Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Campaign Report

With just over a week left until the General Election, the UKIP campaign in Aldershot is running well. On Saturday morning Roy Swales and a volunteer team were out in Farnborough town centre meeting voters, At the same time another team were in Aldershot town centre distributing leaflets and talking to voters.

There is a leaflet being sent out by Royal Mail to every house in the constituency. However we have also been busy distributing personal letters to postal voters, in order to reach them before the postal voting cards are sent out. This was completed today in time for the last batch of postal voting cards being sent out.

Coming up next week Roy Swales will be speaking at a hustings held at Holy Trinity Church on Victoria Road in Aldershot. The event is on Monday the 5th of June and the time is 19:00 for a 19:30 start. Everyone is welcome.

Over in the North Hampshire constituency where Mike Gascoigne is standing for UKIP, there is a hustings being held this Thursday (1st of June) at Hook Community Centre, Ravenscroft, Hook. The time is 19:00 for a 19:30 start.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Manifesto Launch

The national manifesto launch for UKIP took place today. If you want to read the complete document, you can find it here.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Aid Budget: two points of view

Two UKIP members discuss the aid budget and reach the same conclusion for different reasons.

By now you will have heard a large thump as the COUNCIL TAX BILL landed through your letterbox. No doubt the justification for the 12.8% overall increase made fascinating reading. For the past few years, in an attempt to make things look better, the Police & Fire Service have been hived off for separate charges. The same trick has now been used for the new charge for ‘Adult Social Care’. This charge of £47:22 for the year is, we are told, to pay for care of the elderly in nursing homes, home care & no doubt other areas.

Now none of us really like paying tax but in a civilised society if we wish to have a NHS, Police Service, Fire Service and provide care for those in later life; then we must pay for it.

However I find it it disgusting that we are having to pay for this deceptive charge. And why do I say this? When you consider as Taxpayers we are expected to pay this charge & yet we give 13 BILLION POUNDS in foreign aid to other countries, and some of that aid is being spent "improving care in the community for elderly people in China”. I’m just left staggered by this outrageous new charge that we are expected to pay.

So, when the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems come around grovelling for your vote just ask them this. Do they support this extra charge & how do they justify sending aid to China to do the very same thing that we must now pay extra for our own people? The trouble with the British people is we just sit there, complain about it & then do absolutely nothing about it & pay up. So at this election forget party loyalties and vote for candidates who oppose giving money to countries who don’t need it so that we can look after our own.

And I end with this. I bet this time next year we will get some other lame excuse & this charge will morph into something else & it will become yet another new tax.

Martyn

When considering the aid budget I start from the other end and think about whether the money does any good. When I was in Africa I found that aid projects differ enormously in how they work and what they achieve. Some of the worst projects actually damage the communities they are supposed to help.

What I would call a useful project starts by talking to local people and finding out what they need. Perhaps a village needs a better water supply but cant afford to hire a drilling rig. These projects target aid at the people who need it most.

The more wasteful projects start by ignoring the local people, a good way to do this is to consult the national government. The government might ask for a new power station for example. However there may be no local expertise in this field and an outside contractor with expatriate staff will have to be hired to deliver a power station. When the power station is finished it will provide better air conditioning for the urban rich, but the rural poor cant afford an electricity supply and will see little benefit at all.

My problem with the requirement to spend 0.7% of GDP (13 Billion this year) is that it encourages the spending of money on wasteful projects. If the Department for International Development (DFID) has to, by law, spend 13 Billion pounds every year, then it makes sense for them to find some very big projects and throw money at them. Suppose they find that the project does not help the local people, that it is damaging the environment, that some of the money is being skimmed off by the local mafia and corrupt officials or even that the project is working against British interests. In these cases surely funding of the project should be stopped while the problems are resolved. No, by law the money must be spent and therefore the money will be spent.

In the past year DFID have funded education in North Korea; a country which is extremley hostile to us and our allies. They funded care for the old in China; a country able to afford a manned space programme. They gave money to Pakistan; a country which finds a large budget for its nuclear weapons. They also gave money to India a country which is able to operate Harrier jets from its aircraft carrier. Let me just expand on that one, we scrapped our Harrier jets because we 'could not afford' them; at the same time the Indians were upgrading their squadron of Harriers and yet we still give them aid.

Compared with much of the rest of the world, we live in a very fortunate country. Of course it is right that we should help the less prosperous but we owe it to ourselves, and the people we are trying to help, to do this in a less foolish manner. Getting rid of the 0.7% of GDP target would be a good place to start.

Ken

UKIP is the only party standing in these elections which will end the 0.7% of GDP commitment and reduce the aid budget.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Campaign Launch

Roy Swales launched his campaign as a candidate in the General Election today. During the day Roy, together with other UKIP campaigners, visited the town centres in Aldershot and Farnborough and spoke with potential voters.


Roy said “It is a great honour and a privilege to be selected to stand here in Aldershot. I want to ensure that the work that was carried out in Aldershot, during the EU referendum, is completed and that the Brexit legacy, that we all fought so hard for, is continued.”

You can read more about Roy and his motivations for standing as a candidate on our website here.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Where has Dan gone?

Thursday was closing day for candidates to submit their paperwork if they want to stand in the General Election. Which raises an interesting question for this blog: if Dan Hannan is not standing in Aldershot then where is he standing?

