You Deserve Better

Danny Beales – Labour

Returning to Uxbridge & South Ruislip once more and again hoping to be your next MP is Danny Beales.  Beales stood in the by-election last year, which I have already said was one of the biggest open goals for Labour in history, given the previous MP had resigned in disgrace, the Conservative candidate – Steve Tuckwell – was monumentally unsuited to the role and lying repeatedly about what he would do as MP, and the Conservatives were at a historically low level of support.  Nevertheless, he contrived to lose the ballot marginally. I would argue that skipping most of the hustings events probably didn’t do him any favours, as that showed a contempt for the electorate that really didn’t sit well with people.  Nor did starting out pro-ULEZ in full support of Sadiq Khan then changing to anti-ULEZ when Tuckwell weaponised ULEZ as a campaigning tool.  Generally I thought he was a very good speaker and would have been a good statesman, but his political stances were clearly poorly thought out and he simply wasn’t committed to the electoral process. Will definitely be interesting to see whether this changes in the General Election campaign. It is worth mentioning that Beales has been very unfairly lambasted by the Tories as “not local” (as have I, incidentally, which is absurd as I live about 3 minutes from the constituency border).  To my mind this is not a fair criticism.  Beales was born and raised in Hillingdon, and his work has taken him across London to Camden, but he is clearly still a local to the area.  This is clearly a desperate ploy by the Tories to denigrate other candidates in the area purely based on their post code rather than a) whether they know and love Hillingdon and b) whether they would do a good job for the area.  It is also worth remembering that their former MP, Boris Johnson, famously spent almost no time in Uxbridge to the point where it was joked that he didn’t even know where Uxbridge was. Labour’s Policies It is worth remembering that Beales is a Labour candidate.  That means that he is inextricably linked to the Labour leadership.  That means that  a vote for him is a vote to: Keep most things exactly as they are. Labour has been very clear that they are not offering any  radical changes to anything and will keep most of what the Tories have brought in, including the restrictions on the rights to protest and strike, both of which are fundamental to a society which values the people who make up the country. Retain the existing First Past The Post election system which guarantees that most votes are wasted and does not allow true representation in  Parliament. Continue demonising the people who most need the benefits system, e.g. disabled individuals. Leave the tax system largely unchanged, allowing the ultra wealthy to continue paying a tiny fraction of what the average family pays as a marginal rate. Allow continued exploitation of the UK’s oil and gas reserves despite very clear evidence that renewable energy is cheaper. There are plenty of other complaints about the Labour Party, but my summary of them is that they have very deliberately set themselves up as a caretaker government while the Tories are out of power.  They are not bringing anything radical or even necessary to the table, but instead are fishing for right-wing votes that would normally go to the Conservatives. Frankly if you want change, Labour is not the party for you.  If you look at the chaos and suffering of the last 14 years and think “more of that, please” then maybe, though honestly I would argue that you are probably better suited to the Conservatives or even Reform if that’s the case. In short, Labour are not what the UK needs. We will almost certainly get a Labour government next if we look at the polls, but if you want to vote for the good of the country and not just vote for the winning party, you will need to look elsewhere. Such as:

