polling station sign in lbrut
Our Election Result item will appear HERE.

PREVIOUSLY…
Deja vu all over again? You betcha! The previous thread got rather overloaded so we’ve re-launched our election item to allow for three more weeks of heated debate…

May 7th is looming and you’re asking yourself the very straightforward question, “What is the twickerati position on who to vote for in the election?”. It’s a great question. Let us make our position absolutely clear. We regard elections as the very bedrock of our democracy. In fact, over the last ten years we have seen year on year increases in the number of references to democracy across the internet. Furthermore, we’ve shown our support for the use of the internet and social media by opening accounts on Twitter and Facebook and regard good communication as vital for hard working British families. So let’s celebrate the creativity and diversity we have in our midst, right here in Twickenham. To the people at home we say, ‘We hope that clearly answers your question’. Next!

Oh dear. Here at twickerati HQ we’re not very good at politics because we find it so difficult to give a straight answer to a straight question. And that is why we asked five local candidates to write 500 words each setting out their stall for the 2015 election. We said we’d include a link to their website and their profile picture too. They agreed. This is what they have to say to you…

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LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
Candidate: Vince Cable
Website: www.vincecable.org.uk
Twitter: @vincecable

Vince Cable
Vince Cable

My name is Vince Cable and I’ve been the MP for Twickenham since I was first elected in 1997.

I have lived here in Twickenham for the last forty years; I raised a family here and my children attended local schools. Before entering Parliament I had a varied career, both in the UK and abroad as a diplomat, university lecturer and Treasury official specialising in economic development. In 1990 I took a job with Shell before being appointed their chief economist in 1995.

Throughout my time as your MP I have seen my first responsibility as representing local people and community groups. I have dealt with over 10,000 individual cases. I have been able to use this quite effectively when seeking to raise matters of local importance to local residents. I have been able to promote science and the Teddington laboratories and recently to lobby for colleges school funding which will enable the rebuild of Collis School’s Infants block.

I know many of you will have had a concern regarding my party’s decision to enter into coalition in 2010 with the Conservatives. This wasn’t a decision which was taken lightly. However it was the only way to ensure that the county had a stable government at a time of economic crisis. It certainly looks, now, as if the economy is moving in the right direction. Unemployment is at an historic low, the economy is now one of the strongest in Europe and we are seeing sustained growth. As Business Secretary I have been at the heart of the reforms which have enabled this to happen.

I have launched the UK’s long term industrial strategy; established the British Business Bank and the Green Investment Bank; built up apprenticeships to record levels, promoted gender equality; strengthened the minimum wage; and brought in legislation to strengthen consumer rights and the promotion of small business.

As a party of government Lib Dems have been able to deliver on those policies you voted for in 2010. We have delivered the raising of the income tax threshold to put an extra £900 a year back into the pockets of those in work; we’ve delivered the biggest ever rise in state pensions of £800 a year and have secured that through our triple lock; we’ve delivered the pupil premium which gives an equal start to our most disadvantaged children.

Looking forward I recognise the need locally for more affordable housing, to speed up the introduction of new capacity on the railways to increase care for the elderly outside hospitals through bodies like Homelink.

I am a strong opponent of expansion at Heathrow and have, for this reason, led that opposition locally. My party remains united against the airport bosses’ plans for expansion, a position which puts us at odds with Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne who have made no secret of their interest in seeing Heathrow expanded after the election. It is vital that Lib Dem MPs are elected to parliament to stop this happening.

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CONSERVATIVE
Candidate: Tania Mathias
Website: www.tania4twickenham.co.uk
Twitter: @tania_mathias

Tania Mathias
Tania Mathias

As a local resident, councillor and NHS doctor, I am committed to achieving a brighter future for our area.
A future with better transport services,
good schools and opportunities for the next generation,
incentives for local and small businesses,
the Freedom Pass kept for the senior population,
a guarantee of a rise of at least 2.5% to the Basic State Pension,
an increase in the personal tax free allowance, a rise in the higher rate threshold, no new taxes on family homes,
and no third runway at Heathrow or night flights over our homes.

Living locally I care about our area and if I haven’t had the chance to meet you yet, I hope to soon.

As a local resident I have accompanied family members and neighbours when they have needed services at Teddington Memorial Hospital and that is why I recently invited the Health Minister Jeremy Hunt to visit the hospital. I pledge to protect Teddington Memorial Hospital as a great resource in our community.

I have also campaigned for specialist respite day care for residents with dementia, and I support our care services at Homelink and Shooting Star Chase Hospice. As a local councillor I have voted for the protection of services for the vulnerable such as hot meals on wheels services and our rehabilitation services. Our neighbourhood care groups are a vital part of our community which I support. As a local councillor I backed the referendum for all residents to give their views on Heathrow expansion in 2013, when nearly 80% voted against. Since I have highlighted the medical effects of night flights and supported local resident groups and Hacan campaigning against the third runway.

