Vote for Something You Can Believe In
My argument with Nick Clegg
Yesterday I took part in the only debate Nick Clegg has agreed to do in Sheffield Hallam. It’s a shame that Nick Clegg doesn’t feel the same passion for sharing a platform in his own constituency as he does for the national debates, where he’s been scathing at David Cameron’s unwillingness to participate.
Still, it was important that the other candidates and I had at least one opportunity to challenge him about his record in office.
I thought I might be overawed by the Deputy PM or enchanted by his legendary charm but in the end his wilful blindness to the problems facing us because of his Government’s policies just made me angry. I wish I’d said more and not allowed him to repeat the same falsehoods over and over again.
From his home in Putney, Nick Clegg believes that Sheffield is flourishing. But I have to disagree.
Just this week, I have spoken to a local GP whose surgery is losing £100,000s in funding and faces closure, local schools who are having their budgets slashed and, at the School Gate yesterday morning, a plea for extra donations of food from a mother who volunteers at a nearby food bank. There are so many people, a third of them children, who can’t afford to eat that the charity has run out of supplies. These are not the signs of a “recovery”, these are the signs of things going terribly terribly wrong.
As I pointed out to Nick Clegg, it’s impossible to know what’s going on, if you don’t live here.
Time and again in the debate, the LibDem and Tory candidates argued that, because of our national debt, we have to make painful cuts. But of course, the national debt (high as it is) was never the cause of our economic problems, nor is austerity the solution. That deception has been exposed numerous times – here by Oxford Professor in Economics, Simon Wren-Lewis, in the Huffington Post, and by the New Economics Foundation but the Coalition clings on to the myth faithfully. It helps them justify their savagery towards our public services.
We have to tackle the debt, but the debt as a percentage of GDP was coming down until the Financial Crisis when we were forced to bail out the banks. Since 2010, our National Debt as doubled. The Tory/ LibDem policies are not working. What’s more the Coalition’s policies are undermining our ability to tackle or avoid the same problems in future.
If we keep going this way, the Government will have inflicted irreparable harm to the NHS, education, our police forces and our local councils.
We have to stop the cuts and start investing. Only by rebuilding our economy can we afford to pay off our debts and have the public services that make all our lives better.
It’s time Westminster listened to us. I hope they hear loud and clear on 7 May.
See for yourself – you can watch the video of the whole debate on the Sheffield Star’s website
What would you like to say to Nick Clegg?
Tomorrow I will be debating with Nick Clegg about the forthcoming General Election.
In the only local debate that Clegg has agreed to attend, myself and the other candidates will have a chance to answer questions from the people of Sheffield.
Sadly, it’s not open to the public but it will be reported live on Twitter (@SheffieldStar) and later the whole debate will be published online.
You can can find out more on the Star’s website.
In the meantime, what would you like me to say to Nick Clegg?
Tuition fees aren’t just bad news for students – they are bad for us all.
I’m campaigning to scrap them. For the sake of our young people. For the sake of our economy.
Being part of Our Fair City
I’m delighted to have become a Champion of the Our Fair City project in Sheffield. Tackling inequality is something that really matters to me – it’s one of the reasons I’m standing in the general election.
Our Fair City is a project that brings together people who “live, work, study or do business in Sheffield” in order to “make our great city a place we can be really proud of.” It’s about promoting fairness for all. The Fairness Commission has established some good guidelines for how citizens and policy makers can make the city a fairer place:
- Civic responsibility – all residents to contribute to making the city fairer and for all citizens to have a say in how the city works
- Those with the most resources should make the biggest contributions
- The commitment to fairness must be for the long-term
- The commitment to fairness must be across the whole city
- Preventing inequalities is better than trying to cure them
- To be seen to act in a fair way as well as acting fairly
- Those in greatest need should take priority
- An open continuous campaign for fairness in the city
- Fairness must be a matter of balance between different groups, communities and generations in the city
- The city’s commitment to fairness must be both demonstrated and monitored in an annual report
Our Fair City is an initiative that seeks to make our home “the fairest city in the UK” and encompasses supporters from across the political spectrum. It’s a great example of what we can do together.
Standing as an Independent for Sheffield Hallam
I’m standing as an independent candidate for Sheffield Hallam in the 2015 General Election.
I’ll be fighting Nick Clegg and the other Westminster-based political parties because I think there’s a better way of government – one where policies are decided in the interests of the people rather than the interests of the parties.
I’m talking to professionals, experts and stakeholders in Sheffield to determine where the challenges and opportunities lie. I’d love you to be part of the conversation.
We deserve better than party politics. Together we can do things differently.
Would you support the campaign? My crowd funding site is now live.
Otherwise, please get in touch through my contacts page.