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

My Campaign Leaflet

As you probably know by now, my campaign is not a particularly well-funded one.  We don’t have the backing of wealthy donors with extremely deep pockets, nor are we gifted large amounts of cash by trade unions.  So we have to be very frugal with the money we spend on campaigns.  To that end, I designed my own campaign leaflet and had planned to make use of the free Royal Mail delivery available to all candidates.  I had the artwork signed off by my agent and then Royal Mail, and I was ready to deal with the 47,000 copies that I had ordered. Unfortunately the printer contacted me yesterday to say that they would not be completing my order, so Uxbridge & South Ruislip will not be getting my leaflet.  To say I am disappointed is a huge understatement. But I thought that even in the absence of a physical copy, I can at least share the final design with you as a reader of my website. So here you are, in all its glory:

What Uxbridge and the UK Needs

Hopefully this image says it all.  Uxbridge and the UK as a whole needs me, or at the very least people like me.  People who care, people with integrity and people who want to make the country better for all of us. Let’s have a look at some of the things that I want to achieve. Fairer Elections Right now, elections are essentially designed to be unfair.  I wrote a blog post recently explaining how the current system almost guarantees that at least half of votes are wasted, and usually considerably more than that. In an ideal world, every vote should matter.  After all, we have 650 seats in the  Commons, which means that each MP should represent around 0.15% of the current population.  That’s a lot of potential for nuance, but right now such nuance is not just discourages but outright impossible.  In fact, this inability to allow nuance is precisely why the Conservative party has become so dominated by a radical right-wing element that very few people in the country actually support. The Liberal Democrats are the largest party in England that supports Proportional Representation.  This is a fundamental change to our electoral system to make your votes count and to introduce nuance into our political system that currently cannot get in. Fairer Taxes Right now the tax take for the UK is the highest is has ever been, but many ultra wealthy individuals have managed to get away with paying very little tax, often across multiple generations. This comes from a very long-standing tradition for the  political right that wealth trickles down, so looking after the wealthy indirectly looks after everyone else.  Trickle down economics has never worked anywhere except to keep the rich rich and the poor poor. For society to improve, we need to make sure that everyone pays their fair share of tax and that the burden for paying tax doesn’t hit the poorest in society the most. Fairer Healthcare At the moment, if you can get a GP appointment via the NHS, you are very lucky.  If you can get an appointment with an NHS dentist, you  are beyond lucky.  When the NHS was founded, the stated intention was to provide healthcare from the cradle to the grave without any up front costs.  Nothing about that indicated having to wait weeks just to see a doctor, months to see a specialist or years to get life-improving but technically non-urgent treatment.  But that’s the reality we now face.  Our healthcare service has been persistently decimated in terms of staff and required funding, and frankly we all deserve better. In particular, we in Hillingdon deserve a world-class hospital rather than one that is falling apart. Our current hospital has plans to renovate which have been   approved, but approval absolutely is not enough, especially since the country was promised 40 new hospitals and has so far received none. Fairer Environment Regardless of our socio-economic status, we all use the environment one away or another.  We all breath the air and drink the water, so it is horrible to see the forces of unchecked capitalism taking a stand against environmental protection.  It has become normal for water companies to simply dump raw sewage into our waterways almost whenever they feel like it, and they have a track record of awarding their directors huge bonuses and their shareholders huge dividends whilst doing so.  At  the other end of the spectrum, these same forces have turned large parts of the legislature against things like clean power generation, despite the fact that right  now renewable energy is by far the  cheapest form of electricity generation available and we live in one of the most reliably windy places on Earth. We all deserve laws that are designed to protect the precious environment and preserve it for our children and successive generations.  Instead we are embarking on a huge expansion of fossil fuel extractions which is both needlessly expensive and highly polluting. And of course we are allowing water companies to pump sewage into our rivers. Fairer Everything You’ll see that there’s a theme for what Uxbbridge and the UK needs, and that’s a fairer deal. I could go on at length about what we need, but I honestly can’t do much better than suggesting that you read the Liberal Democrat position.  We stand “For A Fair Deal” for a really  good reason – it’s what the whole country is crying out for. We aren’t looking at  improving things only in the short term until the Conservatives get back into power.  Instead we want to make meaningful long-lasting changes that make the UK a fairer, kinder, better society for everyone. So what does Uxbridge and the UK need?  People like me in Parliament.  So I reiterate, on 4 July, cast your vote for me:

What do Liberal Democrats Stand For?

