Regular readers will remember that every election, general or otherwise, I try to get the local candidates to meet me in the pub so that they can tell me why I should vote for them. Regular readers will also recall that during each election I look at the leaflets that come through the door and explain how ineffective they are as a way to wrestle my vote from me.
This week, local Kipper, Michael P. Gerard (the P is important you know) pushed his big purple one through my flap.
a Chartered Builder, academic Barrister and practicing Solicitor specialising in dispute avoidance and resolution within the construction industry.
OK, so I’m an academic Television Producer and a practicing journalist amongst other things.
I was born in the East End of London to working class parents….ancestral history shows…Ireland, France and Germany (Just incase you’re thinking he’s racist)….attended state schools [and] self financed further education…to achieve…professional status.
Good. So you’re from the UK, then worked your way from the bottom to the top. How are you going to help those that are still trying to climb to aspiration ladder late in life? Do your experiences in adult education help you appreciate how lifelong learning is crucial to progress and how the incumbent government have devastated all educational prospects for those over 24? Oh wait! It gets better:
Initially trained as a quantity surveyor…obtained Masters Degree…in the mid-nineties….read law…undertook the bar (ooh look you’ve stressed that again)….[is the] Managing Director of…own commercial contracts consultancy….[and] practice as a consultant Solicitor.
So Michael P. Gerard (the P is important) has studied his way through the nineties while I, unable to finance my own education until much later, was busy working and saving. Nice.
He then goes on to tell the reader about his family and how he moved to the Daventry area in 2001 before moving (over the border) to Market Harborough.
He then concludes with a promise:
Should I be privileged to be elected as your Westminster MP, I pledge to abide by common sense politics and tirelessly represent your local interests to the highest expectations of integrity, purpose and truth.
I’d be interested to hear what he means by common sense politics and how he defines “local interests” when clearly his local interests should be restricted to Market Harborough, especially as that is where his business is. Furthermore, is he willing to give up his nice tidy income from soliciting, barristering and consulting to devote his time to politics? Who’s going to do all the soliciting and dispute avoidance while he’s in Parliament? Leicestershire will become rife with disputes and dodgy construction if he’s focussed on Daventry.
The flip side of the leaflet (which so far reads more like a CV) is no better in informing me why I should vote for him. Instead it tells me that UKIP “change politics” – without explaining how. But suggests that they Say Yes to…
Free trade with the world – Yet you want to get out of Europe our biggest trading partner
Allowing existing schools to become grammar schools – How will this benefit a change in politics? Are we talking selective Grammar schools ultimately disadvantaging people? Or Grammar schools where grammar is taught? Or class and ability based grammar schools resulting in more disadvantage?
Protecting our greenbelt land – Totally agree with that. In fact all the parties seem to say the same about greenbelt. No one is going to win votes by saying “Let’s pour tarmac over the UK” now are they?
Local referenda for large-scale development – Surprisingly a European policy and again something that’s like saying “Free paint work” when buying a car.
Scrapping tuition fees for students studying Science, Technical, Engineering, Maths or Medical degrees – Will that mean that only the wealthy would be able to enter into careers in marketing, media, the arts or leisure?
Encouraging development on brownfield sites – Providing that the result from the local referendum doesn’t say “No thanks”. Again, something that most politicians promise but don’t actually deliver when it comes down to it.
Controlled immigration with a points system – To those outside the EU? To those inside the EU? To those in Scotland, Wales and Ireland? What about the Manx? Or those in former Crown Dependencies? How will this affect them? What about those that are already here? Will the score be tattooed onto the right arm of the successful so that we know they’re entitled to be here?
The leaflet continues, detailing what they will “Say No” to…
Remaining in the European Union – Well actually I think staying in the EU is a great idea. And that membership should be embraced to enrich our culture whilst also being developed by the people for the people, regardless of where in the EU they are.
The right for British Prisoners to vote – My views on the British penal system are unconventional and I actually agree with this policy but there should be conditions dependent on how long the sentence is and the crime for which is being atoned. Otherwise come election time, non-UKIP voters might find themselves in prison.
Tolls on public roads that we’ve already paid for – Likewise, publishers should issue people with albums they’ve already paid for when they’re released on new media. I should be allowed to go to see films I’ve already seen for free. I should be able to have bottled water for free because I’ve already paid for that too.
Tax payer subsidies for wind farms – And tax payer subsidies (expenses) for politicians.
Hospital parking fees – Nothing to do with Westminster really. Such decisions should be down to the local authority.
Child benefit for children not resident in the UK – Children are already a benefit. Why should I pay for other people’s children when I decided I couldn’t afford my own anyway?
Zero hours contracts – Totally agree with this too but this is just a political fluff statement anyway.
Spending £12 billion in foreign aid – If we can afford it then I have no problem with such aid. Likewise politicians should not be begging for aid for their second homes, staff, dinners etc when they can pay for it themselves out of their own chuffing pocket.
When Michael P Gerard (the P is important) stuck his big purple thing through my flap it told me all about him. Someone who does not live in the area. It told me about his aspirations. Someone who works hard and wants to work harder by taking on yet another responsibility. He then told me about his conflicting ill informed political ideals which seem to be a mix of popular general policies, unsupported ideals and rhetoric. Of course, I have many other questions that are still to be answered and I want to know about his opinion on the state of adult education, the economy, the health system and defence spending. I want to know what experience he has in politics. I want to know how he would vote on certain situations. None of this has been answered through his leaflet.
I also want to know what the P stands for and why it’s so important.