Labour’s inept ‘zero hour contract’ policy is another reminder: if you thought things were bad under Gordon Brown, you ain’t seen nothing yet

Labour’s latest back-of-a-napkin policy is to compel companies to fully hire workers on regular hours after twelve weeks of ‘zero hour’ contractual work. It stinks of Labour’s woeful ignorance of how business and the economy works. They have no understanding of markets and, short of a Marxist revolution and the overturning of Western civilisation, this can only possibly have disastrous consequences for working people.

Back in 1997, the British people elected a ‘reformed’ Labourite, Tony Blair, who had come to accept that – in order to better peoples’ lot across society – you have to work with the markets, not against them. Now, in 2015, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls seem to present an alternative of ineptitude and turmoil for the British economy.

brit economy

The key problem with this policy is that a lot of employers will simply rearrange their handling of zero hour contractual employment to avoid unnecessary cost. Like most people in society, they won’t gleefully choose to pay more or be constrained more than they have to – that’s how a market works; choice is one of the many aspects of freedom.

If forced to pay a great deal more to the government after twelve weeks, a lot of employers will terminate those zero hour contracts after eleven weeks. Simple. That means that people who would otherwise be working on zero hour contracts will not be working at all – they will be poorer. It also means that people (such as students, young parents, and close-to-retirement workers) who prefer the flexibility of zero hour contracts will no longer be able to work within that parameter of flexibility under a Labour government – they will be poorer and less free to make their own choices.

Whatever ‘good intentions’ the Labour leadership might have (if they do, which is far from certain), this is a policy that attacks jobs, workers, and some of the very poorest people in Britain. And it does so because Labour has ditched Blair’s guise of a reformed ‘Third Way’ in politics, and has reverted to full-blooded, unreconstructed state socialism – a crackpot set of ideas that has only ever harmed workers and the poorest in our communities.

As the son of someone currently on a zero hour contract, I don’t believe that every person on them is an exploited surf being crushed by the system. A lot of them are people who have found themselves in a situation where this is preferable to the alternative, or even their first preference. Labour’s universal loathing of more flexible employment is out of touch with reality.

But it doesn’t stop at this policy. Labour’s promise to ‘freeze’ energy bills somewhat backfired when energy costs came down and so customers received cuts in their energy bills. If those previous higher prices had actually been frozen – as was the Labour mantra – we’d all now be paying artificially higher energy bills; even higher than the energy companies wanted to charge us. It was madness to promise a freeze without any knowledge of how the markets would perform in the next year – it comes from a deep-seated ignorance of how the economy works and a wilful decision to reject reality and revert to socialist dogma.

Along with a whole ream of current Labour policies, these are examples of how out of touch with reality the Labour party really is.

brit economy 2

Our economy is starting to look a lot healthier after a prolonged period of gloom following the economic crash of 2007. We now have more people in work than ever before, the highest growing economy in the developed world, and the deficit has been halved since 2010. Some would like to have gone further with the deficit reduction programme, and there is plenty to debate about what is best for the British economy in the next five years. The work so far has been successful, but not everything is suddenly made ‘perfect’, and so there are debates to be had.

But those debates should be based on reality and sensible proposals, working with the world as we find it rather than wishing it away. Unfortunately, under Ed Miliband’s stewardship, the Labour party has become an outdated, out-of-touch rabble, completely ignorant of economic reality. It is an incredibly dangerous mix, and could be disastrous for ordinary, working people across Britain.

If you thought that rising unemployment, a spiralling deficit, and destructive management of the economy under Gordon Brown was bad, there is one thing to be said if Ed Miliband enters Number 10 after this election: you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Under Labour, Kempston has become the forgotten neighbour of Bedford

vote conservative

You may have felt that Kempston is sometimes the forgotten neighbour of Bedford, and that we simply don’t get the same amount of funding as other areas, which are lucky enough to have better fortunes with different Councillors representing them.

Well, it turns out you would be right! And now we have the figures to prove it:

In the year 2014-15, almost £2.19 million of taxpayers’ money was spent on footpaths across Bedford Borough. Kempston Central & East (a very big two seat ward with two Councillors) saw just £30,720 of that spent on its footpaths.