A regular question asked is “What Do X Political Party stand for”.  For most parties, this can be summed up in a single phrase, but it can be more difficult for the Liberal Democrats.  So this article is about what the main political parties stand for. Conservatives What they stand for: rich people. I’m not going to sugarcoat this, the current Tories are all about looking after the wealthy in society, hence they make tax cuts that affect the rich far more than the poor and cut the services that the poor rely on.  It’s fair to say that the Conservatives simply do not care about you if you don’t have a Coutts bank account or make large donations to their party. Labour What they stand for: ostensibly they are focused on helping the working class.  In reality, their current stance is almost entirely a continuation of the current government. They support staying out of the EU, they have not proposed any sort of tax reform to specifically target the rich other than closing the non-domiciled loophole, and they have refused to back democracy by supporting the Proportional Representation demanded by their own party.  In short, Labour really are not demonstrating that they care about anything other than getting into power. Reform What they stand for: think “Britain First”. This is a party for those who look at the Conservatives and think “nope, not fascist enough”.  Frankly I am astonished that they are as popular as they are, as they have shown that they only really care about white British people and want to pursue very much an isolationist strategy for trade and international relations.  A Reform government would likely ruin our international standing for years.  I honestly do not know who they care about, because all of their policies seem to be largely based on hatred of “other” groups. Green What they stand for: the Greens put the environment first, with all of their other policies deriving from the idea that the country needs to still exist in 100 years or so.  The Greens are advocates of Proportional Representation and rejoining the EU, so in many ways are natural allies of the Liberal Democrats.  Unfortunately they are a very small party indeed, with only a single MP at present, who is due to step down at the next election.  As such, anyone voting for them might want to consider whether their vote would be better placed with the Liberal Democrats. Liberal Democrats Saving the best until last, the Liberal Democrats essentially stand for fairness as a broad concept.  This is best exemplified by the drive to make votes match power share in parliament, bringing proper democracy to the UK for the first time.  As a party we are wholly committed to peace, with all of our MPs voting to make statements that we in the UK wanted a ceasefire in Gaza, something opposed by the Conservatives and largely abstained on by Labour. Our love of fairness extends to both the NHS and carers, and we believe firmly in a “cradle to grave” health service, which means that all medical staff need to be comfortable with their remuneration and benefits, and that our NHS buildings, such as Hillingdon Hospital, are properly renovated and modernised. We also firmly believe in education.  It is unconscienable that we cut the education budget year after year, and we believe that both schools and universities should be available free of charge at the point of service. Finally, the elephant in the room, we believe that we must urgently rebuild our relationship with Europe.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that we ought to rejoin immediately (though that would be my preference!), but it does mean that we need to step back from the highly adversarial position we have taken with our European members. Overall, what do we stand for? the answer is so much, but it all falls into the category of “fairness”.

