I believe in a low tax capitalist economy. Of course, I understand that now with the budget deficit, some taxes have to inevitably go up in order to speedily fill the huge hole that Labour left us with. But in the long term, I believe that lower taxes aid wealth creation, it incentivises more people to get off benefits and into work and it rewards people who work hard and save hard. But I also believe in consumer choice, enterprise and competition. The free market is the best system that encompasses these characteristics but I recognise that as with any system, the free market is not perfect and so allowances can be made and flexibility should be adopted to compensate for that.
Personal aspirations and social mobility
I believe that anyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and that there should be no barrier to success and no limit to what someone can achieve.
Welfare system and helping the vulnerable
I think that one of the best things about our country is that we give a helping hand to those who cannot help themselves. Those who fall upon difficult times will not fall upon tragic times in modern Britain. But too often, our welfare system has been abused and taken advantage of. It is right to say that those who cannot work should be given all the help they need but it is also right to say that those who can work but choose not to work and refuse help in finding a job should not be paid benefits. The current welfare system will need reform and Iain Duncan Smith is taking it in the right direction. We should aspire to have a system that makes it more rewarding to go to work, offers help to those who genuinely need it and ends the possibility of someone making a career out of claiming benefits. In the end, the self worth, progression onto better things and sense of duty and purpose that comes with getting a job should far outweigh the desire to claim benefits.
Inspirational charities and voluntary organisations that do so much to benefit society should be supported and an environment should be created for them to flourish. I believe more often than not, it is the bottom up common sense approach adopted by local community organisations that can make a huge difference instead of big blanket schemes initiated from the centre of government in Whitehall. Tomorrows People is a fine example of a successful social enterprise. It is these kind of organisations that will a) help take people off drug and alcohol dependency b) help them gain an education c) after that, this will help them find a job to match their skills d) if successful employment is sought, their lives will be transformed through a huge sense of well-being, motivation and sense of purpose – to create a better life for themselves and their families. This is something that we should strive for and celebrate when it is achieved.
I believe passionately in personal freedom, choice and individuality within the law. The state shouldn’t interfere with or hinder us going about our day-to-day business, our pleasures and pastimes. This is why I think that the blanket smoking ban even on private clubs was a step too far and an unwelcome intrusion.
I love Europe and the different cuisines and cultures to be experienced on the continent. But I do not want to be part of a country called Europe and I will always fight tooth and nail to ensure that Britain’s own identity and sovereignty is maintained. I never want to join the Euro. We need to control our own destiny and make our own laws in Westminster. The people of the UK elect national politicians to Westminster to make the decisions. We also need to get back some powers from the European Union in Brussels – law making powers that should never have been given away in the first place.
Every child should have access to the best education possible. I was blessed with an excellent education – something I will always be grateful for and will never forget. A school with good discipline, high standards and high expectations of its pupils it a recipe for success. I believe in the free schools initiative that Michael Gove has pioneered. Allowing teachers and parents to have a direct say over how the school is run is moving on leaps and bounds from the centralised bureaucratic burden that has for far too long not allowed our schools to flourish. Head teachers have been burdened with so much paperwork that has come from the Local Education Authority. The time has come for this to stop and for the time spent on paperwork to be spent in the classroom. We also need common sense to prevail and allow schools to take their pupils on outings without the fear of having to comply with 100s of different regulations and having to fill a 15 page form in order to make it happen. More freedom and common sense in our schools is a must.
In terms of universities, I believe that they serve us well and we should celebrate anyone wishing to pursue a university degree. But there are so many people who yearn to educate themselves differently whether it be through an apprenticeship or other vocational qualification. We need to promote this more and ensure that the education available matches people’s needs and genuine desires rather than assuming that university is the path for everyone. We also need to be more aware of the worthiness of certain degree titles in terms of future career prospects.
I care deeply about the NHS and will always fight to make it better still. I am pleased that all main political parties generally agree that the NHS is here to stay and is a huge force for good. I have had to personally depend on the NHS on several occasions – especially when I was knocked down by a car when I was a child. The ability to be treated free of charge at the point of use regardless of your income, background or ability to pay is a British gem that should be forever cherished. But even after all the extra money that has been pumped into the NHS under Labour, we saw a hugely disproportionate level of improvement rates. It is therefore imperative that the NHS where necessary is restructured so that the number of bureaucrats and managers are cut in order for those resources to be turned into more doctors and nurses treating patients on the front line. We as a country shouldn’t also be ideologically rigid when it comes to the NHS or public services in general. It’s about what works best for the end user and if we can utilise the private sector more within the NHS in providing the best possible service, then that has to be a good thing.
I believe that immigration to this country has been too high over the last 15 years. We need to have much stricter controls over who comes into the UK. Those that come in should be able to speak English, assimilate and integrate into our society so that they can play a full and active part in British life. I want to see more people feeling British first and anything else second and to be proud of that. But we also need to control the numbers so that our public services can cope and that the propensity for outsiders to integrate is much higher. That way we can restore credibility to the immigration system and it will no longer become a taboo subject.
