Category Archives: Democracy

Vote This Thursday


On Thursday, voters will be able to elect the next Members of the European Parliament to represent the UK. The proportional representation system means that every vote will count. The more votes each party gets, the more MEPs it will have.

If the opinion polls are correct the largest party will be either Labour or Ukip. Unfortunately, Ukip have gained popularity by whipping up fears about foreigners. Their representatives have said some ugly things about people from other countries. Political parties have used these tactics before to attempt to gain votes but the British people have always been too sensible to give in to fear and hatred. However, fewer and fewer people are voting in elections and it is tempting to give voting in EU elections a miss. If the turnout is low and Ukip MEPs are elected in large numbers it will send a message to the world that we want to stop cooperating with other countries, and isolate ourselves.

I believe Ukip does not share British values. British people want to keep rights at work like paid holidays and maternity pay. We want the millions of jobs that are dependent on our EU membership. British consumers are protected from big businesses by EU law but Ukip want to end that.

Events in Ukraine have shown that the European Union is seen as a beacon of peace and prosperity. Ukip want to end the EU and have countries competing in a race to the bottom: lower wages and low skill jobs undercutting our neighbours.

This is not what the people of Britain want but if Ukip end up with the most MEPs, this is what they will try to achieve. The only way to stop Ukip leading Britain out of Europe is to vote Labour on 22 May. Please remember to vote and show that British people do not share Ukip’s fear of other countries.

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Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

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Promoted by Alex Wilks on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LF

 

Ukip Don’t Share Cranleigh’s Values


Originally posted on Cranleigh Labour Party:

photo RW My name is Richard Wilson and I was recently selected to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Guildford which includes Cranleigh. I am a 42-year old airline Captain and I have lived in Surrey for 14 years. In 2015 I will be asking voters here to trust me with their votes to be their next MP. It is a great honour for me to represent Cranleigh albeit only as a candidate at this stage.

1743520_10151948116012411_838760583_nAs the largest village in England, Cranleigh has the advantages and disadvantages of both villages and towns. The roads cannot cope with the current traffic levels, never mind projected future car traffic. House prices are unaffordable for young families. Household bills like electricity, gas, rent and child care are rocketing but wages can’t keep up. Our environment is under threat from unsustainable development and now dangerous fracking for gas. Like everywhere in England, the…

View original 378 more words

Europe’s far right and why voting on 22 May matters


Fascism, racism and anti-Semitism are growing all across Europe. In French local elections recently the National Front made huge gains. In Greece the Golden Dawn draws support from inside police stations and not just from the occupants of the cells. Geert Wilders in the Netherlands “says what everyone is thinking” according to one of his supporters I spoke to. The True Finns, now known as The Finns Party, got 19% of the vote in 2011. Far right parties in Latvia and Poland are members of the same grouping in the European Parliament as the British Conservatives since David Cameron took his MEPs out of the more moderate EPP grouping. Some of these MEPs hold an annual commemoration of the Latvian Waffen SS of the Second World War.

Here in the UK, Ukip and Conservatives are pushing the same buttons, whipping up anti-foreigner sentiment, blaming economic austerity on immigrants and the vulnerable. Since 1945, Europe has been largely at peace because we have cooperated with each other. Increasingly now nationalism and xenophobia are returning.

On 22 May, the UK will elect its Members of the European Parliament by proportional representation. Every Labour vote will count, wherever it is cast. Now is the time to stand up against the rising fascism and racism. In a few years time it will be too late. I’ll be pulling out all the stops for this election. The general election is just over one year away. Next month’s election will be the most significant electoral event here this year. It is absolutely vital that all Labour supporters do everything they can over the next 5 and a bit weeks to ensure we elect as many Labour MEPs as possible to counter racism from the UK and the other 27 members of the EU.

Join me (and ‘like’ this) on the campaign trail and let’s make sure we leave it all on the field!

Be part of the Guildford Labour election campaign!

Be part of the Guildford Labour election campaign!

Euro Hustings in Camberley 28 March 2014


The European Parliament elections are on 22 May 2014, less than two months away. It is vital that all Labour supporters, wherever they live, come out and vote. The election uses proportional representation, so every Labour vote will count.

One of our candidates, John Howarth, will be speaking at a hustings meeting in Camberley. I know John well and he is an excellent public speaker. He will be a brilliant MEP but he will only have the chance to represent us if Labour supporters remember to vote on 22 May.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing John make mincemeat of his opponents at the hustings. See you all there!