Lessons Learned

Well, that was a very unexpected result from Uxbridge & South Ruislip. If you had asked me even a week before the vote, I would have assumed that Labour would win and Conservatives would be a very distant second place, with us in third, but really pressuring the Tories. Sadly this was entirely incorrect on every count, but there are definitely some lessons to learn from this by-election. This email is also about the upcoming events in Hillingdon and Harrow, so if you’d like to join us for drinks or a barbecue, read on! Lessons Learned It’s fair to say that when we face challenges in life, we can either seek things to blame or we can look instead at how we can improve our own strategy so that next time is better.  Obviously with an election like this, there will be a combination of things that we had no control over and things that we could have done better. Out of Our Control Starting with the things that were out of our control, it is worth mentioning that the Conservatives turned this into a referendum on ULEZ and Labour let them.  In reality it wasn’t – ULEZ is a delegated Greater London Authority power, therefore the local MP has precisely as much power as any local citizen to stop ULEZ.  The fact that Labour did not call the Conservatives out on this – as we did, repeatedly – was a major failure on their part that we have no control over. In the absence of that very specific local issue, Steve Tuckwell’s campaign was largely non-existent.  He wanted to keep Uxbridge police station open (all candidates agreed) and to fund Hillingdon hospital renovations (all candidates agreed).  Otherwise his entire strategy was that he was the most local candidate, which is frankly a terrible reason to elect someone as an MP. I suspect that Tuckwell would have performed worse had he actually showed up to the hustings event that he skipped, as he came across as a pretty deflated candidate and was roundly attacked by other candidates and the audience, but Danny Beales really dropped the ball by not showing up to two such events.  His performance in the one he actually attended was good, and the numbers show that actually a decent performance at just one additional hustings might have been enough to make him the next MP for Uxbridge instead of Tuckwell. Regardless, we can’t control how other candidates campaign, but you can be absolutely sure that we will refer to decisions made and promised broken at the next round of campaigning. Under Our Control This category is more difficult to approach rationally.  I genuinely thought Blaise did really well in both the hustings and canvassing stages of the campaign.  There’s really not much about his performance that I think we need to change, so it falls to the rest of the campaign team. So what might we do better next time? Funding – we were lucky to go into this campaign with a couple of large donations, but in reality it would be better for us to build our war chest for campaigning in this non-campaigning period so that we can focus on the action itself when the next election rolls around.  This will be extremely important, as we will be managing more elections across the borough, so there will be less opportunity for me to help Blaise out, for example.  Our donation page is here, or you can get in touch if you would prefer to make a direct payment. Volunteers – we are lucky to have a few people that are happy to help out at any time, but we really need to increase our volunteer numbers, especially if the plan is to run successful campaigns in the coming General Election.  If you’d like to help out, our volunteer page is here or you can get in touch. Materiel – it makes sense to spend some time during this period of low campaigning intensity making flyers and posters, even if they are never used.  The goal here is to build a repository of useful documents that can be repurposed for specific campaign issues. Should We Have Stood Aside? I have seen plenty of comments lately that we should have stood aside, as the seat was not winnable.  While I can appreciate that it might seem at first glance that our standing was enough to shift the winner from Labour to Conservative, I don’t believe this is the case.  Some of the reasons for this include: We didn’t force anyone to vote for us. That was their democratic choice, and if Danny Beales had offered sufficient reasons to vote for him instead of us, that’s what would have happened. The simple fact is that voters clearly didn’t think that he offered enough of a change from the Conservatives, hence the very low turnout rate of only 46%. There are very significant deviations in core beliefs between us and Labour, most notably with respect to electoral reform. In short, we believe that it is absolutely impossible for the UK to shake itself loose of the Tories without Proportional Representation, and under Starmer Labour is currently opposed to this despite the wishes of its members. This would be a major stumbling block between our parties allying. In terms of the electorate, it is worth mentioning that there were three hustings events, and Danny Beales failed to turn up to two of them. Had he done so, maybe the outcome would have been different. Not doing so likely made the electorate feel taken for granted, which was definitely not the right approach. Ultimately we are political candidates, Blaise and I, and that means that it is our job – albeit an unpaid one – to stand and campaign on the issues that make our party special.  If we thought that the country would be best served by us not standing as Liberal Democrats, then we would already have

Guido Fawkes did a Hit Piece About Me (I didn’t notice for six months)

