Lib Dems fight against a boring, bland Benidorm in Liverpool

St Georges Hall

In 100 years this building will still be standing as an asset to our City whereas most of what we are building today will have been demolished

Lib Dems are seriously concerned about the type of development taking place in Liverpool and particularly in the City Centre. That is why we have put down a hard hitting motion to the next meeting of the City Council in November. Liverpool’s Liberal Democrats will call for the establishment of an “Architectural Standards Commission” to review the planning applications of all new developments in the City and try to drive up the quality of buildings being developed.

I believe that too much of what is being proposed and built in the city is poor quality design which smashes the proud architectural heritage of our City. If we are to enhance our role as a major European City which is unique and worth visiting we need to ensure that anything we build is of high quality, does not damage our existing high quality architectural heritage and which creates high quality new buildings which complement not detract from the existing buildings.

We want people to come into our City and know that they are somewhere special. Too many of our new builds could be anywhere in the World. They miss the ‘wow factor’ which is typical of the buildings of 150 to 100 years ago. If you look at buildings like the Grand Central student village which is one of the first buildings that visitors coming to the city by train see your vision is one of Stalinist architecture which is already showing itself as dirty as well as ugly. Our World Heritage Site which is an important part of economic and tourist revival is at risk unless the council recognises its importance.

Our city must not be allowed to become a boring, bland Benidorm. It must continue to be a place where that “WOW” factor of a blend of new and old buildings is a vital part of our competitive offer for tourism, investment and the enjoyment of local people.

The full copy of the Lib Dem motion to council is appended.

Creating a strong future by protecting the past

Council welcomes the fact that developers are continuing to show an interest in the City during the difficult times created after the BREXIT vote.

It believes however that the current wave of applications which are coming forward, as exemplified by the buildings being created at or near the Futurist site are buildings which do not build on the rich architectural heritage of the city and indeed in some locations threaten our existing heritage.

The aim of the City Council should be to create a unique cityscape which future generations will wish to cherish as the developers of the City in late 19th and early 20th century did. This concept of high quality uniqueness should cover not only the City centre and commercial and tourist areas but our residential areas as well.

Council believes that in order for the City to progress we must learn from the 60s when a dash for growth produced many buildings such as Concourse House at Lime Street and the spine blocks of Netherley which were loathed from the minute they were built and needed demolishing well before the end of their interned life span.

It has particular concerns about the number of student units which are being created at a time when it is highly likely that the numb of foreign and UK students will decrease not only in Liverpool but in the country as a whole.

It resolves to establish an Architectural Standards Commission charged with:

  • Examining the design standards of buildings being brought before the planning committee.
  • Advising on the development of sites adjacent to heritage buildings.
  • Preserving our World Heritage Status.
  • Creating Liverpool design standards for student accommodation which would enable such accommodation to be converted into none student accommodation if the anticipated reduction in student numbers increases.
  • Working with developers to encourage them to adopt higher standards of construction and more innovative designs to enable Liverpool to lead the way in residential developments of all types.

It asks RIBA, the Merseyside Civic Society and the architectural and planning departments of the Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University to work with the Council on this commission to lead a crusade of building design to ensure Liverpool’s place as a heritage city to visit for decades to come.

Posted in Liverpool, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are artificial 3G football pitches dangerous?


Has the FA done enough to ensure that its new artifical pitches are safe?

I  have written to the Mayor of Liverpool asking him to suspend the installation of artificial 3G football pitches that the Council is planning to install in 4 new football hubs in partnership with the FA.

In my letter I point out that there is clear concern in both the USA and Holland about the nature of the product. The pitches are made from reused rubber which is shredded and crumbed and it is impossible to track where the rubber comes from which means that there is a possibility that much of the rubber comes from industrial plant. Each pitch needs 120 metric tons of the product which is the equivalent of 20,000 used tyres.

In my letter Cllr Kemp makes 2 suggestions to the Mayor,”

“I believe that the Council should adopt the precautionary principle being adopted by the Dutch Government and EU. That means that no more pitches should be installed pending the reviews being made by the EU (and Dutch Government). In this case it would mean that the 4 football hubs would proceed without the 3G pitches.

If you are not prepared to do this I believe that the Council should, as a precautionary measure arrange for random chemical tests to be done for potential carcinogens on the product as it is installed and a guarantee that similar tests should be done on all product which is used to repair the pitches which regularly wear out and need replacement”.

