Wednesday 5 May 2010

Local Views

The local paper last week had an interview with the candidates from the three main parties (Alan Beith, LD; Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Con; Alan Strickland, Lab) asking for their views on six topics – their political philosophy, the A1, rural issues, immigration, youth unemployment and a hung parliament.

Most are as you’d expect from their parties and the manifestos (during the election period, see top left of blog for links to the party manifestos); there are a couple that aren’t:
A1: Beith thinks it should be a strategic road and dualled, although his party doesn’t want to spend money on road enhancements of this type.
Immigration: Beith believes there should be more control and a system people should have confidence in – yet the proposed amnesty will not help this.

I don’t think an MP having different views from his party is a bad thing; but Beith’s lack of position within his party (he wasn’t even in the top 50 most influential Lib Dems last year) means he lacks influence and people voting for him need to be aware that they are really voting for a different set of beliefs than his.

Talking to people on the doorstep is always interesting. I sense a frustration that politicians can’t be trusted, a concern that not enough has been done to support North Northumberland, a real interest in what is going on and a surprising indecision about how to vote. I think the Conservative vote will be stronger than people expect because of a need to change. Will it be enough?

On the eve of polling, I’ll repeat my thoughts from the beginning of the campaign:
Nationally, the country has serious economic problems. We are the slowest recovering G20 economy with one of the biggest public sector deficits in the world. We have also had over a decade of largely ineffective initiatives with a new law being passed for almost every day Labour have been in power. The Conservatives are believers in small Government and sound finance – they have a record of achieving higher employment and better finances. In turn, every Labour Government has left office with more unemployment and a bigger public sector deficit than when they came into office and this one looks like being no different. If there is to be a change in Government, constituencies like Berwick need to become Conservative.

Locally, whatever individual help people have received from Alan Beith, this area has suffered from under-investment. This must at least partly be due to the fact that we do not have an MP from one of the parties of Government. Anne-Marie has in a short time made progress on many projects, such as launching the most recent dual the A1 campaign, helping get money for the new harbour wall at Seahouses and getting a mobile MRI scanner to Berwick Infirmary. I think we now need someone of her energy as MP.

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