Tuesday, 17 October 2017

October Branch Meeting

After opening the meeting there was a report on the recent UKIP conference. There were a number of excellent speakers at the conference and in particular Bishop Nazir-Ali, Steve Crowther and David Kurten were mentioned. Congratulations were made to Henry Bolton on his election as leader. The meeting agreed that UKIP needed to unite behind him. Some of the more 'radical' former candidates (AMW, JRE) have now left the party, which hopefully will close that story. At the conference the UKIP rebranding was also unveiled and the meeting was generally positive about that.

There was a lengthy discussion on 2 policy areas. This was an initiative from the national party which was running a consultation on members views.

The first issue was Disability. One member related their personal experience of applying for ESA and PIP and how the system was mainly aimed at saving the government money rather providing help to those in need. The meeting agreed that the assessments should be carried out by qualified doctors, although to minimise fraud they should be independent and not from the local area. Social media should also be used to investigate claims in case the real lifestyle of the person making the claim did not not match what was claimed on the application. There was discussion on reducing the stigma associated with disability and in particular mental health. Martin has setup a Facebook page "Rushmoor Voice" which supports these issues.

The second issue was Education. The consensus was that too many people were going to University and not enough people were developing technical skills. The meeting voted against compulsory sex and relationship education on the basis that parents should have discretion. It was also thought that the school leaving age should be lowered to allow young people to start apprenticeships and that shorter university courses (2 years) would be beneficial.

Councillor Mark Staplehurst reported on local issues. The County Council is going ahead with the consultation on budget issues. This is expected to have a big impact on local services. In Farnborough the new shopping development is likely to causes major traffic issues and there appears to be no measures in place yet to address this. The strategy for the borough elections in May 2018 was also discussed.

As usual the evening ended with tea and biscuits.

Ken McNair

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Cuts to services in Hampshire

Back in July we reported that Hampshire County Council was running a public consultation on reducing its budget.

Now, a report seen by this blog, says that the county are aiming for savings of £140 million during the 2019/2020 financial year. As the report says "There are some significant proposals to reduce spending and provision, transform services and in some cases to increase charges and generate income." The County Council is meeting on the 2nd November to consider this.

There are over 20 'key proposals' listed and these include the following:
- Reduction in salting roads in winter months
- Withdrawal of school crossing patrols
- Withdrawal of all Bus Subsidies
- Stopping the Community Transport Service
- Closure of Household Waste Recycling Centres
- Reducing Home to School Transport to the statutory minimum
- Reduced library services
- Reduced funding for the Basingstoke Canal.
- Over £50 million reduction in Adult Social Care and Health

The report that we saw is a high level one and the detail of what is being cut is not yet clear. However it is clear from the amounts involved that the impact of these cuts will be significant. Unfortunately this is a result of political developments; the Conservative party, at the local level, is now intent on implementing whatever policy they are directed to by the centre rather than fighting for local people and services. The results are not pretty.

Friday, 8 September 2017

UKIP Daily

As has been said before, one thing that UKIP has been lacking is an unofficial website that allows members to air opinions outside the formal structure of the party. UKIP Daily is the best attempt we have seen so far. As compared with Kipper Central, this is a more grown up and mainstream website, even if it does not have such a cool name.

UKIP Daily appears to have input from across the spectrum of UKIP; so you are unlikely to agree with every article. However that is probably a strength; there needs to be an exchange of views in order to stimulate debate.

You can find UKIP Daily here.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Democracy in the Conservative Party?

As a follow up to our previous posts regarding selection of the Conservative candidate for Aldershot (see here and here), it is interesting to see some further details of the story emerge. I have lifted the quote below directly from the Conservative Home website.

"In effect this was a huge centralisation of power over [candidate] selections – one of the most valued powers which normally sits with [Conservative] Associations and members, but which had already been eroded somewhat in the Cameron era. The special rules supposedly provided for consultation with senior officers of the local Association when shortlisting or imposing a candidate, but experience proved this to be lip-service at best. When Associations made clear requests for someone to be shortlisted – most notably when Aldershot asked for Daniel Hannan – their request was “noted”, but then ignored. Those who threatened to reject all three of CCHQ’s suggestions were first pressured subtly, being told they would have to do so with the candidates present, on the night, and then bluntly, being told that if they did then CCHQ would impose one of them anyway."

You can read the full article by Mark Wallace here.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Saturday, 2 September 2017

UKIP Leadership Hustings - Opinion

I thought it would be useful to separate my impressions from the straightforward reporting. So the following is entirely my opinion. Lets go in reverse order.

7. Anne-Marie Waters: "Let me tell you why I am a horrible racist fascist" she said at one point. Was she being ironic? It was hard to tell.

6. John Rees-Evans started his statement with the bizarre proposition that only Anne-Marie Waters and himself were radical enough to save UKIP from oblivion. Was he being ironic? Who knows.

5. Aiden Powlesland was an entertaining speaker but probably not down to earth enough for UKIP.

4. I had heard good things about Peter Whittle but was somewhat disappointed. We spoke well and his closing statement about his parents values was quite moving. However I suspect that he is taking the cut and thrust of the campaign in a rather personal way and is possibly not thick skinned enough to lead a rambunctious party like UKIP.

3. Jane Collins has now got the backing of 4 former candidates, so clearly she understands the internal politics of UKIP. She seems like a reasonable and competent person. However there was nothing new in her vision for party.

2. Henry Bolton has a very impressive CV and is clearly a great asset to the party. He can speak well and his viewpoint is what I would call mainstream UKIP. I am less clear on whether he would connect with the voters though.

1. If there is one thing the leader of UKIP needs it is a sense of humour, and David Kurten had the ability to make the room laugh. He was upbeat and hopeful about the future of UKIP. He was also the only person in the room who had read my blog post on social conservatism (or so it seemed). UKIP needs a vision for the future and David seems to have that.

As I said at the beginning this is only my opinion. Take that for what it is worth.

Ken McNair

Friday, 1 September 2017

UKIP Leadership Hustings - Report

A regional leadership hustings was held in the Christian Centre at Dorking on Thursday evening. The meeting followed the usual hustings format of statements from each candidate, followed by a question and answer session, before closing statements from each candidate.