There is another possibility that the surfaces could be created using a different but more expensive product which would cost £17,000 more per pitch – a budget increase across the 4 hubs of just £204,000. This is a relatively small increase in the budget of about £16 million for the programme

The full text of the letter is appended:

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW

07885 626913


Joe Anderson,

Mayor of Liverpool

By E-mail

17th October 2016

Dear Joe,

Re:       3G football pitches on the 4 Football Hubs

You may be aware that at the planning committee last Tuesday a number of objections to the two football hub applications were made on the basis of the potential danger of the nature of the composition of the 3G surfaces. For your information each pitch needs to have 120 metric tonnes of rubber crumb surface equivalent to 20,000 shredded tyres which is the major but not sole source of such ‘crumb’.

Of course the composition of the pitches is not, of itself, a planning matter so in many ways the objections at that stage were irrelevant. However since that time I have researched the matter and am writing to you to express my concern at what I have found. You, of course, can deal with this issue as the owner of the land and as the leading player within the joint company established with the Football Association.

It is clear that these surfaces can be dangerous. There has been much documentation of skin injuries caused by trips and falls on this type if surface but there is now a clear potential link to skin and other concerns caused by the composition of the surface based on the origins of the rubber and other products which make it up.

Research in the United States has shown that some cancers have been caused to some players who use the pitches regularly.

In Holland the Dutch Government has ordered an immediate investigation of these claims. Some clubs have already suspended their use of these pitches and 30 have begun the removal of the surface to be replaced with a conventional natural grass pitch. The Dutch FA have also agreed that further investigation needs to be made about where in the body substances used in the pitches can end up with the body.

The Europe Union has also ordered an immediate investigation of the claims. Clear advice has been given in Holland not to install these pitches until a full investigation is made. The FA in this Country claim that the product is safe but there are suggestions that a boy who played at both the Leeds and Darlington Academies has developed Hodgkins Lymphoma as a result of his exposure to the product. There is, of course, no way that the council or FA can track the original origin of the shred product.

In these circumstances I believe that the Council should adopt the precautionary principle being adopted by the Dutch Government and EU. That means that no more pitches should be installed pending the reviews being made by the EU (and Dutch Government). In this case it would mean that the 4 football hubs would proceed without the 3G pitches.

If you are not prepared to do this I believe that the Council should, as a precautionary measure arrange for random chemical tests to be done for potential carcinogens on the product as it is installed and a guarantee that similar tests should be done on all product which is used to repair the pitches which regularly wear out and need replacement.

I hope that you will agree with me that the health of our children, young people and local residents should not be put at risk by the use of a product against which there are clear health question marks. Carry on with the football hubs if you wish but do so in way which improves their health and does not detract from it.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Posted in Public Health | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

If you are wondering why you get e-mails from me at funny times?!


I’m visiting Bogota but I doubt that I will see  much of it!

Often I get told by my constituents that I e-mail them at funny times. Whilst I do keep funny hours the most usual reason for this is that I am in a funny time zone. That will be true for the rest of this week as at 4pm I am setting off for Bogota to represent the UK at the Triennial Congress of United Cities & Local Government often mentioned and described as the local and regional government’s UN.

I am now in my last year of this activity. I have been our rep on this body for 9 years and 10 years will be long enough for long trips to places where I will see little but the hotel and conference centre. It has been a privilege to be entrusted with this important role because UCLG is an important way of councils throughout the World coming together to both lobby on issues that matter to them and to share information and experiences. For the benefit of the Liverpool Labour Party I will be travelling economy class; staying in a modest hotel (although a better one than normal for security reasons) and not costing the Liverpool taxpayer a penny I will as always keep plugging for Liverpool in a range of meetings.

This meeting is a particularly important one. A lot of the Congress will be involved with preparation for the Habitat III congress in Quito the following week although I will not be attending that despite several requests to do so. Habitat III is a perfect example of why local and regional governments must work both on the agenda and the policies. Only a handful of morons (UKIP and Donald Trump) now deny the terrible effects that global warming is having on our weather systems and our ability to grow crops and live safe lives. We can see the worst effects of this in the hurricanes which are more frequent and stronger than they have been as they pound the Caribbean and the SE USA.

But what we see less of but which is probably more concerning in the long term is the expansion of the deserts and the shrinking of the ice caps. This World may soon become uninhabitable. “Soon” does not mean in our lifetime but perhaps in only 3 or 4 generations we may be unable to feed and care for the increased number of people who are living and will live.

