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A straight answer to a straight question

July 22, 2009

column-picture1Believe it or not, I would much rather agree with my political counterparts than disagree.

Week in week out we see the adversarial goings-on at Westminster – what David Cameron calls the Punch and Judy show of British politics. A show which he has pledged to change…

Just like our voting system, this way of doing politics is of a bygone era – it is outmoded. It is has outlived its usefulness. But it persists because it is in the vested interests of the two largest parties in British politics.

A more mature and vibrant political system would be based on the key premise that every vote counts, and policy-making procedures which encourage co-operation, collaboration and the pursuit of excellence.

It is against this backdrop that I am pleased to pass on that I wrote to my Conservative counterpart this week to tell her that I have signed her petition against the proposals for the Hastings to London Cannon Street service to be cut, possibly in 2015.

This proposal from Network Rail has received similar responses of outrage from across the three main political parties in our constituency.

I am glad that the Conservative Leader of Hastings Borough Council has been so outspoken about it. The proposals fly in the face of widely held views on the needs of the area, particularly in respect of regeneration.

My personal perspective is that, just as it is important to say when you disagree with a political opponent (and why, and what you would do differently) it is also important to put on record when you agree, and to support those people in any endeavour which you feel will bring benefit to the constituency.

This does not, and will not, stop me from raising issues that are of concern; from challenging hypocrisy where it can be found.

So, on the same day as I wrote about the petition, I wrote to our Tory candidate asking her whether she supports the formation of the new European Conservatives and Reformists Group at the European Parliament (which David Cameron has spearheaded), and whether she supports the newly elected Leader of that Group. This is a Polish MEP by the name of Michal Kaminski, who is accused of holding seriously unpleasant views about Jews and gay people.

My feeling is that the Conservative Party should be deeply concerned and embarrassed about this current situation in Brussels, and I think it is right and proper for us to hear from our Conservative parliamentary candidate as to where she stands on this issue.

My own pledge to the people of Hastings & Rye is that I will always try to give a straight answer to a straight question.

I have not been able to elicit any answer whatever from my Conservative counterpart regarding Michal Kaminski.

This may be of concern to you as well…

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