Tag Archives: UKIP

Press Statement – Surrey Council Pay Hike Petition


Press Statement from Richard Wilson, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Guildford

19 May 2014 – for immediate release

Petition Launched to Reverse Councillors’ Pay Hike

A petition has been launched on Surrey County Council’s own website to force leading councillors to return the massive allowances they recently voted themselves.[note 1]

The entire Independent Remuneration Panel resigned after the Conservative majority group on the Council ignored its recommendations and forced through huge rises for its appointment holders [note 2]. For example, the Deputy Leader’s special allowance was increased by 60% and he now collects nearly £44,000 per year in allowances.

There was a public outcry at the scale and audacity of the rises. The Council has come under fierce criticism about the deteriorating state of Surrey’s roads, despite Conservative council candidates at the last election pledging to fix potholes. The public feels powerless to stop councillors from enriching themselves and to force them to fix our roads.

However, this could be about to change. Under the council’s own rules Surrey residents can set up a petition on its website and Richard Wilson [note 3] has done just that. The petition calls on councillors to “return the massive unacceptable pay rises awarded to leading councillors”. There is nothing the council can do to remove the petition.

Richard Wilson explained, “Like many people, I felt enraged by the blatant abuse of power by councillors who voted themselves huge pay rises. This petition is an ideal method for angry Surrey Council Tax payers to express how they feel. When I set up the petition I had a short negotiation with the council’s staff to make sure it complies with their rules. I was happy to remove all references to names of political parties from it because this is not a party political issue. I am not trying to make political capital from this petition. In fact, I have written to all the councillors who opposed the pay hike to invite them to sign the petition. To show this is a cross-party issue I have also invited my Ukip and LibDem opponents to show they oppose it too. I would like to thank the Ukip parliamentary candidate for signing the petition so quickly.” [note 4]

Richard Wilson added, “Surrey County Council recently voted not to pay all its employees a Living Wage. I was in the public gallery when the Conservative Leader, Cllr Hodge, angrily dismissed the idea of giving employees dignity by permitting them to feed, clothe and house their families from their own pay packet as being unaffordable. Now those very workers will be paying increased Council Tax to finance fat cat Tory councillors. By ignoring independent advice and grabbing this much taxpayers’ money for himself and his appointees he has shown he is totally out of touch with the electorate. I call on Cllr Hodge to return the allowances to the previous level and consider his position on the council.”

After being open for about 2 days the petition already has nearly 100 signatures and is one of the most popular petitions on the council’s website. Anyone can sign the petition but signatures only count when confirmed by clicking on the emailed link which is automatically sent out and usually goes to the “junk” folder.

Ends

Note 1: The petition can be found here http://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/moneygrab/

Note 2: From the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-27398200

Note 3: Richard Wilson’s blog gives more biographical information http://wilsonrichard.com/about/ and he can be reached on Richard@guildfordlabour.org or 01483 511272.

Note 4: The UKIP candidate’s tweet of support is here:

 

photo RW

 

Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate

 

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

 

 

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.

signature

 

 

 

 

Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate

 

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!

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.

Don’t Quip About UKIP


UKIP candidate giving a Nazi salute

UKIP candidate giving a Nazi salute

UKIP have been causing a stir electorally for a while now but last week’s local elections saw them take so many votes, with so few relevant policies, such poor candidates, and so little campaign work, that they cannot be ignored any longer.

They are clearly a threat to the Conservative Party. Ken Clarke went on Sky News to slag them off, calling them “clowns” just before polling day. Unsurprisingly, that wasn’t enough to persuade voters not to vote for them. David Cameron had previously called UKIP “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”. In the run up to polling day, bizarrely, he wouldn’t even utter the word “UKIP” in interviews.

UKIP were fielding a huge number of candidates and another pointless Tory strategy was to find the craziest ones and expose them. “So what?” the British electorate replied.

UKIP are a dangerous right-wing force but the Tories’ masterplan for dealing with them was counter-productive. These jokers are no laughing matter.

Regression to the Mean

David Cameron and his strategist, Gideon “George” Osborne, only have themselves to blame for providing UKIP with fertile territory. They have legitimised being mean. It is now perfectly acceptable in polite company to complain about single mothers again (remember Peter Lilley’s little list?). Their lexicon of “scroungers” and “strivers” has become adopted first in the tabloid press, then the broadcast media, and now in workplaces across the country.

It was the Tories who used vilification of benefit claimants as a political weapon. They can’t complain that UKIP picked it up and showed how experts can appeal to the worst in human nature. Their offer to voters is “Feel free to hate”. The Tories may have hoped to direct their poison at certain groups. UKIP have no such restraint. They have free rein to be anti-benefit claimant, anti-disabled, anti-single mother, homophobic, anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant and (from the communications I receive from UKIP stalkers I’m entitled to say this) racist.