Over lunch today, my friend and colleague Blaise Baquiche mentioned that Guido Fawkes had done a hit piece on me.  This was news to me, so I had to check, and indeed they did. Very exciting – fame at last, or at the very least infamy. Even though this is clearly an utterly inconsequential source, given I didn’t even know it had happened for six months, I thought it was worth responding to some of their specific complaints.  Unfortunately, these are fairly rare, if not entirely absent.  In fact, considering my political website has, at current count, 15 static pages and 54 blog posts, there is no evidence that the author of the article even ventured off the homepage for the site.  A little hint for them – there’s plenty more information “hidden” if you click on the menu and navigate to a subpage.  In particular, the “About Ian” page which should give you plenty to comment on regarding my career and hobbies, as well as my disability, which I am certain you will mock given your search for low-hanging fruit. So, onto the points they actually raised. Actual picture of Guido Fawkes (NB – not actually a picture, this is clearly just a joke) Testimonial Sources When I decided to write this website, I decided to ask some people that know me well to provide some testimonies.  This includes family, friends, former coworkers, former students and people who I have worked with in my capacity as a candidate.  In short, a good blend of people from my entire lifetime. Guido Fawkes makes the complaint that: His website publicises praise from his brother, aunt, jū jūtsu instructor as well as two former co-workers. And perhaps the biggest name of the lot… “Anonymous”. Some Guy My own name is all over this site, and all the testimonials are about me.  However, the article criticising me for correctly withholding the name of someone who wished to remain anonymous comes from someone who didn’t even sign their own name to the article they wrote about me.  Not sure if the anonymous author has ever heard of GDPR, but there are rules in the UK about what types of data you are allowed to share about someone, and on top of that there are good practices.  I suppose I could have simply said that the quote was by J R Hartley or similar, but that would have been dishonest, which would breach one of the three principles that I felt important enough to include in the very header of my site. In short, I liked the quote, so I put it on the site.  If you don’t like that, the Back button is right there, you are most welcome to use it. My family know me better than anyone, and I have had major disagreements about politics with many of my family over the years.  Despite this, they are happy to endorse me as a political candidate, as are co-workers, friends and people I have worked with on an advocacy basis. At this point, I ought to critique some of the reading comprehension of whoever wrote that article.  In the testimonials section, there are two people mentioned as former fellow jū jūtsu instructors, not a single person who taught me jū jūtsu.  In fact, both of these were my students, and happened to teach at the same club as me before my disability, hence they were fellow instructors.  One of them served on the committee of the Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu Association with me, while the other is someone I have known for over a decade, supported when he applied for UK citizenship and attended his wedding in another country.  Again, indicative of how well I know them and they know me. Finally, it is genuinely impossible to work out what sources would be acceptable.  After racking my brain, I think the only conclusion would be to approach people I don’t know and ask them for a comment about my personality and suitability for political office.  I have simulated what this would look like below: Who the hell are you? Some random passer-by Obsequious Behaviour A comment in passing was that posting these testimonials was sycophantic posting.  I think the author is confused, as sycophancy is basically sucking up to someone to try to gain an advantage, e.g. a promotion at work.  In this case, comments that I post about myself cannot possibly be sycophantic.  It could be argued that it’s self-promotion or some form of arrogance perhaps, but definitely not sycophancy. Now, you can certainly argue that these were an effort by me to help people get to know me and what principles I stand for, and if that was the accusation I would say “guilty as charged”.  That is, after all, the entire point of a personal website, and as an aspiring politician I need to get information about me out there. No-one is forcing you or anyone else to read my site.  Read if you want to find out more about me, or go somewhere else if you’d prefer to be doing something else. Tax Affairs The author makes the comment that I stated that Nadhim Zahawi should no longer be an MP.  I stand by that. The claim was then made that I should look into Ed Davey’s tax affairs.  Okie dokie. From what that article says, Ed Davey paid reduced tax on winding up of a company largely owned by his wife.  Now, you might argue that this is immoral, you might argue that you want politicians and everyone else to stay clear of those options so that the Exchequer gets more money.  That’s fine, but that needs to influence your voting choice, i.e. you need to vote for parties which state that they plan to close those options down.  Right now, it’s perfectly legal, therefore criticising someone for paying lower tax rates on winding up a company is akin to claiming that politicians shouldn’t use ISAs to get

