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Who the hell are we going to vote for?

Dateline: 15th April 2014

Many people in the UK are totally dissatisfied with the people who currently represent them (supposedly) at local and national government levels. Others will be unhappy with their EU representatives. And of course there is the thorny issue of Scotland's future as part of the UK ... or not, as the case may be. In the space of the next 13 months these issues will all be decided but we need to start thinking  now about our own decisions, if we have not already made up our minds.

I have commented below about all the issues and these are my personal views. Everyone else has to make their own decisions. But what I have learned over the years is that no-one should cast a vote based purely on location or family traditions. Each elector should analyse the facts for themselves and ask things like: what has my representative done for me; what has he or she done for my area; what have they done for the country?

The first important date is 22nd May 2014: This is a combined election of (a) your local councillors in Wales and some parts of England and (b) the vote for your MEP to serve in the Europe Union.

Council elections

As far as local authorities are concerned, I have lived in quite a few places in England and in each one of them the council has been corrupt. They make rules for everyone else but ignore the rules that are meant to govern themselves. I currently live in the London Borough of Bexley where, for many years, we had a Labour-controlled council with an evil-eyed leader called Ball. Things were pretty bad under his leadership as he pursued the typical Labour policy of having a bottomless purse at his disposal. The rates increased relentlessly and Bexley became one of the most expensive London boroughs while, at the same time, having very little in it's favour; nothing to really entice people to want to live there.

When the Labour party were ousted in 2010 Bexley residents were obviously glad to see the back of Ball's mob because they returned a convincing Conservative majority with 52 Tory seats against Labour's 11. At last things looked as though they were on the up ... but what a false prophecy this turned out to be. We probably now have the most corrupt administration in the country; a council which controls the Metropolitan Police to the extent that they cover up for the crooks the council employs and protect councillors who should be sent to prison. So, the question is: who do I vote for in May?

The time to election day is diminishing fast yet I have had only one leaflet pushed through my door .. by the Conservatives, who ask, "So, just what have the Bexley Conservatives done for you?" In short, and after due consideration, my answer would consist of just two words - one of which is 'all' and the other a rude word starting with the letter F.

Their leaflet makes several claims about improvements to the town centre, the environment, car parking, and the new civic offices which are due to open next month.

Bexley Council have spent (wasted) 5 million on a new traffic initiative in the town centre where vehicles and pedestrians now share the space. Traffic lights have been replaced by roundabouts which don't look like roundabouts; safe crossing points have given way to a free-for-all with no marked crossing information; central areas for pedestrians are not raised pavements but are merely laid with different coloured blocks. All in all, a goodly number of accidents waiting to happen. Indeed, some have already happened because motorists don't understand when they should give way, or to whom.

The Tories proudly boast about a three year freeze in car parking charges but they fail to mention that they introduced massive increases for parking three years ago. For example, residents bays went from 35 a year to 120 a year. Parking meters almost doubled in price and were changed to be in operation round the clock rather than at peak times only.

The council continually brag about having the best recycling rates in London. Presumably, this produces additional revenue for the council, especially as the refuse collectors do little apart from sliding the refuse bins onto a lorry's tail lift and then chucking them back on the pavement, usually blocking the drives. All this after the residents themselves have done all the hard work of getting multiple receptacles, often quite heavy, out to the pavement and back again. Yet none of this additional revenue is ever reflected in reduced taxes.

And, finally, the new civic offices. The council staff are relocating from various sites in the borough to a central office in Watling Street, Bexleyheath so they can all be under one roof. Apart from the rates collection department (run by Capita) which will remain in the old town hall at Erith.

The new office is the former headquarters of the Woolwich Building Society which has lain empty for a number of years. If you believe Bexley's lies, the refurbishment will cost the ratepayers nothing as the revenue has come from the sale or rental of the old offices. Indeed, boast the council, the new office will save the ratepayers 1 million a year (sometimes 1.5 million depending on who you listen to).

The massive refurbishment work has been underway for a long time but is nearing completion as I write. As public access was not necessary when the Woolwich occupied the place, the council have had an ugly concrete porch constructed at the front entrance; this abortion is totally out of keeping with what previously was quite an attractive building. But, as my friend from Bexley-is-Bonkers says: "Come the revolution, it might serve as a gallows!"

So, before revealing my vote at the next council election, I have to say I met one of my Conservative ward councillors once, and only once, when he was canvassing for votes at the last election. He struck me then as a man who cared not the slightest for the people he wanted to support him and didn't want to listen to their concerns. In the ensuing three years I cannot name a single thing he has done to improve the ward so my vote on the 22nd May will go to a person I have never met and whose name I didn't know. I visited the Bexley Borough website hoping to find the information but there was nothing! I guess the current members of the Tory corruptocracy are probably feeling a little nervous that others, like me, will vote for UKIP as a protest. I've had enough of Labour and the Conservatives and I hope UKIP gain seats from both of them.

European elections

I don't normally take too much interest in my EU representative because I firmly believe we should have left the EU soon after it stopped being the 'Common Market' that we joined in the first place.  It seemed like a reasonable idea to have European trading partnerships and guarantees that European countries would not go to war with each other again but when Germany started to change it into a European federal state it made a complete mockery of all the things we fought for between 1939 and 1945.

I firmly believe that we can survive outside Europe; moreover I believe that when one country leaves others will follow. The EU will start to crumble. But we have a major dilemma: our major political parties do not want us to leave because the EU is their platform and staying in will be lucrative for them personally. When the UK becomes a full member of the EU dictatorship, our MPs will have important roles in the regional zone that was once Great Britain.

Of course, we have David Cameron's word that if he cannot negotiate better terms for us we will have an in/out referendum late in 2017. He can promise this with confidence because he knows he will not be in power in 2017. If he doesn't secure a Tory majority in 2015 (which he won't) New Labour and the LibDems want us to remain in Europe so there will be no referendum.

The only party that is positively mandated to get us out of Europe is UKIP. But to do this they need our support. However, our votes for UKIP MEPs are not going to make any difference here except as a protest and to give the Tories and New Labour a bloody nose. And that's what I will do. Whoever my UKIP candidate is, he will get my vote on 22nd May.

Scottish referendum

Before the population of the United Kingdom go to the polls to elect the next government there is one other important occasion - the 18th September 2014; the date of the Scottish referendum.

I don't have any Scottish blood and, even though I think the Scottish Highlands are incredibly beautiful, I don't have any particular feelings about Scotland being in or out of the UK. If the Scots choose to be totally independent then I can see the benefits of having no Scottish MPs at Westminster. I never did see the logic of the Scots having a say in our affairs while we had no say in theirs. Nor have I understood why we subsidise Scotland so heavily.

So, Scotland, make up your own minds.

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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