In other words, £54,737 was spent per Councillor across Bedford Borough – Kempston Central & East saw just a measly sum of £15,360 per Councillor secured. That means that current Councillors couldn’t even secure A THIRD of the Borough average in funding. And it gets worse: in Kempston North (around the Hillgrounds area), there was no money whatsoever spent on footpaths.

pavement

The truth of the matter is that Labour isn’t working for Kempston. As a town, we keep voting Labour in, and things never get better – Kempston remains forgotten, and we don’t get the fair amount of funding we have paid for. Time and time again, Kempston ends up being represented by Labour Councillors to the detriment of our town.

We would be mad to entrust Ed Miliband and Ed Balls with our national finances after they wrecked the economy; why do we keep giving the local Labour party a chance to ruin things in Kempston?

kempston1

Our local Conservative team has already had a positive impact with getting local repair work done, despite having zero political representation in Kempston at Borough level. Imagine what we could do if people actually voted us in!

Try something different in May: it would be a nice change to get value for money in what we’ve actually paid for rather than forever being a forgotten neighbour of Bedford. Kempston is a great town – it deserves just as much attention as Newnham, Wilshamstead, Harrold, Bromham, Clapham or any other part of our Borough. Under Labour, we’re not getting it.

 

Take the Politics out of Education: get Labour out of Kempston

Recent figures show that in Bedford Borough, 98.8% of parents were able to send their children to their chosen middle, second and upper school in 2014. 92.3% of lower and primary pupils in Bedford Borough also went to their parents’ preferred school, similarly breaking the national average.

This is due to fantastic changes we’ve seen locally, due to new national policies which – as well as placing a new emphasis on raising standards – have freed up money and support for a new way of organising education locally. The new ‘academies’, which Hastingsbury, Robert Bruce and Daubeney have all now converted to or are converting to, allow for greater freedom and choice, as well as extra support in improving standards. Setting up ‘free schools’ extends choice even further for parents and families who would otherwise place their children in schools based purely on a postcode lottery – suddenly, under this government, you don’t need to be wealthy to have empowerment over where and how your child is educated.

school

Despite the fact that Labour’s Tony Blair originally brought in academy status for schools, our local Labour party and Councillors have ritually attempted to block the conversion of local Kempston schools into academies, blocking potentially £millions from local pupils’ education. They also bitterly opposed the creation of new free schools, hence one of the reasons our first one had to be set up in Bedford rather than Kempston, where Labour currently has a monopoly of Councillors.

Why, when it was a Labour government that first introduced academies, has our local Labour party been so against them as well as opposing the Conservative policy of free schools?

puppets

The reason: because they are committed to an outdated 1970s political ideology of maximum state control over everything, and are unwilling to provide greater flexibility and freedom of choice in local education. When an academy or free school is set up, the Local Educational Authority (LEA) loses complete control over it. Statist socialists hate it, because suddenly local teachers, communities, pupils and parents have clout, rather than all power residing in the hands of local politicians and bureaucrats.

At this election, you have the chance to take the politics out of local education. The local Labour party has a rabid commitment to an outdated model based on vested interests and political ideology, which has failed so many state school children. It has a pathological hatred for choice and the independence of local parents, children and schools from their complete control via the LEA’s all-seeing eye.

school3

If we get Labour out of Kempston, we can get the politics out of local education – we would work with whatever government policy is offered to secure the best funding and support, and the best schooling possible for Kempston’s children and families.

Recent achievements around parental choice in Bedford Borough are fantastic, and have happened in spite of Labour’s local presence. If we can break up their monopoly in Kempston, we might actually start to get some more stuff done!

kempston conservative logo

100th Anniversary of Neuve Chapelle – thank you India and the Commonwealth

Today is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of a three-day major offensive around Neuve Chapelle in the Artois region of Northern France during the First World War. With strict parallels to the Second World War, Britain had at that stage found herself as the only completely uninvaded European nation engaged in conflict to the west of an expansive Germany – France still stood in the instance of the First World War, but with sizeable areas of its north occupied.

As with the Second World War, and so many great battles, Neuve Chapelle involved major contributions, casualties and sacrifices from people across the globe; namely the current Commonwealth countries. In the instance of Neuve Chapelle, India – then the jewel of the British Empire – sent thousands of troops across a vast continent to fight and help support the wider British efforts. Indian men from Sikh, Hindu and Muslim backgrounds fought and died alongside British soldiers in the fields of France and elsewhere to help ‘keep the Hun at bay’ and eventually liberate Europe from militarist expansion, launched from its own geographical centre – not once, but twice in the Twentieth Century.

