People like electronic toys, and all sorts of consumer items. People want their children to be more prosperous than them. Green Party policy attempts to shut much of this down. I think we need to strike a balance. For instance, making aircraft greener has got to be the way, not banning them.

The denial of austerity (which I do not like, but I accept that we have to tackle debt) is one thing; to talk of shrinking GDP and yet promising all sorts of expenditure is primary school politics.

We have to be greener, and the only way this is going to happen is with a Labour Government. Making daft and exaggerated comments only discredits arguments for greener politics. I like passion in politics, but I also like discipline when it comes to making one’s arguments.

The Liberal Party, in Chelmsford

chelmsfordLiberalNot every member of the Liberal Party was overjoyed when they merged with the Social Democrats – there is still a small rump of old Liberals who are clearly not enamoured of Nick Clegg or his party.

I am not sure how many candidates they are putting up in the General Election, but they are contesting Chelmsford. They should eat into the Liberal Democrat vote here.

A mere twitch, the barest movement in the polls

July last year I did a round-up of the opinion polls.

The averages then showed the following:

35.3% Labour
31.8% Conservative
15.4% UKIP
7.9% Liberal Democrat

Given the margin of error for all polls is +/-3% you could argue that ten months on nothing has changed,

Lab Con LDem UKIP Grn
18 April 2015 YouGov 36 33 8 13 5
18 April 2015 Opinium 32 36 8 13 5
20 April 2015 Populus 34 32 9 15 4
20 April 2015 ICM 32 34 10 11 5
20 April 2015 Ashcroft 30 34 10 13 4
20 April 2015 YouGov 35 34 7 13 5
22 April 2015 YouGov 34 35 7 13 5
23 April 2015 Panelbase 34 31 7 17 4
23 April 2015 Survation 29 33 10 18 4
23 April 2015 ComRes 32 36 8 10 5
23 April 2015 YouGov 35 33 8 13 5
Averages 33.0 33.7 8.4 13.5 4.6
Avgs Feb 25th 33.1 31.4 7.9 16 5.6
Movement -0.1 2.3 0.5 -2.5 -1.0

In ten months Labour have dropped 2.3%, the Conservatives have gained 1.9%, UKIP has fallen 1.9%. and the Liberal Democrats 0.5% up. Given that all movements are less than 3%, and therefore within the accepted margin of error, it looks pretty steady.

With a mere thirteen days left then, the question remains: will anything change? If not then we are clearly in hung Parliament territory. However, with still quite a number declaring as undecided there is still everything to play for.

If the numbers are accurate then there is perceptible squeeze on UKIP and the Greens going on.

Teacher can’t spell!

ChalkCllr Anne Chalk exhorts all to “Meet the Candidates Here their views“. ‘Here’? ‘Here’!

She means (I hope) ‘hear’.

Cllr Chalk is a retired teacher.

After last year’s fiasco I will not be going to this event. It was a stage-managed, Chalk-arranged, gerrymandered affair – quite the most disappointing hustings I have been to.

If you have a couple of hours to spare on Monday I suggest you help Maggie Kelly’s election campaign.

Leigh and Westcliff Times article April 2015

Leigh and Westcliff Times article April 2015

I have vivid memories of polling day in the 1970 General Election – my classroom at Chalkwell Hall Junior School was being used as a polling station. It was no day off for me though as I can recall encouraging voters to support Harold Wilson from my playground vantage point.

My political journey began, arguably, some forty-two years before my 1959 birth – although radicalism may have come down to me through my St.John genes. In May 1917 Arthur Ware Lane died at Arras, leaving my grandmother a widow and my father a three-year old without a father. Penury ensued, and hardship during the tough inter-war years moulded my dad’s left-wing politics.

Poverty and under-employment gave my father first-hand experience of the injustices sometimes meted out in a capitalist society; when my father started to discuss politics with me he passed on the belief that the world could, and should, be a better place.

Equality – a one-word description of my politics, a belief that we all are equal. This is not just about discrimination, although I abhor prejudices of any description. It is also about life chances – I want a meritocracy, something that can only exist if we create a society where everyone is able to fully realise their potential.

Does a Westcliff-upbringing equip one for public office? Does more than two decades as a local football referee help, or the years in local sports administration? Does my career, which began in the civil service and ended up working for many blue-chip companies help either? Well, if you believe that living in and being brought in the community I seek to serve is a bonus, then yes. If you think a life spent outside of politics helps, then yes. If you think many recreational hours spent serving my community helps, then yes again.