Ben Walker was first to speak and talked about the need for a grassroots up party and reform of the NEC. He then announced that he had decided to step down from the leadership contest and would be supporting Jane Collins from now on. He also stated that David Coburn and Marion Mason who had recently stood down would also be supporting Jane Collins.

That left 7 candidates and first to go was Peter Whittle. He said that it had been a mistake to stand down candidates at the General Election and that from now on UKIP should aim to field candidates everywhere. He planned to set up a UKIP Media Unit. His vision for the future of UKIP was to complete Brexit and then reverse the legacy of the EU by creating a more democratic society which valued British traditions, the rule of law and free speech. In his closing remarks he also talked about his parents and how they would have been UKIP if they were still around.

Next was Anne-Marie Waters who talked about how women were not safe from sexual harassment and rape by immigrants. She also promised to let the members decide about reform of the NEC. She then had an argument with the Chair about the time she was allowed to speak.

Jane Collins emphasised that she was leading a team and not a lone player. She discussed reform of the NEC and the need for UKIP to improve on messaging, media and fundraising. Her vision for the future was to complete Brexit and then deal with issues such as immigration, fisheries and HS2.

Henry Bolton started off by admitting that he used to work for the EU and then told a story about two Belgians discussing the re-appearance of the 'British Lion' (Brexit). He saw Brexit as being the core purpose of UKIP and an opportunity to give a voice to the people. He said the UKIP organisation was too centred on Brussels at present and that he wanted to see regional representation on the NEC. He was then interrupted by Anne-Marie who accused him of making allegations, about her, behind peoples backs. Henry responded that everything that he said was on the record before the Chair intervened.

David Kurten said that Brexit was the current priority but that in the future Education, Immigration and the NHS should be at the centre of UKIP policy. He then talked about the need to provide an opposition to the 'cultural Marxists' who wanted to deconstruct society. As an example, he said it was 'evil' that primary school children were being confused about gender identity issues. In his closing remarks he pointed out that UKIP got almost 4 million votes in 2015 and that, despite a poor result in 2017, those people were waiting for a reason to vote for UKIP again.

John Rees-Evans could not be present due to the recent death of his Father. His representative read a statement which started off by saying that only Anne-Marie Waters and JRE were offering radical enough leadership to save UKIP and that the other candidates would simply lead the party into decline. He then discussed the need for reform of the political system in the UK in order to provide 'direct democracy'.

Aidan Powlesland was the last candidate to speak, as he had been held up in traffic. He said that he would open up spokesman positions to ordinary members instead of MEPs. He also talked about the need to attract donors and the need for more direct democracy in UKIP.

Marion Mason then made a brief statement regarding her withdrawal from the contest and how she was now supporting Jane Collins.

During the Q & A session, Peter Whittle was accused of making personal attacks on JRE and David Kurten. Peter responded that as he was gay he had taken exception to some of the things that had been said. David Kurten said that as a Christian he did not accept gay marriage but that he was the victim of a 'hatchet job' by Pink News which had misrepresented what he had actually said. The Chair then intervened to move things to another topic.

The meeting moved on to brief final statements before closing.

Ken McNair

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Southwood Golf Course

Rushmoor Borough Council have launched a consultation on closing Southwood Golf Course and turning the area into natural parkland.

It is fair to say the local members of UKIP are not in agreement about whether this is a good idea. Some think that the council has a duty to provide local services, others think the money spent on subsidising the golf course is wasted. Some think the golf course has to go in order to enable more housing to be built (although not on the golf course itself), while others do not want more local housing.

If you want to know more, you can find the link to the survey here: http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk/southwoodsurvey

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

What should UKIP stand for?

Now that the Brexit negotiations have started, it appears that some level of consensus on the subject is emerging between Britain's two major parties. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn appear to agree, for example, that we will leave the Single Market. Not all Members of Parliament have yet signed up to this plan, but it now seems that the continuity Remain campaign have nowhere near the numbers needed to stop this.

The main purpose of UKIP, since it was formed, has been to extract Britain from the EU. Even our critics are in agreement that UKIP has played a significant part in getting to where we are now. The question that arises is: what happens next?

If Parliament should suddenly go soft on Brexit, then UKIP will be back in business. As Nigel Farage puts it, UKIP is an insurance policy against government backsliding. Lets assume however that Brexit does happen and takes a 'clean' (or 'hard' if you must) form. Should UKIP hold a big party, announce that we have achieved our objectives and then disband the next day; or could it be, that we decide to pick some new fights?

The long running debate over the EU provides a very good illustration of the problem with a two party system. In Parliament there are around 100 true believers in Brexit and around 60 who are convinced Europhiles. The remaining 490 MPs will vote whichever way the party whips tell them to. Because the leaders of the two main parties agreed on the topic debate effectively ceased. David Cameron famously described UKIP as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists". After all if 85% of Parliament (possibly more at the time) agreed that membership of the EU was best for the UK, to take a contrary position marked you out as a bigot, deranged, or at best, hopelessly eccentric.

So lets phrase the question in a different way. Are there any other issues where Parliament is disconnected from public opinion? Where the two main parties have agreed not to debate the issues? Where dissenters are characterised as unhinged bigots?

The left has never fully recovered from the economic policy handbagging they received at the hands of Margaret Thatcher but they have compensated by scoring victory after victory on their agenda of social liberalism. I say 'the left' but the Conservative party has notably failed to live up to its name and provide a defence of social conservatism. In fact they often appear to be competing for the PC vote. Why would they have stopped at Civil Partnership when they could score points with Gay Marriage. Why be content with giving rights to LGBT people when you could abolish gender as a matter of objective fact. I mention these two particular issues because in both cases the Conservative party did not bother to put these policies in a manifesto. A small group of politicians have been making policy without reference to the wider world.

To examine the detail of these issues would require a much longer essay than I have time for today. My point is that UKIP has thrived and won the argument on the EU by representing the broad view of the people against the views of the political elite. To survive UKIP must find new areas where a similar disconnect exists. Social issues are one such area.

