Eastleigh by-election: National Health Action


Unfortunately I only just discovered that outlook.com had decided this reply was junk- maybe it’s a little early for Microsoft to be launching it officially just yet! Ok, so the election was last week, where Iain got 392 votes, but I think it’s still worth posting for completeness.

> 1. What are your views on equal rights, for example do you support the introduction of gay marriage?

I’m not opposed to same sex marriage (covered in my earlier email)
[Q. What are you doing to support equal marriage? A. Nothing active. I think we need to maintain our focus on the economy and the threat of privatisation of the NHS at the moment. I’m not saying it’s not an important issue; but we have to prioritise things somehow. Personally I support equal marriage.]

> 2. I am very concerned about the introduction of secret courts as part of the Justice and Security Bill. Would you oppose the introduction of secret courts?

Yes – I too feel the very fact that this is being considered is very worrying in a supposedly free society.

> 3. In my view MPs have a poor track record on technology issues, for example the ill-considered Digital Economy Act, which my last MP was unwilling to discuss. What are your views on repeated attempts to introduce a snoopers charter?

As with 2 – this is an extremely regressive step and will simply escalate the fear and mistrust that threat to break up the essential cohesiveness that binds society together.

> 4. Do you agree that it would be easier to reduce dishonest and corrupt business practices if there was more transparency in company relationships and ownership? How would you tackle this issue? For example, would you back legislation to crack down on non-trading companies?

More transparency and accountability in everything. Commercial confidentiality clauses are one the things that cause markets in health care to fail at the expense of quality and safety in patient care.

> 5. Can you promise to fight to protect NHS services both nationally and at our local hospitals?

Yes – covered in my previous email.

[Q. Would you support new legislation to reverse the harm of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and stopping the privatisation of the NHS services? A. Yes – absolutely. This is the primary aim of my election campaign. Q. Can you promise to fight to protect services at our local hospitals? A. Yes – I promise to protect services at local hospitals and community and mental health services. The only situation where I would support closure of local health services would be if the services concerned were no longer being run to adequate standards of safety or quality. But in such circumstances health commissioners would need to ensure that replacement services of satisfactory quality were available at a location or locations that are convenient and accessible for the whole population of Eastleigh borough.]

> 6. Would you support any changes to the current laws on abortion and, if so, what changes would you like to see introduced?

This is a very divisive issue, over which, if required to vote on in Parliament, I would consult closely with my constituents. Personally I don’t see any pressing need to change the current abortion law.

> 7. What role do you think an MP has in local issues? What will you be able to do to help resolve issues like planning that other locally elected representatives are not able to do?

I believe that, as an MP not subject to a party whip, I would be a more effective voice for local people on local issues.

> 8. What measures would you take to promote green technology and to prevent climate change?

Covered in my previous email.

[Sustainable development funding to be made available to ‘green’ businesses and projects.
Better access to bank loans for local, small businesses.
Promote active travel, especially encouraging safe cycling and walking.
Reduce the costs of public transport.
Promote policies where the general principle is ‘the polluter pays’. This will preserve individuals’ choices, but it will ensure that one person’s choice to live a high carbon lifestyle doesn’t restrict another person’s choice to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It will also avoid the situation where the costs of people’s unsustainable lifestyle choices are borne by the environment and thus paid for by future generations.]

> 9. Do you have a by-election manifesto where I could find out more about issues that are important to you?

No. The NHAP is a very new party (created Nov 2012), so we don’t have a detailed manifesto yet. Please see our website http://www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk/ for the general thrust of our existing policies.

> 10. Do you intend to stand in future Eastleigh parliamentary elections?

This is for the Executive Committee of NHAP to decide. I probably would if asked.

> Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Please let me know if you would prefer me not to publish your responses on my weblog.

I don’t mind you publishing my responses.

Hopefully Iain will be back again in 2015!

Advertisements

Undecided Eastleigh by-election voter


Thanks to 38 Degrees handy email the candidates page, I decided to to stop waiting for random leaflets to drop through the door. It’s certainly helped me narrow down the options- after all, if they don’t reply when they want something from me (my vote) what are the chances of getting a response when they’ve been elected.

I didn’t get quite the same response rate as the Hedge End Blogger but surprisingly, especially given the short notice, almost half of the candidates actually replied. The next few posts are from the candidates but first, here are the questions (in no particular order!)

From: James Taylor – Hedge End
To: Colin Bex – Wessex Regionalist, Danny Stupple – Independent, David Bishop – Elvis Loves Pets Party, Daz Procter – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, Diane James – UKIP, Dr Iain Maclennan – National Health Action Party, Howling Laud Hope – Monster Raving Loony Party, Jim Duggan – Peace Party, John O’Farrell – Labour, Kevin Milburn – Christian Party, Maria Hutchings – Conservatives, Michael Walters – English Democrats, Mike Thornton – Liberal Democrats, Ray Hall – Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party

Subject: Undecided Eastleigh by-election voter

Message:

I will be voting in the by-election tomorrow unfortunately I have not yet heard from all the candidates, and the candidates I have heard from have not addressed all the issues that are important to me. Please could you answer the following questions to help me decide who I should vote for:

1. What are your views on equal rights, for example do you support the introduction of gay marriage?

2. I am very concerned about the introduction of secret courts as part of the Justice and Security Bill. Would you oppose the introduction of secret courts?

