Use your Cranleigh West Postal Vote today

If you are a Cranleigh West voters with a Postal Vote- now’s the time to act! Vote for Lynda MacDermott , a fresh face on Cranleigh Parish council!

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Lynda has lived in Cranleigh for almost 30 years. She has two grown up sons and 4 grandchildren and is an elected member of the Co-operative Group for Surrey.

She’s an active member of the community. She chairs Cranleigh Patients’ Participation Group and is a member of the Fairtrade steering group. Presently she is involved as a volunteer in drawing up Cranleigh’s Neighbourhood plan on the Economy working group.

Why am I standing?

“I am taking part in this election because our village stands at an important crossroads in its development. I want to use the co-operative values of social responsibility and self-help to get the kind of village we need, with balanced development that includes housing accessible to all, opportunities for local business to develop and the necessary infrastructures and supports to flourish and grow.

Another co-operative value is democracy. I believe that everyone should be encouraged to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Specifically today, I want people to have their say about what we can do with the infrastructure levy – a levy on developers which we can use to add the amenities we want for our village.  I want to enable people to participate in the discussions and in return I promise to keep them in touch with what’s going on”

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Cranleigh Labour Party Force Council By-election

Waverley Borough Council’s Electoral Services staff have confirmed that a petition organised by the Cranleigh Branch of the Guildford Labour Party has been successful in forcing a by-election. The election will fill a vacancy on Cranleigh Parish Council created by the resignation of a councillor.

Richard Wilson talking to voters in Cranleigh

Richard Wilson talking to voters in Cranleigh

Labour have forced this election because people in Cranleigh parish are not being well represented by the council. Parish councils are gaining new powers and if they don’t use them in the interests of local residents then developers could devastate the area. New homes are badly needed and it is essential they are in the right place and supported by appropriate, sustainable infrastructure.

At Cranleigh's market

At Cranleigh’s market

Labour’s 2015 parliamentary candidate for the Guildford constituency (which includes Cranleigh), Richard Wilson, said, “The Surrey countryside is a green and pleasant land which must be passed on as an inheritance to the next generation. Similarly, we must ensure future residents of Cranleigh have somewhere affordable to bring up their families. Only Labour will stop rapacious big developers from trashing the green spaces of the parish.

In Cranleigh village centre

In Cranleigh village centre

Only Labour will create a community accessible to young families and respectful of the elderly too.”

Waverley Borough Council will soon be issuing a Notice of Election detailing the timetable for the election.

Ends

Note: Richard Wilson is available on richard@guildfordlabour.org or 07939 273229 or Twitter @RichardWLabour

Guildford Labour Party is on Facebook at Facebook.com/GuildfordLabour

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Campaign Day 15 May 2014

One week before polling day for the 2014 European Parliament elections we will be listening to voters in Cranleigh and explaining why it is so important to vote on 22 May. The European Union is a beacon of peace and prosperity for oppressed people across the world. Countries in Europe cooperate instead of fighting each other. By doing so, they all prosper.

The European Union ensures a base level of workers’ rights and consumer protection. All members and big companies trading here have to meet or exceed this level. Ukip’s plan for the UK to leave the EU will isolate us and force us to compete in a race to the bottom. We would have a low skill, low wage economy undercutting states with protection for workers. Workplaces would be more dangerous, people could be sacked at will and paid leave would be a thing of the past. Cutting “red tape” means giving employers more power over workers and that is why we need to stay within the EU and fight to make it fairer.

Our parliamentary candidate for 2015, Richard Wilson, will be leading a campaign day in Cranleigh on 15 May. We will be meeting shoppers at the market and delivering our message to the doorsteps of England’s largest village.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

As a committed campaigner on the environment, Richard will be listening to voters’ concerns about the loss of open countryside and the threat of climate change. Driving action on carbon emissions in the EU is the only way to reduce the impact of climate change globally. If the EU disintegrates, so will efforts to reduce carbon emissions. This will mean catastrophic floods and mass displacement of populations.

Being part of the EU and influencing its direction is in the best interests of the people of Cranleigh and of Britain. Come to Cranleigh on 15 May and speak to Richard about Europe or any other issue.

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Ukip Don’t Share Cranleigh’s Values

photo RWMy name is Richard Wilson and I was recently selected to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Guildford which includes Cranleigh. I am a 42-year old airline Captain and I have lived in Surrey for 14 years. In 2015 I will be asking voters here to trust me with their votes to be their next MP. It is a great honour for me to represent Cranleigh albeit only as a candidate at this stage.