I was encouraged that during the election campaign Paul Nuttall was able to explain his views on abortion in the most straightforward way when he said "it is not UKIP policy but personally I am opposed to abortion". Contrast this with Tim Farron tying himself in knots as he tried to pretend that his personal beliefs were of no consequence in politics, before finally deciding that the Liberal Party was too 'liberal' to be led by a Christian. The members of UKIP hold very diverse views on all sorts of topics, but independence of mind is what defines the party, there is no pressure to conform to the fashionable consensus.

Some people have suggested that the way ahead for UKIP is to define itself as an anti-Islamic party. While having concerns about some aspects of Islamic society is understandable, I think that this would be a mistake. Indeed the Muslims might well turn out to be allies in promoting a more socially conservative agenda. For allies will be needed; if you thought that Brexit was difficult then you have no idea how hard a struggle promoting social conservatism will be.

Ken McNair

PS: I should point out that these are very much my own views and not party policy. It would be interesting to know where others see the party going.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Kipper Central

This blog has been around for over a year, but somehow we have only recently discovered it. It is attempting to fill a sorely needed role in UKIP, which is that of a voice independent of the party machine. The Conservatives, for example, have 'Conservative Home' a website which is not afraid to criticise the party leadership when it sees justification (if only they would have listened!).

Three out of four of the lead writers for Kipper Central are under the age of twenty. Sometimes this does show and perhaps adding some more mature writers would provide balance. However it is a rebuff to those who think that the entire membership of UKIP are prone to confuse their membership cards with their free bus pass. We like the name. We like the layout and the presentation. We like the enthusiasm and the willingness to tackle tough subjects. We think this blog has great potential and wish it well for the future.

You can find Kipper Central here.

Ken McNair

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Cuts to services likely in Hampshire

Hampshire County Council has announced a consultation on its budget. The County Council says it will face a budget shortfall of £140 million by April 2019, on top of the £340 million savings already delivered over the last nine years. They say this is due to ongoing national austerity measures; demographic changes reflecting increases in demand for some services; and inflationary pressures.

The consultation is asking for views on a range of options for balancing its budget. These include: Reducing and changing services; Introducing and increasing charges for some services; Lobbying central Government for legislative change; Generating additional income; Using the County Council’s reserves; Increasing Council Tax; and Changing local government arrangements in Hampshire.

Councillor Mark Staplehurst comments that during the 4 years he spent as a County Councillor he warned residents that there would be more and more cuts to services, hikes in Council tax and many more services incurring ever increased charges. He now fears that these warnings are being proved correct. The Tory Councils, in Rushmoor and in Winchester, bribed the residents with 5 years of Council Tax freezes, which has had the effect of virtually crippling the public services. Now there are massively cut front line services in all areas. In particular the Policing of our area is affected. The roads are a disgrace, with ever increasing numbers of pot holes and repairs needed. There are also cuts to Adults services and children’s services. The disabled are told they have to forego their Blue badges rendering them housebound and there are no funding streams for SEN children, so families are forced to do what they can for their children, often having to give up work and living on the breadline. Care homes are a disgrace with Vivid (First Wessex) constantly reducing the services, and now potentially charging residents who have mobility scooters to charge them up!

Mark questions what the Tory County Councillors are doing in response, but says that they nowhere to be seen. The Conservative Council are only following the guidelines from the morally bankrupt national party who deem it more important to build more and more flats creating more and more congestion and creating a burden on existing struggling services in the NHS, Schools and Surgeries.

As this is going to consultation, Mark asks that people stop acting like sheep and respond to it on how they really feel. He fears that if the Tory County Council get their way we will get increases in council Tax, increases in Charges for existing free services, further reduction in Police numbers, and even more reduction in front line and essential services (Adult and Children’s services).

You can respond to the consultation online here.

Ken McNair

Friday, 7 July 2017

West Heath Roundabout Chaos

West Heath roundabout has become dangerous to navigate with road users ignoring 2 no entry signs bollards and the road works and driving into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the carriageway. The drivers are then forced to do a multi-point turn in order to access the correct flow of traffic leaving traffic jams blocking up the roundabout at rush hour.



Current roadworks leave the road available for exit from the West Heath roundabout only NOT entry from West Heath Road, there are No Entry signs and cones blocking the road for a reason and not to be ignored.

West Heath UKIP councillors Mark Staplehurst and Dave Bell have been working with the police,Rushmoor, Hampshire County Council and contractors to resolve the problem, the police will be out enforcing the area and charging anyone who continues to break the law. The roundabout junction will be re-closed off as there is already a temporary closure order in force.

This is a county council issue but the conservative County and local councillor for West Heath/Farnborough West does not seem to be involved (maybe because he does not live in West Heath or Farnborough West).

Simon Austridge

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Local Plan

The Rushmoor Local Plan has been published in draft submission form for public consultation. The comment period runs between Friday 9 June and Friday 21 July 2017.

The plan and the comment form can be found here. Unfortunately it is not the easiest read as much of it is politically correct waffle. A summary of the important points would be useful, if anyone would like to offer.....

Monday, 12 June 2017

Bert Buddle

It is sad to have to report on the death, this weekend, of longstanding member Bert Buddle.

Being the stalwart Bert was, on Thursday he did his normal 11:00 am - 1:00 pm stint on Manor Infants polling station in West Heath and whilst there became very unwell. The Officers manning the polling station were very quick to react and immediately called for an ambulance which rushed him to Frimley Park where he was diagnosed as having suffered a major stroke. Dave Bell quickly followed Bert to the hospital and remained with him until his family arrived. The stroke left Bert totally paralysed down one side and with no power of speech. Clot busting drugs were administered and after no apparent change he was transferred to St Georges in Tooting for an operation to remove the blood clot from the brain. Sadly however this was not possible as the clot was in a difficult place to operate.

Our condolences to his family.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Election Results

The results for the Aldershot Parliamentary Constituency were as follows:

DOCHERTY Leo (Conservative Party) 26,950 (ELECTED)
HILLIAR Alan Richard (Liberal Democrats) 3,637
PUFFETT Gary John (Labour Party) 15,477
SWALES Roy (UKIP) 1,796
WALLACE Donna Maria (Green Party) 1,090

Overall turnout: 64.43%.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Election Day

Do not forget to vote (for UKIP obviously) today.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm and if you are registered to vote, you will have received a poll card telling you where your local polling station is. You don't need to take your poll card with you when you go to vote, but it can make things quicker at the polling station.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Keeping Britain Safe

Today, at his last press conference before the election, Paul Nuttall responded to recent events by setting out UKIP's position on national security and what needs to be done to keep the country safe.

You can read his full speech on the UKIP.org website here.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Campaign Report

With just over a week left until the General Election, the UKIP campaign in Aldershot is running well. On Saturday morning Roy Swales and a volunteer team were out in Farnborough town centre meeting voters, At the same time another team were in Aldershot town centre distributing leaflets and talking to voters.

There is a leaflet being sent out by Royal Mail to every house in the constituency. However we have also been busy distributing personal letters to postal voters, in order to reach them before the postal voting cards are sent out. This was completed today in time for the last batch of postal voting cards being sent out.

Coming up next week Roy Swales will be speaking at a hustings held at Holy Trinity Church on Victoria Road in Aldershot. The event is on Monday the 5th of June and the time is 19:00 for a 19:30 start. Everyone is welcome.

Over in the North Hampshire constituency where Mike Gascoigne is standing for UKIP, there is a hustings being held this Thursday (1st of June) at Hook Community Centre, Ravenscroft, Hook. The time is 19:00 for a 19:30 start.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Manifesto Launch

The national manifesto launch for UKIP took place today. If you want to read the complete document, you can find it here.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Aid Budget: two points of view

Two UKIP members discuss the aid budget and reach the same conclusion for different reasons.

By now you will have heard a large thump as the COUNCIL TAX BILL landed through your letterbox. No doubt the justification for the 12.8% overall increase made fascinating reading. For the past few years, in an attempt to make things look better, the Police & Fire Service have been hived off for separate charges. The same trick has now been used for the new charge for ‘Adult Social Care’. This charge of £47:22 for the year is, we are told, to pay for care of the elderly in nursing homes, home care & no doubt other areas.

Now none of us really like paying tax but in a civilised society if we wish to have a NHS, Police Service, Fire Service and provide care for those in later life; then we must pay for it.

However I find it it disgusting that we are having to pay for this deceptive charge. And why do I say this? When you consider as Taxpayers we are expected to pay this charge & yet we give 13 BILLION POUNDS in foreign aid to other countries, and some of that aid is being spent "improving care in the community for elderly people in China”. I’m just left staggered by this outrageous new charge that we are expected to pay.

So, when the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems come around grovelling for your vote just ask them this. Do they support this extra charge & how do they justify sending aid to China to do the very same thing that we must now pay extra for our own people? The trouble with the British people is we just sit there, complain about it & then do absolutely nothing about it & pay up. So at this election forget party loyalties and vote for candidates who oppose giving money to countries who don’t need it so that we can look after our own.

And I end with this. I bet this time next year we will get some other lame excuse & this charge will morph into something else & it will become yet another new tax.

Martyn

When considering the aid budget I start from the other end and think about whether the money does any good. When I was in Africa I found that aid projects differ enormously in how they work and what they achieve. Some of the worst projects actually damage the communities they are supposed to help.

What I would call a useful project starts by talking to local people and finding out what they need. Perhaps a village needs a better water supply but cant afford to hire a drilling rig. These projects target aid at the people who need it most.

The more wasteful projects start by ignoring the local people, a good way to do this is to consult the national government. The government might ask for a new power station for example. However there may be no local expertise in this field and an outside contractor with expatriate staff will have to be hired to deliver a power station. When the power station is finished it will provide better air conditioning for the urban rich, but the rural poor cant afford an electricity supply and will see little benefit at all.

My problem with the requirement to spend 0.7% of GDP (13 Billion this year) is that it encourages the spending of money on wasteful projects. If the Department for International Development (DFID) has to, by law, spend 13 Billion pounds every year, then it makes sense for them to find some very big projects and throw money at them. Suppose they find that the project does not help the local people, that it is damaging the environment, that some of the money is being skimmed off by the local mafia and corrupt officials or even that the project is working against British interests. In these cases surely funding of the project should be stopped while the problems are resolved. No, by law the money must be spent and therefore the money will be spent.

In the past year DFID have funded education in North Korea; a country which is extremley hostile to us and our allies. They funded care for the old in China; a country able to afford a manned space programme. They gave money to Pakistan; a country which finds a large budget for its nuclear weapons. They also gave money to India a country which is able to operate Harrier jets from its aircraft carrier. Let me just expand on that one, we scrapped our Harrier jets because we 'could not afford' them; at the same time the Indians were upgrading their squadron of Harriers and yet we still give them aid.

Compared with much of the rest of the world, we live in a very fortunate country. Of course it is right that we should help the less prosperous but we owe it to ourselves, and the people we are trying to help, to do this in a less foolish manner. Getting rid of the 0.7% of GDP target would be a good place to start.

Ken

UKIP is the only party standing in these elections which will end the 0.7% of GDP commitment and reduce the aid budget.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Campaign Launch

Roy Swales launched his campaign as a candidate in the General Election today. During the day Roy, together with other UKIP campaigners, visited the town centres in Aldershot and Farnborough and spoke with potential voters.


Roy said “It is a great honour and a privilege to be selected to stand here in Aldershot. I want to ensure that the work that was carried out in Aldershot, during the EU referendum, is completed and that the Brexit legacy, that we all fought so hard for, is continued.”

You can read more about Roy and his motivations for standing as a candidate on our website here.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Where has Dan gone?

Thursday was closing day for candidates to submit their paperwork if they want to stand in the General Election. Which raises an interesting question for this blog: if Dan Hannan is not standing in Aldershot then where is he standing?

Dan Hannan has been a Conservative MEP since 1999 and is well known as one of the most prominent Eurosceptics. He was described by the Guardian as "The man who brought you Brexit". Even Boris had to concede that Dan Hannan had possibly written more than he had himself about the deficiencies of the EU.

As you may recall the Aldershot branch of the Conservatives asked for Dan Hannan to be shortlisted as a candidate. Conservative Central Office refused this and put forward a list of three candidates which did not include Dan. It seems that the committee then backed down and the selection meeting was held without anyone attending being impolite enough to ask why Dan was not on the shortlist.

Aldershot was not the only local branch of the Conservatives to be unhappy with the selection procedure. The issues included the shortlist being imposed without consultation, the shortlist not being available to members before the selection meeting and an overall lack of candidates to fill the seats available. Mark Wallace has a very readable article on the problems here.

So if CCHQ did not think that Dan was the right person for Aldershot, where have they decided to use his obvious abilities? The answer, it appears, is nowhere at all.

You might imagine that CCHQ was not allowing MEPs to stand as MPs for fear of losing representation in Brussels. However this does not seem to apply to Vicky Ford MEP (selected for Chelmsford) or Andrew Lewer MEP (selected for Northampton South).

So why would CCHQ be so keen to ensure that one of the most influential political thinkers in Britain was not selected as a candidate for Westminster? The lazy answer would be that this is some kind of Remainer conspiracy. Maybe that can not be ruled out, but I think that Dan's independence of mind is probably a bigger problem for the men in suits. Dan was thrown out of the EPP long before the rest of the Conservative party decided to leave, he resigned from the front bench over Cameron's refusal to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and famously he had a go at Gordon Brown when the latter appeared in Brussels.

Central Office has used the snap election as an opportunity to grab power from the local associations. In future Conservative candidates (and MPs) will answer to Central Office and not the local association. The last thing that Central Office would want is allow in to Parliament someone who has consistently argued that this is wrong.

One of my memories of the day after the Brexit vote was of Daniel Hannan thanking his audience for putting him out of a job. It seems that this was not really a joke after all.

Ken McNair

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

May Branch Meeting

The most recent Branch Meeting was held on the 8 May 2017

The meeting opened after what had been a disappointing week for UKIP, with the loss of the Farnborough West County Council seat. Although the local campaign had gone well, it had not been possible to overcome the national trend. Gill thanked Mark Staplehurst for working as a County Council and Mark in turn thanked everyone who had supported him and the other candidates.

The main business of the evening was to plan for the General Election. Roy Swales, our candidate, started by asking everyone whether they wanted to go ahead with contesting the seat and the meeting was unanimous in supporting this.

The Meeting moved on to consider the strategy and local issues that would come up durng the campaign. It was noted that the selected Conservative candidate was not Dan Hannan as originally requested by the local branch. Also it was agreed that the Conservatives tended to stick to the partys's national policy; UKIP therefore had an advantage when it came to campaigning on local issues like buses, schools and health centres.

The logistical issues of leaflets distribution, letters to voters and canvassing were then discussed at some length before the usual tea and biscuits to close.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

County Council Elections

Do not forget to vote in the County Council elections. The polls will close at 10:00 this evening.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A Roundabout too far?

In 2013 plans were approved for the Queens roundabout in Farnborough a £5,725,000 scheme, that was approved by Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment Seán Woodward. The project started in November 2014 with a 12 months’ construction time and finally completed June 2016 nearly 8 months late and £1.7 million over-budget.

The Tories have proved they have spent money in the area; not on schools, elderly care, the disabled or children with special education needs, but a roundabout that no one knew they needed! The cost was not just to taxpayers, with the poor quality  temporary surface being so bad with pot holes it caused damage to vehicles and the final resulting layout that is 'accident waiting to happen'.  In fact, it is such a complicated roundabout that a local driving school has made a Youtube video  on how to use it. Just a fraction of that money could have been spent on a traffic calming scheme desperately needed at Grange Community Junior School in Farnborough to protect primary aged children from a dangerous crossing. However this crossing has been deemed acceptable by Hampshire County Councillor Rob Humby, who has now taken over Seán Woodward's position. 

Sir Gerald Howarth MP for the Aldershot Constituency said the scheme was a 'Waste of Money' and 'monstrous' in January 2016 and  called for an inquiry into the Queens roundabout scheme in March 2016. GetHampshire then ran an article asking for comments and the response was largely negative.

In March 2016 Hampshire County Council defended the scheme and still claimed in represented 'value for money' not their money obviously! A  review occurred in June 2016. In January 2017 Hampshire County Council claimed the scheme a county wide success??? If that is what they deem a success I would hate to see a failure!

What ever happened to the review report? How did the project be delivered so late and massively over budget?  why has this been swept away? What lessons were learnt? What action was taken against contractor or Hampshire County Council for the cost and the over run? It is all very well saying lessons will be learnt but we know they never do and history repeats itself. How does a roundabout cost £5,725,000 in the first place let alone go overbudget to £7.4million? In comparison, South East Water are currently replacing 1.3km of water main in Farnborough through West Heath Road at a cost of £750,000 and are currently on time and in budget.

I never knew we had a problem with traffic in the area at the Queens roundabout until the scheme started. It is good that Hampshire County Council pre-emptively fix issues before traffic becomes an issue but there are lots of junctions/areas where traffic is already a problem and should be fixed now!

Simon Austridge

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Candidate for General Election

The UKIP Aldershot branch has now announced that Roy Swales has been chosen as the candidate for the upcoming General Election. More to follow..........

Friday, 28 April 2017

Local Education Policy

One of the key concerns throughout the years and brought to forefront in the referendum was the education of children and their ability to compete on a world stage and having the skill-sets to be able live, work and thrive in Britain. It is shameful that government still has not listened to parents and business who have complained for years over the quality of education.

It is somehow ironic that MP's send their children to independent schools as they value their children's education where costs are a minimum £5000 per term (£15000 per year) for primary education and £7500 per term (£22500) for secondary education. For those not so privileged whose children go to state education in Hampshire the local authority average grant per year in 2015/2016 to schools was £4,329.00 per pupil for Primary education and £5,483.00 for secondary education almost 2/3s less that a private education.

From the CBI education and skills survey 2016 "The quality of our education system in the UK is the single biggest long-term factor in determining the success of our economy and society. Our international competitors are constantly pushing up levels of attainment in their schools. First the UK must close the gap with other leading nations and then maintain a position as one of the global leaders in school systems. As the political and economic landscape of the UK alters, it is more important than ever that the UK education system supports us all to compete effectively

But even now they are cutting this small sum for our local schools. How do we expect our children to ever compete in this world let alone live and thrive in Britain if the government will not invest in our future? Not only do I believe the cuts should be reversed but the budget increased by 50% to attract talented Teachers to Hampshire schools and raise education standards for all. More high standard teachers need to be trained and brought through the system making teaching a profession rather than a vocation.In Finland where education is recognised as best in the world teachers are educated to Masters degree and only the proficient teachers are accepted into the education profession. Grammar schools are not the answer in our area, most mainstream schools already stream children by academic ability but we need to do more on technical ability and most of all give children a holistic experience in school where skills are combined in the areas of academic,spiritually and vocationally forming part of a community and showing self confidence and strong self-esteem. This is essential to be given as a whole to a child as life is all encompassing and children need to be well rounded and able stand up on their own 2 feet in this world.

Below is a list of cuts to local schools from https://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/ a website developed by the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, to call on the Government to take immediate action to protect our children’s education. I have grouped by ward:

Simon Austridge

West Heath
Manor infant school down £284 per pupil loss of 2 teachers
Cove Junior school down £108 per pupil loss of 1 teacher
Cove infant school down £424 per pupil loss of 2 teachers
St Bernadette's Catholic school  down £287 per pupil loss of 3 teachers

Cove and Southwood

Southwood Infant school loss of £372 per pupil  loss of 2 teachers
Tower Hill Primary School loss of £369 per pupul loss of 3 teachers

St Johns
Cove secondary school down £297 per pupil loss of 8 teachers
Parsonage Farm Nursery school down £429 per pupil loss of 2 teachers

Cherrywood ward
Farnborough 6th Form down £362 per pupil loss of 35 teachers

Grange infant school down £632 per pupil loss of 3 teachers
Grange Community Junior school will  down £607 pupil loss of 4 teachers
Cherrywood primary school down £589 loss of 3 teachers

Fernhill Ward
Fernhill Primary school down £378 per pupil loss of 7 teachers
Pinewood Infant school down £1193 per pupil loss of 3 teachers
Guillemont Junior school down £84 per pupil loss of 1 teacher

Knellwood
South Farnborough Junior School down £130 per pupil loss of 1 teacher

St Marks 
South Farnborough Infants school down £202 per pupil loss of 2 teachers
St Marks church of England aided primary school down £445 per pupil loss of 1 teacher
The Wavell school down £366 per pupil loss of 10 teachers
Marlborough Infant school down £854 per pupil loss of 3 teachers

Rowhill
Wellington Primary School  down £461 per pupil loss of 5 teachers

Manor Park
St Josephs Catholic Primary school down £219 per pupil loss of 3 teachers
St Michaels Church of England infant school down £335 per pupil loss of 3 teachers
St Michaels Church of England junior school down £300 per pupil loss of 3 teachers

Aldershot Park 
Park Primary school down £598 per pupil loss of 4 teachers
The Connaught school down £639 per pupil loss of 10 teachers * will be merged into Alderwood school

North Town
Newport Junior school down £325 per pupil loss of 3 teachers * will be merged into Alderwood schoolBelle Vue infants down £244 per pupil loss of 2 teachers * will be merged into Alderwood school

Wellington
Talavera Junior School down £464 per pupil loss of 4 teachers

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Farnborough North Campaign

Farnborough North canvassing is going well. We are up against very strong opposition from our rivals, so every vote counts. On Tuesday 25th we will be painting the area purple by putting up our banners and boards. 
We are noticing a new group of voters joining UKIP supporters, young people with children or with elderly relatives are interested in the work that UKIP has done trying to protect children's Sure Start services and also trying to save Elderly Care Social services. Cuts to these services are starting to seriously affect people and the Conservatives have no answer on the door step.
In Farnborough North UKIP were within 100 votes of winning the division in 2013. We will continue canvassing right up until the 4th May to ensure that those missing 100 are found to ensure success.

My thanks to The Ship Inn Farnborough for putting up a banner for me in Farnborough North. Make sure you reward them by popping in next time you want a pint (or two). This is now our official UKIP pub, enjoy.

Dave Bell

Monday, 24 April 2017

Candidate Trouble (but not for UKIP)

You might think that being able to decide when to call elections would be a useful advantage for a political party. In fact you might expect that a party with that advantage would have it's candidates already lined up before announcing elections. However if you thought that, it seems that you would be wrong.

Apparently according to this story on the Conservative Home website, the local Conservative party is arguing with Central Headquarters over their candidate for the Parliamentary Constituency. The local party wants Dan Hannan. Given that Dan has been one of the most eloquent exponents of Brexit this seems like a sound choice. However CCHQ have not put him on the Aldershot shortlist.

Sadly the Conservative Party is not as democratic as it used to be. Local associations now have much less say over which candidate stands where. The short timetable for this election has also been used as a reason to change the rules and centralise power further.

Meanwhile, the battle for the Farnborough South county council seat looks interesting. Longstanding Conservative councillor John Wall has been deselected and is fighting the seat as an independent. It seems that, among other things, John has expressed some politically incorrect views. Given the flimsy nature of the allegations, one has to wonder whether there are other agendas at work here.

Ken McNair

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Farnborough West Campaign

We are currently trying to canvas the whole of the Farnborough West Division to support Mark's re-election to the County Council. I joined the team in Southwood two weeks ago. It took a couple of phonecalls before we had everyone assembled in the same car park, but eventually we were ready to go. We then split into a team doing leaflets and a team of canvassers before hitting the streets.

One of the first doors that I knocked on was opened by a friendly fellow who seemed pleased to see someone from UKIP. "Did you see the Tory candidate coming round the other day all dressed up in a clown suit" he asked. This seemed rather unlikely, but then it occurred to me that the clown suit might well be metaphorical. In any event he seemed to be on our side so I put him down as a UKIP voter.

Shortly after that I had an interesting conversation with someone who described himself as a Green Internationalist who said he did not want to vote for UKIP. I put it to him that Mark was a good local councilor and he said that he was aware of what Mark does but felt conflicted about voting UKIP.

Obviously for now we are focused on getting votes. However knocking on doors also offers a chance to find out what the local issues are. One family were concerned about disability travel allowance being cut. I called Mark back to talk to them. Afterwards he said that they have a good case and he will be following up.

For the last two Saturdays, I have been out again in West Heath. One theme that kept coming up was that Mark has a strong personal vote. There are people who are adamant that they would never vote for UKIP at a national level but who are willing to vote for Mark because of the work he does. One woman said that she had only recently moved to the area but that the neighbours had told her "good things happen round here" due to Mark's efforts.

This week many people were (understandably) a little confused and thought we were campaigning for the General Election. I had to tell them that we had not yet picked a candidate for that one.

Presumably in some cases "I have not decided" must really mean "I am voting for someone else". However very few people are hostile and not many will even admit to voting for another party. Despite the mostly positive feedback, Mark is concerned that the recent boundary changes have made his task more difficult. In the areas which were not part of the division at the last election, people may not know who he is. With under two weeks to go we are not taking anything for granted.

Ken McNair

Thursday, 20 April 2017

General Election!

It seemed that a rather quiet and politics free summer would follow the County Council elections....but instead, to the surprise of everyone we are having a General Election. This blog will be following the UKIP Campaign as it develops.

Local MP Sir Gerald Howarth said today that he is standing down after over 30 years in parliament. He is well known to many in UKIP as he was one of the more committed and hard working campaigners for the Leave vote. We wish him well for the future. Who can forget his hijacking of Sir Walter Scott to join the Leave campaign:
"breathes there the man with soul so dead,
he never to himself hath said,
this is my own, my native land,
....and I want it back!"

Do not forget to register to vote. If you want to vote in the General Election then you will need to have registered by May the 22nd. Follow this link.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Fruit Bushes

UKIP Councillor Dave Bell has donated some fruit bushes to the community in West Heath. After getting agreement from RBC, he bought some red and black current bushes to benefit the community. The ground was rock hard this morning, but luckily there were a couple of nice guys from Veolia on hand to help to sort that out. 

We hope to add further patches of colour and fruit as time and finances allow. If you know of any other areas that could be improved then feel free make suggestions. Perhaps we could plant small fruit trees, raspberries or logan berries. Please let us know what you think.


Other parties talk about changing things, UKIP just gets out there and does it.


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Dave's car loaded and ready to go.

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Mark getting his hands dirty.

















Job done.

Monday, 3 April 2017

May Elections

The UKIP candidates for the Hampshire County Council elections are now announced. UKIP is fielding candidates in all of the divisions.

Aldershot West: Kevin Betsworth
Aldershot East: Leo Amos
Farnborough North: Dave Bell
Farnborough South: Chris Harding
Farnborough West: Mark Staplehurst
Yateley East, Blackwater and Ancells: Mike Gascoigne

In the Rushmoor Borough Council by-election for the St Johns ward, Chris Harding will be standing for UKIP.

You can find more about the candidates here.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

March Branch Meeting

The meeting was held on the 27th March.

The meeting was opened with Gill Bailey as chairman and briefly discussed the recent departure of Douglas Carswell. Although there were concerns that this represented bad press for UKIP, it was thought that this would lead to the NEC becoming more harmonious which would be good for UKIP.


There was then (unusually) a vote on whether branch meeting should spend more time discussing national issues. The meeting voted in favour of more national politics, although a minority thought that there was no need to change. Later in the meeting Mark Staplehurst explained that he voted against because he thoght that the local issues were more important. He quoted one of the residents in his ward, who said "I would never normally vote UKIP, but I am voting for you because you look after the residents interests.


There was a long discussion about the upcoming elections on the 4th of May. Among other things, this covered the usual topic of volunteers for leafleting and canvassing. The list of UKIP candidates will be announced next week, so watch this space!


Moving on to local issues, Mark Staplehurst gave an update on the Number 9 bus, the planning application for development of The Crescent and finding funding for a barrier on Maple Close. Dave Bell discussed the Moor Park redevelopment and the waste handling contract awarded to Serco. There were questions from the floor about Rushmoor setting up a development company and the proposals for replacement of the community centre (this will be announced in the next two months). 


There was also a suggestion that this blog should write about the Cabinet system and how it works in local government. Again, watch this space.

To round off the evening, there was tea and chocolate cake.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Saturday Morning with Mark Staplehurst

In order to find out what a UKIP councillor does I had arranged to follow Mark Staplehurst around on a Saturday morning.

I meet Mark at 9:00 in the morning. He is recognisable from 200 yards away as he is wearing his trademark UKIP purple hi-viz vest. Mark has already been out in the ward on his scooter since 8:00. The scooter has recently been repaired following an accident that Mark had in January. As I don't have a bike we decide the best plan is to walk.


The first stop is a Children's Play Area where Mark pulls a bin bag out of his pocket and we pick up some litter. On the next street we say hello to a passer by who Mark knows. Then we stop at Londis to buy a coffee. Another passer by who Mark knows stops to talk while we drink our coffee.


Back on the move, and picking up litter as we go, we head off to investigate a report of fly tipping. We find some grass cuttings that have been dumped over a fence on a vacant plot. The manager that Mark wants to speak to is out but his assistant fills us in. Then we knock on the doors of a couple of local residents and hear the other side of the story. At the second house there is a dog which makes a break for freedom when the front door is opened, but we eventually manage to coax it back indoors. The grass cuttings issue is not resolved but Mark intends to follow it up later.


We head past the roadworks on West Heath road and meet a cheerful bloke who discusses the roadworks and agrees to put up a UKIP poster at the next elections. Shortly after this we knock on the door of fellow UKIP Councillor Dave Bell. We discuss the upcoming county elections over a cup of coffee.


Further down the road we knock on the door of a lady who is coming to 'We'll meet again', a social event for older residents that Mark helps to organise. Mark fills her in on a slight change of plans. The rest of the morning is taken up with similar calls; Mark clearly feels that his job involves taking care of people who do not have other family around.


Round the corner we visit a couple and Mark asks after the wife. It turns out that she is feeling much better than previously and is in the conservatory having her hair done. The husband complains about never having seen the Police in the local area and also mentions a large pothole on a nearby road that needs fixed. Mark pulls out a small voice recorder and notes the location.


The next door that we knock on there is no response. However nearby Mark notices that the pavement is subsiding and the voice recorder comes out of his pocket again.


On the following visit, we are invited in to the kitchen. The lady is worried about her neighbour who has family problems. They call the neighbour on the phone and the issue is sufficiently sensitive that Mark offers to return without the hi-viz jacket in order to be discreet. Mark makes a note to call back later.


At the next house we visit is a lady who has recently moved house. Mark has helped organise getting her gutters cleared. We also discuss the TV aerials and the security light at the front door before moving on.


Our last visit is another lady and she invites us in for coffee and a biscuit. She describes how Mark helped fix her gas cooker and then says "I have lived in Farnborough since 1953 and Mark is the only councillor I have seen round here in that time". Before we leave, Mark offers to help appeal a parking ticket she received because she thought that the ticket machine was not working.


By now it is approaching midday and I think it must be time for lunch. Mark has to take one of the people from his ward to a meeting with Gerald Howarth (the MP for Aldershot) to discuss disability benefit. He then plans to head back to the ward for some more visits. After following Mark for less than half of his day I need a rest, however Mark still seems to be going strong. Follow Mark's Facebook posts and you will know that he is out doing his rounds in Farnborough every saturday (even at Christmas time).


A friend of mine once told me of old highland proverb: "If you want anything done, its best to see the busiest man in the village". That seems to describe Mark rather well.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Aldershot

Oh, dear what can the matter be – Aldershot!

There used to be a saying that ‘if you couldn’t get in London you could get it in Aldershot. At the time this was true but then Aldershot was home to the British Army. I was born in Aldershot and I can remember the heady days of a department store, M&S, Woolworths, three arcades, excellent restaurants, all the major utility companies and above all the Army. There are just a few reasons why I go to Aldershot these days. The health centre, the cinema & my lodge otherwise nothing else.

So, when I read in ‘Get Hampshire’ that Poundland is closing one must wonder what on earth has gone so horribly wrong. Clearly there are many reasons for this and the town has been in steady decline for many years but you hear people say ‘well if Poundland is closing down something must be wrong’ it just makes you wonder who will be next. What I find surprising is, with all this massive house building that is going on, why is the town centre falling even faster down the road of irrelevance? I don’t have an easy answer for this but it’s going to take a miracle to do something with the town.

But what does this mean for Farnborough? Well good news. The regeneration of the town is moving ahead at a pace. The new Farnborough Civic Quarter development has been handed over to a government body who have now started the process of getting the job done. I understand it is to be a mixed development of housing, business, a new community centre and a Farnborough Centre for Health but not on the scale of Aldershot’s.

One might ask why is this happening? Well I believe there several reasons why Farnborough is becoming in the ‘in place’. The redevelopment of the old RAE site has had an impact with an airport for business use, good rail & road networks to London, new housing, the airshow and by the looks of it a more permanent exhibition site now under construction, something that has been muted for years. 

However, there now looms a big question about the future of Rushmoor in its current form. Many years ago, when I was a Councillor on Rushmoor Borough Council, local government reorganisation took place. It was put forward that we should join up with Hart District, Ash Vale & Farnham. This would have created a Metropolitan Borough something Aldershot had always wanted since 1922. With Farnborough becoming the centre of Rushmoor & with all this development taking place boundaries between the various areas is rapidly disappearing if not already in some places. Rushmoor did expand but only on the fringes. As I said, does this mean that the great dream of a Metropolitan Borough of Rushmoor is coming closer to being a reality? I feel it does so watch this space. 

Martyn Marsh

Monday, 20 February 2017

UKIP Policy Forum

It is fashionable to criticise UKIP for being a single issue party. Following the referendum, people ask "what are you going to do now?" as if we might be stuck for ideas.

Perhaps they have not come across the website of the UKIP Parliamentary Research Unit. It has thoughts on aid policy, defence procurement, transportation, family courts and a host of other topics. It is worth pointing out that these are not, or not yet at any rate, official UKIP policies; these are ideas that will be worked on. I expect to see many of them in a UKIP manifesto before too long.

I was particularly interested in the recent paper on foreign aid. There is an interesting commentary on this paper here.  Having worked in Africa, I am aware that many aid programmes deliver little of value to the people they are meant to help. In the UK we have made things worse by firstly deciding  how much we are going to spend on aid and only then trying to find projects that might want the money. Clearly many of the projects chosen are not delivering good value but they get funded anyway because the department has to spend its budget somehow.

The foreign aid paper recommends concentrating on medical and disaster response projects and cutting the funding to most other projects. In order to encourage developing economies the report recommends reducing the tariff barriers that currently hamper their exports. This is, of course, something that we will only be able to do once we leave the EU. 

Whatever your interests, I suggest having a look. Pallet sizes and helicopter performance just two of the topics I found while browsing the site. The UKIP Policy Forum can be found here.

Ken McNair

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Water Main Replacement

South East Water has started work on the water main replacement in West Heath Farnborough. Drivers should note the road closures below and follow the diversions. See South East Water website for more details.
County Councillor and Rushmoor Councillor Mark Staplehurst has been working with South East Water on Friday 28th January to improve traffic for local residents by getting more warning signs that the road ahead blocked placed onto adjacent feeder roads. Drivers still continue to try to access Prospect Road from West Heath Road the new signs will be in place on Monday 30th January.

Alternative diversion route via Fernhill Road to Mayfield Road may be quicker than via Giffard Drive due to the t-junction affecting traffic flow.

Warning traffic lights  have now appeared on Mayfield Road due to burst water main in place Sunday night 29th January.


Simon Austridge