About Me

I live in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England UK. I work in software technical sales which involves building demonstrations and proving our software will work for customers, who are usually large international insurers. In UK political terms this would make me middle class – I have a decently paid job and a university education. I’m also from Scunthorpe, North Lincs which is a steel working town. I am the son of a (very gifted) steel worker, fitter by trade, who still lives in Scunny. I was not born in to the ‘middle class’. I don’t really consider myself middle class. I never set out to be separate from the people who live where I came from. As far as I was concerned I liked Computer Science, and I wanted to get a degree. After that, it meant I could apply for more well paid jobs. Naturally, I did apply for the better paid job! Who wouldn’t?

I suppose my politics can be summed up by the following statements on where I stand on different issues. The easiest way to think about this is to imagine the life of a single person.

Let’s imagine this person is of school age. They live in a working class area, son of a steel worker perhaps, but they know they don’t want to work on steel.(Probably to do with too many school classes on steel making when they were growing up!) On social mobility I think that education is the key. It enables people to have choices in where they choose to live and work. I think it is absolutely key that all young people are given the support to meet a base level minimum standard in a variety of areas. What they then do with this is entirely up to them. Once people have that education, we need to make sure they have equal access to the opportunities now open to them. That may be access to trade training or University. At some point they may wish to start their own business. Most people in the UK are employed by small and medium companies. The more businesses, the more jobs. We should make sure everyone knows how to start a business (or charity, not-for-profit, etc.).

Now we have a person in their thirties with ten years experience behind them, and who has had a company with a couple of employees open for a year. He’s doing well, making a small profit, and has a living wage. Perhaps he’s spent some of his earnings wooing (I love that word!) a lass in the local bar on a Friday night. They move in together and may have a family in the next few years. At the moment though, they want to continue working hard to buy the things they would like. A new car perhaps instead of the clapped out banger our subject’s dad bought him. Maybe they’ve scraped together enough money for a mortgage, and they’ve bought a house. They have their foot on the first rung of the propertly ladder now. A nice house, but hardly a mansion. Enough for them for the moment.

Our couple work hard, they pay their taxes, and they obey the law. The wheeler dealer sneak thief who lives around the corner, however, does none of these things. He steels our couple’s new motor. Luckily, our couple see him take it and ring the police. Now there is a car chase, putting local people at risk, driving over a path and nearly hitting an old lady and two school kids, then eventually crashing into a busy roundabout in the middle of town. Everyone sees the man guilty, everyone knows of his history. Why does he continue to do these things, why is he not locked up? Judges need flexibility. They know that locking a career criminal away only delays crime, not prevents it. Our prisons need to actually rehabilitate prisoners. Why does he commit crime? Can he do nothing else? Whilst sat in prison he makes zero contribution to the country. He learns nothing. He has no reason not to continue a crime wave upon release. If instead we release him into the community we can make him work off his debt. He can be assigned to repair the roundabout and path he has damaged. This would also give him a new skill. We could require he sees a counsellor to see what his personal issues are, and get to the bottom of it. We could actually explain why crime is bad, something which his broken family of career criminals may never have done. He’s paying his way, he’s learning alternative skills, he’s learning why he should be part of the community, not waging war against it. He’s reformed.

Of course it could go horribly, horribly wrong. We still need to lock up people who have no desire to work, who will just run away elsewhere and start over. Who don’t want to be part of any system. Who are violent, run crime gangs. This is who prison is for. Putting lower level criminals in with these people will only make things worse. Still, we should keep working on these people in prison. The more we cure of crime, the lower the cost of the system. If criminals have damaging habits such as drug addiction then they can be more effectively treated in prison (assuming we solve the drug smuggling issue, of course). Giving inmates an interest in team sports may mean they keep this up on leaving prison. This gives them an outlet and a connection to the wider community. It also leads them into a healthy life style.