1743520_10151948116012411_838760583_nAs the largest village in England, Cranleigh has the advantages and disadvantages of both villages and towns. The roads cannot cope with the current traffic levels, never mind projected future car traffic. House prices are unaffordable for young families. Household bills like electricity, gas, rent and child care are rocketing but wages can’t keep up. Our environment is under threat from unsustainable development and now dangerous fracking for gas. Like everywhere in England, the NHS is under attack. Every part of it is deteriorating under the Conservative-led government. Waiting times are rising in A&E, to see a GP, for cancer treatment, just like in the 1980s.

1959790_10151948116077411_310728833_nFrom speaking to people in Cranleigh, I believe Labour values are part of life here. Villagers want hope for young people here, to buy a home, to have a job that pays a decent wage, high quality state education and free child care. As a country, we desperately need more homes built. We need affordable housing for families and smaller homes for the elderly to be able to downsize to. Labour has pledged to build 200,000 new homes per year in the UK.

10151806_10151948116027411_473796628_nIn Cranleigh, this needs to be combined with sustainable transportation and other infrastructure. Conservative Surrey County Council just raised Council Tax by the maximum allowed for the third year running. They underspent their education budget so many parents are finding they can’t get any of their choices of school places for their children. The state of the roads in Surrey would shame a third world country.

farageSince Cranleigh, and Ewhurst, share Labour’s values of a fair and tolerant society, why are there two Ukip councillors here? Well, the voters didn’t elect them. They became Ukippers after being elected. Like many right-wing parties across Europe, Ukip are pushing xenophobic buttons. The National Front in France recently made gains in council elections. The anti-Semitic Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and the nationalist True Finns in Finland are just a couple of examples.

However, I believe Ukip’s rhetoric won’t work in Cranleigh. We’re better than that. The sensible voters here will see through their attempts to whip up the worst in people. On 22 May 2014, everyone will be able to vote to elect our next MEPs to represent the South East in Brussels. Every vote will count in the proportional representation system used for this election. A Labour vote in Cranleigh will count as much as a Labour vote in Reading or Brighton or Slough.

The last date to register to vote, if you are not already on the electoral roll, is 6 May. You can apply for a postal vote up until 7 May.

Please use your vote to show that Ukip don’t share Cranleigh’s values.

 

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Europe- What’s it all about

Europe is top of the agenda again and there’s much misleading rubbish about.

Here’s some European truths…and some reasons why opting out won’t benefit us in the slightest.

Police & Justice cooperation

Opt-out would make cross border justice slower and more expensive. It would mean leaving Europol and Eurojust, which are led by the UK, and the European Police Training college, which is in the UK.

It would give gangsters an incentive to locate in Britain if we were the one country from which extradition could be avoided. We could no longer get back terrorist suspects in the same prompt way as we got back the London bomber.

If there are problems better to reform the particular piece of legislation than to walk out entirely.

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

There is just one thing that would be more expensive than a common agricultural policy:  – 27 separate agricultural policies in a single market!  France would give its farmers even greater subsidies, others would be forced to match it to keep their farmers in business, there would be huge wrangles about state aids and unfair competition….. far better to keep on reforming the CAP: it has already declined from over 70% of the EU budget towards 30%, the wine lake and the butter mountain have gone, environmental objectives are being built into it. More needs to be done, but we will achieve more by helping a Europe-wide reform than we can achieve by leaving.

Fishing policy

Fish have an unfortunate habit of swimming from one country’s waters to another.  Any attempt to avoid over-fishing (which is the main problem) by our action alone is doomed to failure. It could make things worse as, without the UK, the others could increase quotas for juvenile fish in their waters before they swim into UK waters  (which is the case for some species).  This is a clear example of where multilateral reform within the EU can produce far better results than unilateral opting-out.

The Social Chapter

The single piece of legislation that has caused the most controversy is the working time directive. This is not actually part of the social chapter. It was adopted during the John Major government with Britain abstaining in the Council of ministers.  In any case it’s not a matter of Britain against the rest: rather, it is a political division with voices for and against it within countries. In Britain, most trade unions, much of the medical profession, some women’s organisations and the Labour Party support it. It is a classic political division, not Britain versus everybody else, and can be changed if political majorities change (it does not need unanimity)!

