Luke Wenman, Labour’s choice for ALL Cranleigh’s residents

Luke Wenman – speaking up for young people in Cranleigh and Ewhurst

Health & well-being: Our playing fields are in a poor state. Good sports facilities are a key factor in health and well-being both for now and in the future.

  • We will make sure looking after playing fields and parks is put back on the agenda

Travel: Our young people need to be able to travel to and from the village without relying on their parents- a reliable bus service with real time information will help them do just that

  • We will fight for local residents, young and old, to have a say in bus procurement

Housing: Cranleigh needs a greater diversity of housing

  • We will fight for affordable studio flats & apartments to rent so that our young people can become independent yet still live in the villages
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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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Cranleigh Labour Party says NO to breaking links with Guildford

Cranleigh Labour Party opposes the Boundary Commission’s proposal to incorporate the electorate of Cranleigh in Surrey into a new Mid Surrey constituency.  We believe that the proposals fail to take into account important geographical, economic, health and cultural ties for maintaining the village of Cranleigh within the Guildford constituency

A link defined by geography
Cranleigh sits in a gap in the Surrey Hills that runs from Guildford to Horsham. Cranleigh’s links are all with Guildford and Horsham. The Surrey Hills (rising to up to 1000 feet, the highest in the South East) form a geographical barrier between Cranleigh and the towns of Leatherhead and Dorking to the East, and a barrier to Godalming to the west, whereas the journeys to Guildford and Horsham are the natural journeys in the gap in the Surrey Hills.

There are no good road links running east/west between the present Mole Valley constituency and Cranleigh. It is impossible to make the journey to Dorking or Leatherhead by public transport; buses run only north/south between Cranleigh, Guildford and Horsham, with a few veering north-west to Godalming. Cranleigh has always been linked to Guildford and Horsham, rather than any other towns.

To force contacts between these other communities would be environmentally unsustainable as journeys would have to be made by car on minor roads often in a state of disrepair. Economically, bearing in mind the costs of petrol today, this would also be disadvantageous to people living in Cranleigh.  On the other hand, the lie of the land makes the link between Cranleigh and Guildford a natural one with better roads and public transport links.

The world beyond Surrey
Guildford is the natural destination of people in Cranleigh, for access to the national rail system and road system and even airports.

Economy
For jobs Cranleigh people look to Guildford if they are to go out of the village. The University of Surrey is a major employer, as are shopping centres and local government jobs as well as the health service jobs at local hospitals. Dorking and Leatherhead have little to offer for employment and few contacts for economic reasons are made there.

Health
The new NHS structures mitigate against any division of the two settlements.  Cranleigh is a major part of the Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group. Cranleigh people are involved in the patients’ groups which contribute to the development of the CCG. They have no contact with groups to the east in the proposed Mid Surrey area.

Cranleigh people and medical practices are linked to the Royal Surrey Hospital Trust in Guildford. Indeed many Cranleigh people are part of that Trust. There is not another major hospital accessible to local people– Redhill is miles away with no good transport links.

Education
No pupils in the Cranleigh area have contacts with schools in the Mole Valley constituency and the whole education set-up is different – with sixth form colleges instead of schools in Cranleigh, whereas the schools in the Mole Valley area have built–in sixth forms.

Governance
At present there is easy access to meet the constituency MP to raise issues. This would not be the case with offices based far away in Mid Surrey. As for local government, the complications would be manifold, having to look east for the national elections and west for the local ones. The electorate would be justified in feeling that their councils were remote and unconcerned about local issues.

Religion
The churches in Cranleigh lie within the diocese of Guildford and have close ties with it and each other. This would be another broken link.

Culture
Culturally Cranleigh looks to Guildford for its wider cultural events in the theatres, cinemas, museums; the book and music festivals. The University of Surrey is a major attraction, where Cranleigh people are used to participating in a multiplicity of events.  Little of the sort exists in Mole Valley.

Community
As well as culture, local sporting activities, football, cricket, bowls, darts even, are in leagues which do not pertain to Dorking and Leatherhead.

