Monday, 26 November 2012

Are immigrants stealing our jobs?

Are immigrants stealing our jobs?

With unemployment at levels at 7.8% and the economy struggling to grow, the question is often asked are foreign immigrants stealing our jobs?  In a properly regulated market immigration does not have a serious effect on British jobs.  The problem with Britain currently is that is does have a couple of policies that have a negative effect on British workers through positive discrimination toward immigrants.  Also barmy immigration processes in which those who claim asylum in the UK, and often offer the least to Britain’s economy than any other type of immigrant are protected by human rights laws which make them difficult to move.  While more highly skilled workers have to wait long periods of time for their visa to be processed which negatively affects small British businesses which often cannot wait for potential new employees to get a visa, meaning talented immigrants end up going somewhere else instead.  Which in turn loses Britain the best of the global talent, the governments immigration cap for those they deem to be of exceptional talent is 1000 last year only 37 visas were given to immigrants who the government deem to be in the exceptional talent category meaning we are losing out to rival economies around the world. 

So there are some problems with our system but the good news is there are some easy solutions.  Firstly it is important to remove some myths about the immigration system, people who come and work in this country are net contributors meaning they put in more to the system than they take out.  Also government policy on immigration is not what is losing British people jobs it is in fact employment law and enforcement of the minimum wage.  Finally, Immigration increases Britain’s level of full employment meaning higher GDP and higher living standards for all (I am well aware we don’t need to increase our levels of full employment at the moment but we did when the economy was booming so it is worth mentioning.) 

I am now going to look at immigration's negative effects on British jobs and some simple changes which will negate these effects meaning that everyone can benefit from immigration.  The reason people feel like immigrants are steeling British jobs is down to some phenomenon in employment law, companies based in the UK are allowed to only hire foreign workers if you are like me you will think this is grossly unfair and totally ridicules.  The reform I propose is simple and you have probably already thought of it make it illegal to discriminate against worker based on nationality it would be seen as discrimination if firms only hired British people so firms should not be allowed to discriminate on who they hire based on nationality.  It would require one more change in government policy to prevent immigration effecting British jobs and that is to come down hard on employers who do not pay minimum wage, an employer who refuses to pay minimum wage must face heavy fines and potentially prison.  An employer who won’t pay minimum wage is bad for two reasons, in a social sense most British people can’t afford to work for less than minimum wage and just because an immigrant is willing to work for less does not mean they should have to.  Paying migrant workers less than minimum wage is also bad economically as it means that migrants won’t pay income tax, (as they won’t earn enough) they also won’t spend as much as they don’t have as much to spend, and it may also mean they may end up claiming some sort of benefit which in turn means the British economy is not benefiting as much as it should be from immigration.  These two changes I believe will make immigration a lot less harmful to British jobs as both natives and migrants will be on a level playing field and also it will abolish employment habits which are damaging to the economy.

As an island Britain must sort out it’s immigration problems so that it can reap the benefits of a properly managed immigration system, there are obviously other problem with immigration which I have not mentioned here like the strain on the NHS and the claiming of benefits.  Overall, I believe that immigration is a real bonus to any economy, and Britain should be happy that it can attract workers from other countries.  Although the system does have its problems and it does affect some people negatively in terms of jobs and there are questions over the strain on public services, immigrants helped build this country and they will continue to be necessary to help Britain to compete in an increasingly global economy.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Are Labour's Economic Policies Making Their Lead Soft?

Are Labour's Economic Policies Making Their Lead Soft?

A new poll conducted by Lord Ashcroft today suggests Labours current lead in the polls is very soft. The general public have said they don’t trust Labour with the Economy and more than half of the 8,103 voters who were polled said they do not believe that Labour has learnt the right lessons from what went wrong when they were in office.  The poll goes also says that 4 out of 10 voters who have switched to Labour since 2010 fear that if in 2015 a Labour government was elected that they would “spend and borrow more than the country could afford.”  However in better news for Labour many of those polled who voted for a different party said they would now vote Labour believing they would reverse the cuts. These findings support what I said in my last blog that people don’t see Labour as offering a credible alternative on the economy.

