How interesting to see my rival PPCs for Reading West on the Politics Show. Though I am the Green Party candidate, the first I knew of it was watching Alok Sharma, Naz Sarkar and Daisy Benson on TV on a Sunday at lunchtime. Still its their loss, the three of them were so similar it was short on debate, though we had plenty of bickering.
The introduction was done at Risc, great to see the roof garden on TV. Then they showed footage of Gordon Browns 'secret' visit. Well it seems to have been secret from Naz and Anneliese who didn't mention it at the time on their sites. Mind you they don't mention each other either!
First there was a little quiz on Readings history.
Where is a King of England buried? I knew that, as did Alok. Henry 1 at Reading Abbey.
What is the population of Reading. All 3 knew it to be around 200,000.
Question 1. Health. Alok discussed his background and conversations with people about the NHS, its getting worse despite the extra investment. Naz launched into an attack on the Tories, defended targets, cancer guarantees. Daisy discussed cutting bureaucracy, targets led to Staffordshire problems, infant mortality here same as Hackney. More power to elected health boards, sounds like increased bureaucracy to me. Millions lost on IT but a bit late to change it.
I would have discussed the privatisation of the NHS, with corporations making millions and us paying more for longer, a burden for future generations.
Q2. Education. Naz wanted brand new classrooms for everyone! No one picked him up on this, would it need to be every year, or perhaps every term, perpetual building. Alok discussed academies, schools and teachers having more say. Daisy discussed the postcode lottery.
I would have said we need every school to be a good school, letting rich people set schools agendas means some children will learn creationism ahead of evolution! Education has become a competitive as watching football league tables with exams every year, but there is no level playing field.
Q3. Housing. LD lobbying has helped Lab says Daisy, build more family homes not executive flats. Alok supports regeneration, opposed Pincents Hill and Bath Rd reservoir. Naz claimed Alok had jumped on Martin Salters campaign, though Alok had actually already said that Naz and Daisy were with him on this. Daisy said this bickering turned people off, then did some bickering. Naz said Dee park was a Labour investment, and I thought it was our money!
I have some radical ideas on this, all those empty office blocks could be turned into housing with no need to build on green fields, as Labour decided in the Barker review. A bit of government planning would see investment in areas where housing is cheap and jobs scarce, so less pressure on the South East. When I discussed this with Martin Salter he though I was being Stalinist. We moved the DVLA to Swansea years ago, why not send some other London based civil servants to the rest of the country? I see Labour have been considering my plan. 'Labour's plan to dismantle Whitehall revealed; 132,000 civil servants and 90,000 employees of "arm's-length bodies" currently based in London and the south-east'.
I just had a look at the Bershire Blog listings for the last month, this blog was at number 16, Naz at number 42, no sign of Daisys blog and Alok doesn't blog. Even my greenconstruction blog got to number 47, that only gets updated a couple of times a month. So I declare myself the blog champion Reading West PPC.
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