Many women in Wyre Forest will be deeply offended by the inappropriate language and behaviour of their MP, Mark Garnier. Many women, and no doubt men, will also rightly ask is this any way for an elected representative to behave?
Unfortunately, it shows that we still have a long way to go to change the attitudes of some people in our society towards women if we are to become truly gender equal.
Sadly, it appears Mark Garnier has offered no meaningful apology, has shown no remorse by saying it is merely ‘high jinks’, and instead tries to blame the victim by saying she’s using it against him. It demonstrates not only his appalling views towards women, but an alarming lack of awareness on gender equality issues that raises wider questions about his abilities and judgement as an MP. Passing things like this off as a joke, as MP Diane Abbott says, is one of the reasons it is not effectively being tackled.
We judge our elected representatives by their actions, and whilst recent events shows sexism may be a wider non party political issue, this issue IS one for the people of Wyre Forest alone. Why? Because Mark Garnier has consistently voted in a way that highlights his lack of support for gender equality and you simply cannot separate out this scandal from his wider attitude towards equality and women. He has demonstrated consistently a level of hypocrisy between what he says publicly in his Shuttle Page, and what he does in Parliament. He has voted against equal marriage seeking to justify it based on a number of letters he received; but just as importantly politically, socially, and economically - he has voted for every measure of austerity and which by design has a disproportionally higher negative impact on women compared to men. Never mind what impact his votes have had on the disabled with the likes of the bedroom tax, or PIP, or closing services like women’s refuges and Children’s Services, or with Universal Credit, or the homeless, or our war veterans who make up one in ten of the homeless.
So, Mark Garnier is not representing ALL of his constituents equally, and this recent scandal highlights what we in Wyre Forest Labour Party have been saying about him, his hypocrisy, and his voting record in Parliament for a long time. That it takes a National Newspaper sex toy scandal to highlight to his constituents his dinosaur attitude towards women, should not however be allowed to detract from his failure to represent his constituents in Wyre Forest in a fair and equal manner. If nothing else, if he manages to hang on to his seat following this latest revelation, and we have previously called for his resignation on other issues, let’s hope people now start to scrutinise what he says and does locally far more robustly and hold him to account. Wyre Forest deserves better from its MP, and it’s up to everyone to demand that of him, otherwise he’s just going to keep getting away with it.
Wyre Forest Labour Party
Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Labour, commenting on Garnier’s weekly column:
"Seriously Mark, you’re blaming the demise of the carpet industry on the EU and cheap Belgian carpets? Cheap shot especially when carpet imports have remained more or less, recession aside, within an inflationary margin of similar value since 2004 only peaking back to 2004 levels since 2014. And what about child labour in carpet factories in Asia exporting here? What has the Govt done to combat that and challenge child exploitation to stop it for moral reasons, let alone what it’s doing to jobs here?
Cheap carpets maybe but not just from the EU. That free trade you champion, it’s caused cheap imports from all manner of countries outside of the EU (Asia, Turkey, China, India, Middle East) that have also hit us. The carpet industry has been in decline since the 70’s and accelerated under Tories in the 80’s as they decimated traditional manufacturing. Tastes have also changed towards hard flooring for instance, and since 2010 the current Govt of which you are part, have caused people’s wages to stagnate and wider economy to falter exacerbated by Brexit. People can’t buy what they can’t afford can they? But do carry on indulging in whataboutery and finger pointing to distract from the real issues as you conversely argue for such ‘trade’ on coffee.
And the coffee, yes, we should be doing what we can to support coffee growing economies through fair trade and other such initiatives. However, if it wasn’t processed here for instance, and it does provide UK jobs, what do you think would happen to those UK jobs in that sector? You seem to be preaching for free trade at the expense of UK jobs? I note you’ve been touring South America,(which actually does have processing plants - try Brazil) funny plugging coincidence that eh?
I think those in Wyre Forest who voted for you would sooner you champion jobs and trade for Wyre Forest, after all, it’s they who pay your wages as an MP.
And if you think ‘free trade’ really exists and our exit from the EU is suddenly going to mean other countries are going to open their doors to us, and risk damage to their own economy (eg USA) only to serve a Tory Brexit illusion, think on.