Some will say that this is all about big government. Only they can set the policies and the agendas to enforce the massive changes in law, practice and culture required. That may be right but that does not mean that we should not try and influence them. Our role is to both do that and to implement what they say should be done. So Habitat III is about the practical lobbying from people who know how to get things done and the UCLG Congress is about sharing the practice that can deliver the big boy’s policies.

This is approach is summed up excellently in the manifesto of Ilsur Metshin the Mayor of Kazan who hopes to become the next President of UCLG. His manifesto sums it up in its title “Mayors that care Share!” His contention which I wholeheartedly agree with is that the best Mayors go out and seek best practice all over the World and bring it home to their own area. The fact is that we can all learn from each other. The problems of running a big City like Kazan are little different from running a big city like Paris or Liverpool. As Mayor Metshin says, “we all need to get the bins emptied; the busses running on time and the schools running properly”.

UCLG is a place where we leave our politics on the steps of the plane when we set off. I don’t like many things that happen in China, Brazil or the USA but we leave the geo-politics behind. We meet and discuss things in a spirit of quiet diplomacy. This diplomacy is increasingly important. Slowly the role of the national state is becoming less important. In the context of our own Liverpool City Region I have argued that we should consider ourselves a city state. I pose the question, “what if the ‘city states’ of Liverpool, Manchester and Northern Ireland with our many links and potentials decided to work together and bypass and wherever possible ignore Whitehall and Westminster?”

My answer is that if the right city regions in the UK decided to work together on the domestic agenda they could achieve much kin terms of investment and the provision of high quality services. If those same ‘city states’ worked together on the international scene by seeking partnerships with similar ‘city states’ where there is a joint interest we can achieve much in terms of practical diplomacy and the exchange of educational, commercial and industrial links that will benefit all our Citizens.

That’s why I have been get up a ridiculous hours or going to bed at ridiculous hours for the past 9 years – to ensure that the regional and local governments have their own safe place where such links can be created and such practical activities encouraged. UCLG is an organisation which is getting stronger and is now heavily respected by organisations like the UN; UNESCO and the WHO. It needs to do far more now to build its links with its local government base.

I will blog you from Bogota to tell you what’s going on. I hope that you will think it all worthwhile. I never complain when politicians go abroad to work for our Country. It’s no jolly or junket but a hard grind for 4 days. I actually think we should actually spend more time doing it providing we do it properly.

In the meantime stand by for Tweets and e-mails at funny times!

Posted in International Activity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hand Control of Liverpool Parks to local community and users


People who care for the parks like these campaigners for Sefton Park must be the ones to take the lead in developing those park’s future

Our Press Release

Liverpool’s Liberal Democrats have welcomed the long-awaited report on the future of Liverpool’s parks and green spaces. LIverpool’s Lib Dem Leader Cllr Richard Kemp said,
“We have argued for the past four years that parks would best be run by the people who use them and live near them. They alone can look after the parks and green spaces effectively in times of financial stress.

Together users and residents would be able to find acceptable additional uses for parks that would generate income. Together they can find volunteers that would supplement the work of hard pressed staff and contractors.

We are not sure why it has taken 15 months since the committee finished its public work  to reach the conclusions within the report. Lib Dem Councillors however are now pleased to get to work with local residents and users to ensure that the future of parks like Woolton Woods, Calderstones, Newsham, Walton, Croxteth and Sefton Park are secured. We would however oppose any attempts to put all the parks and green spaces into one Trust as this would change the relationships that are vital to make parks a success”.

This was our immediate response to the publication of the report. We will now ensure that the report gets circulated to all Friends of Parks, Community and amenity groups and will try to ensure that there is a local consensus for all future discusions about our Parks and green spaces. We will continue to campaign against the sell off of parts of Calderstones and Sefton Parks.

Posted in Liverpool City Council | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Which is the ‘Nasty Party’ in 2016?


UKIP leadership contenders gathering for a pre hustings chat!!

So the Party Conference season is over and I am not sure that we are much the wiser about the where the Parties sit in terms of both their own comfort zones and the policies which they espouse.

Let’s start with the obvious donkey – UKIP. After a fractious conference and a barely supported leadership election a Leader was elected who resigned 18 days later! Nationally their vote in local elections has gone into freefall although they might just gain a seat in unusual circumstances in one today. Locally they have ceased to exist in any real form and are simply no challengers. They only had one policy and they have achieved it. So what are they for? Their policies have now largely been subsumed by the Tory Party which gives another reason for their imminent obsolescence.