Uxbridge & South Ruislip: Your New MP

Well, the people have spoken. 46% anyway (where were you, 54% – let me know on Twitter). And you have selected as your next MP Steve Tuckwell of the Conservatives. I thought it would be useful to document some of the things he promised and did as part of this campaign. Hustings Remember the hustings on 13 July 2023? Steve Tuckwell doesn’t, because he didn’t go.  Didn’t send a proxy, didn’t turn up late, just didn’t go.  The next day his team started showing recordings of the council meeting that he attended instead, and frankly it seems like a very poor excuse for missing a fundamental part of the democratic process. Frankly Steve Tuckwell is either afraid of the electorate or holds them in contempt. ULEZ The core of Steve Tuckwell’s campaign was opposition to London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone expansion into Hillingdon. Clearly it makes sense to listen to local issues when campaigning, but Tuckwell deliberately ignored several key points: The MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip has absolutely no power over ULEZ. This is a devolved Greater London Authority power, therefore it sits with the Mayor’s office, not parliament. ULEZ was first rolled out by Boris Johnson while Mayor. For those that don’t recall, Johnson was a Conservative. Hillingdon was included in a letter that Grant Shapps sent to Sadiq Khan requiring the expansion of ULEZ.  Grant Shapps was at the time a Conservative Transport Minister. In short, this entire promise was a lie built on a foundation of lies.  Steve Tuckwell has done the political equivalent of promising voters a unicorn each, and he will have as much success delivering the herd of unicorns he now owes. Importantly, the Conservatives might apply pressure on Sadiq Khan to slow or mitigate the expansion of ULEZ. It is vital to remember that anything they do at this point is something they could have done with or without Steve Tuckwell as an MP. This was a truly disgraceful campaign, and I hope that voters remember these promises and omissions when Tuckwell campaigns to keep his seat at the general election, whenever that is. Uxbridge Police Station Throughout this election, Tuckwell claimed that Sadiq Khan was closing Uxbridge Police Station. This of course glosses over the fact that the partial closure of the station was down to – you guessed it – Boris Johnson, the serial liar and regular absentee from Uxbridge. Not as an MP, but as Mayor. Which, like the ULEZ issue above, is where the powers for policing lie, not with the local MP. As such, this is another example of Tuckwell making promises that he does not have the power to deliver. Hillingdon Hospital A recurring theme through the campaign was the state of Hillingdon Hospital, famously referred to as a monstrosity by Wes Streeting, Shadow Health Secretary. The issue here is not the staff – though the Conservatives are responsible for the repeated strike action – but the building itself.  In short, it is dilapidated and needs a very significant investment to modernise the building and upgrade the services that the wonderful staff have to help us with our health needs. Sadly, no mention was made of the fact that the former MP – one Boris Johnson – supposedly secured funding several years ago for much-needed upgrades. Ground has not been broken, contracts have not been agreed, funding has not been released.  In short, the Conservatives have absolutely no progress to show after 13 years in government. Given this, it was depressing to see Tuckwell running on the promise to help the hospital, as Conservatives have had ample opportunity to help the NHS in the last 13 years, and have failed to do so at every turn. Conclusion It feels very early to be making a prediction for what pledges a politician will keep and which they will break. In this case, though, I am confident that I can predict which promises will be kept – none of them – and which will be broken – all of them. This is down to the fact that Tuckwell’s main priorities of ULEZ and Uxbridge Police Station are entirely outside his control.  His other priority of getting an investment for Hillingdon Hospital is, I suspect, doomed to failure based on how the Conservatives have treated the NHS to date.

Campaign Launch – 2 Weeks to Go

When I first booked a date for my campaign launch, it felt like a very long time in the future. Now we have only 2 weeks to go, it feels like it has crept up on me very fast indeed! If you’re in the area and looking for something to do on Sunday 26 February between 17:00 and 20:00, I’d love for you to come along, chat with me about the things that matter most to you, and enjoy our refreshments. We’ll also be holding a raffle with some amazing prizes. If you’re looking for inspiration for things to chat to me about, my personal manifesto is here. You can find tickets and full details here, or in the flyer below.

Charges & Fees Galore

As a New Year present (actually passed before Christmas, but this hardly feels like something fitting for the season of goodwill) it seems that Hillingdon Borough Council has decided to increase the fees and costs for a number of items outside of the proposed increase to council tax. Remember that this is a Conservative council with a Conservative-run government, so any claims they might once have had of being a party of low taxes are utterly ruined, as their own council now claims that they are unable to pay for basic services through the combination of council tax and grants from central government. If you are interested, here’s a list of fees and charges they are proposing to increase: Blue Badge Increase from £2.10 to £10, an increase of 376%. Cemetaries and Crematoria Increases of up to 25% on all charges. Local Land Charges Cost of a search to increase from £15 to £45, an increase of 200%. Development Control – Pre-Application Fees Average increase of 20% across all such fees. Food Health and Safety Cost increase of 30% for provision of export certificates, attributed solely to Brexit, a Conservative policy. Parking Uplifts in cost of between 10p and 50p an hour. Total effect not listed. Resident Permits New charge of £75 for a permit application, increased cost of 9% for additional permits. Visitor Vouchers Increase in cost from £10.50 to £13.00 for 10 vouchers. Increase of 24%. Refuse Collection Increase in the cost of collecting bulky waste items from £30 to £48, an increase of 60%. Golf Obviously an important one for the council, which has decided to introduce a discounted rate for 3-ball and 4-ball groups. Clearly a very important matter to offer discounts on at a time when so many other costs are increasing. Advertising in Hillingdon People Increase of about 30% across the board. Marriages Increase of about 30% for all non-statutory marriage-related fees. Baby-naming Ceremonies Increase of 30.22% to £237 Citizenship Ceremonies Increase of around 30% for either midweek (to £136.50) or Saturday (to £170.75). Civil Funerals Increase in cost to £300, representing an increase of 30% Civic Centre Room Hire Increase of about 30% for any room. Various Other Charges There are a lot of 30% increases for things like permits, library borrowing, mostly up 30% or so. Full details available in this document: In short, this is a result of a national government that does not do enough to fund local councils coupled with a local government that clearly didn’t set aside finances in years where the country was doing well. In both cases, the party responsible is the Conservatives, who currently represent 100% of Hillingdon’s councillors and also a significant majority of MPs at national level. Current parliament of the UK, courtesy of Wikipedia This cost of living crisis is already bad enough without a council that belongs to the party responsible for the national crisis (not to mention the other crises going on) increasing costs by more than the already staggeringly high rate of inflation. You deserve better.