I respect the principles set by the Jo Cox Foundation, namely:
• setting an appropriate tone,
• leading by example to foster constructive democratic debate, and
• promoting and defending the dignity of others, including my opponents.
I support electoral reform so that every vote counts. Only in this way can we start to heal the divides in this country, largely triggered by the sense of disengagement from the political process under the First Past The Post system. In “safe seats” voting is frequently felt to be pointless.
There are however many types of PR, and I support a national debate on which would serve best.
I strongly support the extension of Recall Petitions to force by-elections if any MP changes Party to one different from that under which they were elected.
I support the reform of the House of Lords. I believe this should be decided as part of a Constitutional Convention covering all aspects of our broken Constitution.
What is called “social care” is going to be an increasing problem in our society; I have personal experience through my late father who had a major stroke in 2013 leaving him a total invalid for the last 3 ½ years of his life. It overlaps widely with health needs since the majority of people in “social care” are in fact suffering from illnesses or trauma. Yet the legal boundary between “health care” and “social care”, and the financial responsibility, remains undefined. It needs to be defined.
As a long-term cancer survivor I have a strong interest in cancer medicine. Like many of you may have, I have watched relatives die from cancer undiagnosed until days before they died. I lost my own mother to cancer, which I believe should have been treated harder and faster. Cancer survival rates in the UK are among the lowest in industrialized countries and we should understand why.
From hard personal experience, I believe we need to have a properly cross-party, publicly-involved national conversation about the NHS, what it can do, what it can’t, why our cancer survival rates are so bad, how the NHS bureaucracy so often interferes with the practice of medicine, and whether there are better models. It’s a matter for genuinely participative democracy, and should aim for the maximum degree of consensus.
An Australian-style Points system is one policy to consider, but the key is that our Government decides who comes and how many, and that we do not perpetuate an automatic right for 500 million EU nationals to live in the UK if they wish, with us having no say.
I do however fully endorse the provisions made for EU nationals already in the UK entirely lawfully. They should certainly be allowed to stay under the Settled Status provisions. I welcome the fact that there is now no application fee and that money paid previously will be returned automatically.