Greens Don’t Care About Congestion In Worcester

There is no doubt that one of the biggest problems Worcester faces in the coming years is congestion.

With many new housing developments such as the Grove Farm development to the west of the city, the new properties on the former site of Worcester City’s St Georges’s Lane or the controversial Gwillams Farm development in Claines it is clear that the problem is going to get worse and not better.

On top of this, Worcester has an incredibly antiquated road system with little room for road widening projects or new roads to be built in the centre. Many solutions have come up over the years. These include:

1) Duelling the Southern Link Road

2) Building a New Bridge

3) Completing the Northern Link Road.

Whilst 2 and 3 would be fantastic for the city and do a lot to address the issue, in the current economic climate with cuts to local authorities it is not plausible for the time being.

The possibility of duelling the southern link road however has seen some progress. There is a proposal for a £70 million investment into the project which would see it come to fruition.

Whilst this is blatant pork-barrel politics from a Worcester Conservative party who were struggling in the local polls at the time, it is none the less a welcome announcement and has seen a cross-party consensus develop between all parties – except the Greens.

On Monday at the Cap N Gown Hustings, Green Party PPC for Worcester Louis Stephen said that the money could be ‘better spent elsewhere’.

Whilst I agree that the project will not solve the city’s congestion problems entirely as some are suggesting, it is no doubt a part of it and a move in the right direction. It seems as thought the Greens are simply disagreeing with everyone else for the sake of it – so they seem different to what they call the ‘indistinguishable’ Westminster parties.

If we are to solve our congestion problems, we need to come up with a long term approach that involves all three of the points mentioned earlier. Of course two of them are currently unfeasible but that does not mean that they will remain so in the future.

Mr Stephen is right when he says public transport needs to be beefed up and the closure of the Perdiswell Park and Ride was a mistake but this cannot be the only solution. If we are to really address the issue we need to have multiple projects planned over the long term as one project alone cannot do so.

GE2015: The Choice Could Not Be Clearer

The upcoming General Election is set to be one of the most closely fought in a generation. The UK’s two-party system has been blown out if the water and many parties, who for years could only dream of getting elected, are now relishing the prospect of having the balance of power in what is looking like an inevitable hung parliament. The choice you make will have a huge impact on the country. The following article should help you make your decision.

There are 6 parties who could realistically be in government, in one way or another, after the 2015 election. These are the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, UKIP and the SNP. You probably already know which one I will be voting for (Look at the web address!). This article is designed to help you, the voter, make an informed choice.

Conservatives – A party who seem to be hell-bent on making life worse for most people whilst maintaining the wealth of the rich. They claim to be making ‘difficult decisions’ which include, incidentally, changing the highest band of tax from 50% to 45% whilst cutting sure start centres and welfare payments for the most vulnerable. George Osborne recently set out what he would do if he were allowed to set his own budgets without a Lib Dem influence which includes a further £50 billion of ideological cuts which would see the state shrink to a size last seen in the 1930’s. A chunk of this would come out of local government, effecting local services such as buses and walk-in health centres.

Recent revelations also suggest a party in complete disarray with Home Secretary, Theresa May reportedly ignoring orders from Cameron after he fired two of her special advisers. It has resulted in a stand-off with May trying to gather support for a leadership challenge, should the Tories lose the election. Can we trust these people to govern us?

Labour – A party trying to distance themselves from the previous Labour regime, but oddly containing many of the same members – Miliband, Harman, Balls, Burnham, Alexander and Benn were all part of the Cabinet that lead the country into the deepest recession in living memory. Do you want to go back to those dark days? More worryingly, the party seems void of new, innovative ideas. On the economy, they have no credible plan to balance the books, only the current account. There is no doubt, that under Labour, borrowing would increase and the UK’s economic recovery put at risk.

They also claim to be the guardians of the NHS, saying that they are the only party that can be trusted with it. Seems very strange considering that the first privatised hospital was Hinchingbrooke in 2007, under the Labour government. They also gave sweeteners to private firms looking to invest in the NHS, something reversed as a result of Lib Dem policy in the current government.

UKIP – A party beautifully described as ‘angry men in suits’ this week by Nick Clegg. Everything seems to be the fault of Eastern European, congestion, housing shortages, unemployment (which is falling!) among other things. On top of this they do seem to attract a wide variety of ‘interesting’ candidates with antiquated views including Roger Helmer, an elected MEP who once supported gay conversion therapy and is against same-sex marriage, along with Kerry Smith, a PPC who was recorded using offensive language towards Asians and homosexuals. Whilst these views are not necessarily the views of the party, the prospect of being governed by people like this is a worrying one indeed.

Greens – A party that has taken over the far-left, abandoned by Labour in the late 1980’s. They make big promises which upon further inspection are unachievable, At council level, they pledge to install cavity wall insulation in ALL houses, without suggesting how to pay for it. They promise to make the ‘living wage’ legislation, against the advice of the independent Low Pay Commission, thus effecting employment numbers. Whilst in principle, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats have quite a lot in common, we recognize that the economy and reducing public expenditure is as vital as maintaining public services.

SNP – A one cause party in denial. Their dream of Scottish independence appeared to over for another generation, but Alex Salmond has other ideas. Even though Scotland voted against independence, he is willing to jeopardise the prospects of businesses again by pushing for greater autonomy, through Westminster, pushing Scotland further away from the UK. No does not mean no to this party and voters should be aware that every move they make is geared towards one thing; independence.

So this leaves only one party…..the Lib Dems. Whilst mistakes have been made, largely due to only having 1/6 of the power in the cabinet, many of the policies set out in the 2010 manifesto have been carried out. The pupil premium, free school meals, taking 26 million out of tax the list goes on. When a pledge was broken, Clegg offered an unreserved apology – when have you ever seen a politician do that! In addition, Lib Dems ensured that average monthly repayments for graduates fell! So if you want a government that works for a stronger economy and a fairer desire without the ideological austerity of the Conservatives or the irresponsibility of Labour then voting Lib Dem is the way to go.

For more news on the Worcester Lib Dems follow our Twitter page, @worcesterlibs