Dan Hannan has been a Conservative MEP since 1999 and is well known as one of the most prominent Eurosceptics. He was described by the Guardian as "The man who brought you Brexit". Even Boris had to concede that Dan Hannan had possibly written more than he had himself about the deficiencies of the EU.

As you may recall the Aldershot branch of the Conservatives asked for Dan Hannan to be shortlisted as a candidate. Conservative Central Office refused this and put forward a list of three candidates which did not include Dan. It seems that the committee then backed down and the selection meeting was held without anyone attending being impolite enough to ask why Dan was not on the shortlist.

Aldershot was not the only local branch of the Conservatives to be unhappy with the selection procedure. The issues included the shortlist being imposed without consultation, the shortlist not being available to members before the selection meeting and an overall lack of candidates to fill the seats available. Mark Wallace has a very readable article on the problems here.

So if CCHQ did not think that Dan was the right person for Aldershot, where have they decided to use his obvious abilities? The answer, it appears, is nowhere at all.

You might imagine that CCHQ was not allowing MEPs to stand as MPs for fear of losing representation in Brussels. However this does not seem to apply to Vicky Ford MEP (selected for Chelmsford) or Andrew Lewer MEP (selected for Northampton South).

So why would CCHQ be so keen to ensure that one of the most influential political thinkers in Britain was not selected as a candidate for Westminster? The lazy answer would be that this is some kind of Remainer conspiracy. Maybe that can not be ruled out, but I think that Dan's independence of mind is probably a bigger problem for the men in suits. Dan was thrown out of the EPP long before the rest of the Conservative party decided to leave, he resigned from the front bench over Cameron's refusal to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and famously he had a go at Gordon Brown when the latter appeared in Brussels.

Central Office has used the snap election as an opportunity to grab power from the local associations. In future Conservative candidates (and MPs) will answer to Central Office and not the local association. The last thing that Central Office would want is allow in to Parliament someone who has consistently argued that this is wrong.

One of my memories of the day after the Brexit vote was of Daniel Hannan thanking his audience for putting him out of a job. It seems that this was not really a joke after all.

Ken McNair

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

May Branch Meeting

The most recent Branch Meeting was held on the 8 May 2017

The meeting opened after what had been a disappointing week for UKIP, with the loss of the Farnborough West County Council seat. Although the local campaign had gone well, it had not been possible to overcome the national trend. Gill thanked Mark Staplehurst for working as a County Council and Mark in turn thanked everyone who had supported him and the other candidates.

The main business of the evening was to plan for the General Election. Roy Swales, our candidate, started by asking everyone whether they wanted to go ahead with contesting the seat and the meeting was unanimous in supporting this.

The Meeting moved on to consider the strategy and local issues that would come up durng the campaign. It was noted that the selected Conservative candidate was not Dan Hannan as originally requested by the local branch. Also it was agreed that the Conservatives tended to stick to the partys's national policy; UKIP therefore had an advantage when it came to campaigning on local issues like buses, schools and health centres.

The logistical issues of leaflets distribution, letters to voters and canvassing were then discussed at some length before the usual tea and biscuits to close.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

County Council Elections

Do not forget to vote in the County Council elections. The polls will close at 10:00 this evening.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A Roundabout too far?

In 2013 plans were approved for the Queens roundabout in Farnborough a £5,725,000 scheme, that was approved by Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment Seán Woodward. The project started in November 2014 with a 12 months’ construction time and finally completed June 2016 nearly 8 months late and £1.7 million over-budget.

The Tories have proved they have spent money in the area; not on schools, elderly care, the disabled or children with special education needs, but a roundabout that no one knew they needed! The cost was not just to taxpayers, with the poor quality  temporary surface being so bad with pot holes it caused damage to vehicles and the final resulting layout that is 'accident waiting to happen'.  In fact, it is such a complicated roundabout that a local driving school has made a Youtube video  on how to use it. Just a fraction of that money could have been spent on a traffic calming scheme desperately needed at Grange Community Junior School in Farnborough to protect primary aged children from a dangerous crossing. However this crossing has been deemed acceptable by Hampshire County Councillor Rob Humby, who has now taken over Seán Woodward's position. 

Sir Gerald Howarth MP for the Aldershot Constituency said the scheme was a 'Waste of Money' and 'monstrous' in January 2016 and  called for an inquiry into the Queens roundabout scheme in March 2016. GetHampshire then ran an article asking for comments and the response was largely negative.

In March 2016 Hampshire County Council defended the scheme and still claimed in represented 'value for money' not their money obviously! A  review occurred in June 2016. In January 2017 Hampshire County Council claimed the scheme a county wide success??? If that is what they deem a success I would hate to see a failure!

What ever happened to the review report? How did the project be delivered so late and massively over budget?  why has this been swept away? What lessons were learnt? What action was taken against contractor or Hampshire County Council for the cost and the over run? It is all very well saying lessons will be learnt but we know they never do and history repeats itself. How does a roundabout cost £5,725,000 in the first place let alone go overbudget to £7.4million? In comparison, South East Water are currently replacing 1.3km of water main in Farnborough through West Heath Road at a cost of £750,000 and are currently on time and in budget.

I never knew we had a problem with traffic in the area at the Queens roundabout until the scheme started. It is good that Hampshire County Council pre-emptively fix issues before traffic becomes an issue but there are lots of junctions/areas where traffic is already a problem and should be fixed now!

Simon Austridge

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Candidate for General Election

The UKIP Aldershot branch has now announced that Roy Swales has been chosen as the candidate for the upcoming General Election. More to follow..........