So if you want to look for what immigrants have contributed to Britain over the years, this is a pretty good start. Many of those immigrants from Commonwealth lineage have been born of families who fought and died alongside British families; first, to defend us from Kaiser Wilhelm’s’ lust for territorial control – then later, to defend Britain and the world from Hitler’s insatiably evil tirade of Nazi terror.

A century on from that battle in Neuve Chapelle, it is important to remember those contributions from all corners of the former British Empire. The sun may have set on much of Britain’s Imperial might, but the common history, sacrifice and bravery shared by individuals from the wider Commonwealth continues to gleam through those dark chapters of war.

indian-archive-pics002

hero-bal-bahadur-bhaz-gul

 

 

 

 

 

Kempston’s Community Gives it Some for Bedford Hospital’s Primrose Unit

daleys

On Saturday night, I was lucky enough to go along to a charity event organised for the Primrose Oncology Unit at Bedford Hospital, held at the Daley’s Club in Kempston. It was organised by a family whose gratitude for the Unit’s service led them to put on this fantastic show – a substantial amount of money was raised for the fantastic work done at Bedford Hospital, and people had a fantastic time.

My dad played the disco, as well as managing the auction, and plenty of friends of the family also waded in to help in several capacities. It was a fantastic show of strength for Kempston’s generous community, and an overwhelmingly successful evening.

There are no political comments to make on this – just a fantastic bit of news worth celebrating in Kempston.

If you missed the event, but are interested in making a donation to Bedford Hospital’s charity appeals, please find the appropriate website here.

Councillor Allowances – Enough is Enough

The situation:

After 2007, people in Kempston and Bedford Borough suffered – along with the rest of the country – the deepest recession this side of the Second World War.

Yes, things are starting to look better: under this Conservative-led government, unemployment has plummeted and more people are in work than at any point in history, with Britain outgrowing any other Western national economy; in Bedford Borough, we have seen the benefits first-hand, with new businesses being set up and a new lease of life for the area.

But local public services have had to go on a really quite severe diet and trim down in the meantime, while we deal with the untenable feasting of debt repayments and a mammoth deficit – and the fact is that we can’t afford to start supporting a return to ‘spending obesity’ any time soon.

Diet-Tricks-Dont-WorkThe problem:

Why then, as the rest of us have learnt to accept tightening the belt and becoming leaner and more efficient with our public services, have local Bedford Borough Councillors continued to gleefully fill their guts at the taxpayers-funded troughs? Why, when Bedford Borough’s Councillor Allowances are already so much higher than the national average, did Councillors vote to increase them a couple of years ago?

Nationally, the average annual Councillor Allowance stands at around £7,000. In nearby North Hertfordshire District Council, allowances have been below £5,000 in recent years, as they are in Boston Borough. Recently, an inner-city London borough froze allowances at just below £9,000. Yet, somehow, Bedford Borough Councillors have seen it fit to increase their own basic allowances to over £10,000 p.a., as well as increasing the scope for more allowances when taking on certain functional roles in Council.

pigs

What to do about it:

Recently, the Conservative Group in Bedford Borough proposed a £200,000 cut to Councillors’ pay packets, which would have reduced Councillors’ allowance to roughly £7,500 per year and the Mayor’s to £45,000 – this money would have been spent to offer two hours’ free parking during weekdays and four hours free on Saturdays in Bedford. The Conservative amendment was shot down by Labour and the Lib Dems.

If you vote for a Conservative Council and a Conservative Mayor this time round, this move can’t be blocked and what would otherwise be spent on allowances would be given back to the people. The Conservative Mayoral candidate, Jas Parmer, has already said he will “make it [his] priority to cut the member’s allowance”.

If people in Kempston Central & East vote for me, I will support moves to decrease Councillor Allowances in any way, and will personally pay back a proportion of what I am entitled to in the form of donations to local charities and projects.

In telling the rest of us to accept cutbacks and savings while voting to increase their own allowances, local Councillors have really hurt their credibility, and it’s no wonder people are so disillusioned with politics. It’s time to change that as much as we can.

Kempston Barracks May 2012

 

Why announcement of the Community Work Programme makes me proud to be a Conservative

Today, the Conservatives announced the intention to introduce a ‘Community Work Programme’, to be rolled out if elected with a majority by the British people. In short, the points are that:

  • Young people out of work, education or training for six months will have to do unpaid community work to get benefits.
  • It will involve 30 hours a week of mandatory community work, such as making meals for older people and other local charity work.
  • Those from the ages of 18-21 who have not been in employment for six months will stop receiving Job Seekers’ Allowance, and would instead receive a Youth Allowance with these conditions – refusal to work would end any sort of taxpayer-funded allowance.