What we need is a proper industrial, financial, infrastructure, and jobs first strategy. And all we get is Tory chaos and egos vying for top Tory jobs. And from you.......misinformation about carpet industry, and ramblings about the coffee trade. Keep up the good work."
In today's Shuttle (28/9/17), our Tory MP Mark Garnier, takes the opportunity to once again ignore the issues of his constituents, instead focusing on London matters and Uber's licence.
Stephen Brown said "It is quite a remarkable column in support of a tax dodging multi-national found to have breached safeguarding rules and operator licensing regulations, not to mention one that has lost a court case for abusing worker rights. Indeed, Mark passes off serious sexual assaults it would seem, by its drivers, as mere 'infringements'. Mark is basically demeaning women and their right not to be assaulted in their daily life. But then he's one who doesn't think marriage in all forms should be equal either. Let us not underestimate the significance of this dereliction of duty in office of a publicly elected representative in safeguarding the public, all done so he can take a political pop at the Labour Mayor of London, who incidentally did not actually make this decision, TfL did"
"This is all done by Mark in aid of serving the bidding of his Tory masters, and political point scoring. One might ask the question of Mark, where's his support for those multitude of small taxi businesses and properly trained self-employed taxi drivers in London who follow the rules and pay tax without resorting to a race to the bottom? A recent business survey of Uber found 51% of its drivers worldwide work part time, less than 15 hours per week, and earn less than £300 per month, although there are no equivalent stats for London as these figures include London. The point is they undercut the competition, so drivers earn less than competitors, probably pay less or no tax, and Uber squirrels away it's 25% commission profit offshore to avoid tax. It's an international shark operation designed to kill competition, it is not simply a tech platform. That Mark doesn't understand that as he swans around the world talking about Shrimp exports in Ecuador is revealing in itself. You can't compare CD to digital sales and artist rights to what Uber is up to. Is Mark 'really' that stupid? What the Tories want is a low wage, low regulation economy and we know where that ends up - just ask anyone who lived in Grenfell".
Stephen's full response in The Shuttle comments and to The Shuttle is below.
However, it remains to be seen whether the media pick this up and treat it with the seriousness and significance it deserves given it affirms what we know about Mark, his Party, and no doubt the CCHQ message being circulated to all of its lapdog, uncaring, unthinking MP's who don't think women deserve protection from assault. Business as usual for the Tories then post the election, especially now that they have their unsavoury DUP guard dogs watching their backs in Parliament:
Stephen Brown comments in The Shuttle on Garnier's Uber comments:
"What a shocking column, and you may ask, again, what's this got to do with Wyre Forest? Mark's certainly well and truly sitting comfortably in that London elitist bubble ain't he.
So, again, Mark uses his regular column to preach yet more CCHQ propaganda as fact, this time taking a pop at Sadiq Khan, Labour London Mayor, and in the process defend the interests and practices of a huge tax dodging multinational business. This is Mark showing his true colours, he really should think harder before spouting this nonsense, but maybe he doesn't care, after all he's safe as MP for a couple more years isn't he.
Let's get a few things straight here Mark. 40,000 workers have not lost their jobs, Uber has appeal time, all it has to do is comply with every regulation every other taxi business has to abide by. They could also work for a different law abiding firm because if the business is there other cab firms have said they will take such people on. Indeed, there exists an alternative app too, and being improved, that has more regularised rules of compliance.
Uber is a tax dodging Goliath on the international stage, it is not just a tech app company. It is an employer, and it abuses the law to avoid its worker obligations by practising false self employment, and in case you hadn't been keeping up, it lost a court case about it. It also uses its global power to subsidise fares charging a whopping 25% commission to its drivers making them dependent on them in a form of financial usery. That's why, with its subsidy on fares, it can undercut other business. It's model is to seek and destroy competition. If it cared for its 'workers' it would not be advocating for driverless cabs in London either.
You may also want to look up the incidents of sexual assault committed by Uber drivers in London and importantly how Uber tried to hide that fact to stop it affecting its business. Are you seriously suggesting Mark that these are mere 'infringements' notwithstanding the employment law cases that because of technology are deserving of less serious status? And of course, there's the the tax dodging on an industrial scale.