Euro Hustings in Camberley

Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Surrey Heath


Last night I attended the selection hustings in Camberley where the Surrey Heath Labour Party chose their candidate to be MP in 2015. There was a very strong field of candidates, which was fantastic to see. Each candidate gave a five minute speech and then answered questions from the audience. I was able to ask a question to each of them. Having been through this process recently, I appreciated it from the candidates’ point of view as well. It is a challenging time for potential PPCs but the members and the voters of Surrey Heath would expect nothing less.

At the end, we all voted by ranking the candidates in order of preference, 1, 2, 3, etc. This is how the selection process was run in Guildford too. There were a similar number of postal votes too. The process was overseen by a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee.

The winner was Laween Atroshi, who I thought answered the questions from the floor particularly well. He has a great commitment to the party and the people of Surrey Heath. I think members were impressed with the work he has done researching the constituency and we were all pleased that he chose to apply here.

I think the Labour Party is really lucky to have candidates of such a high quality as Laween. He is energetic, talented and committed to working for everyone in Surrey Heath. As the PPC in a neighbouring constituency, I look forward to working with him on the many issues which affect voters in both our constituencies. Michael Gove will have a fight on his hands in 2015!

Me congratulating Laween Atroshi after the count

Me congratulating Laween Atroshi after the count

Why I’m backing Chris Ward to be Surrey Heath’s next Labour PPC


If you’re a member of the Surrey Heath Constituency Labour Party (like I am) you will soon be able to select the Labour Party’s candidate to be our MP at the 2015 general election. I have been analysing the candidates and I’m really pleased we have so many excellent applicants. After long consideration, I have decided to endorse Chris Ward. That is why, via Chris’s campaign, I sent out the following message to local members today:

Why I’m backing Chris Ward to be Surrey Heath’s next Labour PPC

ChrisWardForSurreyHeath

On 21 March you will be entitled to vote to select our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) to stand in the 2015 general election. Selecting a PPC is one of the privileges of being a Labour Party member. The more members who vote, the greater the mandate our candidate will have. It is vital that our candidate gets off to the strongest possible start to take on Michael Gove, one of the Tory high command. I am writing to ask you to use your vote, either at the hustings meeting or by requesting a postal vote.
There are many high quality applicants to be PPC in Surrey Heath, any one of whom could do the job. Personally, I will be voting for Chris Ward.
Chris is an active campaigner with local knowledge. He has the energy and experience to fight the entrenched Conservative position in this constituency. People in Surrey Heath are not more grasping or selfish than anywhere else in the country. They are just used to voting Tory. We can break this habit but only by getting our message across to everyone.
Chris is an expert in new social media. He can give the Surrey Heath Labour Party a chance to reach voters through new channels. He also has long experience of door-to-door canvassing, which is still the best way to listen to people when we have the manpower.
In Surrey Heath, we have a duty to the rest of the Labour Party to force Gove and his well-funded Conservative Association to fight here. If we don’t pin them down, they will campaign for Tory candidates in marginal seats across the country and could decide the outcome of the election. If selected, Chris Ward will challenge Gove in his own backyard.
2015 will be one of the key elections of our lifetimes. It will set the direction for our country one way or the other. As Labour Party members, we want to see a society where wealth and privilege are more evenly spread, where the NHS and the environment are protected, and all people are treated with tolerance and respect. That is why we have to act now and do what we can to ensure Labour wins in 2015.
Friends, please do your bit and vote for Chris Ward to be the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Surrey Heath.
Yours in solidarity,
Richard Wilson Surrey Heath CLP Executive member and PPC for Guildford
PS. If you have any questions about how to vote in the selection please contact the CLP secretary whose phone number is on the back of your membership card.

Debate: What future for the European Union?


Last night, I attended this debate between European Parliament election candidates at Royal Holloway University of London in Egham:

debate

There was a large audience, mostly students, who were very engaged with the subject. It started late because some candidates had been delayed by the extreme weather conditions and flooding nearby but it continued about an hour after the published finish time, so we weren’t short-changed. Also, the Conservative representative was actually Richard Robinson MEP.

An unusual aspect of the upcoming Euro election is that all of the candidates at the debate might well be elected. It is a proportional representation system, so every vote counts for the party it is cast for. For example, Labour votes in strongly Tory areas are added to Labour votes in strongly Labour areas to give a total for the whole South East. This is then compared to all the other parties to determine how many of the ten MEPs come from each party.

This is very different from Westminster elections where there can be only one winner in each constituency and there are no prizes for second place. There were many issues which united most of the candidates at last night’s debate. In a first-past-the-post contest candidates might have aggressively disagreed with each other more. In the European Parliament, MEPs cooperate more with each other than we see at Westminster, where punch-and-judy contests are more common.

