Tuesday, 17 October 2017

October Branch Meeting

After opening the meeting there was a report on the recent UKIP conference. There were a number of excellent speakers at the conference and in particular Bishop Nazir-Ali, Steve Crowther and David Kurten were mentioned. Congratulations were made to Henry Bolton on his election as leader. The meeting agreed that UKIP needed to unite behind him. Some of the more 'radical' former candidates (AMW, JRE) have now left the party, which hopefully will close that story. At the conference the UKIP rebranding was also unveiled and the meeting was generally positive about that.

There was a lengthy discussion on 2 policy areas. This was an initiative from the national party which was running a consultation on members views.

The first issue was Disability. One member related their personal experience of applying for ESA and PIP and how the system was mainly aimed at saving the government money rather providing help to those in need. The meeting agreed that the assessments should be carried out by qualified doctors, although to minimise fraud they should be independent and not from the local area. Social media should also be used to investigate claims in case the real lifestyle of the person making the claim did not not match what was claimed on the application. There was discussion on reducing the stigma associated with disability and in particular mental health. Martin has setup a Facebook page "Rushmoor Voice" which supports these issues.

The second issue was Education. The consensus was that too many people were going to University and not enough people were developing technical skills. The meeting voted against compulsory sex and relationship education on the basis that parents should have discretion. It was also thought that the school leaving age should be lowered to allow young people to start apprenticeships and that shorter university courses (2 years) would be beneficial.

Councillor Mark Staplehurst reported on local issues. The County Council is going ahead with the consultation on budget issues. This is expected to have a big impact on local services. In Farnborough the new shopping development is likely to causes major traffic issues and there appears to be no measures in place yet to address this. The strategy for the borough elections in May 2018 was also discussed.

As usual the evening ended with tea and biscuits.

Ken McNair

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