I told you weeks ago that Uber also manages to circumvent local licensing rules outside of London that safeguard passengers. That could happen here in Wyre Forest. It can use drivers of cabs who may have been denied a licence in one town, and for very good reasons, who then get a licence because of system failures elsewhere in another town, and come back to ply their trade in the town they had their licence revoked in. Uber knows this but uses it to undercut local drivers and takes no responsibility because of their business model of self employment to flout the rules. No other business does this or is allowed to. A loophole in the law that needs fixing.
That our MP chooses this topic in the middle if it's own Brexit shambles and concerns by ordinary people about their future is staggering but sadly not surprising. Mark once again sides with corporate interests in a way that is an insult not only to the safety of Londoners, but to the concerns of his own constituents. So what if Londoners have raised a petition to save their own access to cheap fares? It says more about how they are struggling to make ends meet, like many of us, and the media has cynically tapped into this to attack the Mayor, aided and abetted by uncritical thinkers like Mark, to their own ends. I'd say people should be more interested in public safety, workers rights, and earning a decent living. This race to the bottom has to stop, as does support for it. Only then will we see wages and living standards improve. The gig economy is not something the UK should be proud of but it is what the Tories have made, and they'll do their utmost to protect it, including putting safety at risk and cosying up to tax dodging, safety flouting, workers rights abusing multinationals. Take that as a warning about post Brexit Tory Britain. This is not about technology changes it's about good old fashioned capitalism and abuse of people to earn a profit. At least we know where Mark stands on this, and it's not on your side".
Mark Garnier trots out the ususal debunked rhetoric in response to calls for a higher living wage for Wyre Forest workers
In the Shuttle of 7th Sept 2017, Mark Garnier responded to Labour's living wage claim in typically dismissive fashion quoting untruths.
This is Wyre Forest Labour's response from press Officer Stephen Brown:
Mark Garnier is a lucky man. Lucky that he gets to represent this great constituency. And lucky because he always gets 2 bites of the political comment cherry in print. He has his propaganda channel in the form of his weekly Shuttle column which he uses to attack opponents and propagate Tory mantra as fact and without challenge; he also gets the right of reply in these articles, again without challenge. No such luxury in print is afforded to anyone else.
So - let's clear some things up here with 10 facts about wages, austerity, debt, unemployment and the economy to bust the rubbish Mark continually spouts:
- Income Inequality fell under Labour between 2000 and 2005 and rose after the financial crisis and has not improved since. Working households are worse off especially the bottom 10% but the richest 10% have gained and the difference is set to be the highest on record.
- Labour's crisis, as he refers to it, was, in fact, a WORLDWIDE banking crisis caused by Mark's mates (he was a banker before being our MP so he'll obviously deflect from that) which lead to a bank bailout and bankers being jailed (e.g. In Iceland whereas in UK they get a bonus and taxpayers handout) because they over-lent in an inflated price market to people who could not afford it.
- The Banks were under-regulated and abused that fact see 2.
- Before the financial crisis the Tories wanted LESS banking regulation.
- Govt debt as % of GDP in: 2007 was 36% £527billion; 2010 was 60% £902billion; 2016 was 89% £1.8trillion. The Tories have doubled the debt even though our debt levels were less than France and Germany up to 2010 and were historically very low (fact). What have we got to show for this increase in Tory debt? A transfer of wealth from poor to rich, see 8.
- Every Tory Govt in history has borrowed more and repaid less back than Labour. A little nugget most people are oblivious to thanks to press bias dominated by Tory supporting Daily Mail, Sun etc.
- Tories inherited an economy on the mend in 2010. Tory Austerity broke that leading to years of debt growth, poor wages, and since 2010 the richest 1,000 families are now £400billion better off at £658billion; which is up 14% in the last year alone because Brexit is as good for them as the Tories are. The rest of us are not so lucky. Did you get a 14% rise last year?
- This shows that Tory austerity is a political choice not a necessity. It is designed to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich and it is working just as the Tories planned.
