The 4 Rs

   

Jonathan Smith presents the 4 points of his personal political philosophy, and how they match the policies of the Liberal Democrats

  • Remain European
  • Rescue the planet
  • Rebuild the NHS
  • Restore trust in politics

1. Remain European

Where I Stand:

I am a passionate remainer, and internationalist, and nothing over the last three and a half years has made me any less so. Indeed, the changes in our country - to one that is more divided, where people are more impatient with each other, where there is less tolerance of those who are different from us (there has been a 10% rise in recorded hate crimes in England and Wales this year), which is keener to put the blame elsewhere, and which is more inward-looking - depress and dismay me. As a country, we have lost credibility, sympathy, respect and influence. The Brexit nightmare has brought us a Prime Minister, who tramples over our most precious institutions, creates anger and division wherever he goes, and cannot be trusted. It has brought us EU friends and neighbours having to apply to stay, a return to International Driving Licences and Green Cards, and deep concern about the future influence of Trump’s USA.

Where the Liberal Democrats Stand:

 

If the Liberal Democrats win the election, as a majority government, we will take the steps to revoke Article 50; this is the most democratic, quickest, and least painful way to end the Brexit mess.

 

If we need to work with other Parties after the election, we will back a further referendum on whatever is on offer at the time, and campaign hard to remain within the EU.

 

Demand Better for Tatton:

The Conservatives have a 2-for-1 offer: vote for her and you vote for him. Esther McVey is one of Boris Johnson’s most loyal and supportive Cabinet colleagues. Their offer is for more of the same for Tatton, and more of the same for the country.

Labour have lost all credibility with their flip-flop approach to Brexit, their old-style tax-spend mentality, and their internal intolerances. Jo Swinson is right to say that Jeremy Corbyn can never command a majority of support in Parliament.

We must demand better for Tatton and for the Country


2. Rescue the Planet

Where I Stand:

 

I have never doubted the growing, scientific evidence, published over the past decades, that climate change is both a reality and a massive threat to the future survival and well-being of our children, grand-children, and future generations. Indeed, the very planet itself is under threat.

It is irresponsible, beyond words, for any politician to seek to question the seriousness of the threat we face, or hide away from what are bound to be the challenging solutions. 

The efforts that we have put in up till now – in recycling, switching away from fossil fuels, growth of renewable energy, testing out new farming methods – have been welcome, but there is an urgent need, now, to move up to a whole new level of priority and focus.

Where the Liberal Democrats Stand:

In Government, the Liberal Democrats, led by Ed Davey, the Secretary of State, achieved a huge increase in investment and interest in renewable energy sources, despite resistance and opposition from our Conservative partners. Layla Moran, MP, brought the issue of climate change onto the floor of the House of Commons on 28th February 2019. It had been 2 years since climate change had been debated.

At the recent Liberal Democrat Conference in Bournemouth, an ambitious, realistic, and radical plan to tackle climate change was approved with a massive majority. It’s key elements are:

  • Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, with robust interim targets
  • An emergency, ten-year programme of action
  • Embedding the net zero target into all decision-making
  • Creating a Just Transition Fund to help certain communities through the economic changes that will be required
  • Stopping Brexit and working closely with the rest of Europe
  • Reducing energy demands
  • Banning fracking, and replacing fossil fuels with renewables
  • A massive programme of tree planting, and deployment of technological solutions.

 

Demand Better for Tatton:

Neither the Conservatives, nor Labour, have shown any significant political leadership on climate change. Since 2015, there has been a chasm of shameful neglect between the scale of the emergency and the unwillingness of David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, or Jeremy Corbyn to get to grips with crisis. 

We must demand better for Tatton and for the Country


3. Rebuild the NHS

Where I Stand:

As a former NHS Chief Executive, Strategic Director, and Director of Social Services, I have witnessed a steady eroding of the core principles and values, which drove the birth of the NHS, which have guided the creation of the modern social care system – until recently, and which under-pinned my own professional career. Politicians of other Parties have competed, over the years, to come up with eye-catching slogans and simplistic measures, all of which they sold to the public as “solutions”; most often, they were nothing of the sort. Money alone is not the answer; nor would be another massive reorganisation. My experience, both professionally and as a patient, is that, in the health and social care system, there are five major deficits:

  • Of accountability: most people do not know who is running services, how decisions are made, and where to go for redress
  • Of patient centred-ness: the planning and design of services (e.g. location) are mostly not done with the primary interests being that of the patients/clients
  • Of funding:modest inputs of finance, spread over many years, will not get close to what is required
  • Of recruitment: exacerbated by the 2016 referendum, and by Government failures to invest in training, health and social care are almost on their knees through lack of staff
  • Of co-ordination:despite many experiments in greater integration, within the NHS, and between health and social care, services have become increasingly competitive and disjointed.

That is why I say that the NHS requires nothing short of a “rebuild”, to re-establish its core values and principles.

 

Where the Liberal Democrats Stand:

 

The Liberal Democrats’ plan for the NHS highlights commitments to:

  • Save the NHS, by putting a penny in the pound on income tax to give the NHS and Social Care services the cash they need
  • Make waiting times for mental health care match those for physical health care
  • Limit the amount elderly people have to pay for social care
  • Stop Brexit
  • Give proper attention to staffing shortages.

 

Demand Better for Tatton:

In Tatton, we have Macclesfield hospital struggling to raise its CQC performance above "requires improvement", waiting times for treatment in disarray, mental health services inaccessible, children’s services depleted, and services for the elderly overwhelmed.

We must demand better for Tatton and for the Country


4. Restore trust in politics

Where I Stand:

 

As a long-time, senior public servant, I am wedded to the principle, which used to govern the national terms and conditions of employment in local government:

“Employees will maintain conduct of the highest standard, such that public confidence in their integrity is sustained.”

Politicians - particularly Councillors, MPs and Prime Ministers – are public servants, and should behave accordingly. Sometimes, they do; often, they don’t. It is clear to me that a local MP:

  • Is only in their job because of the support of local people
  • Has a responsibility to all voters, not just to those who backed them
  • Should not have other interests which cause the public to question their motives.

How I will Restore Trust:

 

As the new Liberal Democrat MP for Tatton, I will:

  • Behave as a public servant should: putting the interests of my constituents before my own
  • Commit myself to serving my constituents with hard work, integrity and honesty
  • Hold this role as my only paid employment
  • Keep in close contact with the local community
  • Provide many opportunities to have dialogue with local people
  • Listen, learn and act.

 

Better for Tatton

Tatton Constituency has been represented by one Party for the last 18 years. Has this Party served you and your constituency well? Have your MPs devoted themselves to public service and the needs of Tatton communities and residents? Can either the Conservative or Labour Parties be trusted to put the country before their own interests? 

We must demand better for Tatton and for the Country

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.