Help us – Help you!!

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-15-41-33There is no denying the Lib Dems do their best to keep everyone informed, with websites like this, Focus Newsletters, Twitter and Facebook. But we are not the richest party – by far! Unlike the other main political parties we do not receive substantial funding from big business or the trade unions. Every so often we need to raise funds just to keep the ‘wolf from the door’. At the moment we are selling Lib Dem Christmas Draw tickets. They come in books of five, each ticket costs £1.00, so five pounds the book. There are 30 prizes including a £2,000 holiday voucher and half a case of champagne. To purchase tickets please send a cheque made out to ‘Rayleigh / Castle Point Constituencies Liberal Democrats’ (that is Democrats with an ‘s’), please send it to Rayleigh Lib Dems, 22 Beech Avenue, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 8AE, together with a stamped self addressed envelope. For other details of how to pay please phone or text Steve on 07799.345795.  Good luck!

Farron seizes the centre

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Tim Farron, speaking at the Lib Dem conference, made a play to woo Labour voters to switch allegiance to the Liberal Democrats to provide a ‘strong opposition’ to the Tories.

The Lib Dem leader praised some of the policies of the ex-prime minister Tony Blair, saying Labour has ‘left the stage’ under Jeremy Corbyn.

He said his party would raise taxes to save the NHS to ‘give people the care and treatment they deserve’.

Recalling his own experience of battling for a better home for his grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s, he called for a merger of the NHS and care service to stop ‘people slipping through the net’.

And Mr Farron also called for a referendum on the Brexit deal the government strikes, so voters can see what leaving the EU would actually mean for Britain.

Making a pitch for moderate Labour voters, he said the Lib Dems were the only party that could stop Theresa May winning a majority at the next election.

He said despite opposing Mr Blair on Iraq he ‘admired’ him for investing in the NHS, new schools and creating a minimum wage.

‘I admire him for those things’ he said before joking: ‘I see Tony Blair the way I see The Stone Roses – I preferred his early work’.

What made you join?

Lots of new members sign up for the Liberal Democrats. Would you like to know more?  Would you like to join?

The local Lib Dems have benefitted from several membership ‘surges’, one after the dreadful 2015 General Election and again after the Brexit vote. But we are still very keen to hear from you. We want to hear from all our supporters, from those who are able to help in even the smallest way and of course we would welcome new members.

Here are some of the reasons why other new members joined:

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Ivan Massow

Entrepreneur and founder of www.equal.london

I’d been in the Conservatives since I was 14, but moved over to the Lib Dems early this year. It’s the second time I’ve left the Tories – the first was to try and force the party to become more centre-ground, and I knew that my leaving would make the headlines. This time I moved over quietly. I had no particular axe to grind with the Conservatives, but felt that my work to bring them more central was done, and that I could walk away and be a member of a party that is more relevant to my sensibilities.

After seeing the Lib Dems work in Coalition, and seeing them step up to the responsibilities of government. I felt I had more in common with them. I hadn’t realised the Lib Dems could be a party of government before the coalition – and I know they took a huge hit for doing it – but I think they proved themselves and were a great party for the economy and a great help for business.

My hope is that the Lib Dems become a natural home for those people who fall to the centre of the two main parties. I have a lot of friends in the Tory and Labour parties who I think are very close to the Liberal Democrats’ philosophy. I’d really like it if they would consider joining up to strengthen the party and to help it take the position it actually deserves – second or, potentially, even first place.

What goes around comes around – it’s all getting a bit 1980s

Have readers (of a certain age) got that déjà vu feeling of late?

We have an authoritarian female Prime Minister – then Thatcher, now May.

A left wing Labour leader – then Foot, now Corbyn, with a Welsh wanabee – then Kinnock, now Smith.

Plucky Liberal leader – then Steel, now Farron.

It is difficult to place UKIP (unless you go further right, a lot further right maybe…)

One rather frightening piece in the jigsaw is the thought of replacing Reagan with Trump….

Who has the power now?

So, after her mini re-think, our new Prime Minister Theresa May has given the ‘green light’ for EDF to build a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point – together with their Chinese backers. We are bound to say that this looks like a very bad deal for Britain. The future subsidy for the power produced will make the plant a white elephant.

Don’t take our word for it see what the experts say:

“Appalling value for money” is the way Professor Paul Edkins, deputy director of the UK Energy Research Centre described it, pointing out that the energy market had changed in recent years and that renewable energy costs had halved, also that new storage systems have led to the reliability of new green energy (power available even when the wind doesn’t blow).

Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone said “Hinkley is now very bad value for money for the British Taxpayer and should be abandoned immediately”.

The only crumb of comfort is that it will only form 7% of British power supply and cost, in theory we only pay when the power plant is up and running (‘in theory’ because we have seen such agreements change before).

photo of the present Bradwell Power Station

The present Bradwell Power Station

Locally many of us are very concerned by the prospect of the Chinese designing and building their own nuclear power plant at nearby Bradwell. Here is the present Bradwell Power Station: The national security concerns have been well rehearsed regarding the Chinese involvement. All credit to the Chinese ‘tiger’ coming from the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and largely peasant farming culture to modern country in just a few decades. However extra caution is justified when trusting newly acquired technology in the field of nuclear power plants – the most critical science on the planet. Not taking anything from the Chinese ability to mass produce cheap consumer products, but some of their modern technology has been found wanting. The critical nature of the Bradwell plant which will demand openness and transparency throughout construction and operation makes us uneasy. This issue is about more than just money.