However, as Labour’s Anneliese Dodds said, the centre of gravity of the European Parliament at the moment is on the right and this election can move it towards the centre-left. One questioner objected to cooperation between MEPs. He complained that four of the five candidates would probably agree on 70% of votes. The party that doesn’t like to cooperate is UKIP.

What has the EU done for us?

Three main categories of achievements spring to mind:

  1. Social Rights. For example, paid holidays – although British companies might have given workers paid holidays outside the EU, they would still have to compete with foreign companies who didn’t if the EU hadn’t mandated it.
  2. Consumer Rights. For example, the European Parliament voted 506-6 in favour of improving rights for disabled air travellers. Since this applies across the EU, airlines and countries cannot undercut each other and compete on a level playing field. Incidentally, only UKIP voted against.
  3. Environmental Protection. Outside the EU, Britain could work to clean up our beaches but without agreements with our neighbours their rubbish could be washed up on our beaches and vice versa. Working together benefits us all.

By cooperating on issues which affect us all, everyone in the EU can gain. The EU Solidarity Fund was discussed last night. If Britain applied, we could receive funding to cover 5% of the cost of the current highly-damaging floods in England. At the time of writing, David Cameron has still not requested this from the EU. This goes to the heart of the problem with the EU “debate” in this country: inherent xenophobia of the right. Cameron used to tell his party to “stop banging on about Europe”. He position is too weak in his party to tell them that today. Tory backbenchers froth at the mouth when they rant about foreigners. UKIP has given them permission to let loose and reveal their irrational fear. They are suffering from a phobia.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate… 

UKIP exists because of fear. It is part of their orthodoxy. Julia Reid, their representative last night, started by exhibiting xenophobia. She tried to revive fears of 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians coming “over here”. The reason Keith Vaz didn’t find any at Luton Airport was, she claimed, that they all arrived by bus, being too poor to afford air travel. There was no evidence for this, of course.

Her party has underlying homophobia and other fears too. She displayed paranoia when claiming climate change didn’t exist and it was a conspiracy of the scientific elite. She actually said that other scientists had disproven climate change but their work was censored by publications and the media. This sort of delusional rubbish can be read on some internet forums or heard from Daily Mail readers in pubs but this audience was mostly educated students, so eventually she was treated with contempt and laughed at, I’m pleased to report.

Nobody knows what UKIP’s policies are. Nigel Farage says their last manifesto was “drivel”. However, abolishing the NHS seems to be one of their plans. Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall and their PPC in Guildford, Harry Aldridge, have both said publicly they would prefer an insurance system instead.

Julia Reid even said that Britain should halt military cooperation with other European countries. She implied that France’s export of Exocet missiles to Argentina in about 1980 was a casus belli. UKIP is not just an amusing home for deranged bigoted pub-talk, people could actually get hurt if they achieve the electoral success they seek.

I saw two elderly UKIP supporters who had accompanied Reid marching the university corridors afterwards thunder-faced attempting to give leaflets to students. They caused bemusement and mirth here, let’s hope the rest of the country leaves them talking to themselves too.

Back in the land of the sane

UKIP was a distraction but the rest of the debate was very interesting. The EU helps countries come together for the good of their citizens. Improved fair trade agreements give Britain influence on the global stage it could not achieve on its own. Measures to reduce carbon emissions and prevent animal cruelty all have to include cross-border cooperation. Without the EU these important achievements would not be possible.

It is vital that we have capable, committed MEPs representing us in Europe. The Tory MEP, Richard Robinson, is anti-EU and, like the other Tory MEPs, is no longer part of a mainstream grouping in the European Parliament. If our country is marginalised we cannot influence the direction of the EU and we will all lose out.

Anneliese Dodds, the Labour candidate, showed that she understands the issues in Europe and has the talent and ability to fight Britain’s corner and win for the people of the South East.

Guildford’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate for 2015


On 27 November 2013 I was selected by the members of Guildford Constituency Labour Party to be their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) in the next election. I am incredibly pleased and honoured to have been selected and I’m very grateful to the members for voting for me.

The vote followed an evening of speeches by all the potential candidates and questions from the audience. I have addressed hustings before but this was the first time I had applied for selection as a PPC. It was a fantastic experience and a really friendly atmosphere. Guildford CLP is very well organised (and the selection evening went very smoothly) and has many active and engaged members. I really enjoyed chatting to everyone before and afterwards. Members are very well informed about political issues and asked some very testing questions.

The last two days have been a blur of activity. I have been talking to many voters about some of the key issues: the NHS, the cost of living crisis, the bedroom tax, local democratic deficiencies, the living wage, the housing shortage, school places, rail fares, Britain’s place in Europe, etc. The Tory-LibDem Coalition is dismantling the NHS, preparing schools for privatisation, trashing our environment, scrapping social security and attacking workers’ rights.