There are two reasons why this is a brilliant policy.

Firstly, what we saw under the last Labour government was manifestly unfair. 1997-2010 saw a massive explosion of ‘Benefits Britain’, where swathes of the population felt entitled to refuse work, safe in the knowledge that they would continue to receive often unjustifiably high levels of welfare payments. These generous payments were necessarily funded by everyone else who was working – sometimes long hours and without great rewards – to support their own families while also paying an increasing amount of tax.

As a society, most people would think that it is unfair for someone working long hours to be made poorer than someone who has not been working for a prolonged period – this phenomenon was widespread under Labour, and it is this Conservative-led Government which has started to readdress the balance. On the one hand, we have reduced income tax on the lowest earners and, on the other hand, we have capped welfare payments to ensure less absurdly high levels of welfare benefits for people who sometimes haven’t worked for decades. It is only fair, and only sends out the right incentives for people to be productive, if it pays to work and doesn’t not to.

Benefits_Street

 

The second reason this is such a good policy is that people at a young age are building their paths for their future lives and, with young bodies and young minds, should always be encouraged to do something rather than nothing – for their sake as much as for everyone else. A life without contributing anything to society and without taking responsibility for your own affairs is a less enriching life – not just materially and financially, but in terms of less tangible things such as self-worth, self-value, and self-direction.

Look across ‘Benefits Britain’ and you will see higher crime statistics, litter on the pavements, higher drug abuse, and a lack of purpose and pride in local communities and families matched with general lethargy and apathy. Taking away from more and more people the fundamental responsibilities of housing and income has, unsurprisingly, dented what were traditionally seen as ‘British’ values of self-reliance and social responsibility. No-one blames someone who is temporarily made unemployed and who has to rely on welfare payments for their financial sustenance; as a country, we are generally proud to provide a safety net for the unfortunate. But that is a very different phenomenon to the existence of communities and families who have never worked a single day alongside a culture which sees dependency as more desirable than self-reliance.

benefits

To use the old cliché, this policy tells young people that you can’t just rely on getting ‘something for nothing’ – without first fulfilling an obligation, you have no fundamental entitlement to live off the hard slog and grind of others. It also channels young people into something positive and – most would conclude – a ‘social good’. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to have been brought up in a family which teaches you the virtues of hard work and the self-worth sought in self-reliance – which many people haven’t – you will now see first-hand how much human value a young person can get, as well as give, from cooking and waiting on an elderly person whose lack of company during the day imbues them with a special sort of gratitude for that service.

elderly

This policy says to young people: “it is not OK for you not to work, and it is not OK for you to permanently rely on the efforts of others without feeling you should contribute anything”. It says to society: “we are not going to leave communities forgotten and abandoned in an ever-consuming culture of dependency; we are going to create the right framework for young people to learn the value of self-reliance and the self-worth found in acting responsibly. We are going to rebuild our community spirit and encourage young people in less affluent and more dependency-gripped areas to raise their aspirations and learn the value and pride in being part of a more independent and confident generation of young Britons which engages with the world around it.”

For that reason, today, I was proud to be a member of the Conservative Party.

Time to Take on Ed and Take Him Down

 

ed miliband sarnie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most people have had a good giggle at Ed Miliband’s complete social and PR ineptitude ever since the Trade Union barons crowned him as leader of the Labour Party over his elder, abler, and more PR-savvy brother, David, four and half years ago.

Whether it’s failing to eat a bacon sandwich without embarrassing himself or his inability to look at a camera on the news without looking slightly troubled and uncomfortable, this is all fair game against someone who is applying to be our next Prime Minister. More than fair game: we, as a nation, need to determine whether or not we should entrust him to represent Team GB on the world stage.

Most Brits are happy for a Mr Bean character to be a beacon of British humour across the globe; fewer would be pleased to see a Mr Bean character clumsily bearing the flag for us at the UN Security Council or in world trade talks.

But whilst it is fair game to repost pictures of Ed Miliband looking utterly un-statesman-like, the majority of people might be missing the rather more serious point: that he is an imminent danger to the security of UK plc and fundamentally unfit to govern.