- Due to Tory austerity our wages have stagnated at 2008 levels, something Mark is quoted as being ok about. His party opposed the minimum wage originally and Tory policy falls well short of Labour's living wage policy of £10 per hour so we won't be taking any lectures from Mark. Austerity means we're more likely to have zero hour contracts, insecure and seasonal work, and under-employment in a weak economy. If unemployment was really as low as Mark claims, wages would rise because of supply and demand in a strong economy. He knows this but masks it and instead offers up platitudes about tackling low pay.
- Unemployment is so 'low' because the figures are now excluding thousands in Wyre Forest e.g. Sick & disabled. The actual unemployment figure is more like 7,000 not 758, so it's really more like 16% not the 1.8% unemployment level claimed.
Be under no illusions, Mark is a wolf in sheeps clothing who wants you to believe he cares and is doing something. He holds a Ministers job with Minster pay, he employs his wife, he is privately educated and was a banker; he does not share yours or the low pay pain of Wyre Forest, nor does he understand it. He is on to a good crack.
Wyre Forest deserves much better
Labour's living wage plan seeks to restore some equality to the wages of ordinary people. True equality won't happen until the Tories and Mark are given the boot, and we have a Labour Govt, with investment in our economy, and better protection for workers. Wyre Forest made a choice in 2017 to stick with Mark, he may not be so lucky at the next election when he runs out of excuses and runs out of time. I for one hope the good people of Wyre Forest see him for what he is and and finally send him packing. Wyre Forest deserves much better.
Every Tory Govt in history has borrowed more and repaid less back than Labour. A little nugget most people are oblivious to thanks to press bias dominated by Tory supporting Daily Mail, Sun etc.
The Labour Party have released an online calculator so that people can see how many workers in their area would be better off under Labour's plans for a £10 per hour living wage. In Wyre Forest, some 8,667 workers would be better off under Labour, or 24% of workers.
Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Labour says "In Wyre Forest, it means 24%, or 8,667 of the 36,000 employed workers would benefit from a pay rise under Labour. Something that would make a huge difference to people's living standards in Wyre Forest. Labour believes Wyre Forest deserves a pay rise. Wyre Forest has struggled with poor wages thanks to Tory austerity since 2010 and it must stop".
Stephen Brown went on to say "Meanwhile, Wyre Forest Tory MP Mark Garnier again misses the point in his Shuttle column by declaring Theresa May's 'public register' on top bosses pay will somehow make a difference. It won't. Only regulation will. It's mere window dressing, another Tory u-turn which shows they're the mouthpiece of the Corporations, many of whom avoid tax and have been given a huge tax and wealth windfall since 2010 - the richest have seen their wealth rise by 112%.
“I think most people in Wyre Forest are more concerned about paying their own bills, putting food on the table, and their own poor pay levels. It's a fact that top bosses earn 400 times that of those workers at the bottom on minimum wage. It's disgraceful but this is the system he, his Party, and his votes has created.
“Whilst Mark's right about the struggles and due rewards for small business and small traders, the Tories are not creating an economy for them to thrive. The average pay for the self-employed in Wyre Forest is even less than that of employed workers. The whole economic model the Tories have adopted of low employment regulation, low pay, insecure work, and tax dodges for the wealthiest is unsustainable.
“Only Labour can create an economy that works for everyone, offering local businesses an economy and investment that helps them thrive; and workers the prospect of something better than low pay & no job security with a £10 p/h living wage and better employment protection".
"What we've also seen under the Tories is the prospect of a soundbite inspired 'no deal Brexit' that will cost the economy and businesses dear. None of us can afford that. Nobody voted Brexit to be poorer, for less employment rights, and for a U.K. tax haven to benefit the very rich corporates that Mark now condemns. He's a bit confused on his position it seems, probably deliberately so because he takes his voters for mugs and is a master of political duplicity.
“Labour is now the only Party with a coherent Brexit strategy that respects the referendum, but seeks to mitigate against a cliff edge Tory Brexit. Labour's call to stay in the single market and customs union offers economic sanity. Something that as an option is possible despite Tory ignorance of the facts on it because they are a Party obsessed and possessed by extremist free marketeers. The Banking crash is an example of what these guys stand for. Ask Mark what he did for a living before becoming an MP. Don't be fooled again".
