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Posted on 11:46am Friday 17th August 2012
The way to explain how an election is won is to think of a mainstream political party as a Brand or as a professional Army. From a marketing point of view the top x3 political parties (i.e. Labour, Conservatives and the Lib-Dems) are the only parties that are likely to form a Government by themselves or as we’ve seen more recently as a Coalition. They have had many years in building up those brands (the longest being the Conservatives) and from time to time they do actually go through a branding exercise to re-invent themselves and appeal to their target audience. They also operate in the same way that a professional Army would, in that they need loyal foot soldiers to knock on doors, make phone calls and deliver leaflets in order to reach out to people that are likely to go out and vote for their selected candidates from the party. There is a hierarchy and a form of Officers that are tasked in keeping everything running smoothly. Those at the very top of the food chain are the ones with the power and who pass down the instructions, etc Within an area (i.e. lets give an example of Wycombe) you would have small ‘branches’ that meet up and get together to target elections in their part of the world and in the case of General Elections they do their bit for the local candidate standing to become an MP. If you are traditionally a Labour or Conservative voting person, they want to get your information onto their database so they know that come election time, they will knock on your door or try to phone you to ask for your continued support and vote for Joe Blogs the selected party member for this area (i.e. whether in District, County or General Elections, etc). Also to note is when someone knocks on your door and asks who you normally vote for – this information is fed back to the central database and your details are logged as a Labour or Tory voter, etc They know where you live and also if you went out to vote (i.e. do you ever wonder why people stand outside the election booths asking for your voter number?) they then take that information and tick it off their database to count you as another vote for their party candidates (i.e. as most of us don’t change our allegiance to other political parties in the main – although when it does come to local elections we do tend to shop around for the right person for the job!) Before it comes to the time whereby the votes have been counted, the party branches would already have a fairly good idea to whether their man/woman won or not. It is shocking but a lot of people do not bother to vote (for their own reasons) the main reason is that they are angry at the main voting and political system and do not want to get involved in it. This is good news for the political parties as it means that they don’t really care if only a handful of people for that area vote – as long as they get their candidates in – that in their mind is their only worry! Once that a new Cllr is elected (or re-elected) then they are made to pay their first months allowance to contribute to their election costs (i.e. for paying for leaflets to be printed, etc) In regards to Asian (i.e. Pakistani/Kashmiri) Cllrs – they tend to have to spend out a lot of their own money as it’s a cultural thing in how they connect to the heads of families, etc and it normally involves food and sit down meals, etc In Wycombe as an example there are x2 main families/branches of families that come from the same village in Kashmir but one of them votes for the Labour Party and the other for the Conservatives. So the parties are very well organised, they have a free army of volunteers that knock on doors and deliver leaflets, etc and this is why there are no current standing Independent Cllrs for Bucks County Council and a very small percentage of Independent MP’s in Westminster (the majority of them have fallen out with their party and have been stripped of their allegiance and taken the whip away from them). This is another reason why I’ve decided not to be a member of a political party ( I have been asked by all of them). As I do not believe that the system is in the favour of the voter and only the parties. Ironically its them ( i.e. the parties) that hold the power to how the system is set up and they don’t want it to change other than the Lib-Dems to some degree. They do not want to give up the Status Quo as it would mean that they would lose their power. I think that it was Jeremy Clarkson who said that the UK Caravan Club now has more members than the x3 main political parties all combined! The membership is gradually declining as more and more are getting fed up of not being listened to, their own political views falling further away from the parties and also fed up with the way that MP’s are (i.e. think duck ponds and moat cleaning, etc) – most of the ruling political elite are so far removed from normal people that you often wonder if any of them know what a hard day’s work is and if they ever go through the general hardships that we all do? I personally believe that we should have an elected House of Lords but only the Lib-Dems want it – the Tories and the Labour party are blocking it. We generally do not riot as a nation (except last summer!) – we quietly write letters of complaint and we whinge to our friends. But there is another thing that we can start doing… We can be careful on who we do vote for and not necessarily look at voting for the same party as we’ve always done. Finally I want to share one more thing that made my blood boil. Come the time when Paul Goodman decided to stand down as the MP for Wycombe – I witnessed the most shameful power play within the Conservative Party that was the nail on the coffin for me continuing to be a member. There were people that had friends high up the political ladder that they almost bragged that they had been offered seats in winnable area’s and in fact I can tell you for a fact that all Conservative candidates sitting in safe Tory seats were hand selected by the top brass (i.e. Eric Pickle, David Cameron, etc) and the local grassroots members of the party where allowed to vote for the right candidate that they wanted for their town – but it was a case of ‘pick a card, any card as long as it’s one of these 5 or so!’ i.e. SOUND MEN/WOMEN. All local party members were not allowed to stand.
