Why I got involved in politics 31/03/2015 10:13:00
The General Election is now formally underway. You’ll hear a lot (maybe too much!) from the party leaders: I wanted to tell you a bit about my beliefs.
I got involved in politics because I want to see a fairer society. I’m sure the same is true of my opponents at this election - we just disagree either about what constitutes fairness or what policies will deliver it. So here’s my view of what a fairer society would look like.
I believe all children should get to go to a great school like I was lucky enough to do. Where you happen to grow up shouldn’t determine your chances in life. That’s why I’ve fought for extra funding for schools in deprived areas. That’s why I’ve supported the closure of schools like Ashburton and Selsdon High that were failing our children. And that’s why I value teachers so highly.
I believe in full employment - a job for everyone who needs one. Being out of work doesn’t just leave people hard up; it affects their sense of self-worth and even their health. I’m a Conservative because over the years Conservative policies have proved more successful at creating jobs. The number of people out of work here in Croydon Central has halved under this Government. I don’t doubt for a moment that Labour are equally passionate about reducing unemployment, but every single time they’ve been in government it’s gone up.
I believe in fair pay for a hard day’s work. We can’t all be Premiership footballers or popstars; most of us have to do jobs that are much less glamorous and don’t pay anything like as well. Conservatives were wrong to oppose a minimum wage back in the 1990s. I’m proud that this Government has increased it and I want to see further increases so that everyone benefits from the recovery.
I believe in making sure wealthy people and big businesses pay their fair share in tax. Under Labour, hedge fund managers paid a lower rate than the people they employed to clean their offices. I’ve helped to put a stop to that. I’ve supported changes to Stamp Duty so that most people pay less but those buying the most expensive properties pay more. And I’ve supported a host of measures to close loopholes that allowed big business and wealthy individuals to get away with not paying their fair share. As a society, we get very angry at people who claim benefits they’re not entitled to; tax dodging is just as wrong.
I believe people who work hard should be better off as a result. That’s why I’ve supported increases in the amount of money we can earn before we start paying income tax - it’s wrong for the government to take too much of the money we strive to earn. And it’s why I’ve supported a cap on the amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive. Under Labour, some families were receiving more than £50,000 a year. Now no-one can get more than the average family earns.
I believe everyone should have the chance to own their own home. Prices have risen because there’s too many people looking for too few properties. We need to build far more homes, reserve some of them for first-time buyers so that they don’t have to compete with foreign investors, make sure the banks don’t ask for huge deposits and help first-time buyers save for a deposit - otherwise we risk going back to the days when owning your own home was the preserve of a privileged few.
I believe people who’ve worked hard all their lives deserve dignity in retirement. That’s why I’ve supported a more generous state pension; pensioner benefits like the winter fuel allowance and the freedom pass; and changes to our care system so that people who need nursing care at the end of their lives don’t lose all their savings.
And I believe in a justice system that helps people who commit crimes turn their lives around, but punishes persistent wrongdoing. Everyone deserves a second chance, but we are too soft on career criminals.
These beliefs are the core of my politics. You may not normally vote Conservative, but if you don’t want Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond running our country for the next five years, I hope you feel that my politics are not so different from yours and might consider lending me your vote this time.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you’d like to know a bit more about my background, watch this short video:
PS If you’re undecided about how to vote and would like to talk to me in person, email me at email@example.com and I’ll get in touch to arrange a time to call round.