The Green Party may or may not have had a good Conference. We weren’t told anything by the press except that what’s her name the previous leader has been replaced by two half leaders! Thingummy-bob from somewhere is one half and Caroline Lucas their only MP is the other half! They too are suffering badly in council by-elections not even contesting more than half the seats coming up. Their vote is in decline and on their own figures their membership is down by 10,000 since December. Why they continue to exist when Momentum and Corbyn have stolen most of their half-baked economic policies is beyond me.

The Labour Conference was great fun for Lib Dems. It’s the only political conference that I have seen where there was more security in the hall than outside it! Corbyn stormed through in the leadership election but I suspect that this will solve nothing. 80% of Labour MPs think he is useless. Some of those might agree to serve in the Shadow Cabinet but only because they will seek to make the best of a bad job. There is no love lost for Corbyn in much of the established Party with a clear vote against him by the experienced members who served the Party and their communities before the mass joining of 2015.

The Boundary reviews will hasten the demise of many MPs who are already looking for a life after 2020. The first signs will be seen in the adoption or not of councillors for local elections. I already know of 2 Labour councillors in Liverpool who have decided to step down at the next set of elections in 2018 because they assume they will be deselected anyway by Momentum led constituency Parties, especially in Riverside.

Parliament resumes next week so you might have thought that Mr Corbyn would want to try and reassemble his shattered Shadow Cabinet in readiness. Instead the popular children’s book “Where’s Wally” was converted to a new political thriller, “Where’s the Wally!” Corbyn was eventually traced wearing sandals and socks on Hadrian’s Wall whilst the rest of the Partty slumbered on without him!

The Tory Party though clearly claims the crown for nastiness. About 10 years ago Theresa May stunned the Party by pointing out that it was seen as the Nasty Party by so many people. Now she leads a Party that is even nastier. She knows the destination of the UK under her leadership – its 1950! Grammar Schools which created an elite and sorted kids into sheep and goats at the age of 11; naming and shaming companies which employ foreign workers; a hard Brexit which will lose easy access by the UK to our major market of the 27 remaining EU Countries; abandonment of human rights. All these and more are part of the rubric for regression which May announced.

But in the real World the Tories are doing badly. They are the big losers in post Brexit by-elections and interestingly 80% of the Lib Dem gains since then have been in areas which voted Leave. Perhaps there is a coalescence of Remainers who realise that Leadership in this area is still possible for those who believe in the European ideal.

So let me turn to the Liberal Democrats. It’s important that we temper our optimism with realism. This year has been an excellent year for us. I cannot report on a leadership election because we haven’t had one! In England after gaining a notional 45 Seats (BBC figures) in May we have stormed through currently having 9 gains and no losses since June 23. BUT we lost the referendum. Lib Dems were the only Party united on this issue. We had no need to fall apart because of that unity. We still have only 8 MPs and at times despite the best efforts fot hsoe 8 struggle to hity the national headlines. BUT the newspapers are beginning to comment on two things. Firstly they are picking up those gains in local elections. Secondly they have noticed the huge rise in membership.

Our membership increase is unbelievable. It is now at the highest level this century. In Liverpool we have more members now than when we controlled the Council. Many of those are becoming activists and will challenge for council seats in the next 2 or 3 years. It is interesting how they have joined us. A huge wave after the General Election; a huge wave after the Referendum. A small wave after Corbyn was re-elected with 300 joining us, almost all Labour members or supporters within 3 hours of the Corbyn victory. A small wave during and after the Tory Conference. Of course there are also small numbers coming in on a daily basis.

I have never seen anything like this in the 50 years I have been a Party member. Not only do we have new members but the surge has brought us experienced and committed members who know what campaigning is all about and want to get on with it in partnership with their new colleagues.

All of which leads us to WITNEY following the desertion of their former MP one dodgy Dave Cameron. I cannot go because I will be travelling overseas next week but people from Liverpool are going. It was great to see a picture of a long queue of Lib Dems waiting to get into the HQ to pick up their work be it delivering or canvassing. In Liverpool we are enthusiastically telephone canvassing and will have our HQ open all day on 20th October to telephone knock up. Donations have also been sent!

The fed back I am getting is very positive for a good result. The people I have spoken already know the candidate although I was not speaking to people in her ward. She has a good reputation and is clearly thought of as a champion for the wider area. But I sense something else as well. A lot of Witney people want to give someone a good kicking. I have spoken to former Tory, Labour and UKIP voters who will be voting Lib Dem on 20th. For the past 6 years it’s been the Lib Dems who above all received the kicking in Parliamentary by-elections! Not this time.