I do not claim any special qualification for the role beyond caring for my town, knowing my town, working for my town. However, I can claim to have spent many years battling against injustice and tackling prejudice. I have also sought to serve, and am known for my willingness to seek roles, and perform well in them. These roles, for sporting bodies, political organisations, and charities, I have enjoyed doing, despite the many hours often involved.

I am also a parent and grandparent, and a husband of thirty-two years. I am an indifferent gardener who somehow managed to win an award last year.

Having a set of principles is, I think, important, and my democratic socialism guides me. I am, too, a pragmatist, happy to seek the compromise and aware that I have to represent those who may not share my outlook.

Voting is a compromise. It has to be. How can any party purport to represent every view of those who might vote for it? It comes down to choosing the one which shares most of your values. It is also about competence. It might be noble to vote for a minor party that champions a cause particularly dear to one’s heart, and it might be appealing to protest – but is it really worth the gamble? Unless a Government is competent personal and national wealth are at risk, as well as personal and national security. However, there is a place for ideology and for ideologues. If there is one thing wrong with UK politics it is the apparent lack of core values in some of those who seek to represent us. Seeking to be in power is a means, not an ends. We must have politicians with convictions, with principles that they can resort to when making judgements on our behalf.

Government is about running the country, preserving peace, creating prosperity, maintaining a lawful civil society. Government is management. For me, though, there is more. I hope we are heading towards a better place. I do not believe that the Conservative Party wants a world which serves the many; theirs is an ethos aimed at preserving elites and serving the few.

Some years ago, not long after the 2010 General Election, we were told that, “We are all in this together”. If only. When we are in a fix, as happened after the financial crash in 2007/8, then I believe that everyone recognises a need to pull together. Except…

Except that the last five years have not seen us all in it together. Instead we have seen millionaires rewarded whilst the poorest are paying for the ills of the bankers. Bedroom Tax, ATOS assessments, trebling of tuition fees. This illustrates the point that the Tories are not capable of serving the needs of the many. Vote them out on May 7th.

St Laurence – a tale of quitters

stLaurenceToryLeafletPageOneThis one was produced before Cllr Lee Burling called time on his political career (one that lasted a year too long for my liking). Therefore it has just the one Conservative candidate named.

By the standards of recent leaflets by St Laurence’s Tories this is a work of genius, but let’s be honest – the bar is set very low.

Some pedantry: whilst UKIP may have voted with the administration (those that bothered to turn up and stay), the budget was the work of the Joint Administration. UKIP are in opposition.

Steve is proud that Cllr Adam Jones voted to FEEZE council tax – I feel obliged to point out that as Cllr Jones does not reside in the borough he does not pay the local council tax. Adam quits for the charms of Barling, and Cllr Lee Burling just quits; St Laurence will see new faces (or returning faces) as its council representatives. There are two votes on May 7th as a result of the by-election here.

The reverse of this leaflet has a number of photos, amongst which are pictured SKIPP. At least we now know their loyalties. I wonder how many of SKIPP’s followers would also be content to be pictured on Conservative literature? And to think that they used to complain about the Tories.

Come on Tammy, surely you can do better than this?

tammyCooperWhen someone writes to me ‘personally‘ I somehow expect to be addressed other than as ‘Dear Voter‘. Hmm, a cynic might suggest that this is some mass-produced leaflet rather than a hand-crafted missive.

It goes downhill from here.

OK, I accept that my style of representation may not suit everyone’s tastes, but I defy anyone to suggest that I have not been vocal in my term thus far. So, what does Tammy mean by ‘Milton can get the representation it deserves‘? Her showing at the hustings demonstrated ample evidence of her unsuitability for the task.

Ms Cooper also repeats the spiel about not wanting party politics in the Council Chamber. Yet, she represents the Independent Group, who collectively signed the Joint Administration agreement, put out collective literature, meet collectively, have a leader – at what point is this not a party?

Besides, if all you are going to do is reflect the views of all residents without a hint of leadership then we may as well all pack up and go home and let officers respond to inquiries.

There are also the lies. The Independent Councillors (or, more accurately, those that find favour with Messrs Terry and Woodley) did not force out the Tory administration. The Tories lost power because of gains by three groups.

Her ‘Vision for Milton and Southend‘ (do I point out that more of Milton is in Westcliff-on-Sea than in Southend-on-Sea?) is this:

A planning process which refers all major planning applications to the full Council.

Really? Are we to become a fifty-one member Development and Control Committee?

Since Tammy wants: A shift towards building more family homes and fewer flats retaining the residential character and charm of Milton – I wonder whether she has a view on those who convert garden sheds into dwellings so that they can let out their homes?


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