Regional Policy

Part of the deal in creating a Europe-wide market was to help those regions that benefit less. Britain’s poorer regions are also supported through the European structural funds. Proposing that Britain unilaterally opt out of this and finance its own regional policy would simply mean we do not get any share of the European funding in this field – unless we are to persuade everybody else to abandon this policy or change it completely.

Erasmus Student Exchange Scheme

making it possible for students to study at universities in other member states as part of their main studies in one member-state is one of the most popular things that the EU does. Leave everything except the single market would make British students and universities ineligible. Again, why? What on earth is wrong with this?

Trade

Also part and parcel of having a common market with no internal tariffs.  It also gives us extra clout when negotiating with third countries: China, USA, Japan, India, Brazil, Korea, etc.  The EU as a whole has the leverage to open these markets for our benefit.

If we leave the EU we would lose all the benefits of the new USA-EU trade agreement.

Foreign Policy Cooperation

For years this is something that Britain championed. With France, the only other permanent member of the UN Security Council, we have led this policy. A Briton heads the EU’s External Action Service. It gives us extra diplomatic leverage across the world.

Defence

Co-operating on defence and security issues, especially in a time of tight budgets, is considered important by all member countries. Even the Eurosceptic “Fresh Start” group of Tory MPs think it would be wrong to leave defence policy cooperation and the European defence Agency.

Referendum
Announcing a referendum has jeopardized inward investment into Britain.  Business leaders are queuing up to tell us so.

“No-one under 55 has ever had a say on belonging to the EU”

If the only way to have a say on an issue is to have a national referendum on it, then none of us have had a say on anything much!  We have never had national referendums on joining NATO, WTO, the UN or any international structure, nor on any domestic policy issue, because we have a parliamentary system providing for detailed scrutiny by our elected representatives.

Such questions are rarely a simple yes/no, but to do with terms and conditions which are constantly renegotiated and change.

The main political parties have always had different views on the EU since we joined and this has featured in general election campaigns, just as other issues do.

And we also have specific elections on Europe every 5 years when we elect our MEPs.

“We were told that we were only joining a free trade zone”

Not true. We left a free trade zone (EFTA) to join, because we felt free trade was not enough. The Wilson government, setting out its reasons for applying in 1967, stressed that:

“Europe is now faced with the opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and that we can – and indeed we must – play our full part in it”

The Wilson Government White Paper pointed out that membership involved European law
Having:

“direct internal effect … designed to take precedence over the domestic law of the Member States”.

The Heath Government’s 1971 White Paper on joining spoke of the aims of:

“an ever closer union among European peoples”, and said: “If the political implications of joining Europe are at present clearest in the economic field, it is because the Community is primarily concerned with economic policy. But it is inevitable that the scope …. should broaden as member countries interests become harmonised. That is the Community’s clear intention… But we shall be joining at a moment when we will be able to influence the process of development. This will also be true of progress towards economic and monetary union”.

It underlined that:

“what is proposed is a sharing and an enlargement of individual national sovereignties in the general interest,” and “a Europe united would have the means of recovering the position in the world which Europe divided has lost”.

More specifically on Economic and Monetary Union, this was fixed as a target for “completion not later than December 31st 1980” at the Hague Summit in 1972 – before we joined, but with the then UK Government participating in the summit and agreeing to it. Of course, it took somewhat longer than anticipated, which shows that moves to monetary union were not a sudden decision, but long considered.

Finally, it is worth looking at the statements sent to every household prior to the referendum on membership in 1975.
·         The Government’s statement explained that this was “probably the most important choice that the British people have ever been asked to make”. No small trading matter, then!
·         The main thrust of the “No” campaign statement was that this was about “the right to rule ourselves”.
So, how did we get to this point?
In every general election, parties with a manifesto hostile to the EU have failed to win majorities.
So Euroscepticism may not be as deep as some people think.

None the less, superficial scepticism is spread by the media and by certain politicians.

Eurosceptic half-truths and lies:

The Eurosceptic narrative is based on repeating lies and half-truths until they become accepted as given.  Here are some examples:
“The EU is becoming a centralised super-state”

The EU can only deal with the subjects laid down in the Treaties. These can only be extended with the unanimous consent of each and every national parliament, including our own.

Even within these limited areas, any EU legislation must be approved by the Council of ministers. This is composed of members of all national governments, accountable to national parliaments. As an additional safeguard, EU legislation is also scrutinised and amended by the European Parliament, whose members are directly elected.