Wyre Forest has a declining working age population, some 4,000 less workers here since 2010. Yet surprisingly, it has not lead to rising wages as employers seek to offset that shrinking supply with better wages to attract workers, as you'd normally expect. Why? One reason is the false Tory unemployment figures of 760 in Wyre Forest which mask the true figure of around 7,000. So, there is still actually over-supply. Another reason is the over reliance of jobs in the retail sector, which is noted for its minimum wage, insecure work (zero hour contracts, temporary and seasonal) and lack of trade unions.
Pay has stagnated in Wyre Forest at the pre banking crash levels of 2008, something our Tory MP seems happy about according to his recent comments, and pay is over £100 per week less here than elsewhere in the West Midlands. You can see the true economic picture in our town centre which has a number of empty shops. Even by the most generous calculation, workers in Wyre Forest earn less than £20,000 per year and you just can't live comfortably on that or buy a house. That's why we have over 3,500 on the social housing waiting list, a figure again which masks the real figure of over 5,000 thanks to massaging of how such data and housing need is now assessed.
Mark Garnier in the election hustings promised to do something about improving low pay in Wyre Forest. In reality, he's done nothing and will do nothing except run job fairs which do not address the underlying problem of poverty pay in Wyre Forest. He should focus his attention on improving low pay rather than spouting propaganda about publishing top pay and pretending it will make any real difference to ordinary workers pay packets.
Mark Garnier fails again to discuss the pressing issues happening in Wyre Forest in his Shuttle opinion page
Personally, and for some time, I've questioned why Mark Garnier regularly fails in his Shuttle opinion page to discuss more of the pressing issues happening in Wyre Forest. It seems most of the time he prefers to talk about things going on elsewhere, or his Ministerial travels. Local people, I would think, might prefer our MP pays a bit more attention to what's going on in his own backyard with issues caused by him and his Party's Governmental failings and austerity; things like the Worcs NHS crisis, the social care crisis spilling over into the NHS, workers falling pay levels, insecure work, income inequality, inflation, and foodbanks.
To raise such policy matters and constructively criticise, as Labour does, is legitimate. Personal abuse is not acceptable, and no one in Wyre Forest Labour, so far as I know, has engaged in abuse. So, whilst Mark is correct to say the election in Wyre Forest was free from abuse, many might wonder why he's now talking about such abuse issues happening elsewhere? Especially, when in the same article, he's targeting Labour supporters as the source of abuse and not criticising some of the frankly disgusting articles appearing in the national right wing press about Corbyn and other Labour politicians during the election.
Let's not forget, that murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, who he mentions, had a killer who in part was emboldened by the same national right wing media and its frenzied coverage against foreigners, especially during the referendum debate, but he says absolutely nothing about that frenzied coverage.
Further, it's also relevant to ask Mark why he's peddling outright lies about Labour's General Election Manifesto saying we promised to write off student debt when we said no such thing. In my view, telling lies merely for political opportunistic reasons, which is what he regularly does in his own Shuttle column, is a form of abuse. It's abusing his position as an MP and the trust the electorate put in their MP to tell the truth.
I might also ask why, if he is so keen to stamp out personal abuse, he's retweeting stuff from a person (Guido Fawkes) who has been personally abusive towards Diane Abbott and other Labour MP's. My advice to Mark is that people who live in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones, and that he should be more careful about the company he keeps, even if it is on twitter.
It would be helpful to our local political discourse if he apologised for his remarks, otherwise, he's guilty of being part of the same abuse problem he claims to object to. The problem then might be for him, if others then choose to revisit abuse on him in consequence of his remarks, his objections might sound rather hollow.
Let's not forget, historically, he expressed a view of some of the Wyre Forest electorate as being 'dog-end voters'. Is that not a form of abuse too? He really ought to be more careful what he says. I think Wyre Forest really deserves much better from its MP who claims on his twitter account he's 'working for all Wyre Forest on every issue' because sometimes it appears he prefers to work for only some of his electorate, the wealthiest, or only those who agree with him.