A good result will help turn the tide in perception by the media and general public. Far more votes have already been cast in local by-elections than will be cast in Witney but with a Westminster centric media its Parliamentary by-elections that attract the national headlines. We will come out of the by-election well. Good news leads to more good news and I am very confident as we approach the elections for the English Counties next May.

The Liberal Democrats have turn the tide. We are nowhere near as strong as we were prior to 2010. But a Party that’s united and going upwards as we are; a Party that is attracting the attention of the pro-European and progressive thinkers as we are can go a long way!

Anyone seen how the Liberals in Canada did it there?! Yes I thought you had!

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the truth about Council’s airport purchase?


Liverpool Airport in which the Council does not have a stake!

For some time my Lib Dem colleagues and I have been concerned about the purchase by the Liverpool City Council of ‘shares in Liverpool Airport’ that was announced earlier this year. My colleague Cllr Andrew Makinson raised this on two occasions and amazingly got different answers about what exactly we had bought.

In March 2016 the Council was very clear about its purchase. The extract below is from Liverpool Express an official council mouthpiece which parades as an independent blog. It made clear in the extract below that the council had bought a stake in the airport. Well and good you might think. Whether you think that the purchase was a good one or not it was clear what we had bought into – we now had a 19.9% stake in the airport.

“Council invests in future success of Airport

March 15, 2016

Liverpool City Council has formally signed an investment deal with Liverpool John Lennon Airport to help it continue to grow into the future.

The airport has seen an increase in passenger numbers, airlines and destinations served over the last year and now the council has become part of two joint venture companies to invest funds on the basis that it will make a commercial return.

The council has acquired a stake in the airport in the form of shares and the investment will be used to further improve facilities for passengers and airlines and maximise the opportunity for the Airport and City Region to be a key gateway for the Northern Powerhouse”.

Unfortunately the Council’s statement in Liverpool Express was incorrect. As can be seen by the answers given to me at the September council meeting below the Airport is owned by Liverpool Airport Ltd. We have shares in another company Liverpool Airport Intermediate No 1 Ltd. We have 19.9% of the shares in this company which is an interesting figure. If we had 20% of the shares we would have a right to have a director in the company. At 19.9% we can only have a share if the majority shareholder allows us to.

Question to the Mayor of Liverpool

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE



My colleague Councillor Makinson has been given two different explanations of our relationship with Peel Holdings and Liverpool Airport.

Would the Mayor confirm:

  1. The name of the company in which the Council has a 19.9% stake.
  2. Is this the Company which owns the assets of the airport?
  3. Is the remaining 80.1% owned by a UK based Peel Company or an offshore one.
  4. If the Company is a UK based one what body is its ultimate owner?
  5. Has an independent review been taken of the intra and intercompany charges between this company and the others within Peel which will establish the profitability of the company on an ongoing basis?


  1. Liverpool Airport Intermediate No. 1;
  2. The assets are owned by Liverpool Airport Ltd;
  3. The company is registered in the UK;
  4. The ultimate owner is Liverpool Airport Finance Ltd;
  5. Yes.

So who does own the other 80.1? It’s yet another company called Liverpool Airport Finance Ltd. All these three companies are UK registered for tax but I have no idea which company is the ultimate owner of Liverpool Airport Finance Ltd or indeed Liverpool Airport Ltd. Nor could I hope to find out.

The facts are that all these companies are ultimately owned by some part of the massive Peer Holdings chain. As the indefatigable former Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle points out in his report ‘Liverpool or Liverpeel’ this company has more than 480 interlinked companies with some HQs in a number of countries which operate very tax beneficial schemes for companies of the likes of Peel. They exist to maximise tax avoidance.

Tax avoidance, as distinct to tax evasion, is not illegal. There are sometimes good reasons why an international company will need to keep some of its cash offshore to be ready for investment and trading opportunities in a global market.  But tax avoidance is the most common reason for such complex and multiple operations.

This whole affair seems to raise four basic questions?

  1. Why does a company of this size need the relatively small amount of money which the council has put in?
  2. Why did the Council say it had bought a stake in the Airport when it clearly has not done so?
  3. Did council officers actually know what they had bought when they issued the Liverpool Express note and associated press release.
  4. Should a supposedly Socialist (or indeed any other type of council) invest in a company which is part of such a complex structure set up for tax avoidance and other purposes?