The system is not centralised, nor is there any danger of that happening. The key gut issues of politics (the health service, education, social security, pensions, housing, income tax, local government, most aspects of crime and punishment, devolution, and so on) remain national issues, settled in national elections and subject to legislation by our national parliament.

The facts prove it. The EU budget is a mere 2% of public expenditure – the remaining 98% is national or local. The central administration – the EU Commission – is tiny, with fewer employees than Leeds City Council.   Some superstate!

“The EU is drowning us in red tape by adopting too much legislation”

Common rules for the common market can be an exercise in simplification, cutting red tape.
For businesses, replacing 27 sets of disparate and often conflicting national regulations with one common European-wide approach has been a huge exercise in cutting costs.

Example: a small company can now register a trade mark once, valid across Europe, instead of going through 27 national procedures with different forms, fees and bureaucracies.

Lorries taking British exports to Italy used to have to take over twenty different forms to be examined and stamped at each frontier, with hours of queuing. Now a single form (and not needing systematic checks at every border) is enough.

And remember – EU legislation is not “imposed by Brussels”, but adopted by ministers from national governments in the Council of ministers. It is not out of the blue, but normally to harmonise existing national legislation where it is contradictory or divergent.

“The EU is undemocratic and is run by bureaucrats”

No, the European Commission only has the power to propose, and to carry out what has been agreed. All decisions on policy and European legislation are taken by the Council – composed of the elected governments of the Member States – and the European Parliament – composed of directly elected MEPs. All legislation must first be sent to national parliaments, who have an eight week period to mandate their minister before the Council starts work on it. No other international organisation has this level of scrutiny.

“The European Court imposes laws on us”

No, it doesn’t. European Court judges are appointed by the governments of the Member States (not by the Commission). They rule on disputes referred to them concerning the interpretation of existing European laws, but they have no law-making powers.

As one former (British) President of the Court said: “the judges do not take political decisions, but they must sometimes remind politicians of what they have agreed”.

In fact, the Court is essential for ensuring that everybody abides by what they have signed up to. If a country fails to stick to its agreements, like France did over British beef, it can be taken to court – something that does not exist in most international organisations and makes the EU special.  It is indeed this legal system that has ensured that EU countries now accept British beef whereas, for instance, the overwhelming majority of Commonwealth countries do not – but in the latter case there is nothing whatsoever we can do about it.

[And the EU Court is not the same thing as the European Court of Human Rights: separate organisation, different Member States, other rules. Not the EU.]

“Across Europe, the EU has ignored referendum results and pressed ahead regardless”

There have been 33 referendums in EU Member States on accession or on new treaties: 28 have been in favour and 5 against.  Those in favour have usually been by large majorities (19 out of the 28 with more than 60% in favour, of which 9 with more 70% or more, 5 with over 80%). Of those against, only 2 were defeated by more than 54%.

Two of the rejections caused the treaty concerned to be abandoned.  In the other three cases, as only one Member State had rejected, the country concerned asked to clarify or adjust the package and put it to a second vote where it was approved by large majorities. Not to have done so would have thwarted the democratic approval by every other Member State.

In the case of the European Constitution, over two-thirds of Member States ratified (two by referendum), but when France & Netherlands rejected it, it was abandoned and Member States reverted to amending the pre-existing treaties, rather than replacing them with a constitution. In the four referendums held on it, overall more people voted for than against.

Every treaty has needed unanimous ratification by each and every one of the democratic countries that comprise the Union.

“Trade is all we need”

A common market needs some common rules. Otherwise it is, at best, fragmented, at worst, unfair and with countries setting different rules to squeeze out British products.

That is why the EU has common regulatory standards on issues such as consumer rights, environmental standards, the health & safety rules, drug testing, food safety, packaging, waste disposal etc, under which goods can be made and services offered across the whole of the world’s largest single market.

It also involves a common Competition policy, to ensure that our common market is not dominated by monopolies or a few multinational companies, or by firms given unfair subsidies by their governments.

And, yes, some (few) minimum social standards, to avoid “social dumping” whereby companies shift to the country with the lowest health & safety protection and weakest workers’ rights or the lowest environmental or consumer protection standards.
Two things are clear:
·         We would not be granted access to that market without playing by the same rules
·         We need to be around the table where those common rules are agreed, because they will in any case effect us.

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