Labour: We never pledged to write off tuition fee debts
Tory MP: we have no need to attract ‘dog-end voters in the outlying regions’
Stephen Brown, Labour's media spokesperson said "The Tories have been slowly dismantling, privatising and starving the NHS of vital funds. This is their way of getting rid of it to fulfil their ultimate aim of total privatisation. A vote for the Tories on June 8th could help make this nightmare scenario a reality, there is more at stake in this election than Brexit. We believe they would sell it to the highest bidder in their desperation for a post-Brexit trade deal with the USA if they're allowed to get away with it. Tory actions over the EU and USA TTIP negotiations demonstrated this. It was only Labour along with 25 Eurosceptic Tory rebels that stopped TTIP being able to hand parts of our NHS over to big business in the USA. To the best of our knowledge Theresa May was not one of these rebels and neither was our current Tory MP Mark Garnier".
Labour's view is that the Tories latest attempt to dismantle the NHS is called 'STP' - so called Sustainability and Transformation Programme. The NHS is short of £22billion and the Tories claim that this programme will somehow plug the gap. It won't because there is no extra money and contrary to Tory claims that this is a doctor and community lead programme - it is not. It is all being done behind closed doors. Services will close and so will hospitals and A&E departments. In common language this is a cover for more NHS cuts. So let's call it what it is, "NHS cuts". Cuts that further the Tory privatisation agenda on the NHS.
Labour's Parliamentary candidate Matt Lamb said "Labour will put an end to this Tory approach on the NHS. We will suspend all Tory A&E and Hospital closures. We will have a proper review of local services driven by need and not by cuts. Our NHS is the envy of the world, we are proud of it and so are our communities, and Labour will keep it intact and invest in it".
Labour's view is that Doctors, nurses, clinicians, local hospitals and managers in the NHS, along with local communities should make decisions on what services are required based on what is needed, and not on what services to end, close, or move miles away because of a lack of money. Locally, Kidderminster has already lost Hospital wards like Harvington and Wyre Forest residents have to travel further for treatment. This has to stop and Labour believes we deserve our services back.
Matt Lamb added "Labour last week announced a pay rise for nurses and a return to student nurse bursaries. This will help resolve the recruitment and retention problem in the NHS to keep our services working for local people. We also want tougher rules on staffing levels to improve patient safety too. If elected I will play my part in making that happen".
Stephen Brown summed up by saying "The Labour Party in Wyre Forest is passionate about our NHS and I along with my colleagues here have fought hard locally to protect services and have campaigned against NHS cuts for years. NHS cuts that our current Tory MP Mark Garnier has voted through in Parliament and prefers instead to blame on poor NHS management. The NHS crisis is one made in Westminster by the Tories, and only a Labour Government with Matt Lamb elected to Westminster can end this crisis".
Wyre Forest Labour welcomes the opportunity to fight the General Election and run our campaign based on the important issues facing our country and the constituency.
Labour offers an alternative to austerity and wants to save our NHS, improve social care, have better housing policy and invest in vital infrastructure to get Britain fit for the 21st Century with better pay, jobs and employment protection.
Labour opposes the Tory vision of a post-Brexit Britain as a corporate tax haven with low pay, low skills, and insecure jobs with handouts for the rich and yet more privatisation.
We will expose the Tory record on, including the part played locally by Tory MP Mark Garnier, in supporting policies designed to make life tougher for decent hard working families here in Wyre Forest with their cuts, NHS destruction, insecure low paid employment and their use of fake statistics to mask it. We will expose the claim that Garnier has already publicly made that because Wyre Forest voted Brexit, it seems the Tories should more or less have Carte Blanche to realise their version of what they think you voted for. No, sorry Mark, true democracy does not work like that.
