July 16, 2016

Another atrocity. Another outcry. Another call to be tough on terrorists and lunatics who are killing people as if it was some kind of crazy sport. The saddest thing about an attack on our open societies is that it makes us all a little less open and tolerant. But we have to resist to respond to intolerance with intolerance. More surveillance, more checks, more police, states of emergency,  none of this has proven to make us any safer only more paranoid. There are no easy answers but division hatred and intolerance are certainly not part of any answer.



July 15, 2016

I was out door knocking this morning. I always enjoy it. It gives you a very good feel of what a whole mix of people are thinking. Today is wasn’t about any particular issue or any forthcoming election. It was about picking up ward issues or anything people wanted to mention as being good or bad in their community. But inevitably Brexit came up. In an area where part of the Labour party had been out in force to campaign for Leave it was refreshing to come across a clear majority of people who had voted to stay in the EU, a clear indication that the 70% of people in Bath who had voted to stay came from across the party political divide. I only came across one woman with a young child who said she had voted to leave. She also said she was regretting it now. She couldn’t tell me the exact reason but it was clear that the Tory Brexit we are getting now is not what many people had bargained for.



April 25, 2015

Liberal Democrats support our continued membership of the EU.
We support the free movement of people within Europe.
I fully agree that it is not acceptable that people from other countries come to the UK to claim benefits, just as it would not acceptable for British people to do the same when they go abroad. Too many people are playing the system, and Liberal Democrats will continue to stamp down on these abuses.
We actually don’t have accurate numbers of immigration, because until just weeks ago we had no border controls for everyone leaving the UK. How can we have evidence based information about immigration when we have no idea how many people are leaving the country. After 5 years of the Conservatives blocking a proper border control, they have finally just caved in to Lib Dem pressure. From now on, we can have proper data about who is coming into the country and who is leaving.
The Conservative efforts within the coalition government to discourage young people from outside the EU to come here to study at our universities has been a bad policy. A strong economy does not happen by driving away the skilled workers of the future.



April 20, 2015

As I secondary school teacher myself I know that a good education is key for every young person to get on in life.
There is a direct link between achievement at school and the background young people are coming from; the gap starts even before children start school. Liberal Democrats have introduced the Pupil Premium at secondary, primary and Early Years level to give targeted support to every child from a deprived family to help them catch up or stop them from falling behind.
Teachers are dedicated and hard working professionals. I find it incredible that Tories believe that teachers do not need teaching qualifications. Who would leave their health in the hands of unqualified doctors or their legal affairs with somebody who does not have legal qualification? Liberal Democrats are campaigning to make sure that only qualified teachers can teach.
I recognise that we couldn’t deliver our policy on tuition fees. But Liberal Democrats worked hard to make the system as fair as possible to protect lower earning graduates. No student pays up front and they only pay back once they’re earning over £21,000. There are now a record number of disadvantaged students getting university places. Labour’s pledge to reduce fees to £6,000 will only benefit the rich.



March 23, 2015

I am against fracking here in North-East- Somerset and the rest of the UK. Fracked gas is a fossil fuel. Climate Change remains the biggest environmental threat to our globe and we must move away from coal, oil and gas to renewable energy generation. The only argument in favour of fracking is that fracked gas is less polluting than coal and oil, produces less carbon dioxide and as a “transition” fuel could help the move to a low-carbon economy. But the investment in renewable alternatives will suffer if fracking is prioritised. No financial case has yet been made that fracking will be cheaper than renewable energy generation. We should put all our investments into renewables as the real alternative to fossil fuels.
The local geology in North- East- Somerset is not at all suited to fracking. There are many fault lines in the local rock formation which will make the locating of gas generally haphazard. The rocks are full of caves which will make the drilling process imprecise and dangerous. Finally we have a complex under water system and fracking could threaten all of our fresh water supply and the hot springs that have made Bath a World Heritage site.



March 23, 2015

Homes cost a fortune, and rents are through the roof, because there are not enough homes for people.
Governments have been talking about building more homes for years. It hasn’t happened.
The Lib Dems are committed to building 3 million new homes in 10 years. We need a proper national building plan and government needs to invest or support investment.
Two changes in government policy are needed. First, that government at all levels – including B&NES – can borrow money to build new social housing. Second, that we build the skills infrastructure so that we have enough skilled people to build those 300,000 houses a year for at least the next ten years.
The Thatcherite experiment of leaving house building entirely to the private sector has failed. It has caused greater and greater social inequality and nearly all young people of today will never be able to afford their own homes – unless they are helped by their families.
I want a society where the opportunities for the younger generation are not determined by the wealth of their parents, but one in which you have the opportunity to get on in life, no matter where you start from or where you are at.


Double Credit to Lib Dems for Delivering Zero Council Tax Increase

March 1, 2015

I am very proud of my Lib Dem colleagues here in BANES! While the Tories were running the Council from 2007-2011, council tax increased by nearly 10%. The Lib Dem record is a 0% increase in the last four years and this will continue into next year. Tories claim that this could only be achieved because of the national government providing extra funding to councils. First of all can I remind everybody that we have a coalition government therefore the Lib Dems can claim the credit for this support from central government just like the Tories. Secondly national government only provides an incentive and local councils still need to find a substantial sum from their own budget to deliver a full council tax freeze for their residents. So it is a double credit to the Lib Dems that we got a zero council tax increase in North East Somerset; we created the incentive nationally and delivered the result locally.