For a more serious view of Ed Miliband’s ineligibility for UK premiership, let’s take a look at some of his finest moments:

While recently railing against the ills of tax avoidance:

  • Ed has completely evaded the fact that he and his family used a controversial tax loophole against the spirit of his father’s will to avoid inheritance tax – a move described by Gordon Brown as ‘tax abuse’.
  • Ed has completely evaded the fact that, for all his attacks against Stephen Green, it was Labour who knighted him at the same time as the cash-for-honours scandal, and it is the Labour Government which saw the largest rise in so-called ‘non doms’ in history.
  • Ed has failed to mention that his Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, recently received a donation from a firm which actually advises its clients on how to dodge HMRC rules to help them avoid tax.barbie

Whilst claiming that the Labour Party is for women:

  • Ed has led a party whose call to action for Labour women in this election resembles a pathetic, pink Barbie bus.
  • Ed leads a party which has never voted in a female to lead it, despite it having become increasingly commonplace across developed countries and mature democratic parties since the Conservatives originally elected their own female leader.

While suggesting that he would protect people from artificially high energy prices:

  • Ed demonstrated utter economic ignorance in pushing his promise of a ‘freeze’ on energy prices before energy companies then reduced those prices, meaning that a Labour promise was for energy prices being frozen at artificially high prices.
  • Ed seemed to completely forget that energy prices had risen astronomically during his time as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, at which point Labour burdened more and more tax onto energy consumers.

Whilst claiming to be in favour of increasing the wages of the low paid:

  • Ed managed to promise a smaller rise in the National Minimum Wage compared to the Conservatives’ plans, due to utter numerical ineptitude on Labour’s part.

Whilst claiming to be a truer bastion of the NHS than the Conservatives:

  • Ed managed to let slip to the BBC that he wanted to ‘weaponise the NHS’; i.e. to ‘weaponise’ the plight of the ill and frail.
  • Ed has led a party whose mismanagement of Wales’ NHS has meant real cuts to funding for nurses and doctors in Wales and a situation where 41.4% of people waiting for ultrasound cancer testing in Wales in 2014 had to wait for more than six weeks, as opposed to 0.4% in Conservative-run England.

While claiming to be a sensible alternative to this Government:

  • Ed has put forward unaccounted-for policies which would escalate spending without filling black holes of expenditure – holes in finances we simply cannot afford again, and which would derail any form of recovery we are now seeing.

Whilst it’s been good fun to laugh at the bacon sandwich and Ed’s ‘awkward little brother syndrome’, we need to protect the British people and British economy from such ineptitude and hypocrisy. Ed Miliband and his band of cronies pose a real and present danger to Britain. We want more jobs for the low-paid; more wealth created in the economy to spend on schools and hospitals rather than debt interest; an economic team which is arithmetically able and economically competent; and a clear plan for Britain’s recovery for British families.

Under this Government, we have seen an unprecedented drop in unemployment, faster economic growth than any other developed nation, a return to wages outgrowing living costs, the deficit halved, and a return of confidence in UK plc. It’s time to pull the stops out to ensure Ed Miliband stays as far away from Number 10 as possible – we can keep the bacon sarnie in mind, but let’s take him on and take him down. We have to.

ed miliband face

Candidates across Kempston

As the election draws closer, and so as households’ letterbox/litterbin ratio becomes closer, it’s worth knowing that we have candidates standing in every Borough ward throughout Kempston who would love to hear from you. I’m sure you will meet those candidates in the coming months (whether you want to or not!), but if you would like to get in contact with the Conservative candidate for your area of Kempston with a local concern or issue, please contact me via this website and I would be very happy to connect you.

The candidates are:

Kempston West: Ryan Gray

Kempston South: Sarah King McGee

Kempston North: Matthew McCarthy

Kempston Central & East (two seat ward): Kuldip Singh & Anthony Boutall

The whole of Kempston is currently represented by Labour, and so we are hoping to change things a bit for people in the area, hoping that you might consider giving us your support in May. All candidates have different backgrounds, and all of us bring something different to the table.

The key thread that joins us is the idea that local government should act as your servant, not as your master – if you want to get involved and help shake up the legacy Labour dominance of Kempston, please feel free to get in contact!

ron burgundy

Project 229 celebrated at Number 10

Congratulations are deserved for Project 229, whose achievements as community champions in Kempston were celebrated at Number 10 with David Cameron and Richard Fuller last week. What a great start to the New Year, and what a great part of Kempston’s community to celebrate.

See their Facebook images and follow them here.

project 229.