Perhaps our ex-criminal needs health checks, perhaps our subject’s other (better?) half becomes ill. At some point all of us need the health service. We never plan to need it, but we all know we will need it. I have private healthcare not because I want to be separate from the ‘unwashed masses’ (I know several smelly well off people anyway!), but because I can afford it, so I believe it is my duty to pay for it. This leaves more space in the NHS to deal with their patients. I have had people in my family taken in for private operations, and also under long term care within public wards. There is a marked difference in care. From what I have seen this is not down to the number of staff per patient, it is down to organisation, how it is managed, and how individual staff are motivated. I’ve seem three nurses on a public ward stand and chat while patients hit a button to raise their attention. I have seen dirty public wards, and beds not cleaned away after people have died on them. In private hospitals I have seen operations carried out ‘after hours’ I.e. at 7pm at night. In the NHS non emergency operations seem to be carried out 10-4. That is a waste of resources. We have patients that need operations. We have empty operating wards. Yet we have every surgeon in the country doing routine operations from 10-4. That is a complete waste.

I have seen nurses chat whilst people need care. Is this because these particular nurses are useless, and don’t care? Is it because their managers aren’t on their back? Either way, the blame lies with the management. Perhaps the nurses don’t get any support in training or in their jobs, so the only motivation they have is each other keeping their morale up through talking. I personally think people join the health service to help others, not to have a cosy chat and tea. There must be some reason for it. For some reason managers sit in a different part of the hospital, sometimes a good mile walk from the areas they manage. Why is this? They don’t need to. Their offices should be in the middle of the area they manage. hey should be able to see the problems, and be accessible by those whose areas they manage. The NHS does not need layers of bureaucracy.

I have personally tried to get referred for a health issue. I cannot refer myself, a GP must do it. They send a letter off to a particular department in a particular hospital, which they say is usually less busy than other hospitals near by. They have no real way of knowing. This department then sends me a letter asking me to call them for an appointment. I call. and call. and call. I leave messages, I receive no reply. As far as they are concerned, I am another useless patient who does not keep or make appointments. As far as I am concerned this is the worst business process I have ever seen in any company. Hospitals know how many slots they have for their staff well in advance. Why on Earth can GPs not search for a particular consultant in an x mile radius, and book a patient into an open slot? This would remove an entire layer of bureaucracy and reduce waiting times by over a month for every single appointment. The software is there. Any basic group calendar sharing application can do this. Everyone in the NHS has an NHS login so they can access the same systems. Why not let consultants define what time slots they have, and let GPs and consultants book patients in? The current process in postage feed alone must cost millions.

Social mobility – Ensure all young people have a solid base level of education, and are familiar with all options and opportunities available to them, especially starting their own business in the future.
Education – Split classes each year by current ability and then learning type. Not artificially at yr 7 then 10 by age, then by exam ability.
Law & Order – People who have committed crime should have punishment which reflects their crime. Work needs to be done to remove the causes of them committing crime. Drug treatment, education, counselling – whatever it takes.
Health – Free access at the point of need. Private health care allowed, and encouraged for those who can afford it in order to lower strain on the NHS. Clean wards, nurses that work not gossip, people who care. Completely change the appointments system so it is not the current pass the parcel system. Ban smoking. Period.
Economic policy / taxation / public spending – Taxes as low as possible, given the spending we want on education, health, law and order, etc. A simple tax system. People who earn money should be able to keep most of it. I.e. tax rate max 50%.
Defence – A very well trained, well equipped armed forces able to carry out a variety of missions without allies support. We may have less of them, but we should then make sure they are the best prepared possible.
Foreign policy – Use this to dramatically increase trade. All investment deals with foreign governments should include access to markets for Britain. We should advocate freedom and democracy and especially freedom of speech, and not apologise for it. We should not bow to bullying from our enemies or allies. Britain should remain out of the Euro. Crazy blanket schemes like fisheries and farming subsidies should be abolished Europe wide, with investment happening to ensure sustainable fishing and farming. Why fund farmers to create millions of gallons of milk that will never be used? Why not have them plant tree and hedgerows to increase CO2 removed from the atmosphere, and decrease methane released from cattle?

Anyway, this is my background and my ideas.


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