Earlier in the month I started my political series with one pretty simple aim, to help people feel prepared for the general election and to help you to use your vote wisely. I tried my best to ensure that the posts remained largely apolitical and while my views definitely came across in certain parts, on the whole I think it was something I accomplished.
By now I’m pretty sure that you all know who I voted for (I had a postal vote) and if you follow my twitter then you definitely will have seen. Yet it’s not often that I express my opinion that clearly (140 characters makes it incredibly difficult) or clearly break down my position on all the key topics. I sometimes still find this to be difficult, I mean after all I’m not an expert, but today I figured that’s what I would do. In the name of political engagement, I have decided to be brave!!
This is by no means a full list of subjects but these are the issues which I feel particularly passionate about.
National Health Service // For me this has to be the first issue because it’s something that I’m incredibly concerned about, something that I deeply care about and something that sits at the heart of everything I believe in. I believe that every branch of the NHS should be free at the point of delivery, there should be no costs and no one deserves to be out of pocket because of ill-heath or ill-fortune. We’ve all heard about the huge battle that the NHS is facing and will continue to face in the coming years and there is no easy answer to the crisis. Yet there are certain changes that we can make to attempt to improve the situation. We need better community care to prevent the need for NHS treatment whenever possible. I believe that education is crucial and while this should contain courses such as health, first aid and wellness, I also believe that people should be taught how to use the services correctly. More than anything I believe in a NHS tax and that those that have more should pay more to keep the service alive.
Free and equal education // In the same way that I believe in the NHS, I also believe in universal education because it’s through education that we allow and encourage society to grow. Education should be above politics and when seeking to adapt reforms teachers and parents should be consulted. I know that this is unrealistic and probably unpopular, but if I was prime minster I would seek the abolition of private schools. I see this as one of the huge bastions of inequality that still remain in the UK and while they exist I believe that wealth and power will continue to remain in the hands of those that graduate from such institutions. Next of all and I understand that some people might question this comment (given that Labour introduced tuition fees) but I believe that university should be free for anyone that wishes to pursue it and instead I believe that we should adapt a graduate tax system. A number of countries already have something similar in place and the populations are generally satisfied to pay and surely it is coincidence that they are also the most equal or the happiest? Lastly I believe that apprenticeships should be given the same prestige as a university degree and schools should offer parity of encouragement towards both options. Apprenticeships are NOT for “stupid” children nor are they only for one sex. They are a viable alternative to university and are necessary for our economic stability.
Trident // When it comes to trident it’s fair to say that I’ve always had pretty passionate views and in all honesty, these largely go against what much of my party believes in. I don’t believe in nuclear weapons, I don’t believe that war is ever the answer and the truth is that our weapons are largely irrelevant these days and are merely a status symbol. In the recent TV debates I was pretty disappointed (and yet not at all surprised) to see that Ed ruled out the scrapping of trident and yet at the same time I was thrilled to see that the SNP, Plaid and Green demonstrated the alternative view.
Welfare State // Another subject about which I am really concerned is the consistent demonisation and victimisation of those that are receiving money from the welfare state and I am keen for us to change the language that we use. “Benefit” is a deeply flawed word because the word “benefit” has wholly positive connotations. The word “benefit” can be substituted for the word “gain” and it largely gives the wrong impression. However if we use the word “welfare” it sounds a whole lot better. The welfare state was created as a safety net for anyone that might need help and while some people do undoubtedly play the system, the vast majority only use it in the way that it was intended to be used. I am seriously concerned with the stripping away of the welfare state, an institution that was continuously fought for. I regularly find myself involved in this such debate and I always ask people to remember that they are only one bad move away from needing such help themselves. One day you might need the states help and what are you going to do if it no longer exists? Let’s remember that the vast majority of the budget is spent on the elderly or on working tax credits and a small percentage goes on out of work benefits and an even smaller amount of money goes on fraudulent claims. So consider that for a second, the majority of the bill goes on “working tax credits” that’s money that we are spending on those that are in work. Many of these are families with young children and they are doing what society considers to be the norm, working hard, raising a family and living a law abiding life and yet they are unable to earn a living from just being in work. Every year we spend millions of pounds topping up these low salaries, spending money that could otherwise be spent on the NHS, while large companies make billions in profit. So instead of questioning the workers, the people that arguably make these rich men rich, why don’t we question the CEO’s of these big ass corporations and force them to pay their workers more. By raising the minimum wage we would not only cut our welfare spending, ensure that people have a standard of living, pull people from poverty but it would also mean more money floating around our economy. To me it seems like a no brainer! So next time you hear the word “scrounger” instead of having a rant at those that are living off the welfare state, why not have a rant at the big business men that run the companies and ask them, who made them their profit?
So why are you voting Labour? // I voted Labour because I believe that the 2015 election is about one simple choice, a question to which the answer is either Labour or Conservative? I also believe in Ed Miliband, while he might not the most charismatic leader in the world, he is the most sincere and his substance is far greater than his style. However that said I do wish that the Labour Party was more left wing, I would love to see the Party adopt some of the policies that are so confidently expressed by the smaller parties. I think that there is a small revolution taking place in British politics and with 4 out of the 7 parties now being of a left-wing type set, I think that this can only be a good thing. I sincerely hope that Labour are in Government this time next week because otherwise I don’t think there’ll be much of our state left.
What are your views on these subjects?