In easier reading for Labour supporters the poll also found that nearly 50% of people who are considering voting Labour are moving away from the Conservatives.  One in ten people asked were considering voting Labour and more than half of these people are former Liberal Democrats.  A quarter of people who have switched to Labour since the last election have not made up their minds yet and may well go back to supporting the party they supported at the last election.  This is good news for the Lib Dems as two thirds of Labours new found supporters are former Liberal Democrats with 24% being former Conservatives.  In terrible news for Labour the poll said “Many of those who would vote Labour in an election tomorrow said they would have to reassess their voting intentions if there were a real economic recovery in which their living standards improved.”  It looks like the economy is going decide the winner of the next election as most of you had probably already guessed.  However in an attempt to show that Labour is economically competent Jim Murphy Labour’s defence spokesman and leading Blairite is expected so say that Labour can’t commit to reversing any of the governments defence cuts and that he even supports some of them.   In conclusion it does seem that Labours current lead in the polls is soft and that the public still don’t trust Labour to have the required discipline to make the tough economic choices. But if other senior Labour politicians start making similar noises to Jim Murphy in public and can come up with a credible alternative economic plan their lead could harden which would make things look particularly dull for the Conservatives.  (The Poll mentioned in this Blog was a poll of 8,103 Adults between 18 and 28 and it was conducted in October)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Are The Liberal Democrats Dead?

Are the Liberal Democrats dead?
As many of you may have spotted last week Labour won the Corby by election along with two other by-elections in two other safe Labour seats, which is all well and good I could write about the significance of that for Labour but instead I am going to spend the next few minutes mulling over weather this is the beginning of the end of Britain’s third party the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems will be trying to keep calm after a catastrophic defeat in Corby there was a 9.54% swing away from them and they did not get their deposit back as they received less than 5% of the vote. This by itself would not be a cause for alarm but if you look at the 9 by elections the Lib Dems have fielded a candidate they have lost votes in all but the Oldham East and Saddleworth by election which was the first by election of this Parliament so there has been a constant decline in the support for the Lib Dems at by – elections.  The Lib Dems also failed to win a single Police Crime Commissioner election in fact they failed to reach the second round in all the elections they contested, also in the local council elections on the 3rd of May the Lib Dems lost control of one of their councils and also managed to lose 336 councillors although their overall share of the vote went up by 1%. The question we must ask is whether or not this is just the midterm blues or if the Lib Dems are on the verge of death.

One very good reason for optimism amongst Lib Dems is the government affect, it is a well-known fact that the governing party tends to do bad in any sort of midterm election be it a by-election or a council election.  It is possible that the Lib Dems are just suffering as a consequence of being in government and the situation will all chance come the 2015 general election.  However they may still be a tainted party seen as the party that will sell all its ideals for power.  If you look carefully you will notice that the Lib Dems did not sell out for power and they just have had to compromise as have the Conservatives, but as you probably know in politics it does not matter what is true and what is a lie it is all about what is perceived to be true and the general public believe that the Lib Dems are sell outs.

Another potential problem for the Lib Dems is that at moment they may have lost that third party status as they are a governing party.  They look like that party that is going to take the flak for most of what has gone wrong within the coalition while the Conservatives are going steal all the successful policies as their own.  Strictly speaking the Lib Dems are still a third party but they will have to do something third parties don’t do in Britain at the next election defend their record in government and if by May 2015 the government are still struggling in the opinion polls it is likely we will not see many Lib Dem MP’s as unlike Labour and the Conservatives they don’t have a heartland to retreat to.

One final point before I conclude is the Nick Clegg affect, is it Nick Clegg the public don’t like as he seems to be Cameron’s lap dog at the moment he does not seem to be giving the Lib Dems an independent voice inside government.  It is possible that if the Lib Dems got rid of Clegg and replaced him with Vince Cable who seems very vocal when it comes to opposing the Tories that could maybe save the party at the next election but that depends on if it is just Clegg who is unpopular and that unpopularity has not contaminated his party.