In Guildford, only Labour can stand up for ordinary people. We have a great dedicated team here. Over the next 18 months we’ll be running an active energetic campaign for a fairer more equal society. I hope you’ll join us on the journey. Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for take-off!

Richard Wilson and Guildford CLP Chairman Lynda MacDermott

Richard Wilson and Guildford CLP Chairman Lynda MacDermott

Message to Labour members in Guildford from PPC selection hopeful Richard Wilson


I am so proud to have been shortlisted by the Labour Party in Guildford for selection as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC). It is a great honour to be in the company of the other excellent candidates who have put themselves forward. There will soon be a hustings meeting for all eligible local members to attend so they can decide which candidate to select to stand for Parliament in 2015. Also, members who cannot attend the meeting can still apply for a postal vote. Any questions about the selection process should be directed to info@guildfordlabour.org

Here is my candidate statement which all members will soon be receiving:

Candidate Statement – Richard Wilson

Dear Guildford CLP Member,

Britain is facing a crisis. The cost of living is rising rapidly and wages are stagnant or falling. Quality housing is unaffordable for more and more families. The NHS is at breaking point this winter as the coalition government privatises and fragments it. Workers’ rights are being trashed and social security stigmatised and undermined. The Tories and LibDems are presiding over a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary people to a tiny privileged minority at the top.

However, even now there is hope. In 2015, Labour can return to power and repair the damage caused by Cameron and Osborne then build the kind of equal, fair society we all, as Labour Party members, wish to see. This will only happen if we all play our part. You can start by voting in this ballot to select your Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for 2015. By showing you care enough to vote, whoever is selected will have a greater mandate and a kick-start to their campaign.

My name is Richard Wilson and I am standing for selection. I am a 42-year old airline pilot and I have lived in an adjoining constituency for 13 years. I am Labour through and through, having been a member for 17 years and a supporter all my life. I have long experience of campaigning enthusiastically in many constituencies on many issues including the NHS, the environment and education. I was state educated, being the son of two teachers, and I’m a long term member of a union, BALPA. I have been a council candidate five times and have fulfilled a range of CLP and campaign roles.

If selected, I promise a campaign full of energy which will be welcoming to all members and supporters whether they want to make large or small commitments to help. Most of all, I want the next 18 months to be meaningful, effective and enjoyable for everyone involved.

As Labour Party members, you have the right to expect your PPC to throw themselves totally into the campaign. We have a great opportunity to improve Labour’s electoral position in Guildford, at the general election and council elections, but also in the 2014 Euro election. Together, by the strength of our common endeavour, we can force important issues for ordinary people onto the agenda.

If selected, I will take our message into the community. Could you help me do this? Would you like your PPC to visit your residents’ group, your workplace, your hospital, your religious group, your university, your union or your coffee morning, and listen to people’s concerns? I am used to giving media interviews and speaking in public and have knocked on many many doors for Labour. Please have a look at my blog, wilsonrichard.com, to see the recent issues I have been involved with, or phone me at home on 01276 479658.

Guildford CLP is a very friendly, welcoming, active group. This is why I have chosen to stand for selection here. This is the first time I have applied anywhere and this is the only CLP I have applied to. As an airline captain, I know what it means to take responsibility. If you trust me with your vote I will ensure our campaign is energetic, effective and open to everyone to participate in, in whatever way they feel comfortable.

May 2015 will be a key turning point, one way or the other, in the history of this country. You can influence the direction we turn. Please stand up for the many, not the few, and show your support for Labour by voting in this ballot.

Thank you,

Richard Wilson

Vote Labour in Winkfield and Cranbourne on 28 Nov


Yesterday, I was out with a team from the Bracknell Labour Party knocking on doors in Winkfield. There is going to be a by-election in the Winkfield and Cranbourne ward of Bracknell Forest Council on 28 Nov 2013. There are 42 councillors on the council and, at the moment, two of them are Labour.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Bigger Democratic Mandate

The two Labour councillors were also in the canvassing team. Cllr Mary Temperton and Cllr Tricia Brown punch well above their weight on the council, forcing it to work for local people and not just for itself. The result of this by-election will not change the control of the council but it will mean much more scrutiny and accountability. A Labour vote in Winkfield and Cranbourne is a vote for democracy. Labour have an excellent candidate in Janet Keene who, if elected, will hit the ground running.

If you live here, look out for Labour canvassers and don't forget to vote Labour on 28 Nov!

If you live here, look out for Labour canvassers and don’t forget to vote Labour on 28 Nov!

 

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