This election cannot be allowed to be a Brexit referendum re-run. However, that is exactly what the Tories want it to be about because their record on the NHS, education, social care and housing is indefensible. Brexit has already been decided and Labour's goal is to get the best deal for the U.K. including access to the Single Market and Customs Union to protect vital jobs. The Tories don't care about these things, and by default they don't care that their version of Brexit will harm the very people in our working class communities who voted for Brexit. That is why Labour was holding the Government to account over the type of Brexit deal being sought - something Theresa May now terms "division". What she means is she can't stand anyone having a different viewpoint. She'd rather be a dictator. The British people did not vote Brexit because of their fears over unaccountable decision makers to have that replaced that with another type of unaccountable decision maker.
Theresa May has spent her entire political career under the radar avoiding responsibility. She doesn't want to engage in TV leader debates either. Why? What's she scared of? As Home Secretary she oversaw and was responsible for non-EU immigration figures being higher than EU migration yet she expects us to trust her on both Brexit and immigration now. She said she would not hold a general election, yet here she is calling one. She knew about and approved National Insurance increases despite a Tory manifesto commitment against it. She agreed that fixed term Parliaments were the right thing when enacted, yet here she is reneging on that at the first chance too. She tried to resist Parliamentary scrutiny on what type of Brexit deal.
Theresa May has a poor political nose on the big issues and cannot be trusted on them. On her watch, if re-elected, we may see the UK spilt, a hard Brexit damaging our economy, and more austerity hitting ordinary working families harder than ever. Labour wants something better than this vision for our country and believes we can offer it - one of hope, unity and fairness for all.
Why has she called this election? Because she thinks she can improve the Tory majority, that's all. It is not about what is best for Britain. Once again it is what is best for the Tory Party and what is best for Theresa May. Our country deserves much better. Our people deserve better. Theresa May is therefore a fraud and opportunist.
There will be much discussion about 'leadership' in this election. The question is, what leadership has Theresa May shown? None, she flip flops around to suit hers and the Tory Party agenda in order to stay in power and at any cost to the ordinary people whilst protecting the rich and the tax dodgers. She is a fraud and opportunist not a leader.
Labour will make this election about the issues, about policy, and not about re-running the referendum but we will seek the best Brexit for Britain. Ours is about the future, the NHS, education, housing, investment and infrastructure. Ours is about hope over fear, and fairness over privilege.
Details on who our Wyre Forest candidate will be, will be announced in due course.
Wyre Forest Labour Party
Let’s have the TV debates. It’s what democracy needs and what the British people deserve
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, responding to reports that the Prime Minister will reject any TV debates, said:
“Elections and democracy are about public debate. So it’s rather strange that only a couple of hours after calling for a General Election, the Prime Minister is saying she’s not going to take part in TV debates.
“I say to Theresa May, who said this election was about leadership: come on and show some. Let’s have the debates. It’s what democracy needs and what the British people deserve.”
Mark had £10,000 worth of donations in 2015 before and after the general election, and given to Garnier, presumably, as part of a bigger donation to the Tories from OGN Newcastle.
OGN is an Oil Platform company that sacked most of its 2,000 workers, was in the red, facing closure, yet managed somehow to make a huge donation to the Tories and which then got awarded a Govt backed contract in offshore wind farms worth £10billion. A deal that seems to rest on Scottish Power ordering £150million of turbines whose Spanish owners look instead now to favour their own nationalised ship yards in Spain and so again any deal is in deep bother.
Mr Temerko, a Russian (Ukrainian born) Oligarch wanted for fraud in Russia (and which a British Court Judge refused extradition to for 'political' reasons), owns OGN and was on the infamous list of "dinner with Dave Cameron for cash" in 2014 at £50k a pop. Mr Temerko has personally donated £265,230 to the Tories since 2010, while his wind farm firm Offshore Group Newcastle has given £220,425. In 2012 OGN also got a £4.5million grant from the Department for Business, though of course Tory sources insisted it was not linked to Mr Temerko’s donations.
Mr Temerko is a man with some rather unsavoury views having likened refugees to "insects" despite himself having been granted asylum here and who thinks refugees should not be allowed to stay in Europe.
Is this the kind of language and associations that our MP approves of when he's happy to receive such money?
