Joe Bonamassa Live in 25

  On Misinformation

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  Killers UK Tour 2024

  Politics - Who To Trust?

  The 76 Year Catastrophe

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  Within Temptation Live Recordings

  Montreux Festival July 2024

  Beth Gibbons New Solo LP

  DOWNLOAD 24 UPDATE

  Politics Is Failing

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  Pink Floyd’s Animals Remix

  SHIT FLOATS

  Seasick Steve Alive & Kickin’

  Glen Hansard New LP/23-24 Tour

  Joe Bonamassa Live LP & Tour

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  “My country, right or wrong…”

  Heart Announce Live Tours

  Anais Mitchell HADESTOWN Returns

  The Photographer’s Selection

  My Favourite Records

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  Download 2024 First Acts

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  Dark Side Of The Moon 50th

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  Nicole Atkins Jim Sclavunos Live

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  Magnum - A Year in Ukraine

  Alessandra Sanguinetti Interview

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  The State We’re In Pt II

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  Andrés Peña Flamenco Star Live

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  Liverpool Jazz Festival

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  UK Democracy Threatened

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  Politics is Failing

  Moby The Very Best Of Interview

  Lucy Kruger TRANSIT TAPES

  Joe Bonamassa Live!

  Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

  Amy Macdonald Rescheduled Gig

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Politics - Who To Trust?

p-4911

ON THE ROLE OF MPs

The role of the MP is key to any government’s success. In theory at least, they should be the conduit for information from the front line - the population. The role is complex, wide-ranging and FULL-TIME. I have observed in many important parliamentary debates that benches are near-empty with the Labour benches the worst offender. I was frankly shocked when I discovered the amounts of money being earned outside of their parliamentary duties. These are just a few of the worst examples:

p-522-1

Perhaps this is the reason why ministers appear so out of touch? And perhaps it’s why the country is performing so badly in so many areas. Being an MP carries with it serious and extensive responsibilities and the absolute need to devote their working hours to representing their voters and government. The only exception should be medical doctors who choose to share their time with politics (although why this is puzzles me). Meaningless honours/titles should also be scrapped as the vast majority are bestowed for purely political reasons.

s-139

ON THE YOUNGER GENERATION

While pensioners have been treated relatively well by the current government with pension levels beginning to approach acceptable levels (although still some way to go), the younger generation have been treated badly. Starting with secondary schooling the best solution to raising standards lies with a simple policy: the decrease in class sizes. The results of reducing class sizes to below 30 means each student can receive more attention which is of critical importance. Yes, it means more qualified teachers but it’s a small price to pay for the students’ future. University fees mean that students become saddled with substantial interest-bearing debt (but not in Scotland). The cost of administrating student fees must be high while the debt write-offs must also be high. Is it not time to properly fund Universities and drop student fees? Many young adults are forced to continue to live with their parents or share with fellow lodgers. With wages still too low and rents increasing significantly the younger generation are treated as second-class citizens. There are two subjects that the main parties appear to be ignoring: Brexit and the younger generation (with the single exception of Labour giving 16-yearolds the vote - well overdue). Only the Liberal Democrats and  the Green Party appear to recognise that the young are suffering badly and need a dramatic change in policy direction.

s-316

ON NUCLEAR

Nuclear power generation and defence are some of the most expensive medium to long-term commitments made by both main parties. However, is it correct to label these, and especially defence, as first priorities when every one of our public services are in crisis, with people dying and suffering as a result? The Royal College of Nursing has described the NHS as experiencing a National Emergency with lives being lost in hospital corridors… What would your priorities be? And why nuclear power when other cheaper and safer, environmentally-friendly sources exist and are proven? These are important questions. My simple answer is PEOPLE FIRST, now and always.

s-79

ON DEMOCRACY

With the UK’s current voting system of first-past-the-post the tendency is for one of the two main parties to govern with a majority that precludes serious debate and changes to legislation (even changes suggested by the Lords are seldom accepted). I would argue strongly that the debate and votes surrounding Brexit votes showed democracy truly at work. But instead Boris Johnson threw out Conservative dissenters and even tried to prorogue parliament (unlawfully). The truth is that many consider voting for the smaller parties represents wasted votes with the Green Party only ever represented in parliament with a single (and very effective) MP. The UK is supposed to be the mother of parliaments, the seat of democracy, and yet it fails to employ a voting system that fairly reflects voters wishes. How can it be that a party who wins less than 39% of total votes ends up with a majority of over 80 and can do literally what it wants - right or wrong. Party whipping which forces MPs to vote with the party line rather than voting with their true views makes the whole process an autocratic and undemocratic joke. The results are commonly inadequate, unjust and poor laws which often end up with the governing party securing even more power. The voting system must change to a proportional system which not only will be more democratic but improve the country’s performance.

s-69

p-3911

ON IMMIGRATION

It could be argued that the current net immigration figures are unsustainable, however, there are plausible reasons for the growth in the last few years. A large proportion of immigrants are from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan as approved by the UK government. These are temporary and so I expect figures to decline organically over the short-term. But also included, strangely, are university students who could hardly be regarded as immigrants. Brexit was supposed to ‘give back control’ and reduce immigration. This has proved total fiction as being a member of the EU net immigration was substantially less partially due to UK residents’ ability to work freely in EU countries, thereby balancing immigration figures. As a member of the EU UK skill shortages (including NHS skills) were minor as opposed to substantial current shortages in many professions including engineering and construction. Hospitality and farming shortages are critical despite short-term visa availabilities. The asylum system is broken with over 100,000 applicants waiting far too long for their applications to be approved when a significant number of them could be working in skill-shortage areas. These are just a few of the important implications of leaving the EU and with no solutions offered by major parties the situation will not improve and could get worse. The attempt by the government to halt Channel crossings by rendition to Rwanda is both immoral and deeply flawed. How else can these desperate people apply to stay if legal routes are few and far between?

5191

The decision for UK voters is far from simple, faced with an unjust first-past-the-post election system. The decision for Scotland couldn’t be clearer - vote for Independence. Here in the UK vote for the party you believe in. I will be voting Green for the first time because their policies are about real change and progression.

WHAT WILL YOU DO?

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