I also supported residents during the flood risk period last year and was responsible for the Council delivering sandbags to residents’ homes. On BBC News I called for maintenance of the Thames Barrier.

I have voted for the allocation of resources to increase primary school places in our borough – 500 new places since 2010 under our Conservative Council, and new sixth forms in our secondary schools.

I am also campaigning for Crossrail 2 expansion to Twickenham which would bring faster train journeys into central London and help commuters, visitors and businesses. Some stations are being upgraded for the Rugby World Cup but more local involvement in improving the stations is needed and more frequent services are needed on the Hampton line.

Twickenham could become the best place to live in Greater London.
Our health services are some of the best. I will protect them
Our parks and outdoor river areas are special . I will fight to prevent pollution.
Our businesses are world class. They need low corporation taxes which I will lobby for.
Our children deserve the best education. I will continue to promote excellence in the classroom.
Our older residents need good neighbourhood care and specialised services. I will campaign for them.
I hope to count on your support on May 7th.

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LABOUR
Candidate: Nick Grant
Website: www.twickenhamlabourparty.org.uk
Twitter: @nick4twick

Nick Grant
Nick Grant

Hello, I’m standing in Twickenham because the place I’ve lived in for 15 years needs a new, strong voice in Parliament.

I, like many people, feel angry about the decisions Vince Cable has made as part of the Coalition government. I struggle to see the difference he’s made to a typically divisive, private-knows-best Conservative government. Recent press releases that try to portray Vince Cable in conflict with his Cabinet colleagues should be seen for what they are: desperate attempts to avoid collective responsibility for right wing policies like the Bedroom Tax. It’s too little too late.

The Labour Party is based on a set of values that I know are close to the heart of the majority of Twickenham residents. The people I meet want to know that their MP and their government pursue policies that are fair to all members of society, that enable the talented to flourish regardless of background but look after the vulnerable. In challenging economic times they understand tough choices need to be made but want them to be principled, tolerant and inclusive.

Twickenham is blessed with some wonderful natural amenities. As a place it bursts with potential. But that was the same story when I moved to St. Margaret’s 15 years ago: unfulfilled potential. At the local level, I’ve seen Twickenham lurch between unsatisfactory Conservative and Lib Dem administrations with each much trumpeted plan for change (nearly always based on luxury housing and frozen council tax) failing to bring about a new vision for the area.

Significant opportunities for community development have been wasted. Just look at the stale thinking and dither that has dogged the Twickenham riverside development.

I think many people recognise that 2015 is a suitable time for real change. Vince Cable has had his chance. The Conservative Party will not bring change or new energy. It is hugely symbolic that the Conservative candidate is a serving councillor.

In many ways I believe I reflect a fairly typical Twickenham resident. I work in central London, my children go to local state schools, we enjoy the Thames and the nearby green spaces. By any national standard we’re fortunate. But as my children grow up I see the problems that lie ahead, and I share the concerns that I know so many of you have.

If I am elected as MP for Twickenham I will work hard to tackle those concerns, focusing my energy on the practical foundations that everybody depends on.

Health – protecting the NHS, investing in the doctors and nurses we need, calling the end of privatisation
Homes – building affordable homes, securing a fair deal for tenants so that renting families have stability in their lives
Work – proper apprenticeships for our young people that will give skills for life, backing small businesses, cutting then freezing business rates
School – a place at a good state school with qualified teachers, ending the chaos and expense of poorly planned free schools, lowering tuition fees.

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UKIP
Candidate: Barry Edwards
Website: www.barryedwards.info
Twitter: @barrytwickukip

Barry Edwards
Barry Edwards

I am a family man and run a business within the Borough. I am an environmental scientist, an analyst and believe in the rigorous scrutiny of information.

You can be sure that all the other parties, whether they like it or not, will agree that I like the truth. I have tirelessly campaigned for the last 15 years to ensure the interests of local people are put first. I believe that the other parties are untrustworthy and have lost touch with people.

After the Council elections last year, UKIP went on to win the European Election and win the next 2 Parliamentary by-elections and as of the 3rd December 2014 reached 3rd place in the National Polls at 25%. If this is reflected in the General Election in May 2015 UKIP will expect to get 128 MPs.

The Truth about this General election has been eloquently detailed by Sir David Attenborough. Visit my website to see what he says.

The Truth about UKIP is well documented, that we would wish to maintain strong economic trading with Europe, but we no longer want the UK to be run by the EU. But less well appreciated is that many of our other policies are there to cope with and solve the problems of the ever increasing over-population that Sir David describes; it’s affects on all aspects of society, our cost of living and quality of life for everyone in the UK.