In my opinion the Lib Dems will survive  I think this for threereasons the first being Labour is not trusted with the economy and parties that lack trust on the economy don’t do well so it is likely Lib Dem supporters will stick with them rather than embrace Labour.  My second reason links to the first in that supporting Labour in a by-election or council election is one thing actually voting for them in a general election and supporting them to govern is something totally different, I think the Lib Dem voters who have been voting Labour in the midterm elections will return to the Lib Dems and give them a second chance unless Labour can come up with a viable economic plan which they don’t currently have (excluding students the Lib Dems have lost students).  The final reason i think the Lib Dems will survive is how they have always survived in Conservative seats in which Labour can't win Labour supporters vote Lib Dem to prevent the Tories winning the seat the same applies for Labour seats the Conservatives can't win in these areas the Lib Dems are seen as the lesser if two evils. However although I think the Lib Dems will survive I do think their number of MP will drop in 2015.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Why You Should Vote In The Police Crime Commissioner Elections

 Why You Should Vote In The Police Crime Commissioner Elections

Chances are you will be unaware that the PCC elections are happening this Thursday (NOVEMBER 15th) in this blog I will be focusing on my local Humberside elections but the reasons to vote are the same all over the country.  This blog will cover:
  •          Why You Should Vote
  •          The duties and powers of a Police Crime Commissioner
  •          How to vote/ The Voting System
  •          The Humberside candidates

Why You Should Vote
One of the big reasons to vote is because it gives you a voice on how you want your local community to be policed each candidate has something different planned for your local area some may want more or less speed cameras, some may be intending to put more bobbies on the beat, each candidate will offer something different.  It is a certain thing you won’t want one or two to be running your local police force and there will be at least one you think can get the job done, the only way to get your man or woman into the job is get out and vote.  Another reason to vote is that the Police Crime Commissioners will be powerful individuals many pundits are saying that people won’t realise how important these elections actually are until the chance to vote has passed people by, of course you can vote next time round but the damage will have been done, so it really is worth taking the time to learn about the candidates and casting your vote. 
 The duties and powers of a Police Crime Commissioner
Here are some of the main powers and duties of the new Police Commissioners:
  •          Holding the chief constable to account for the delivery of the force.
  •          Setting and updating a police and crime plan
  •          Setting the force budget and precept
  •          Regularly engaging with the public and communities
  •          Appointing, and where necessary dismissing, the chief constable

It is important to note that although the new PCC’s will not be in control of police operations the police is not being politicised. (This basically means who is arrested and how investigations work will not become political decisions.)

How to vote/ The Voting system

Polling stations open at 0700 and will close at 2200 on the 15th of November, the voting system being used for these elections is the Supplementary voting system.  Your ballot paper will have the candidates name followed by two boxes like the one above.  In this election you can vote for two candidates a first choice and a second choice candidate or you can vote for just one. Voting is simple firstly read your ballot paper carefully as it may be slightly different from the one above but you will then put a X in the 1st choice box next to your first choice candidate and then another X in the 2nd choice box next to your second choice candidate.  You can vote for just one candidate by X the 1st choice box only but you can’t vote for one candidate twice.
To work out the results all the ballots will be counted and if the candidate with the most votes happens to have over 50% of the vote they win.  If no candidate has 50% of the vote then the top two candidates will be carried forward to a second round and all the other candidates are eliminated.  Ballots who have a 1st choice vote was for an eliminated candidate will their votes redistributed among the remaining candidates based and the second choice (obviously if the 1st and second choice votes were for candidates who were eliminated in the first round the vote won’t be redistributed) The candidate with the most votes after the second round wins (General elections have a much simpler system) 

The Humberside Candidates
In Humberside 7 candidates are standing one for each of the major parties one for UKIP and 3 independents.  So let’s take a look at The Candidates.

