This is a big thank you to all of you who have contacted me over the past few months about Thursday’s General Election. Particularly those who have emailed me with their concerns. On many of the topics I have to agree with you. Whether that’s the fight against Rupert Murdoch, against the tax dodgers, or against the coalition’s reforms of the NHS.
In Thursday’s General Election you have a big choice. Between the status quo of what our MP Norman Lamb offers – a voting record of supporting tax cuts for millionaire and a Bedroom Tax, privatisation of the NHS, supporting fox hunting, and supporting selling off state-owned assets. And my kind of progressive politics which supports making sure the economy works for everybody, making policies fairer, and supporting animal welfare like defending the ban on fox hunting and ending the badger cull.
This is a big choice between supporting the party of the 1% and the media barons, or supporting a party which will go after those very people. Rupert Murdoch is not the major influence he once was, the opinion polls are proving that his attacks on Ed Miliband are not working. But he still will do anything to control the result, and to protect his empire. I will support the implementation of the findings from the Leveson report – established after the phone-hacking inquiry – and I will support strengthening the rules of media plurality. No media owner should be able to exact undue influence or feel themselves above the law, and this will be a big change from previous governments which have sought approval from The Sun. The Tories and Lib Dem ruling together cannot be trusted to do it.
On tax dodging, as a former tax inspector I know we have to do so much more. The richest people in this nation have not been hit by this Tory government, they’ve got richer. If people all paid their fair share of tax we could have much better public services, not more cuts and austerity. You saw the reaction to Ed Miliband’s proposals over ‘non-dom’ status – a ridiculous archaic law which again favours the rich. The Tories still are continuing to defend them and the tax havens while trying to justify more cuts for the poorest. I will support a tax-dodging bill, and I’ll support a Mansion Tax to pay for our NHS. If we’re really ‘all in this together’ it’s the right stance to take.
And on the NHS only a vote for Labour can hit the reset button and restore the values of our National Health Service. I’ve been a vocal campaigner over the past five years about what’s happened locally and nationally. You’ve told me it’s harder to see a GP because the Tories and Lib Dems took away a guarantee to see one within 48 hours. It’s harder to get into A&E because of the cuts to social care, because the scaled-back 111 service doesn’t work for you, and because it takes longer to see a GP. Consequently it’s harder to get an ambulance because A&E is blocked and because the government supported cuts to the service. That’s why I launched Act on Ambulances which has had huge local and national publicity because of the ridiculous wait many residents have had to get an ambulance. And despite the Mental Health Minister being our local MP, mental health budgets have been cut, and our Trust is now in special measures.
The NHS is on the ballot paper on Thursday and it is only Labour with a clear plan for what happens next. We’ll repeal the Health and Social Care Act by the summer to end the privatisation and sell-off of our health service. We’ll protect it from the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP). We’ll create a Mansion Tax to ensure the very wealthiest contribute to 20,000 new nurses, 8,000 more GPs, and 5,000 new carers. We’ll use those carers to integrate health and social care together, offering a single point of contact for our elderly, and ending the scandal of 15 minute care visits, and bring more compassionate care. We’ll reinstate the guarantee you’ll see a GP within 48 hours, or the same day if you need it. And we’ll radically improve mental health support – particularly for children – who are significantly impacted by this coalition’s cuts.
This is all on top of my pledges to ensure we have more affordable housing in North Norfolk, to boost renewable energy in the constituency and to fight against fracking, boost childcare and education, to end the Bedroom Tax, to fight for jobs that pay a Living Wage and end Zero-Hour contracts.
A vote for Labour is the only way to vote to kick David Cameron and Nick Clegg out of Number 10. With the Lib Dems talking of yet another coalition with David Cameron, it is clear you cannot trust them to ‘keep the Tories out’ as they claim here.
That’s why in the past few days we’ve won the support of Norfolk’s Delia Smith, Russell Brand, and even Mr Alan Partridge himself (Steve Coogan). The latest is DCI Banks and Trollied’s Stephen Tompkinson (left).
I hope you will support me on Thursday, and Labour’s team of 48 District Council candidates also running on the same day. As always I am happy to try to answer any questions you may have before casting your vote.