3. In my view MPs have a poor track record on technology issues, for example the ill-considered Digital Economy Act, which my last MP was unwilling to discuss. What are your views on repeated attempts to introduce a snoopers charter?

4. Do you agree that it would be easier to reduce dishonest and corrupt business practices if there was more transparency in company relationships and ownership? How would you tackle this issue? For example, would you back legislation to crack down on non-trading companies?

5. Can you promise to fight to protect NHS services both nationally and at our local hospitals?

6. Would you support any changes to the current laws on abortion and, if so, what changes would you like to see introduced?

7. What role do you think an MP has in local issues? What will you be able to do to help resolve issues like planning that other locally elected representatives are not able to do?

8. What measures would you take to promote green technology and to prevent climate change?

9. Do you have a by-election manifesto where I could find out more about issues that are important to you?

10. Do you intend to stand in future Eastleigh parliamentary elections?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Please let me know if you would prefer me not to publish your responses on my weblog.

Good luck tomorrow.

Thank you to all the candidates who replied– you’ve made it through to the final round of voting tomorrow!

If anyone else is still having trouble deciding, there is also a 38 Degrees by-election hustings video.

Another uninspiring election


Looking for Beer, Baccy and Crumpet party? Thanks to Ray for pointing out that their manifesto is now online!

Despite having twice the number of candidates, I think I may have been a tad optimistic to think that this election would be any more interesting than usual.

Being 2013 unable to adapt, almost all the parties are effectively engaging with voters using a variety of social media tools pushing tons of leaflets through doors. So far I have one letter and one leaflet from UKIP, three leaflets from the Conservatives, five leaflets from the Lib Dems …and nothing from the other candidates. The other candidates shouldn’t be too concerned though since:

  • I don’t want a free booklet about how many people will move here from Romania and Bulgaria
  • Everyone seems to be fighting to save our green fields
  • The Lib Dem leaflets are as infuriating as ever (that rant will have to wait for a future blog post!)

I have actually found a few of the candidates amongst the people talking about the election on twitter. It wouldn’t be a huge loss if they weren’t though- not exactly much substance, more:

  • where they’re canvassing (need to do a uksnow style map for this in time for the next general election!)
  • what the weather is like
  • how great their support is
  • how busy their HQ is
  • who’s interviewing them

In just two missed opportunities:

  • John O’Farrell revealed that he spoke about local issues to Ed Milliband, just not what those issues were
  • Maria Hutchings is against building on green fields in Botley/Boorley green but less willing to engage in discussions about where the houses might go instead (I actually thought Maria’s twitter stream was reasonably good before the election- maybe she’s too busy knocking on doors to tweet now)

As for everyone else on twitter, today seems to have been mainly:

But what about the other candidates? There are plenty of them but finding out about them is not quite so easy. Maybe if I lived in the centre of Eastleigh, I’d know more. Luckily, Eastleigh News has some articles, including one for the Beer, Baccy and & Crumpet Party, and The Independent has a brief introduction to some of the lesser known candidates. Even better, Matthew Myatt has managed to record a few interviews with the candidates, including Howling Laud Hope.

All of which makes for a pretty miserable choice. So far Laud Hope is most likely to get my vote! If I get time, I’m planning to try out the 38degrees email the candidates form to actually try and extract some useful information to base my vote on. In the mean time, if you are a candidate, please feel free to leave a message below!

Update: most people seem to find this post while looking for the Beer, Baccy and Crumpet manifesto so added link to their manifesto! (22 February 2013)

Anyone can win here!


Well it turns out you can resign from the House of Commons, so if I was crazy enough to stand in the by-election I wouldn’t have to break any manifesto promises! (Even when it comes to resigning those weasily MPs have to bend the rules ever so slightly to get round the slight inconvenience of not actually being allowed to resign, which I guess isn’t a huge shock.)

The Eastleigh by-election should at least be a little more interesting than the last general election and, finally, I’ll get the chance to vote Monster Raving Loony! If there don’t turn out to be any better alternatives that is- at least it’s marginally less pointless than spoiling a ballet paper for a change.

I was wondering how the local Lib Dems might adapt their irritating campaign tactics for the by-election. The result won’t make any difference to which party is in government, and that’s already a coalition of the only two parties who can win in Eastleigh. Well, it appears that old habits die hard. I do hope they’re wrong; it would be so nice to have a change!

So far it looks like we can expect a massive seven candidates to stand but I’d still like to see more independents. There’s not long left to get nominations in but if anyone needs help with signatures, please get in touch!