Cameron’s Coulrophobia

The electoral arithmetic for David Cameron looks daunting. UKIP takes 6 votes from the Conservative Party for every 1 it takes from Labour. UKIP gained no seats from Labour last week.

The Tory Party is deeply divided on Europe, as always, and Nigel Farage will not consider any pact with them while Cameron is leader. The Party hated Cameron’s modernisation exercise before the 2010 election but put up with it in order to win the election, which it didn’t. The backwoodsmen won’t get fooled again. The overwhelming pressure on Cameron is to chase UKIP to the right. He won’t catch them, of course.

If the Tories stay where they are, more and more voters, members, activists, councillors and eventually MPs will defect to UKIP. If they move right, Labour will hold the centre ground almost unopposed. The centre ground is where elections are decided.

Cameron’s position is impossible. Luckily for him, he’s got arch-strategist Osborne to help him.

Making Plans for NigelFarage

Labour cannot ignore UKIP and just wait for the 2015 election to drop into our laps either. I’ve heard a few strategies for countering UKIP on the doorstep and I think it’s important we use the right one. People feel fed up with politicians generally, UKIP voters are not all (or even mostly) incorrigible bigots. They voted UKIP for many different reasons.

One strategy, used by the Tories so unsuccessfully, is to ridicule and abuse them. Of course many of their candidates and supporters deserve to be shown up as the racist thugs that they are but the more ‘politicians’ slag them off, the more the public like them.

Another strategy is to pick holes in the UKIP manifesto. This is easy to do. Anyone who reads political manifestos would be appalled by it. So, what percentage of UKIP voters, or any voters, have read the UKIP manifesto, or any manifesto? It really doesn’t matter what they write in it, people will vote UKIP for their own reasons and we have to understand that. One voter told our canvasser that he would be voting UKIP because of “cookies on computers”. This was not because he was worried about being spied on by having cookies placed on his system, it was the annoying warnings and disclaimers that pop up informing you about it. He thought that was political correctness gone mad and UKIP would put a stop to it.

Politics is out of touch with many ordinary people. This is a dangerous time and an extreme right-wing movement could take hold unless we act. I believe we need to ask people why they think UKIP want their vote. What will they use it for? What sort of country would they create? Would there be an NHS? Jobs? Foreign holidays? Retiring abroad? Would people you know be persecuted for being gay, an ethnic minority, disabled, poor?

Most of all, we need to hold our ground politically and not chase UKIP to the right. We need to give our vision of a Britain we are proud of, tolerant, fair and outward-looking, where people have rights and also responsibilities. Tempting though it is to let Nigel and Dave slug it out, we need to get involved too. Our country needs us.

Turning Surrey Heath red, one step at a time


Voters in Surrey Heath rewarded Labour candidates in the six divisions contested here for Surrey County Council with a huge increase in our vote. I want to thank the voters of Bagshot, Windlesham and Chobham for voting for me, in particular. I received 426 votes, the highest number I have ever received. This was 13.7% of the total. In the equivalent division last time we gained 5.7%. An 8 percentage point increase is more than I expected and I never dreamed I would finish ahead of the LibDems too. I’m humbled by the trust that people have shown in me and I promise to use this mandate for progressive change here.

As the Tories are dragged to the right by UKIP, we will stay where we are and where people need us to be. We will be here to stand against the vilification of those on benefits, ethnic minorities and vulnerable groups. 

We didn’t win any of the six divisions this time. To win here we need to take one step at a time and build our support. This election was a huge step. Before we can win elections we need to contest fair elections. In this election we fielded 6 courageous candidates and faced down the abuse and threats from the, currently dominant, Tory Party.

Businesses in Surrey Heath are unfairly pressured to donate to, or associate themselves with, the Conservatives. Tory councillors’ business interests need more thorough scrutiny. In the next few years I will target this anti-democratic symbiotic relationship.

I congratulate my Conservative opponent, Mike Goodman, on being elected. My compliments go to Ruth Hutchinson and Robert Shatwell too. I would like to thank the Returning Officer and their staff for conducting the election efficiently, as usual.

Personally, I look forward to working with Ruth again, as we have done before, in efforts to improve our community.

My next challenge is to throw myself into the community activism work that was rewarded by voters. I will fight to enhance our villages and environment and always remember the faith that the voters of Bagshot, Windlesham and Chobham have placed in me, in the election of 2 May 2013.

I’m truly grateful. Thank you.

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