THE shoe leather is worn, the feet are aching and the knuckles are sore from door-knocking as we pound the streets of Old Bexley and Sidcup in the run-up to the by-election on December 2. This, though, is the heart of the democratic process – listening to voters’ concerns and discussing solutions. Very few are rude, most are grateful that someone is bothering to canvass their opinion.
And they are clear: they are not happy. In fact they are fed up. There are multiple reasons, the main ones revolving around those two key aspects of our lives: money and health.
Why, they ask, are they being hit with ever more rises in taxes? Surely we should be reducing them to grow the economy faster?
They are right. We pledge to reduce taxes.
Why can’t they see their GP? Why such long waiting lists? Why such inefficiency and indifference?
It is simply unacceptable. That’s why we have clear plans to reduce waiting lists to zero in 18 months by using vouchers that will put the patient in charge, not the bureaucratic monopoly of the NHS. Still free at the point of delivery, of course, but far more efficient.
Vaccine passports are a concern and are rightly regarded with suspicion.
We at Reform UK are clear – medical apartheid is unacceptable – we oppose them.
People welcome lawful immigration that helps our economy, but are they are fuming at the huge illegal immigration running daily across the Channel and the Government’s abject failure to stop it. Priti Patel’s robust words have never been matched by decisive action.
We would send back to France not money, but the illegal asylum seekers.
This is the biggest issue on the doorsteps – energy, its costs and what more are yet to come with the Government’s Net Zero policy.
Why should we replace our boilers? After all, when did you last replace a perfectly good piece of kit with something that may or may not work? Especially something that may cost £15,000 to install and cost you hundreds of pounds more every year to run?
Yes, people do care about the environment and we all want cleaner air, but voters are far from convinced about the PM’s extreme plans.
We can be smart about reducing emissions without the Net Zero agenda being forced upon us by Boris Johnson and all the main parties in Westminster. The truth is that it is Net Stupid, hugely expensive, it will endanger the economy and will leave people cold. That is unacceptable.
When someone will not tell you the real cost of something that they insist you do, it makes you suspicious. Rightly so. When they try to prevent debate by labelling you a denier, it makes you anxious.
People are not stupid. They can see the government’s Net Zero plans will change their whole lifestyle, from their ability to heat their homes to the type of cars they are allowed to drive (if there are any they can still afford), from what they are supposed to eat to how much they can travel.
These are dramatic proposals and need proper debate in which we must all have a say, not least because there is another way – a smarter way. That’s why we need a referendum on Net Zero to discuss them, out in the open
If the Tory government were confident the people are behind them on these plans, would they not hesitate to put it to the vote? The truth is they are petrified. They keep making commitments such as we have seen at the COP26 summit without any real calculations of the cost or collateral damage. Nor are they being honest about how many jobs will disappear overseas to China and elsewhere.
When the Tories took power in 2010 the UK was a net exporter of energy. In 2017, they promised us that we would create an industry by using the cheap accessible shale gas literally under our feet. Promises broken. We are now a net importer of energy, exposed to the whims of Presidents Putin and Macron in terms of price and supply.
This is not acceptable to an independent self-governing democracy.
Reform UK stands for self-reliance and responsibility.
We can reduce emissions whilst using our own affordable shale gas for the next 30 years or more. Alongside this we can invest in new technologies such as small modular nuclear reactors, hydrogen, tidal power, more efficient solar panels and more. We know progress and discoveries will be made so that we will reduce emissions but without hurting the people or damaging the economy.
These new technologies will create British jobs, using British engineering.
We can be affordable, reliable and smart.
That is our policy and what we stand for.
That’s why once again we demand a referendum on Net Zero or Net Smart.
Reform UK trusts the people. This Government does not. It is taking decisions over their heads and against their interests.
This must stop. Backing me and Reform UK at the upcoming by-election offers the only route forward to sanity, responsibility and proper representation.
That is my message to the people of Old Bexley and Sidcup. To out-of-touch and high-handed Westminster, I say the people have had enough and Reform UK is standing for them.