My First Hustings

OK, a slightly misleading title in that this wasn’t my first hustings as a candidate nor was it technically my first hustings as a spectator.  In my defence, the last one I attended was for my student union presidency in about 2003, so it’s fair to say that it has been a while.  It’s also fair to say that this did not disappoint. You can see the whole proceedings here (as embedding has been disabled, you have to click on the link). Elephant in the Room This hustings events got off to an interesting start, when noted conspiracy theorist, Piers Corbyn, loudly asked why only four candidates were on stage of the seventeen in total.  The (rather sensible) answer was that having all candidates on stage would be bedlam, while only having the parties with the four largest predicted vote shares made a sensible compromise between information and time commitment. Sadly this was not the end of the saga, as Corbyn and his acolytes insisted on interrupting loudly and regularly, to the point where the moderator had to say that “this isn’t going to work” and he was threatened with removal if he didn’t let the candidates speak freely. The culmination of this abysmal behaviour was a woman who stood up to screech all sorts of conspiracy theories about vaccines, Kier Starmer and his supposed paedophile ring, chem trails, 5G, etc.  Frankly this was an unwelcome addition to an event with limited time, so I and others were very happy to see her ejected by security. After this, Piers Corbyn tried to rabble-rouse further during the candidate Q&A, but everyone was by then completely fed up of his group’s antics and rightly ignored him. Now on to my thoughts on the actual candidates (Piers Corbyn is listed as a candidate, but his behaviour really solidifies the view in my mind that he is a joke candidate, nothing more). Steve Tuckwell My impression of Steve Tuckwell was one of a defeated person trying to make the most of the situation he finds himself in.  He was unable to answer the simple question of “Is Boris Johnson a Liar?” with a simple straight answer, and he seemed desperate to conflate this by-election with ULEZ, something over which the local MP has no direct power, only some influence (ULEZ is the purview of the Greater London Assembly and the Mayor of London, not local councils or MPs).  More to the point, three of the four candidates on stage for this hustings were opposed to the current ULEZ plans, so I am at a loss as to who he thinks this would be a winning strategy against. Overall, Steve seemed like a nice guy, but one who has been conned into thinking that the Conservatives are the answer.  Unfortunately I think his party have put him into place purely to be a scapegoat, in that they know that the seat is lost to them due to Boris Johnson’s behaviour, and they know that whoever they put into the candidacy will bear the brunt of the ill-will that should rightly be directed at Johnson himself. In short, Tuckwell did not come across as a credible candidate with any real ideas beyond “keeping going with Conservative plans” (loosely paraphrased based on his responses to various questions – he didn’t actually state that this was his position). Sarah Green Sarah Green came across to me as very well informed and caring.  She generally gave very considered answers to questions put to her by the moderators or audience, and I genuinely got the impression from her that she cared not only about the science but also the people. My concern about Sarah Green is that her party is starting in a distant fourth place, securing only 2% of the vote in 2019.  Given my counterpart, Blaise Baquiche, is starting from over 6%, he is the most likely progressive candidate to actually win. Green spoke on the subject of HS2 a few times, including a very interesting figure that a mere 7 weeks of HS2’s budget in 2023 would be enough to close the funding gap for Hillingdon Hospital, sorely in need of renovation.  She also mentioned something that I was not previously aware of, namely that Hillingdon is the only London Borough that does not regularly supply data on air quality and water cleanliness to the central data amalgamators, which seems to be a huge oversight by the Council (on which Steve Tuckwell currently sits, incidentally). Danny Beales Of all the candidates, I thought Danny Beales had the most polished speaking skills and stage presence.  He held some fairly popular views on Heathrow’s third runway (opposed), ULEZ (opposed in its current form), and fixing Hillingdon hospital (for), but there was little said here that made him stand out from the other candidates. I did ask a question – I believe the final question of the hustings – on what democracy meant to the candidates and how their parties supported democracy in getting them to where they are.  This was a bit of a low blow, because I happen to know that Beales does not support Proportional Representation – the only form of election that actually results in true representative democracy – and was placed there by his party after they overruled the democratically elected candidate in Uxbridge & South Ruislip.  As such, Beales is only here because his party deliberately decided to ignore representative democracy, which in my view tarnishes any good he might otherwise want to do. Blaise Baquiche Cards on the table, I went to the hustings as a supporter of Blaise Baquiche.  Indeed, I was sitting in the front row with his brother and Jonathan Banks, the leader of our local Liberal Democrats.  Nevertheless, I was impressed by Blaise in terms of both public speaking skills and stage presence, and thought he did an excellent job of getting his points across. Certainly he managed to get a round of applause from the audience for