UKIP is the only party which supports Sir David’s view and is brave & wise enough to implement policy to deal with this rocketing population increase. Any self respecting environmentalist has to vote UKIP to stop this over-population.

Just this week (1st March 2015) that population increase is over 300,000 per year. But how many people is this? It is a city the size of Birmingham every 4 years, this simply cannot continue without huge problems for everyone. The majority of this increase is from the EU and the Lib Dems, Conservatives, Labour and the Greens have not told the truth; in fact over-population is where the real pressures on the NHS, schools, services for the elderly and the threat to our open spaces is being generated.

Contrary to what the other parties say, in recent by-elections UKIP has just proved itself to be at the centre of British politics, by taking as many votes from Labour (Reds) as Conservative (Blues) – and as we all know, Red and Blue make Purple. So by voting UKIP you get UKIP and we are just as likely to form a Government as these parties, if we get the same support as we did last year, when we won the European election.

UKIP is the only party that will stop the Lib Dems, Conservatives, Labour and the Greens putting Government, Political parties and Company shareholders ahead of your interests. We will put you first.
Please visit my website – Find the facts before you vote.
Local policies for local people.

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GREEN PARTY
Candidate: Tanya Williams
Website: www.tanya4twickenham.co.uk
Twitter: @greentanyaw

Tanya Williams
Tanya Williams

The Green Party’s Tanya Williams will improve people’s living standards while protecting precious natural resources. Greens strive to link up areas of policy, for example creating transport policies which improve our health. Our economic policies fulfill human needs not corporate greed. We believe education, transport and health are better organised by the government than by corporations.

Education – state funded for all ages:-
Twickenham’s population has grown faster than primary school places available. Parents in some areas struggle to get a school place at all. I will fight to ensure that every child is educated as close as possible to home, mainly within walking or cycling distance.
We will:
· oppose academies because schools should be run in the 
interests of children and communities, not for private gain,
· remove state subsidies for socially divisive private and faith schools, and
· scrap tuition fees because an educated population is the bedrock of civilized society and benefits everybody.

Make work pay:-
Under this government inequality has reached the point where one thousand of the country’s richest people own more wealth than the poorest 40%. We support better pay and work conditions, especially for the low paid. Some Twickenham residents on low wages or facing unfair benefit sanctions have been forced to use food banks.
I will fight for social justice by:
· ending punitive benefit sanctions,
· raising the minimum wage to a genuinely living wage,
· abolishing zero hours contracts, and
· tackling corporate and individual tax dodging which robs communities of £5 bn a year.

Affordable homes for everyone:-
A secure and affordable place to live is a basic human need. In Twickenham there is not enough housing, and existing stock is often too expensive to buy or to rent. We will make housing affordable and sustainable, ensure there is enough to go round, and improve quality and security for tenants in private rented accommodation. We need to return housing to its original purpose: providing each of us with an affordable and sustainable home.
We would:
· abolish the bedroom tax,
· devolve housing benefit budgets to councils,
· end council house sales and the ‘Right to Buy’, and
· build 500,000 council owned homes.

Improve public transport and curb pollution:-
I support the introduction of a 20mph speed limit by consent on roads where people live and work. This would make Twickenham less polluted and safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
We would also:
· take railways back into public ownership,
· reduce bus, train and tube fares,
· introduce taxation on aviation fuel to reflect its true environmental costs, and
· oppose Heathrow expansion.

Support small businesses:-
Several independent businesses have closed in Twickenham and Teddington due to high rents, short leases or steep rates. I support local pro-business initiatives because they keep money in the local area, create employment and provide social interaction for people.

The Greens will:-
· cut VAT on tourism, the lifeblood of many businesses, and
· defend local shops and communities from chain store invasion.

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OTHER CANDIDATES RECENTLY ANNOUNCED:

We think these are correct…

Dominic Stockford – Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”
Website: www.ukchristianparty.org

David Dean Wedgwood – The Magna Carta Party
Website: www.magnacartaparty.org.uk

 

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Hustings… there are a couple more hustings events to come (let us know if we’ve missed any)
Time: Tuesday 21 April, 7.30pm
Hosted by: Churches Together in Teddington
Venue: Teddington Baptist Church, Church Road, Teddington TW11 8PF

Time: Wednesday 22 April, 7.30pm
Hosted by: Friends of Twickenham Green
Venue: United Reformed Church, First Cross Road, Twickenham TW2 5QA

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That’s it. Thanks to the candidates for their pieces. So, who’s going to be announced as Twickenham’s MP in the early hours of May 8th? Don’t just wait until polling day to have your say, do it right here, right now too.

And keep it vaguely polite, keep it relevant and don’t rant on for ages. You have the power of the keyboard but, as Spiderman said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. OK, it was actually his uncle that said that just before he got killed but you get the general idea.