Stephen Brown said "Why did Mark Garnier get this money? What's his connection with this company? What's he expected to do in return? If it was redirected from Tory HQ, why? He is now a trade minister and this money could represent a conflict of interest as he swans about the world stage doing deals in the wake of Brexit. It helped him win this seat in May 2015 as his Tory election spending outstripped everyone else's in Wyre Forest".
Unfortunately, this is the kind of vested interests the working people of Wyre Forest are up against in getting someone who truly represents their interests. Garnier should be standing up for them, rather than for the more unpleasant side of big business. So, as people struggle to make ends meet thanks to policies that Garnier is voting for, Mr Garnier has some questions to answer.
Stephen Brown further said "Interestingly, PM Theresa May, is now trying to distance herself from Mr Termenko yet whilst Home Secretary did nothing to alert colleagues to the dangers of pro-Russian Forums within the Tory Party that lead to such donations. She actually attended the kind of fundraisers that sparked the 'dinner with Dave" scandal herself along with many other Cabinet Minsters. All rather hypocritical. I'm calling for him to pay this money back! In fact, the Tories should pay all the near £500,000 back and clear out their closet. Especially as true to form, Mr Termenko has been holding out supportive olive branches to the PM. If she is truly trying to put clear blue water between herself and Mr Cameron's regime, then she should do everything in her power to get her MP's to pay this money back and explain why they got it in the first place".
The inside story of the Tory election scandal
Conservatives fined £70,000 and MP reported to the police following an investigation into election campaign expenses
PM faces by-elections nightmare after watchdog condemns Tory campaign expenses dodges for appearing to give candidates an unfair advantage
The Tory Government is imposing real terms funding cuts by freezing per-pupil funding while inflation and costs increase. The most deprived areas will be hit hardest.
The Education Policy Institute research found that under the proposed new formula even those schools which the government has said would benefit, would be worse off. This was because of inflation, reductions in local authority funding, and the £3billion worth of education savings that schools must make by 2019-20.
Using Government statistics, it is clear that even after the new Formula has been introduced, all schools in the Wyre Forest area will be worse off in real terms by 2020. The average real terms budget cut will be 9.5% in primary schools and 8.7% in secondaries.
For example, in Kidderminster, Birchen Coppice Primary will lose £250,000 or the equivalent of 7 teachers, whilst Baxter College will be £331,000 worse off equivalent to 8 teachers; and schools in Stourport and Bewdley will not fare any better with Bewdley School set to lose £303,000 meaning 8 teachers, with Stourport High School losing a whopping £741,000 which is 17 teachers.
Schools are already struggling with their finances. Budgets have been cut to the bone, class sizes have increased, subjects have been dropped from the curriculum and materials and resources are scarce. All this comes at a time of soaring pupil numbers and a developing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. Not to mention the loss of arts subjects like dance, drama and music in many schools.
The current Government was elected on a manifesto that promised to protect school funding. It seems we are about to witness another broken Tory manifesto pledge.
Stephen Brown said "Schools in Wyre Forest are set to be hit hard by yet more Government cuts. Cuts that ironically Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier campaigned for in 2015/2016 under the guise of a fairer funding formula after getting local schools and parents to support him. Our MP is a fraud, he claims to stand up for Wyre Forest but the growing evidence is quite the opposite, he clearly has no idea what he's doing and I think those local schools and parents now have a right to be very angry. He's even boasting about this nonsense on his website. He continually supports policies detrimental to our communities. We'd like Mark Garnier to explain how education cuts totalling some £4.3million in Wyre Forest and thanks to his campaign, are going to improve our children's life chances? It is a fact that 28% of our residents already have no qualifications. We should be championing education to improve our children's prospects not destroying them. Worcestershire is already 123rd out of 151 councils in the school funding tables and this will make things worse. This is how a Tory Government rewards its own MP's and constituencies, by robbing kids of their education for daring to speak up. Meanwhile, the Government has got money to throw at pet ideological projects like divisive new Grammar and Free schools to the tune of £320million, now we know where that money is coming from. They should be supporting what we already have. It's a disgrace".
You can see the exact funding cuts to each school where you live here:
How will your local school be affected by funding cuts?
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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39292344
Theresa May told her school cuts are forcing teachers to buy 'pens, pencils and paper' out of their own pockets