Lib Dems would not have made this investment. We want John Lennon Airport to succeed but do not feel that taxpayer’s money (and we all bear the risk in this) should have been put into this Company. We can think of many high quality Liverpool based and UK taxpaying firms which would have been a more appropriate place for the council to put up risk capital for long and medium term investment.

Perhaps one day we will get some answers to these questions which I will be tabling at the next Council meeting. Watch this space!

Posted in Liverpool City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

America Don’t Do It!!


If I had a vote it would be for Hillary Clinton

Some people might wonder why I am commenting on the USA elections when I am a politician and citizen in the UK. Well there are two reasons. Firstly I have noticed that there have been more than 2,000 hits on my blog site from the USA already this year so I might just influence one or two people. Secondly however, the election in the USA will affect the rest of us just as the UK BREXIT vote caused tremors through the world economy and could do even more damage.

In my previous blogs about the USA I have always made clear that I am a critical friend. On my visits there I have been struck by the friendliness shown to visitors and the respect shown to our Country. I don’t believe that we should have followed you into so many wars but generally we stand together on the right side of the line. I am amazed that a so-called civilised country can allow almost unrestricted gun sales and allows capital punishment often of poorly defended people with limited mental capacity. I am amazed that a wealthy Country should so viciously debate free health care for all its citizens. BUT I do like you honest!!!

So I watched the first Presidential Debate with incredulity. I concentrated on listening to Donald Trump because he is a phenomenon that I find fascinating. The question that most of us ask over here (which was the same we asked about Sarah Palin) is, “How can such a stupid and nasty person possibly be a contender for the highest elected position in your Country?”

Someone here has analysed the speech patterns of Trump and apparently he has the speech patterns on an 11 year old. He seems unable to speak in complete sentences. He seems unable to keep the thread of a conversation going. He has little knowledge of the world outside America; how it works; who its key players are. He has no policies at all for inside your Country. He comes over as a charmless, racist buffoon.

We know that in this Country have has not kept his word. In at least three places in Scotland promises were made about building hotels etc around golf complexes which have not been delivered. He started off with money and has kept money but there is no evidence that he has made new money. We do not have a tradition here of publishing our tax returns when running for public office. In your Country there is such a tradition. There is no legal reason that he cannot do so but he refuses to do so. That must show a problem with his leadership and his concept of openness and transparency.

You may say that we have a Trump of our own – Nigel Farrage. But there are two differences. Firstly that Nigel Farrage would never have been selected by a credible Party as its candidate for high office. The second is that detestable though I find the man he is not illiterate or innumerate. He can string whole sentences together and he knows his maths although he chooses to ignore the results of it!

The USA like most of the developed world is suffering at least some crisis in its democracy. During most of the time that I have been in politics (50 years next April) most people have been part of an upward spiral in living standards, education and quality of life. For many of our citizens that spiral has at best plateaued and at worst has begun to spiral down. No wonder that people are looking at extremist people and crackpot notions as they see the very rich getting very much richer; the rich doing OK; the middle classes stagnating and the working classes falling behind.

Our societies must address that problem. When the top 1% of both our populations own as much in terms of wealth and assets as the bottom 50% there is a serious problem of distribution. You don’t have to be a communist or even a socialist to know that there needs to be a better, fairer distribution. A stable society is own where most of the needs of most of its people are met. Needs include a decent house, a decent job; a decent education; a decent environment. These things and more with a little left over for a holiday and some cash for relaxation.

The brash Anglo/Saxon way of doing things exemplified by your Country but glorified in ours does not leave to individual or community satisfaction. We need to learn from the Nordic Countries where a higher taxation level with less tax exemptions for the wealthy allows for better public services and for the highest levels of satisfaction with life in the developed world. Perhaps we could take that learning curve together?

I have no doubt that the election of Donald Trump will cause major problems in the relationships between your Country and most fog the rest of the World. Treating other Countries as American satraps will not develop joint working and cooperation required to develop trade and peace.

Hilary Clinton might not be the best ever candidate but she is sane, credible, knows her stuff and is well regarded outside the USA. Yes she is, in some ways, the establishment candidate. Sometimes however, being establishment does mean that you know how things work; how to get things done; when to be forceful; when to give way. It means that you have been thinking about a lot of things for a lot of time. Your conclusions might not always be right but they are hopefully informed and rational.

Okay rant over. It’s your decision not mine. It’s your Country not mine. Bur be aware that the World is looking to you as you make your choice. We are concerned about how it will affect us. We do hope that Hilary Clinton, the continuity candidate, will be the one that prevails.



Posted in International Activity | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment