The Lib Dems and Conservatives have schemed a method of voter registration that will counteract one of the most basic principles of a modern democratic society; the right to vote.
At the moment, one letter is sent to a household in Brent and only one individual in that household is required to fill out the voter registration form and sent it back to their local authority. Under the Lib Dems and Tory proposal, they want people to individually register to vote.
Ed Miliband at Labour Party Conference said, “we should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder.”
Even more alarmingly, the Electoral Commission, which is a non partisan body said that 10 million voters “predominantly poor, young or black” voters will fall off the register. And yet, in full knowledge of this, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories still want to go ahead with this evil proposal. These are statistically more likely to be Labour Party voters, so it is no surprise that the Lib Dems and Tories are doing what they can to stop them from voting and excercising their basic right at the ballot box.
At the same time as fees going up, Universities have had their funding slashed by 80 per cent. When the Lib Dems and Tories raised the cap on tuition fees, they said that £9,000 per year fees would be the exception and that they expected Universities to charge around the £6,000 a year mark.
Instead, raising the cap limit and removing a big chunk of funding away from our prized institutions at the same time, has left Universities with little choice but to charge higher fees.
This is exactly the reason why the Lib Dems cannot be trusted at the local level as well as not a people are realising at the national. A secret local Lib Dem document from a North London local authority has revealed the mentality of the Lib Dems when it comes to campaigning against the cuts. The shocking revelations reveal phrases such as:
‘Pick an unpopular cut and champion it’
‘We are not running the council, it is not our problem – it’s theirs’
See what else they said here – LINK – Interesting that they would spend so much time and effort on this without concentrating their efforts on genuinely helping people and offering credible alternative to cuts to local services while at the same time cheerleading the Government cuts programme.
This is exactly what they seem to be doing in Brent. Alarming activity from the Lib Dems include Brent Liberal Democrat Councillors signing to call in decisions made by the executive and then not having the decency to turn up to the committee meeting to listen to answers when items are called in.
When I sat on the Council’s Forward Plan committee, this created a few embarrassing situations. On one occasion, the
relevant executive member turned up to answer questions on a called in item, and no Lib Dem could ask a question to clarify their reason for calling the item in. Even more concerning was a called in item to committee which questioned the details of an equality impact assessment when one was still in the process of being produced.
While at the same time the Lib Dems are inflicting unprecedented cuts, at the local level, Lib Dems where not in power are fighting them to boost their own popularity and score brownie points with the electorate. Just as their leader Nick Clegg did before the election – saying all the right things in front of the TV cameras before betraying his Party’s stance on one of the main areas of Government policy; the economy.
I don’t think this will go away as an issue for a long while. I was out knocking on doors in Dudden Hill on Saturday as well as in Kenton Ward on Sunday, campaigning for Ellie Southwood’s by-election campaign.
Many parents with children and even grandparents who were concerned about their grandchildren were devastated at the Government’s decision and intention to treble fees for young people. The Lib Dem and Tory argument that it is not an upfront cost and that it’s something that they have to spend after they are working is not washing off.
Parents are aggrieved and rightly so that their children are being encouraged by the Government to take on such larger levels of debt.
Brent Labour received an overwhelming positive response this weekend as we were joined by Labour Students and Labour Young Labour on the streets of Brent with our petition calling for our local MP to vote against the proposed rise in tuition fees and not to scrap EMA, which would affect 4,000 children in Brent.
We have the petition online and you can sign it here: LINK
One individual I spoke to in particular, who lives in Kensal Green, voted for Sarah Teather at the 2010 general election and vented that she was disgusted with herself and felt physically sick that she had been swayed by her.
Not everyone however was in support of our campaign. I did speak to a Willesden Green resident who I learned used to be vice-chair of a local Conservative Ward. He was pleased because throughout all of these years, he had always wanted a Tory MP and now in Sarah Teather he finally has one. But hey, you can’t win them all.
Yesterday was the night of the Full Brent Council Meeting.
One of the items on the agenda was the first reading of the Council Budget. Not one Tory or Lib Dem Councillor seemed to ask a question on any items in the paper. It seems that they have been asleep for the past few years. They talked of financial mismanagement of the last Labour Government totally ignoring the banking crisis as if it was some imaginary incident.
What was really surprising was how outdated their Councillors are. Lib Dem Councillor Sami Hashi described £7 billion as ‘chicken-feed’. Tory leader Councillor Harshadbhai Patel quoted the £100 million in cuts and the £37 million that Brent Council would have to make next years as ‘nothing’ echoing ‘words of wisdom’ from a senior Tory last week who claimed that we’ve ‘never had it so good’. He also said that the Labour Government gave nothing to Brent. That is simply not true. The evidence is all there in people’s everyday lives. Record levels of investment in our NHS, record levels of investment in our schools, the Winter Fuel Allowance which benefits many of our elderly residents year-on-year, Children’s Centres, the transformation of the Central Middlesex Hospital, The Crest Academy, Wembley High, Capital City Academy… I could go on and on.
The Tories left our primary schools with catastrophic levels of underinvestment. Schoolchildren in Brent had to go outside in the cold to get to toilets that would be on the other side of the school building. That is beyond underinvestment. It was a scandal.
Labour did fix the roof while the sun was shining and Brent is far better off after 13 years of a Labour Government than it ever would have been under the Tory and Lib Dems.
In a speech to Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in Birmingham on 13 March 2010, Teather said Conservative plans to abolish subsidised rents for Council and housing association homes would be a “total disaster.” She said their housing plans lacked substance, causing them to try and keep housing off the agenda.
She said there was no “bearable” alternative to her party’s aim to invest £1.4bn in bringing 250,000 empty homes back into use.
“The Tories think the only way to solve the housing crisis is to change the law so that it is easier for big developers to stuff vulnerable families in to houses the size of shoe boxes”.
If you abolish subsidised rents for Council and housing association homes, all that is going to happen is that many more people will end up on housing benefit, and many fewer people will be able to work.
Put poor people into worse housing, and make them pay more for it. That’s it. That’s the Tory big idea.”
(Sarah Teather, 13 March 2010 speaking at the Lib Dems’ Spring Conference in Birmingham)
Well that is now also Sarah Teather’s big idea as well.
The Coalition of cabinet millionaires just do not have a clue how difficult their intention to treble fees will make going to University for young people from middle and lower income families.
They have benefitted themselves having free higher education and now they want people to pay up to £9,000 a year in fees. If we’re all in this together, every MP who votes for the fee cap rise should pay £27,000 into the higher education system.
THIS WILL RUIN THE LIFE CHANCES OF A GENERATION!
They are intent on tackling the deficit within one Parliamentary term because they say that the economy should not be built on a foundation of debt. But they think it’s ok for young people to be consigned with debts of up to £50,000 and build their whole lives on a foundation of debt. Where is the logic in that?
When they wanted to sell these extreme cuts, the Conservative and Liberal Democrats would turn moist-eyed and say it was “immoral” to “burden the next generation with higher debts.” So as a solution they have introduced a program that will burden the next generation with much higher debts.
During the years when young people have begun to work, are at the prime age to start up families and enter the housing market for the first time, a chunk of their disposable income will be removed from them at the time when they are in most need of it as they will have to deal with their student debt – thereby affecting their future life choices.
The Lib Dem comeback seems to be that it’s all Gordon Brown and the previous Labour Government’s fault. I disagree strongly – but you can blame Gordon Brown all you want… it doesn’t change the fact that Nick Clegg lied.