It’s On!

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the famously-absentee Member of Parliament for my neighbouring constituency of Uxbridge & South Ruislip resigned in what I can only describe as a fit of pique.  He had been facing the judgement of the committee of privileges over his conduct surrounding Partygate, and the expectation at the moment is that the report – which was given to him in advance of his resignation – contained a recommendation to suspend him for long enough to trigger a recall petition. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, he’s now gone, so there is a by-election coming in Uxbridge & South Ruislip. Luckily we have a candidate who has been active in the area for a long time in Blaise Baquiche.  Blaise is a hugely passionate candidate, and he and I have been working together on our campaigns for a while now.  I have certainly been impressed by his dedication to fairness and integrity, and I wholeheartedly support his campaign to be an MP for Hillingdon. Blaise’s Beliefs Blaise with me and London Assembly member Hina Bokhari Blaise is a committed environmentalist.  Importantly, he sees this as an opportunity for Britain to make use of our incredible natural resources in the form of solar, wind and tidal energy to become self-sufficient for energy generation, perhaps even a net exporter.  This can only be a positive for the country given the problems we have seen recently with the international price of gas and the control that Russia has on a large proportion of our supply. Blaise, like me, also wants to see an end to the wholly unnecessary dumping of raw sewage into our country’s rivers and coastal waters.  We have sufficient technology available to us already to make this sort of action unnecessary, but the government right now puts water company profits ahead of the environment, and that attitude must change if we want to leave the country habitable for our children. His environmental beliefs means that there are certain things he sees as necessary evils, for example the proposed expansion of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.  However, like me, he feels that the support being offered to non-compliant drivers is not sufficient at this time, therefore he would oppose the ULEZ expansion in its current form. How Can You Help? If you’d like to lend a hand in Blaise’s campaign to be an MP, there are a few things you can do to help: We’re not in the restricted period for spending and donations yet (though check the date, as this is correct at the time of publication but will change when the date of the by-election is confirmed), so if you’d like to make a donation, now would be a great time.  Our donation form is here.  We’ll soon be limited on how much we can take, so fill your boots now and help us fight for Uxbridge & South Ruislip.  Whatever you donate, we will spend on sending the major parties that allow the current system to propagate a message. We’re going to need volunteers FAST.  If you can lend a hand by coming and helping Blaise spread the word, that would be great and we’d love to see you.  Our volunteer page is here.  It doesn’t matter where you are in the country or even the world – we can make use of remote volunteers just as easily as local ones. Tell friends and family who might also want to help out.  They can donate, volunteer, or just put up posters around where they live. Blaise with me and one of our volunteers in Eastcote earlier this year. Above all, remember that this vote will require more ID than any other election we have had in Hillingdon before, so it is going to be worth checking with friends and family that they have arranged a form of valid ID or a postal vote in plenty of time. However you choose to help, Blaise and I are very grateful indeed, and we hope to see you on the campaign trail! Bonus Video Just as a bonus, here’s a video of Blaise explaining a bit more about his campaign and his motivations.  It’s really powerful stuff! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QArQG_tBmc&pp=ygUPYmxhaXNlIGJhcXVpY2hl

A Wasted Vote?

Is a vote for the Liberal Democrats a wasted vote? No, it’s a very positive step.