11 April 2010

On the campaign trail in… the Calder Valley

Not quite as exciting as the elections in Sudan, but the UK also has general elections coming up on May 6th. So just over a week ago (30th March) I thought I would email the candidates standing in my UK constituency (Calder Valley). Here is what I wrote:

Dear xxxxxx,

I'm supporting the ONE campaign's call for all the parties to go "On the Record" about their international development policies. What are your views on international development policy?

I'll also be emailing the other candidates and voting for whoever has the best answer.

Many thanks,

The candidates, according to the UK Polling Report, are: 
Craig Whittaker (Conservative)
Stephanie Booth (Labour)
Hilary Myers (Liberal Democrat)
Kate Sweeney (Green)
Greg Burrows (UKIP)
Paul Rogan (English Democrat)

Kate Sweeney (Green) and Paul Rogan (English Democrat) got back to me the same day.

Kate said:

You can find our detailed policy on
I shall be preparing a leaflet on this subject in the next week or so, and I'll e-mail you a copy. I'm away for the next few days so please bear with me till after Easter!

and Paul said:

I am not standing at either local or Westminster elections and have not formed a deep view on the subject which you have asked about.

My gut feeling is that, in the present economic situation all external expenditure is high on the list of cuts. Included in this is a withdrawal from the EU, closure of embassies and consuls.

For the record, what are your views?

The others… I’m still waiting. What was that about the “new media election”?


Matt said...

You're voting solely over international development policies?

MatGB said...

For what it's worth, I know that Hilary is swamped with emails from various campaigns and local supporters of them, and is trying to answer all of them when she has time.

But she also has a job and various other commitments, and the campaign proper hasn't started yet.

I'm digging on the party website for policy papers, but there are several that are related to your question and it's really not my field (constitutional reform and electoral systems are my expert area).

If Hilary hasn't got back to you in a couple days (or if it's been a week since you sent the email) then resend it to her, and we'll try to get back to you; this may be something she actually knows a lot about anyway.

(I'm on her campaign team, live in Brighouse, am convinced she'll make a really good MP, but if this is your single issue to vote on, obviously you want a comprehensive answer which I can't do directly yet)

Hilary Myers said...

Hi Roving Bandit, Sorry I haven't dealt with your enquiry yet. It is logged along with just over 100 others still awaiting a response. I finish work on Weds after which I hope to catch up. You're right it is a "new media election" but we have no new resources to deal with the flood of on-line correspondence! Bear with me. Hilary Myers, Lib Dem PPC, Calder Valley

Hilary Myers said...

Dear Roving Bandit,

Thank you for getting in touch with me about ONE’s Manifesto for International Development.

Liberal Democrats are committed to working towards a world free from poverty, inequality and injustice and meeting the Millennium Development Goals is a vital step. We will work with our international counterparts to ensure that the target of 2015 is met. We also remain committed to increasing the UK’s aid budget to reach the UN target of 0.7% of GNI by 2013 and we will enshrine that target in law.

We will hold the G8 to its Gleneagles pledges on aid, including on the 0.7% target. We will also support a Global Fund for social protection to help developing countries build viable welfare systems. We will prioritise health and education programmes aimed at promoting gender equality, reducing maternal and infant mortality, and restricting the spread of major diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

Liberal Democrats do recognise that financial aid is not necessarily the most important or effective way of delivering support in developing countries. Trade also has a vital role to play. We remain committed to increased coherence between UK development, trade, investment, migration and agriculture policies.

Coupled with this, Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of improving taxation and transparency and tackling corruption in the developing world. In our recent paper, Development in a Downturn, we set out plans to reform international financing systems by cracking down on tax havens, improving transparency and tackling corruption – particularly by making it harder for western banks and financial institutions to facilitate that corruption.

Liberal Democrats were deeply disappointed by the feeble outcome at the Copenhagen climate summit and will continue to push for an ambitious international agreement which delivers the $160bn needed by developing countries to deal with climate change. We are the only party to commit to providing funding for adaptation and mitigation measures on top of existing aid pledges.

We are committed to working with other countries to establish new sources of development financing, including bringing forward urgent proposals for a financial transaction tax and a cap and trade system for carbon emissions from aviation and shipping.

Liberal Democrats have a strong record at the forefront of the international development debate and our manifesto for this election continues that tradition.

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