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:


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…

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.

Post Office security needs reviewing if they are to remain in our community

The Post Office must do more to prevent violence in their stores. The murder of Craig Hodson-Walker in Fairfield was the tip of the iceberg. Many Post Offices in the parishes of Bromsgrove have been attacked and shopowners are questioning whether it is worth carrying on.

I spoke to Loucas Thomas, owner of Blackwell Convenience Store, which has no Post Office. The previous owners decided to stop running it after suffering a series of attacks. Mr Thomas has been approached to restore the Post Office, but he says the security concerns for him and his family outweigh the business benefits.

The Liberal Democrats are committed to Post Offices as they form a key part of the community. I will be speaking to the Royal Mail and the Police to address the security concerns.

Speaking to Loucas Thomas, owner of Blackwell Convenience Store

Chance of a hung parliament is exactly the time to vote for the Liberal Democrats

The long pre-election campaign has began, with both the Conservatives and Labour wooing Lib Dem voters as neither side can win outright based on current polls. The Conservatives are peddling the line that a hung parliament means a weak government and so people (especially Lib Dems)should vote for them to prevent this and get rid of Labour

In fact a hung parliament is exactly when people should vote Lib Dem. The (lazy) argument for not voting Lib Dem amongst those sympathetic to us is “it’s a wasted vote” or “…never get into power, so doesn’t matter about their policies”. Well in a hung parliament we could be involved in a coalition government, so our policies are more likely to be adopted.

If you believe in fairer and greener taxes, want to scrap tuition fees, letting teachers teach, smaller primary school classes, more local powers to your council, want electoral reform and Vince Cable to guide the UK economy then vote Lib Dem to achieve this!

Choice and representation

On a separate note the Conservatives believe in giving people choice in terms of service provisions such as involving private health and parents running schools. Interesting that for provision of government they are clinging to first past the post even though it clearly reduces choice and is hugely unrepresentative of what people want… Virtually all modern democracies in the world have proportional representative voting system, but not in one of the oldest Democracies in the world, the UK.

What does it feel like to be the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bromsgrove?

My selection as the Lib Dem PPC for Bromsgrove was confirmed last night at a hustings in Blackwell. After sorting out a few things for the media and a relatively early night I was awoken by my mother who wondered why I hadn’t informed her of the result? she was still working as I went to bed being my chief reason!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to contesting the next General Election in Bromsgrove and giving the voters a real choice there. At last when canvassing I can say I’m the candidate and really push forward the Lib Dem ideas for the area, whereas we’ve mainly been information gathering at present. Many months of hard work ahead (although there is a lot of debate about whether it’ll be 25 March rather than 6 May now) and I’m slowly but surely pulling together my team of willing volunteers.

Pre-Budget Report – highly anticipated but didn’t really say a lot…

The Pre-Budget Report (PBR) didn’t really say a lot and did not change the economic landscape at all. The two major stories will be National Insurance (NI) increasing by 1% and the tax on banks who choose to pay bonuses over £25k to employees before April 2010. My take on the two are:

  1. NI tax increase is hardly helping hardworking individuals, The average salary in the UK is £24k, and according to the PBR, those earning under £20k will not pay more NI, so this is hardly fair.
  2. The tax on bank bonuses is actually quite clever as it is on the banks who must choose to either pay out bonuses, and hence tax to the Treasury or keep more of their profit to rebuild balance sheets. Also if bonuses are deferred to next year the new higher rate of tax (50% on those earning £150k+) will come in so the Treasury will get increased taxes then too.

It was a shame that Labour chose not to reveal more about how they would look to balance the books in the long term. The Lib Dems have already stated they would scrap spending on Trident, maximum public sector pay increases of £400, tax on banks profits (as they are artificially making high profits from implicit government guarantees and benign cost of money)  as well as scrap the Regional Development Agency.

The Tories have done a lot of attacking on the UK’s fiscal deficit but have not spelt out what they would cut. Although more importantly for me is their persistence calls for cuts to be made NOW even though the timing of reduction in fiscal support for the economy is critical, too soon and we lurch back into recession or a Japan style growth (i.e. none) for 15 years or more, too late and we will have a massive debt problem.

Personally it is too soon to cut Government spending and indeed none of the other G7 economies are proposing cuts in fiscal stimulus in 2010/11 unlike the Tories.