A collaborative blog for Current Affairs and Policy Debate

My Five Most Important Issues

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

By Stephen Wan

When it comes round to election time, political parties have to have a bewildering number of stances on a bewildering number of issues, not only because they are trying to appeal to a huge and diverse electorate with many different interests, but also because they are fighting to become the next government, where they will be facing these problems en masse. It is an obvious, if unfortunate, fact that people simply do not care about every single policy a political party comes out with or supports – pet passports is one that doesn’t strike me as the most critical of issues. The reasons a voter supports a party will inevitably fall down to just a few key issues; ask anyone, including yourself, why you support a party, and I bet only a few policies will be talked about.

So, instead of pretending I am an omnipotent part of the intelligentsia who knows and cares about every issue, I will present my five most important issues that I want a political party do deal with. I’m still an undecided voter, with a choice in Feltham & Heston between Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, English Democrats, Green, UKIP and the BNP, and the issues I’m about to talk about, in ascending order of importance, will determine where my vote will go.

5 – Education

As someone with a bit of a vested interest considering I’m going to be in Further Education for the next three years, one of my top five issues is education policy, and how much a political party is going to support schools as well as ensure the system helps the least well off. Education is the best way to achieve social mobility, as well as creating a more equal society by extending opportunities at the very start of life. There is also a very intrinsic value in learning and education, that should be available to all, because it creates a better, more fulfilling life. Further Education is also the best way to keep Britain as a cutting edge, economic competitor internationally, where it would be surprising to see that eventually our biggest export being graduates with skills and talents.

Ideally, I would like to see education set as one of the highest spending priorities on the government agenda, with funding rising or at the very least, constant in real terms. However, there will be spending cuts inevitably, and these will have to affect educational institutions. I want a political party to ensure that any cuts that happen minimises the effects on front-line teaching.

I used to be particularly anti-private education, but over time in consideration, I don’t see an alternative, and overall taking students out of public education does increase the amount remaining for the other students.

4 – Cutting the Deficit

There is a huge gap increasing between the income and expenditure of the government, and if there was a lowering of the credit rating for the UK government, it would become a major problem for us now and in the future. I don’t think massively taxing the rich is a good way to go about it; it does need to be met with a combination of a reduction in public spending and increased taxation.

One area which could be cut, and here is where I completely disagree with the Conservatives, is on the National Health Service, where too much money is being poured in – almost £120billion a year now. Whilst health is of obvious vital importance, when I see the central government education budget is just a third of that, at £30billion, I think we’ve gone too far (although admittedly local funds does push education spending up to £84billion).

3 – Constitutional Reform

The way this country is run is currently unacceptable. It’s not fair that 16 year olds are treated in adults in some senses, like paying for adult tickets, but not in others. Reducing the voting age to 16 is a policy I would support. I also want to see an elected House of Lords, and Alternative Vote in the House of Commons.

2 – The Environment & Global Warming

The environment is simply too important for us not to take action. Climate Change is going to be one of the biggest issues for us, and something needs to be done. I would vote for a political party that makes protecting our earth and using it sustainably and responsibly, and takes global warming seriously.

I would like to see a political party embrace a diversity of different energy sources, implementing more cap and trade carbon emission schemes, banning the most polluting machines/cars/industries.

1 – Social Justice

Social justice is the idea that in general good things should happen to good people, and bad things should happen to bad people, on a social scale – applying what is right through society and law. In this sense, there needs to be a redistribution of wealth, to ensure an equality of opportunity where people succeed or fail based on themselves only. The government should seek to help the least well off, the discriminated against, minority groups.

I went through that a little quickly, but there we go – what my biggest five issues are.

So, what about you?

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