Sunday, 28 May 2017

Our candidate called

Last night about 7.30pm, a knock on the door. It was our candidate Guy Opperman with one of Prudhoe's newly elected councillors Gordon Stewart working their way around the street. In seven years as our MP Guy has worked incredibly hard and when it comes to his willingness to meet anyone and pound the tarmac, he is faultless. He has willingly worked on railway matters with myself and colleagues. There are many reasons why he should have my vote but I will be struggling. Very little said about Brexit in this election so far but north of the Border, if the SNP receive a strong show of support, our UNION is in great difficulty over it. I think the concept of Brexit is questionable at the least. And I think the way we have set it about so far, referendum and all, is totally ridiculous. I could live outside the EU but not outside the Common Market or Custom's Union. Nuances millions would have to take time to dissect. Further, in this campaign, the Social Care issue has boiled up. Here we positively benefit from the utterly different ways Scots do things. Guy asked me how will you pay for it? My reply: not with a lottery. Pretty poor show if as a society we are not willing to share the costs and the benefits to everyone. A modern carehome boarded up a mile away is the local index to the issue.  It lies at the heart of Tory philosopy that people can work hard, improve themselves from the lottery of birth and pass that wealth to their children. A highly unpredictable death tax utterly undercuts that and in our community with its house prices will be deleterious. During the day I also met Wesley Foot who is representing the Greens. I think he is one to watch. A smart local, a businessman himself. So that leaves Labour and the LibDems. Will their candidates knock on the door? For me, the likely final point of decision will be the Prudhoe hustings 5th June 1930 in the Anglican church.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Tories offer nothing for young and old people

Earlier this week, we were asking what do the Tories offer young people. This morning, & rather to my surprise: what do the Tories offer old people? The new manifesto is apparently about to lob a series of grenades at the older generation. A Great Christian Nation should unavoidably and indivisibly be founded on Christ's great instruction to care for those in need. The demands of old age are so variable that the only fair solution is the pooling of social care. It sounds as if we are about to fly from this and that everyone can expect in old age to have their assets reduced to £100,000. Only the filthy rich will ever hand on the wealth they have created for their children. For most people there were will be no incentive to save whatsoever. I was brought up on an utter (and I thought Tory) mantra of save and avoid debt. But of course ever since that 1983 election, it has been chip, chip chip. I said a while back that I anticipate dying in penury and some friends laughed. I am more confident than ever that if I pass the threshold of 80 this is how I will end my days; in poverty, with no wealth to give my child (whose university education I have not the faintest idea of how to pay for). All because I tried to save! If it was not for the generous social care package available in Scotland I have not the faintest idea how the last 10 years with a none too well mother in law would have been managed. The Scots do think differently. Ever since I married one, I have been told that. We are a society that cares, quizzical look at me from south of the Border, do you understand? I do. DO NOT VOTE TORY if you want a future, unless you carry half a million with you. The Brexit business has already stuffed our future for our children free in Europe and now (perhaps because she really has no idea how to pay for Brexit (hence Chancellor/PM tension yesterday)), the nation is being told, you're ordinary folk, don't try and save, just get used to reducing your expectations. Does any of this rings bells for you or am I on some strange island of my own?

Friday, 5 May 2017

Northumberland Local Election Result 2017

So what explains the Northumberland result? A nest of things, some external, some self induced created the perfect storm for Labour. I am sure the larger Brexit factor and the Corbyn leadership played a role. But they far from account for this. It must be said the Conservatives worked very hard. In Prudhoe their two candidates had been making a difference for months. In Tynedale in general the notices in the Courant affair will undoubtedly had an impact. Substantially the Valley has felt whether it comes to Roads, Planning, Schools, utterly neglected. Don't forget the Post 16 School Travel Row and that impacts beyond Tynedale. The Tories say they will re-instate the payments. A major matter through the county has been the County Hall removal. How could this make friends? Removed to a town without even a railway station or early prospect of one. Again the Tories promise to reverse this. At the end of the day the Tories cannot simply produce a majority administration and going forward it will be fascinating to see who they team with and then whether their programme retains their commitments and how they get paid for. But fair doos, I congratulate Northumberland's Tories on a great result and I look forward to hearing what Mr Corbyn has done by end of day.