Most common joke made to me…

…”can you put it on expenses?” Sigh…

Really can’t wait for the political system to be properly cleaned up and a new breed of honest, ordinary people getting into politics.

Come on people if you want to make a difference get involved, no point standing on the sidelines. You can make a difference!

How long does it take to deliver leaflets to the whole parliamentary consituency?

Answer is, it depends on the constituency. Whether it is rural, lots of compact estates, full of flats etc. A lot also depends on the deliverers and the speed they can walk. There are approximately 35,000 homes in most constituencies and on average a deliverer can do 100 an hour.

So a just a small question of finding 350 man hours…and some may even do this more than once in an election campaign.

It does sound a lot but again it depends on how big the local party is, how many activists, how many activists are prepared to deliver to more than just a couple of streets. Bromsgrove Lib Dems are not a large local party but luckily its activity rate is high as a percentage of its membership, although I am pulling out all the stops with my mum, wife, mother in law and friends all giving a hand.

As the candidate I’m doing a fair bit of deliveries but my primary role is to meet people and organisations  so they get to know me, I can understand their concerns and help them where possible now. However, how I do in the elections will be firmly down to the legwork the deliverers have put in, so thanks in advance team!

P.S. If you’d like to help or wish to donate to the Bromsgrove Liberal Democrats election campaign then contact me via:

e-mail: Phil@philipling.org.uk

phone: 07545589693

“It’s the economy, stupid”

In continued recognition of Liberal Democrat’s economic competence, The Financial Times and Economist in the last few days has criticised both Conservative and Labour’s honesty and openness on the necessary actions to control the budget deficit whilst commending our plans and approach.

George Osborne get’s a particularly strong attack from the Economist

“One explicit difference between Mr Brown’s plans and Mr Cameron’s is that the latter wants to start cutting this year, despite the risk of stalling the crawl out of recession. In that, he is probably mistaken, just as he was wrong to oppose Mr Brown’s fiscal stimulus. In both cases, the Tories may have subordinated sensible economic thinking to political positioning.”

The Liberal Democrats have been explicit in some of the actions necessary to cut the deficit identifying areas like Trident, ID cards, scrapping child trust funds and a 10% tax on banks profits. However, unlike the Conservatives, the cuts will be made at the right time when the recovery is clearly happening, rather than straight away and derail the recovery.

As I’ve said in the first Focus of 2010, do we want Vince Cable, with experience in industry and a PhD in Economics to run the economy or George Osborne with his lack of expertise and experience and would be learning his trade at the country’s expense…

The best teachers aren’t always the best graduates, just as top football managers weren’t always great players

David Cameron is right that standards need to be raised in teaching, however, his answer of only allowing graduates with a 2:1 from elite universities to have financial support for teach training is utterly wrong. If teachers were paid more then you would have more “high flying” graduates thinking about it.

I went to the University of Bath, a top 10 university, and I know of only one person who went into teaching. Many science and engineering graduates I know are doing accountancy and management consultancy as they’ve chosen the money (rightly or wrongly) over a life of low paid research or teaching.

There is also no guarantees that the best teachers are the ones with the best degrees, teaching involves inspiring and delivering great lessons, many exams are a test of regurgitating lecture notes.

In the world of sport the best players do not make the best coaches. In the football Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Rafa Benitez or Roy Hodgson played top flight football and they’re at the top of the footballing tree. Likewise many great players have struggled in coaching Tony Adams, Paul Ince and John Barnes to name a few recent coaches.

Lastly it was pointed out in the Guardian that the Tory’s “Maths Tsar” Carol Vorderman only got a third in engineering at Cambridge…

The election team has roared into life

Once the snow was melted by the rain on Saturday my team hit the pavements with the first Lib Dem Focus of 2010. We’ve made a good start, lots of feedback already and I was particularly pleased with the response to my comments in the Bromsgrove Standard on cold weather payments.

Nationally 1.7m pensioners (and 2,100 in Bromsgrove) are missing out on cold weather payments worth £25 for each 7 consecutive days of below 0C , £75 so far this winter, if they are on pensions credit. Pensioners are missing out if they have not applied for the pensions credit. My team and I are already helping some constituents in understanding the process and ensuring they are applying for all eligible benefits.

Clegg has been prudent in putting some policies on hold

My view is that a lot of what the Lib Dems were looking to do; free personal care for elderly, free childcare, extended shared maternity leave, citizens pensions is not feasible when you are also talking about making cuts in government expenditure not just rebalancing the books. We are already proposing cuts to trident replacement, abolish Child Trust Fund, restricting public sector pay increase for two years to £400 and cancelling ID cards.

You have to be realistic and reasonable. Companies and families adjust to the economic situation and so must political parties. We still firmly believe in free personal care for the elderly and no tuition fees for students, we did introduce these measures in Scotland when we were in coalition government.

We can still say what we stand for and advocate their introduction when the time is right, which is better than being populist and jumping on the nearest bandwagon that rolls by.

The Lib Dems are still proposing pretty serious changes, which would make the UK a fairer country:

  • A fairer tax system – lifting income tax threshold to £10k, effectively a £700 tax cut and taking c.4 million low paid and pensioners out of tax. Paid for by taxes on the wealthy and with green taxes (to change consumption behaviour).
  • A fair start for children – maximum primary school class sizes of 15 for children up to age 8. Most children from impoverished backgrounds will automatically be behind by the time they are 7 so we need to give them as good a start as possible.
  • A fairer economy, investment in green technology and industries, it is a growth industry and we’ll become less dependent on the financial sector.
  • A fairer form of government, more power to local authorities and  electoral reform to enable proper choice for voters people and make sure their votes count.

The two most common questions I’ve been asked by friends and family since being a PPC

  1. Have you quit work to campaign?
  2. Are you getting paid to campaign?

Answer to the first question is no I’m still working, unfortunately I can’t afford not to, and as I’ve stated in a previous post many candidates still work, apart from those who are rich or party officials. This is a worrying trend if people want more everyday people to represent them.

Second question is answered really by the first. No candidate from any party (as far as I know) is paid to campaign for their seat, if they already work for the party then it’s slightly different.

That’s not to say I won’t be campaigning hard, just means taking more leave, coming to an agreement with work and relying on an efficient local party machine – luckily the local exec are well organised 🙂

Hope that’s answered a couple of common questions and how a PPC gets around it.