Monday, 30 January 2017

The Young and Politics Today

I was watching the TV show ‘The Voice’ mainly because of Sir Tom Jones. However, I was taken aback with the last singer, who was good, but what he said confirmed just how young people have become so disconnected from the world of politics. Asked about what inspired him to sing, he said ‘that he had no faith with our politicians and that music was his way of dealing with his life’ and also made the point about the failure of the system. He was not making one of those celebrity outbursts of indignation; just telling how as a young person he felt disconnected from the system.

So, what’s this got to do with Rushmoor? Everything! Many years ago, when I was a Rushmoor Councillor there was engagement with the voters, they knew who I was, what I was doing for them and of course I was reported on many occasions in the local & national press. Today, how often do you see reports in the local paper about Planning meetings, what has caused a stir in the Council or what Councillors have said. These days who even knowns who the Mayor is; I certainly don’t. Is it because of the way councils work today; has it become so remote to the point of being useless? 

This now brings me back to the disenfranchised young voters and how to engage with them. There is no easy answer to this but this is where the local councillor comes in. We have two very hard working UKIP councillors in Rushmoor but they cannot do it all, so it needs everyone in one shape or form to be involved in trying to engage with these young voters. 

So, how do we do this? Well, let’s take the fight to them. Every Monday afternoon I go to the 6th Form College for their ‘Pass iton’ course which helps those of us who would like to know how to make better use of our computers. The good thing about this is that it’s the students who do the teaching, I’ve learnt so much from them. But here’s the important part; I engage with them. I make a point of taking to them about what course they are doing, their aspiration, how they feel about society & do they feel a part of it. Generally they do not. This then gives me the opportunity to talk about politics. I make no secret of the fact that I am a member of UKIP and what has surprised me so far is that I’ve had no adverse comments or the usual rubbish that I’m a racist. In fact its the very opposite. They want to talk to me about the party & when I explain to them what we stand for & that we are against unlimited immigration but for controlled borders & social justice for all they seem amazed. I do not shy away about from touchy subjects but face them head on. To my amazement many agree with what UKIP stands for. But here is the main thing, I’m engaging with them to the point now that I’ve ended up with a small group that comes up to me every week. They appreciate that someone of my age wants to engage with them and is encouraging them to get out there & get involved in politics. This is where I feel UKIP could tap into this frustration that these youngsters feel with the system. As I said to these youngsters when we were campaigning for ‘Leave’: "I’m between 50 & death, so don’t just leave it to me to decide your future get out there & decide for yourself". Whether I have had any impact I don’t know, but at least I tried. So, watch this space.

Martyn Marsh

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Stoke By-Election

Following the AGM, Gill Bailey has appealed for members to support the Stoke on Trent Central by-election campaign. Paul Nuttall is currently fighting this very winnable parliamentary seat for UKIP. At the AGM it was voted to send £100 from branch funds to help him and with personal contributions handed in so far, this is on its way to £300! 

Polling day is 23rd February so if you can make a contribution please do so in the next few days. Contact Dave Bell the Treasurer for further details.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Annual General Meeting

The Rushmoor Branch AGM was held on the 23rd of January.

The Chairman's report was presented by Gill Bailey and reviewed what has been a very eventful year. Nationally it has been a year in which every party leadership (except for Labour) has changed hands. As you can imagine, certain names got louder cheers than others at this point. Locally UKIP has been kept busy with council elections in May followed by the referendum in June. In Rushmoor UKIP distributed 220,000 leaflets during the year.

The meeting moved on to the Treasurers report and Membership Secretary's report.

Before starting the election of officers. Gill made presentations to a number of people for their contributions over the past year. To the surprise of yours truly there was a even present for running this blog! The following people were elected to the committee:

    Chairman: Gill Bailey
    Deputy Chairman: Mark Staplehurst
    Secretary: Carol Turner
    Treasurer: Dave Bell
    Membership Secretary: Jenny Parsons
    Blackwater co-ordinator: Mike Gascoigne
    Aldershot co-ordinator: Kevin Betsworth

Upcoming elections were also discussed, both the County elections in May and the forthcoming Parliamentary by-election in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Elected Members report was presented by Mark Staplehurst on behalf of himself and Dave Bell. Mark asked what the purpose of UKIP was, now that the EU Referendum has taken place. In answer he raised a number of local issues where UKIP, despite having only 2 councillors, has been campaigning and making a difference. These included the No 9 bus service, speeding problems in Southwood Road, redevelopment of The Crescent and cuts to front line services such as provision for children with special needs. Mark also discussed how getting involved with helping local residents and local charities has helped him to keep in touch with local voters.

The meeting closed with nibbles and wine.

Ken McNair

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Shambles of the Brambles

For some time along Cherrywood Road the footpath has been over grown with brambles, stinging nettles & bushes.

I contacted Rushmoor Borough Council to ask that the footpath be cleared because it had become dangerous for pedestrians who were now having to walk in the road. I also pointed out that the dropped curb area had become so over grown that it was unusable.

I was told that there was no work schedule for this area to be cleared! I then pointed out the dangerous situation & it was agreed that a trim would be carried out. A few days later I went to see what had been done Well! The trim was a joke just a few branches cut back; however in all fairness the dropped curb area was fully cleared back.

However, I felt that more needed to be done to make this footpath safer for everyone which included the disabled, mothers & children & the public. Having failed in my attempt to get this work done I contacted UKIP Councillor Dave Bell to ask for his help to get this matter sorted out. Unbelievable, Dave was met with a brick wall & fobbed off with all sorts of excuses.

By now Dave & I were getting just a little fed up with this lack of will to do anything about this unacceptable situation. Time for firmer action. Dave then took this matter up at a higher lever & lo & behold a work team was sent out to do a major CUT BACK. Over a two-day period, a major cut back took place & Dave & I went along to thank the workmen for their efforts.

The question here is what do we pay our Council Tax for (oh dear I’ve become one of those I’m a taxpayer moaners) but what are we paying our Council Tax for these days?

Anyway, the shambles of the brambles have been resolved, thank-you Dave, & we have been promised that Cherrywood Rd will now be maintained. Watch this space.

Martyn Marsh

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Garden Villages

So, the government has just announced new 'Garden Villages' or in other words more urban sprawl to meet our ever growing over population needs. What is very worrying is that some of the sites chosen are in the Green Belt, but will it stop there, how long before anywhere is fair game for building on.

In Hampshire 6000 new homes are planned for a site at Welborne north of Fareham. Closer to Rushmoor and just over the border in Surrey a garden village is also being planned for the former DERA site at Longcross. The location at Longcross will be familiar to many as it sits on both sides of the M3 and is currently being used as a film studio. A development of 200 houses is already underway on the north side of the M3 and further housing is now being planned for the south side of the M3 with the total number of homes possibly exceeding 1000. Part of the development is on former green belt land.

With the ever growing need for more building land it raises an interesting question about the future of local parks & open spaces. I didn't realise that local councils are under no legal obligation to protect these areas & as our area is in the throws of a house building explosion how long will it be before eyes turn towards these sites? Now, many will say that it will never happen but then who ever thought that Army land in Aldershot would become one large housing estate, who ever thought that the RAE would become in part a housing estate.

We are now reaping the disastrous policy decision by the last Labour government of unlimited immigration & the total failure of the last & current Tory government to also control immigration.

This year sees local County Council elections. Just ask the Tories one simple question 'will they ever allow house building on our parks & open spaces' & then look to see if they have their fingers crossed when they answer you!    

Martyn Marsh