You Deserve Better

About Last Night…

Last night we had the main Uxbridge and South Ruislip hustings, organised once again by the Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce. It was a relatively sparse event, with maybe 80 people in the audience, something of a shame given the size of the constituency but a reflect of how disillusioned people are with politics. I wanted to talk a little bit about last night and what some performances indicated. I don’t intend to spend much time at all on my own performance largely because much of what I said has fled my memory, but the time I got to listen to the other candidates is still fairly clear.

So here’s some of what I remember of the Uxbridge and South Ruislip hustings.

Steve Tuckwell

Those who have read my page before will know that I do not hold Steve Tuckwell in particularly high regard, and yesterday’s performance from him did nothing to change my opinion.  He interrupted repeatedly, often completely pointlessly.

For example when I said that inflation was 24% over the past 5 years he interrupted to say that it was 2% now – this added absolutely nothing to my point, nor did it contradict anything that I was saying, it’s clearly just a talking point that he has been blindly told to repeat without context. I have a chart demonstrating this (see across).  The recent figure of 2% only takes into account the last 12 months, but focusing only on that ignores the huge impact that the years of extreme inflation have caused, and this is a price that all working families will be paying for decades. In short, the figure of 2% might be technically true, but it is highly misleading to try  to  distract people from the  fact that prices have in fact risen by nearly 25% in 5 years.

Tuckwell also repeated his claim that Hillingdon Hospital is fully funded. This is a falsehood – whether it is a lie or him failing to understand what most people define “fully funded” to be, I genuinely don’t know.  I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is just  clueless, but the weight of evidence about just how much he has spread falsehoods on behalf of the Conservatives make me believe that he knows precisely what he is doing.

For the avoidance of doubt, the hospital is not fully funded.  It has the funding it needs to carry out the  establishing works – site clearance, installation of utilities, etc, but the actual build costs have been deferred to the next Parliament or beyond. This means they are not fully funded, because the likelihood is that there will be no Conservative government to hold to account for such promises, so in essence the commitment has been handed to the next government, likely Labour.

This is not full funding a projects.  This is deferring the problem until someone else fixes it for you.  I can predict exactly what this is going to look like, though.  Tuckwell is hedging his bets, working on the assumption that he is going to be voted out, and he is starting to lay  the groundwork for claims that “the hospital was fully  funded when I left, why is it not fully funded now?”  The answer is that it is not fully funded. It has never been fully funded. The fully funded status of this hospital is identical to the 40 that were promised by Boris Johnson in 2019, none of which have ever seen the light of day.  This is not “fully funded” by any rational definition, because “fully funded” means that the money is in place, and that the works will happen regardless of changes in  government.  People will eventually start remembering the lies, and I am fairly certain we are near that  point in Uxbridge – enough is enough.

Interestingly, although he repeatedly commented about being a hard working MP who has put the constituency  first, Tuckwell was very reluctant to highlight any of his voting record in Parliament. This was perhaps not too surprising give one audience member had to remind him that he had in fact voted against calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Aside from that, Tuckwell has also voted to suppress the school safety report that would allow parents to be aware of whether their  children’s schools were built using RAAC, a substance now known to be crumbling far faster than anticipated.  Definitely not an action in the interests of local people, and something I sincerely hope he is ashamed of.

At the Uxbridge and South Ruislip hustings last year, Tuckwell claimed not to be Boris Johnson. I ask you, is this an improvement?

Danny Beales

Beales once again made it very difficult to say anything negative about him, because he remained calm, answered points rationally and generally came across as very statesmanlike.

I will say this, however.  An audience member asked him what his views on Proportional Representation are, and he said that he supported them.  I pointed out that in that case he was in the wrong party, because Labour’s 1997 manifesto included a commitment to Proportional Representation, which they reneged on, and their 2010 manifesto included a commitment to Alternative Voting (not Proportional Representation, but a step in the right direction).  We Liberal Democrats fought hard as a party and secured a national referendum on electoral reform with Labour’s preferred system as the one that would replace the archaic First Past The Post system we currently have, and half of their MPs at the time campaigned with the Tories against the system, meaning the referendum ultimately failed.  Labour are absolutely not the party of electoral reform, to the extend that they have kept any promises to reform our broken voting system out  of this manifesto, which is arguable the best opportunity we have ever had as a country to push for real, lasting change to our politics.

This is a truly sad state of affairs for Labour because their membership overwhelmingly want electoral reform, but their leadership refuses to listen.  Eventually this will lead to a crisis within the Labour party, and maybe Beales will be in a position to make the leadership sit up and listen, but as of right now, he represents a small c conservative party that isn’t interested in changing the electoral system to improve representation in politics.

Tim Wheeler

Wheeler was a new face to the Uxbridge and South Ruislip hustings panel, and he brought with him a genuine enthusiam for politics. Unfortunately I think he has been conned into supporting the wrong party, because Reform’s promises would, if implemented, break the economy. For all his talk about supporting the working class, people in that position cannot survive if inflation rockets again as a result of economic mismanagement, and that is what Reform are offering.

He opened with a rant about Sadiq Khan, claiming that he was somehow overturning democracy. I pointed out that Khan won the recent mayoral election, therefore the idea that the democratically elected mayor was somehow being anti democratic by acting as mayor was absurd.

He also had a very odd pitch at one point, saying that everyone should be  making use of EIS and SEIS allowances.  These are (Seed) Enterprise Investment Scheme allowances specifically designed to offset some of the extreme risk of investing into tiny companies by way of a tax relief on the investment.  The reason most people haven’t heard of them, let along made use of them, is that they are only suitable for a tiny fraction of the population. The small scale of the companies that qualify for this relief means that the associated risk is far higher than most people’s tolerance or capacity for loss, which is why most investors are well served by looking at their ISA (Individual Savings Account) and pension allowances first, which cumulatively add to £60,000 potential investing per person every year without the added risk or illiquidity of investing into venture capital projects.

Frankly he needs to be very careful about what he is saying.  Marketing EIS and SEIS potentially falls under the Non-Mainstream Pooled Investment (NMPI) framework, which strictly limits the types of client these can be marketed to and the types of investment that can be presented to such clients.  Giving unsolicited financial advice like this is a very dangerous thing to do, and anyone who follows his suggestion and loses money would potentially have a claim against him for unregulated financial advice.

Source for this is that I am a Chartered Financial Planner who runs his own financial advice business.

I genuinely think that Wheeler should find a more deserving party to lend his support and enthusiasm to, as I really think that the political system needs more people with those characteristics. It does not, however, need Reform.

Sarah Green

Sarah Green and I disagreed on very little throughout this hustings, so it was probably very difficult to distinguish our views.  In order to find disagreement, you need to look at both the manifestos for the Liberal Democrats and  the Greens, together with the proposed costings.  I believe that the Greens have plenty of good ideas, but that right now the country just doesn’t have the financial capability to implement all of their ideas at once.  Our own manifesto takes a more pragmatic view, with the aim of preparing the country for even more changes in the long term.

Importantly, both parties agree on some crucial issues, most notably the need for electoral reform in the form of Proportional Representation.  Nationally, the Liberal Democrats are expected to do far better than the Greens, so someone looking for a party to vote for that can achieve Proportional Representation should take that into account when deciding which party to support.

No longer a candidate, so now focusing on my own projects.

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