Posted on 9:00pm Sunday 12th August 2012
I was always intrigued to know how the polyclinic at The Eton Dorney site compared with that of the Stratford Village. This week I was given the opportunity to visit the Pharmacy based in the Athletes Village in Stratford and it surpassed my high expectations!
Posted on 10:53am Thursday 9th August 2012
Not many of us would remember the 1930’s depression and living in the South East of England sometimes we don’t see the bigger picture and just how bad things are out there. Many of us by now have started to feel the changes and sacrifices that we’ve had to make in order to bolt down and get through this. Looking back to pre-bank woes, credit crunches, depression, and recession – I can just about remember the good times, the better times. Banks got greedy, politicians turned a blind eye and credit was far too easy to obtain – living today on tomorrow’s money. Of course Labour were racking up the bills and spending like crazy to keep themselves in power and I guess that I can see the sense in the Conservatives/Lib dem coalition having a main focus of reducing down the debt, etc But this all started in 2008 and now its 2012 – that’s 4 years that we’ve had to go through this and we are still here at 0% growth in the UK. I fully understand that the world economy is in the same position as there isn’t much investment/wonga flying around. However.. it’s about time that something was done otherwise we are never going through this. Some say that it’s going to be another 5 or 8 more years of depression. Here’s what I think that the current Government should be doing: • Instead of directing the Lottery money into Arts/Good funds/Sport, etc – for the short term – direct it into a scheme to help ownership of first time buyers. • Set up part ownership schemes so that first time buyers can get a leg onto the ladder. • Make the banks that are owned by the taxpayers – give mortgages to everyone (i.e. relax the tight constraints of not giving money to hardly anyone!) • Change the Stamp Duty limits – make them much higher. My house and those around me in my street will never sell our house for a penny over £250k because of this very silly band. • Relax new building laws, have more sites to build homes on. • If we get the housing market moving then this would at least kick start the economy. Look at what help that the car industry got and they are selling new cars. The housing sector has been shafted and forgotten and affects most of us. Another area would be for all companies to get ‘marketing grants’ to pay to find new clients. Surely David Cameron and co have some kind of brain cell rolling around somewhere?
Posted on 12:28pm Monday 16th July 2012
It would be customary of me to write up our Sunday experiences at Pann Mill. The weather was nice and the people nicer but you can read all about that in one of our previous blogs. Instead I would like to answer a question that arose out of the Guildhall talk from 6th July. I showed a PowerPoint slide. It was controversial. People didn’t believe what it said. We can now tell you where the numbers come from. If you are squeamish, look away now.
Posted on 11:22am Thursday 12th July 2012
Sir David Attenborough said “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible with more.” High Wycombe marked Population Day on Wednesday 11th July with a showing of the movie “Growthbusters” at the new Wycombe Environment Centre. The event was put on by the High Wycombe Branch of “Population Matters”. Now we know what you are thinking: You know, “Population”… Just don’t mention the P-word: it’s a big turn off. It’s controversial. Almost anything else seems easier to tackle in polite company. Thus most of us won’t read to the end of this blog. I don’t blame you, but please hang on for a second. We ask: how is this relevant to High Wycombe & do we care?
Posted on 5:21pm Saturday 7th July 2012
It has been ten months since the High Wycombe Society kindly invited me to deliver a talk about Transition Towns. On Friday 6th July 2012 it was finally time and we gathered with a group of 40 members of the public upstairs in the Guildhall at 7.30pm to see the result. Now this isn’t the first time for me. I have delivered talks about our work to groups as diverse as Ecobuild and Flackwell Heath Women’s Institute.
Posted on 9:51am Tuesday 3rd July 2012
The Totteridge and Terriers Jubilee Fete on Sunday July 1st was held on Totteridge Common opposite Totteridge House. Now we are VERY local to this, ie, we could have thrown our equipment out of the window of Superhome 59 and it might have landed in the right place!
Posted on 9:22am Tuesday 26th June 2012
I thought that with the soon coming elections for a newly elected Police Commissioner for the Thames Valley regional (elections are going to be in November 2012) that I may look into things in more detail.
Posted on 10:49am Tuesday 19th June 2012
It is easy being in Transition but not when your gazebo wants to be a kite. The day was Saturday 16th June and the event was our stall at the Hamilton School Fete. We erected the stall little realising that it would turn into quite an adventurous day. Or maybe that should read “torturous”. It is testimony to the fortitude of our local team that any of us survived the day. Why do we do it? We must be nuts.
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The perfect wife and mother, Rebecca runs a home, a bad temper and is working on her novel. She enjoys photography, playing the piano and likes almost anything that's out of fashion and uncool. She lives in Amersham with her husband and youngest child (aged ten). Her eldest, now 27, lives and works in Buckinghamshire.