John Prescott – Labour

John is a seasoned politician and was Tony Blair’s Deputy Prime Minister he was the MP for Hull East for 40 years between 1970 and 2010 so has a great knowledge of the local area. Below is John’s Election Statement:
I am proud to have been part of a Government that cut crime across the Humberside Police force area by 43%. We did it by introducing community policing, PCSOs, CCTV cameras and ASBOs and by being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.
But all that is at risk from the Coalition Government cutting the police budget by 20%. It means Humberside Police, which has the fourth highest number of recorded crimes in England and Wales, is proposing to axe 440 police officers at twice the rate of any other force in England and Wales.
I passionately oppose this and any attempt to privatise the police. That’s why we need an alternative plan that will make you feel safer, keep bobbies on the beat, be smarter with our resources and allow you to set our policing priorities.
If elected, my focus as your full-time commissioner will be to cut anti-social behaviour, tackle rural crime, stop drug users re-offending, clamp down on binge drinking and offer more support for victims of crime.
I will extend community payback schemes to make criminals repay their debt with you setting the punishments and introduce a People’s Police and Crime Commission to give you a greater say in how we tackle crime and tour the region holding police surgeries.
I will also create better partnerships between the people, police, local authorities, voluntary bodies, neighbourhood watch groups and other agencies to beat crime.
This election isn’t about the candidates. It’s about you and keeping you safe. Vote for me and I’ll always put you and beating crime, first.

Matthew Grove – Conservative 
Matthew is a business man who runs a successful nationwide business, he also serves as a local Councillor and has faced local challenges such as the 2007 floods. He also reached cabinet level at council level he was the Minister for Highways and emergency planning.
Below is Matthew’s election statement:
I have one priority – to cut crime. I will challenge head on the cycle of re-offending, supporting tougher community sentences so justice is seen to be done and will always put victims ahead of criminals.
I will free our police officers from unnecessary bureaucracy and targets so they can fight crime not fill forms. I will recruit more Special Constables to be deployed directly in to our communities and look to maintain numbers of PCSOs.
We must take the fight to the criminals, not just deal with the aftermath. We know who the habitual criminals are. We must target them instead of allowing them to target the innocent.
For those whose drunken, anti-social behaviour blights our streets at night I will be looking to charge them for the cost of the police time spent dealing with them. 
I will support effective rehabilitation and the fantastic work of those who help offenders re-join society. Continuing a life of crime can no longer be the easy option. We should help offenders who want to turn their lives around and not tolerate those who choose to make other people’s lives a misery.
Preventing crime and re-offending works when all the related services join together alongside our communities, so that offenders don’t fall through the gaps that can exist.  I will ensure there are no hiding places for criminals.  I will protect investment in projects which have a proven success rate but will not waste money on rewarding criminals.
I will be the Police and Crime Commissioner for the whole area, a strong, local, independent-minded voice serving all residents and working closely with the public, chief constable, police officers and other organisations to make our neighbourhoods safer.
Simone Butterworth – Lib Dem
Simone is a long time Humberside resident with a history of volunteering work for organisations such as the Dove House Hospice and Aids Action.  Simone has also served as a local Councillor for over 15 years. 
Below is her election statement:

Dear resident,
Vote for me – and my first act will be to cut my own salary.
Too many politicians are out of touch with people like you and me. They just don’t understand the problems we face on a daily basis.
The idea that Humberside’s new elected “Police Commissioner” should be paid £75,000 a year is outrageous – especially when there’s so little money to go round at the moment.
That’s why my first act as your new Police Commissioner will be to cut that salary – and use the money that’s saved to support charities that help victims of crime instead.
The winner of this election will have huge power over local policing – so your vote really matters.
I’m determined to run a positive campaign. I want to make sure local people’s views are listened to. I will push for more crime prevention and more support for victims of crime.
Fifteen years as a local councillor has taught me how to get things done. My extensive network of contacts will enable me to really hit the ground running.
At a time when there’s precious little money to go round, I will make sure the Police’s resources are focused on visible, front-line policing and supporting victims of crime.
Our local Police should be accountable and independent – with no political interference in day-to-day policing. The wrong person getting the Commissioner job could be a disaster.
I won’t make this job about party-political point scoring. Local policing is too important for that.
Above all, I want local Policing to be accountable to you – listening, responding to local problems, and keeping local communities safe.
With best wishes,
Simone Butterworth