Restoring National Pride
I am a committed patriot. I love our country because I think it is the best in the world. It is our values, our history, our culture, heritage, traditions and institutions that have had a big impact on me when I was growing up and I want to see these things preserved for future generations. I want children growing up in Britain today feeling the same way about our country. We need to teach proper British history in schools; we need to boost our own manufacturing and innovation; we need to be a country that stops apologising and instills pride amongst its people. I am not afraid to fly the flag and to be a strong advocate for maintaining and promoting a distinctive British identity – domestically and internationally.
I care passionately about the welfare of our troops at home and abroad. They are putting their life on the line for the sake of our country. That should never ever be forgotten and always be appreciated. For me, our military campaigns abroad must always be in British interests. Our armed forces are motivated by taking action to ensure that the country we love is safe and secure from outside threats. In order for their work to be carried out with the most success and precision, we must always ensure that they have a wide source of the best possible equipment. I am incredibly proud of our armed forces and all that they do for our country and they deserve all the help and support to restore that pride even further to be the best in the world.
I must admit that I have always had a soft spot for Royal Mail. It is a typically British institution that has served us for hundreds of years. It has a strong, recognisable identity through the red pillar boxes, the stamps bearing the Queen’s head and the shiny red vans with the famous crown logo. I recognise that the time has come to make serious changes to ensure that our national postal service is sustainable and efficient in the long term. But whatever decision is made about the future ownership and financing of Royal Mail, I sincerely hope that the name can be retained in some way shape or form, that the red pillar boxes continue to be used and that we can use stamps bearing the Queen’s head in the usual way. For me Royal Mail is an integral part of our British character. It is a strong national symbol that all people can identify with and relate to regardless of colour, creed or religion and so I hope these positive aspects of our historic national postal service will be retained in the future. In addition, the ability to post a letter or package to any UK address for a relatively small amount of money is something which I find extremely worthwhile. It is also important that our post offices (especially in hard to get places in rural areas) stay open so that the local community is in tact and that a line of communication can remain for so many people. Our local Post Offices are part of the social fabric of our communities. They provide a place for people to meet and chat to friends while also using the essential services that the Post Office provides. For decades, our Post Offices have been a great British institution that has served their local communities well. The previous government ran down Post Offices with the intention of closing them by taking away vital services away from the counter such as car licensing and pensions. Twinning post offices with pubs and village shops in rural areas might not be a bad idea to save on overheads.
I believe that family values are the key to a more stable, united and stronger British society. Too often, I hear about fathers who leave the mothers to raise their children alone, and I see and hear about unhappy disjointed homes with uncertain futures. I think that a stable loving family at home is the best recipe for giving our youngsters the best start in life. Our policies should be geared towards promoting family values. This approach will stop exacerbating the culture of anti-social behaviour and generate a genuine sense of duty and responsibility to one another.
It is right that we aim to cut journey times between our cities in the UK. But I also want to see pride restored to our railways. I am saddened that none of our rolling stock is designed or built here anymore and I am saddened that a lot of services have been dumbed down for fear of profit margins narrowing. Railway travel – especially on long haul journeys should be a pleasurable experience. And if we are serious about making rail a serious alternative to car and domestic air travel, then we have to make sure that our trains are not overcrowded, are clean and comfortable and that there are proper on-board catering facilities available.
I am passionate about British manufacturing. Our engineering legacy lives on to this day but we do not make enough things in the UK. I am confident that we can develop the skills and expertise required to have a manufacturing renaissance. There is no reason why we cannot build things that appeal to global markets. There is no reason why we cannot find niche areas that will only be served by a UK manufacturing base and there is no reason why we can’t become world leaders in the new green technology that is surely going to become an integral part of our everyday lives in the future.
I believe that those who do break the law and do harm to others should be punished and go to prison. I think this acts as a deterrent to would be criminals thinking about committing a crime but also protects the public from a criminal who is captured.
But I also believe in ensuring that we don’t just tackle the symptoms of crime but also the reasons behind why the crime was committed in the first place. This is where good rehabilitation schemes are essential in getting ex-criminals onto a straight and upward path to make sure they do not re-offend.
”Political correctness” was a phrase that was used in the past when it was just a case of showing respect to other people and to stop using language that is uneccesarlily offensive is not political correctness. But we need common sense here and need to stop banning things like Christmas celebrations for example. I am proud of our country’s christian heritage and that is something to be celebrated which doesn’t cause any offence at all. So let’s have more of a common sense approach to these things and stop tip-toeing around such issues.
I believe that the BBC offers some of the best quality television and radio content in the world. I wish to see it preserved and we should be immensely proud of this national institution. I agree that there is a debate to be had about the license fee and the way the BBC is financed in the long term but I sincerely hope that this in no way shape or form jeopardises the future of the BBC as if it ever goes, it would be sorely missed.