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Public Services Should be Publicly Owned and Funded

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For me this has always been an absolute red line in terms of how our society is organised.  I’ve never been opposed to the free market, even though in my experience in business the free bit is usually very far from free.

But there are certain services that society needs to function, and our economy is also dependent on.  These are broadly health, education, social care, welfare, transport, police, fire services, the military and local infrastructure.  I may have missed something but you get the gist.

Over the past 10 years we know that these have all been the subject of cuts, and we’ve all seen the results.  Not only has this left us impoverished as a nation, it’s also applied serious downward pressure on our productivity and our economy.

It’s analogous to the way that businesses are run when they start to get into trouble.  First you cut the things you don’t really need, then the things you think you can do without but would like to have, then you cut they think you do need but try to work around, then things you actually need to operate like stock and equipment and then finally you realise you’ve removed your ability to actually do anything productive.

We’re pretty much at the end of that process now, and we need to fix it.

Additionally, we know that many of the things that were cut didn’t need to be cut.  The Tories are never one to let a good crisis go to waste and used the financial crash as an excuse to decimate social services and welfare, dismantle the NHS and remove many of the support services for those in the greatest need.

This was driven more by ideology and the Tories obsession with reducing the deficit at all costs, even though this had very little discernible effect on the national debt.  When productivity and the economy stall, you end up with less money coming into the coffers and you have to borrow more.  That’s where we are now.

There should be a real end to the culture of austerity and public service cuts. We’re one of the richest nations in the world, with everyone paying their fair share we should be able to care for and protect all our citizens and keep the infrastructure we all rely on well maintained and working properly.

The cost of train fares for example is absolutely ludicrous at the moment and are some of the highest in Europe with some of the worst services being provided.  This gives lie to the idea that privatisation makes things more efficient.  That said, I know that nationalised services gained a bad reputation back in the old days, but I think that was more an issue of management culture.  There’s no reason why things can’t be run completely in the public sector by staff and management who are properly motivated.

Overall though there are vital services keep our economy moving, and they should be properly supported by government.  I’d like to see all of them eventually brought back fully into public ownership and run collectively for the good of the people who rely on them on a zero-sum gain basis.  If private businesses can make a profit out of these services now, there’s no reason why they can’t be revenue generating for society or provided at a reduced, subsidised cost where appropriate.  It may even be possible to provide some of them for free!  Hopefully much freer than the so-called free market!

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We Need to Save Our NHS While There’s Still and NHS to Save!

 

Our NHS is on its knees.  Every year we see a crisis in emergency care, and as recent statistics have shown, waiting lists are getting longer by the day.

I want to see our NHS and social care services fully resourced and funded, with all staff paid fairly for the incredible job they do.

I want to see the full reinstatement of consultant led maternity care at the Horton Hospital, together with a halt to plans to further downgrade services there.

I will resist all and every attempt to privatise the NHS and would oppose private health and pharmaceutical companies gaining further access to our lucrative health sectors.

The Green Party and Caroline Lucas were at the forefront of the campaign to return the NHS to full public ownership with the introduction of the NHS reinstatement bill.

I want to see full and free provision of social care for our older citizens and free, well run, dignified care homes available to all if and when they need them.

In Oxfordshire we’re seeing more and more centralisation of services.  The newest threat to our locally accountable health provision is the BOBs reorganisation, which will mean the amalgamation of the CCGs from Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.  This represents yet another attack on our local NHS.

The Green Party will fight tooth and nail for our NHS.  I personally regard it one of the greatest achievements of our nation and will defend it at all costs as your MP.

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Thanks Once Again

I didn’t think I’d be here writing a second thank you post so soon after the last one. In fact I didn’t really expect to be doing this all again. For someone who isn’t a natural politician, I thought in 2015 that once in a lifetime was enough.

But we did it all again and I have to say I enjoyed most of it as much as I did last time.

I will admit though that the come-down from this campaign has been much harder given that I failed to build on the vote achieved last time. In fact it was reduced, mainly by virtue of people believing they were voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

I do have to say, as I said numerous times during the campaign, Labour had no hopes of winning in this constituency. The Labour candidate is also no supporter of Corbyn. In fact I support him more than he does!

So those previously loyal Green voters who switched this time to Labour really did nothing to help towards a Labour victory in Westminster and have arguably done some damage to the Greens.

The number of votes cast in a general election does count for each party. Not just in electoral terms but also in terms of how much government money is given to that party to continue to be part of the democratic process, something known as ‘short money’. We also have the deposits in each constituency, which at £500 a time is money that a party like the Greens, who don’t have large corporate backers, can ill afford to lose.

Over the whole country the Green vote fell by roughly 50% and that was certainly the case in Banbury. As a result there may well be a lot less chances to vote Green next time we have an election, especially if that’s any time soon. Much of the funds generated in this election will go towards leaflets, deposits and other expenses. The reduction in ‘short money’ will be something of a blow too.

So your vote and your support for the Greens really matters, whether we win or not. Labour won’t face the loss of their deposits and, with hundreds of MP in Parliament and now hundreds of thousands of members, they won’t be short of funds either.

Please remember that next time you think about abandoning the party you say you otherwise support. We’re only here because of that support, and when it’s removed we quickly lose the ability to give you the choice to vote Green in the future.

Every one of those 1250 people who took the trouble to support a party they truly believe in and give me their precious vote yesterday has my personal thanks.

I am of course disappointed that there weren’t more, especially as there were over twice that number just two years ago when our policies were just are relevant as they are now.

The dash to Labour was perhaps understandable in the context of Jeremy Corbyn’s popular appeal, but in a constituency like Banbury and vote for any of the progressive parties would have sent a message of hope and defiance just as effectively as one for Labour.

Sadly, in solidly safe seats like Banbury it’s very unlikely that one party will ever loosen the stranglehold being applied by The Conservatives, so we have to work together as the Greens have done in other constituencies.

Whilst I congratulate Sean for achieving an impressive increase on his vote share, he was still some 12000 votes away from a win. All the time Labour and the Conservatives continue to reject the electoral reform proposed by Greens and the Libdems we’re very unlikely to see individual votes changing the outcome of elections like these.

I’m very pleased on a national level to see The Conservatives on ever more shaky ground and I hope all the other opposition parties in Westminster will work together to thwart what will probably be a severe and extreme right coalition between the Tories and the DUP. I think we see now that this election was less about the good of the country and more about Theresa May clinging on to power at any cost.

As always, it was truly depressing to see the Conservative vote increase in number in a constituency that should be acutely aware of the damage they are likely to wreak on public services, the NHS and in particular the Horton Hospital which is now very likely to be completely downgraded or closed if the Conservatives maintain power.

Thanks to everyone who worked on my campaign and to the other candidates for a clean and well fought fight. I hope going forward, progressive parties in Banbury may work more closely together to achieve real social change and electoral reform, that way we can ensure every voice and every vote counts in the future.