Godfrey Bloom – UKIP
Godfrey has lived in the area for over 30 years he has worked at senior management level for 35 years in the financial industry for 35 years as well as 30 years in the TA.  Godfrey was also elected as a UKIP representative to the European parliament in 2004 and was re-elected in 2009.  
Godfrey’s election statement is below:
The Police and Crime Commissioner post is new, so there is much learning to be done.  It requires a proven understanding of, and ability to run significant budgets.  Humberside is £180 million.  There is a requirement to manage and lead at a very senior level.  It is essential to prioritise with rising crime and reducing resources.  This is no easy task. 
Every candidate must be examined in detail before the electorate vote. The wrong choice could be disastrous.  I offer 35 years in the private sector managing people and budgets at very senior level.  Experience of being part of a uniformed team of men and women, 30 years in the Territorial Army with experience of logistics at Armoured Divisional level.  I am also a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies and therefore trained in strategic analysis.  I have political experience of 8 years, though proud to say I am not a professional politician of whom there are far too many already! 
I will use the role as a platform for lobbying government for a realistic sentencing policy as well as reducing speed cameras as a source of revenue.  I also have plans to put rural and property crime higher up the list of priorities than it appears to be at the moment.  I do not accept some academics’ view that burglary is ‘low harm’.
My running mate, Mike Speakman was a very senior policeman for 30 years including a period as Deputy Chief Constable in Humberside.  In short we have the most experienced management team for this office in the country. 
I am old fashioned, victim orientated and anti political correctness. If you are a villain, I’m not your man!
Paul Davison – Independent
No candidate has the level of understanding Paul has about the Humberside police force, he retired this year after 30 years as a Chief Superintendent in charge of policing in the East Riding.  If you are looking for a candidate who has knowledge of how the police work Paul is your man. Also before writing this blog I asked all the candidates on twitter why you should vote for them? Paul was the only one who got back to me and here is what he said - @Glenn_Shooter you can trust me, I am competent to do the job. I will make a big difference to local communities. U could call me anytime.
Paul’s election statement below:
I am standing as an independent candidate because I believe that I possess the passion, skill and determination to make local communities across Humberside the safest in the country.
Using knowledge and expertise gained over thirty years I achieved this for people living in the East Riding of Yorkshire when I was in charge of policing. The challenge will be to do the same in Hull, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire, against a background of reduced resources. This can be done. Accordingly, I would set out an ambitious but achievable 5 year plan for the Chief Constable to deliver on your behalf. The plan would be shaped by your views. From talking to people across Humberside, this will inevitably include more officers on patrol, reducing neighbourhood crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping police stations open and accessible.
My role will be to fight for you and make sure that the police and key partners responsible for keeping you safe put you at the heart of everything they do. I would be available for you to contact me directly should you need help or advice. I want you to receive a service from the police that exceeds your expectations and I would hold the Chief Constable to account to make sure this happens.
It would be an honour and a privilege to be your elected Police and Crime Commissioner. I would always act in your best interests and bring integrity, professionalism and competence to this unique role. The 15 November 2012 must be remembered as the date when British policing became more accountable to you and therefore changed for the better.
Walter Sweeney – Independent
Walter is a former Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, he has also worked as a solicitor so has a solid knowledge of our country’s legal system as well as all this Walter has also served as a chairman of a police authority (who do a similar job to what the Police Crime commissioners will be doing).
Below is Walters Election Statement:
            Your PCC should ideally be knowledgeable about policing, independent of any political party and independent of the police. I tick all these boxes. I studied law and politics at Hull University and then Criminology at Cambridge where I did research on police management. I am a solicitor currently practising with a leading firm in Hull and for many years, specialized in both prosecuting and defending in the courts. I served as acting chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority. While I was M.P. for the Vale of Glamorgan, I acted as an unpaid adviser to Michael Howard Q.C. and served on the Home Affairs Select Committee. I successfully campaigned for better pay and conditions for the police and for the introduction of CCTV to reduce town centre crime. I campaigned in Parliament for fully compatible IT systems to be introduced in every police force (which if implemented would have avoided the Soham murders) and tabled a private member’s bill to give improved rights to victims of burglaries to defend themselves.
         We all need and deserve better protection from criminal behaviour. I will work with you to achieve this.
If elected, I will:
  1. Give full support to our police, local government, the legal profession, the probation service and charities involved in the fight to reduce crime and improve detection and conviction rates;
  2. Help the victims of crime; 
  3. Help divert criminals from a life of crime;
  4. Strive to achieve improved value for money;
  5. Build better relations between police and public, to reduce crime and increase safety;
  6. Work full time to represent YOUR interests in cutting crime, wherever you live, whatever your politics and whoever you are.