Different types of community
Cranleigh is a Surrey village surrounded by countryside. Its needs and aims are similar to the other market towns in Waverley borough, whereas much of the northern part of the present Mole Valley constituency is London commuter terrain. Leatherhead lies on the M25 – Leatherhead is very near to Chessington which is the London Borough of Kingston. They are much more likely to be dormitory towns for London.

An alternative suggestion – a much more natural division
A more natural solution would be to add Horsleys/Effingham/Clandon into the proposed Mid Surrey constituency. There is a long-standing historic route from Guildford to Leatherhead and there are consequently much better links with Mole Valley. There is a train between Clandon/Horsley to Leatherhead every half hour direct. You can get to Dorking by changing at Leatherhead and there is a good road A246.  Many school pupils from those areas attend Ashown School.  There would not be the same amount of disruption and mismatch with this solution.  Whichever way it’s looked at Horsleys/Effingham/Clandon have a lot more ties with the present Mole Valley constituency than Cranleigh does.

We believe that although the numbers may add up in the proposed solution, there is no other mitigating reason to change the status quo and break the longstanding, natural links between Cranleigh and Guildford.

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Democracy in Waverley?

Did you know that in 17 Waverley Borough wards there is NO CONTEST for the Borough Council as only one party has put forward a candidate. 17 Tories already on the Council for the next 4 years, without lifting a finger!

We all agree a one-party state is not good for democracy.  How important it is then to make sure it’s not just a shoe-in for more Tories in the coming election. Think before you put your cross.

Your vote will really count this time – Make sure the Tories don’t get away with unfair cuts; vote for councillors who will be able to  voice your concerns and not merely follow the line from central government and County Hall. Vote for Lynda & Richard – Labour voices for Cranleigh in tough times.

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The future of Dunsfold aerodrome-a big issue for Cranleigh

One of the biggest issues on the doorstep we are finding is the future of Dunsfold aerodrome.  This issue is one where the cracks in Waverley Borough Council’s ‘strategy’ show up.  It’s almost as if they don’t want to explore ways of providing homes for the families of Cranleigh residents at all.

 The Council spent a lot of time and money fighting tooth and nail to prevent the development of the sustainable housing development on Dunsfold aerodrome.  Then, knowing this brown field site was available for housing failed to discuss with the owners what could happen there as an alternative.

 Now it seems communications between the Council and the owner of the site have ceased altogether.  This apparent ineptitude on behalf of the Council has resulted in an appalling lost opportunity to find a site for the housing the borough so badly needs.

 Instead, the Council will spend precious funds trying to see if they can stop the expansion of the use of the airport. If only they could put as much energy into finding a solution that could benefit all sections of the community, and not just pander to the worried wealthy whose vision for Waverley is ‘no change’ at all.

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More education needed about the act of voting?

As if to prove a point from Sunday’s post, a voter just said to us – AV? I’m voting NO – I don’t want to have to vote for someone I don’t like.  He thought you had to rank ALL candidates on the ballot paper or it was void!

That’s not the case at all. If you want, you can just vote for 1 person if that’s the only one you want! 

It’s EXACTLY the same in the local election for parish and borough on May 5th. If you only like one person, then by all means just vote for them! Voting for more than 5 in parish and 3 in borough is what will make the paper invalid.

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Fresh ideas on affordable housing from Labour in Cranleigh

Today’s Surrey Ad contains an article saying that Waverley council has a pot of £2.1m for affordable housing… We need to get that money working for us straight away.  The problem is urgent… Now’s the time for councillors and officers inWaverleyto look at different ways of doing things.

 One thing to explore is the Community Land Trust; a new model of mutual home ownership that can create permanently affordable intermediate market homes, even in the credit crunch.

Basically it separates the cost of the land from the purchase price, by taking the land out of the marketplace through a community land trust and homebuyers become  members of the trust. The value of the buildings (not the land) is divided into shares and this is what homebuyers buy.  When they leave the trust they can take the value of the equity they have built up with them.

 We think that this could be a real and innovative way forward forWaverleyand should be considered urgently.  Follow the link on this site to find out more. 

Let us know what you think about Community Land Trusts

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