Neil Eyre - Independent  
Neil is a former Solider serving in the Royal Signals, Neil has spent most of his civilian career as a project manager.  Neil also ran unsuccessfully in the last council ward elections although he did beat the Conservative candidate:
Neil’s does not have an election statement but I have found his vision of the Humberside Police under him:
Basic common sense dictates that the police can’t protect and serve all the people all the time so where ever possible we should look to replace the role of the police with community actions. These community actions should be wholly voluntary and wholly peaceful. We want our police service chasing after real criminals that have committed real crimes against real people. We want the police to protect us as much as possible whether it’s by reducing paperwork and having them walking the streets or meeting up at community centers with local people. We want a police service that has the appearance of ‘getting the job done’ not just statistics that get manipulated into giving the public the falsity that everything is OK. The police are there to protect and serve. I think serve is the most important aspect. The police are not there to tell people what to do. They are not there to run people’s lives or dictate to people how to behave. They are there to provide a service.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

What can the UK learn from the 2012 US election

What can the UK learn from the 2012 US election

Both the Conservatives and Labour have said that the election result in the US is good for them but what does it mean for the UK?  The Conservatives say the result shows sticking to your guns on the economy is why Obama won, Labour has said he won because he is progressive and is in touch with the general public (like they say they are).  But does the election in the US bode well for Labour, the Conservatives or neither.
Labour think the result if it bodes well for any party it is them, as Obama is on the left and he understands the new America unlike those Republicans who are just to scary and out of touch.  In one way Labour have a good point our population like America is very varied we have many immigrants lots of different religions, lots of young people but unlike in America our Conservative party is not seen to be as radical as the Republicans and also have support among women.  The Conservatives do have a problem getting the votes of ethnic minorities but at the moment the Conservatives won't see this as a big problem for two reasons, one they are one of the groups least likely to vote and two they are mainly concentrated in the inner cities were the Conservatives never win anyway.

I think it is the Republicans who need to look at Britain rather than the UK parties looking at America, After the 79 election Labour made the mistake of lurching to the left and they were kept out of power for a generation.  The Conservatives also did something similar after the 97 election were infighting and indecision also prevented them from returning to number 10 for over a decade.  The Republicans could potential suffer the same problem as the Conservatives as they try to find their footing for the next election or they could make the same mistake as Labour by misreading the public and lurch to the right.
To end I would like to say if any UK party could learn from the US election it is the Conservatives. They need to look at the Republican party and how the infighting between the tea party and more moderate Republicans made it difficult for Romney to come across as trustworthy, as he had to say one thing in the primaries to pander to the right and another thing in the election to pander to the wider population.  The Conservatives need to look at this and make sure they are united at the next election on the how to deal with the economy and Europe or they could clinch defeat from the jaws of victory.