Sunday, 12 April 2015

12th April 2015 Politics Podcast

Here is our latest politics podcast. It is hosted by North West Durham Labour activist Malcolm Clarke and the Labour Party Candidate for the Hexham Constituency for the May 2015 General Election, Liam Carr.

This week I am joined by Fraser Tinsley the Labour candidate for the Willington & Hunwick Division and Hexham's Labour Candidate Liam Carr. We discuss Tony Blair, Non Doms, NHS, campaigning and much more. Please press play to listen to the podcast or subscribe via our talkshoe page by clicking this link.

Our political podcast is available on iTunes where you can subscribe FREE by visiting their iTunes store. Click here to subscribe to our Politics Podcast on iTunes. There is no better way of ensuring you do not miss a show as any new shows as they will automatically be downloaded to your computer each time you open the iTunes application.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen in and we hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

My Views on why you should Vote Labour

Here is my short video on why I will be voting Labour and why you should too.

Click here to go to YouTube and view the video there.

29th March 2015 Politics Podcast with Malcolm and Liam

Here is our latest politics podcast. It is hosted by North West Durham Labour activist Malcolm Clarke and the Labour Party Candidate for the Hexham Constituency for the May 2015 General Election, Liam Carr.

This week we discuss the first of the TV debate series where Cameron and Miliband received a grilling from Jeremy Paxman and a studio audience. We also discuss other issues including Liam's adoption meeting and campaign launch. Please press play to listen to the podcast or subscribe via our talkshoe page by clicking this link.

Our political podcast is available on iTunes where you can subscribe FREE by visiting their iTunes store. Click here to subscribe to our Politics Podcast on iTunes. There is no better way of ensuring you do not miss a show as any new shows as they will automatically be downloaded to your computer each time you open the iTunes application.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen in and we hope you enjoy it.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Wellbeing at Work is Important

Wellbeing at work is really important. In today's business world, the pressure to get a job, perform well and impress your employers on an ongoing basis is difficult. I've suffered from stress at work and one of the easiest things in the world to do is to forget to look after yourself if you are worried or stressed.

Here is a video from my friend Dave Algeo, the "Stress(ed) Guru", who along with Michael White of Posture Team discuss in detail some quick tips about posture in the workplace so you are not hit with painful and untimely back problems at work, leaving you to concentrate fully on maximising your productivity and performance at work.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

8th March 2015 Politics Podcast with Malcolm & Liam

Here is our latest politics podcast. It is hosted by North West Durham Labour activist Malcolm Clarke and the Labour Party Candidate for the Hexham Constituency for the May 2015 General Election, Liam Carr.

This week the battle about the format, frequency and political make-up of the TV Debates is the main topic. We also discuss pension policy and our campaigning day in Burnopfield and Corbridge last weekend. Ps. Please press play to listen to the podcast or subscribe via our talkshoe page by clicking this link.

Our political podcast is available on iTunes where you can subscribe FREE by visiting their iTunes store. Click here to subscribe to our Politics Podcast on iTunes. There is no better way of ensuring you do not miss a show as any new shows as they will automatically be downloaded to your computer each time you open the iTunes application.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen in and we hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

1st March 2015 Politics Podcast with Malcolm and Liam

Here is our latest politics podcast, our first of 2015. It is hosted by North West Durham Labour activist Malcolm Clarke and the Labour Party Candidate for the Hexham Constituency for the May 2015 General Election, Liam Carr.

We discuss Labour's pledge to reduce tuition fees, the 10 year anniversary of the hunting ban coming into effect, a recent FBU Strike and our views on 2nd jobs for MPs. Please press play to listen to the podcast or subscribe via our talkshoe page by clicking this link.

Our political podcast is available on iTunes where you can subscribe FREE by visiting their iTunes store. Click here to subscribe to our Politics Podcast on iTunes. There is no better way of ensuring you do not miss a show as any new shows as they will automatically be downloaded to your computer each time you open the iTunes application.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen in and we hope you enjoy it.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Why I Think People Struggle with Politics

I dislike "easy" statements like "politicians are all the same". They are not the same and any cursory glance at policies, positions and values would understand that. Journalists trawl the streets and they ask people what they think of politicians. They get a standard reply of "they are corrupt" or "they are all the same" or “they are only in it for themselves" and so on. Ask any of these people to elaborate and they are unable to. Ask any of them why they do their job and the answer you will get is “to get paid”. So we are all in it for ourselves really, if we are honest. Normal responses like “they try their best” or “I belong to x, y or z party” are not reported. It's anti-politics that is the story.

Disregarding something and demeaning it is easy and can be done by anyone about anything. Taking a populist position is also very easy. Opposition to anything is easy. Being out of government is easy as you blame the government for anything unpopular and associate yourself with anything popular. The era of spin and political "smarts" by bloggers and self-appointed backseat drivers with flowing opinions has caused more confusion. What are the facts? Who is 'right'. The truth is everything is up for debate and people need to make up their own mind. Many do not wish to make the effort.

I can identify with these people, I used to experience similar confusion. I recall once being unsure about who to vote for. I come from a working class and naturally Labour voting background but I've always had my own opinions. I disliked the idea of voting by default so I obtained a copy of each main political party manifesto and following a read through each one I planned to vote for the one I agreed with the most. As I read them I found that I agreed with all of them. That confused me. I later realised this is because all of the manifestos make sense, they are written in a way to connect with people and make sense. As a voter you have to read between the lines and think about the effects and consequences of the pledges. The only way I could find a party to really follow was by my overall and very general principles. This requirement costs voters as most people don't read the manifestos and most do not think about politics long enough to form a sensible view.

My political opinions come from my own beliefs. I believe in absolute fairness and the ability to become whatever you want to be in life. The state should provide an equal footing whereby achievement is based on application and talent. We should not stifle achievement nor should we harbour fecklessness. I believe in that infamous political buzzword, aspiration. Long before politicians talked of ethical capitalism I found myself very moved to anger when reading Tesco, for example, calling £2.2 billion profit 'bad news' and cutting jobs because their shareholders dividends did not get larger. I believe in people being protected from poverty in a prosperous economy. I also believe politicians are fallible and sometimes inefficient. So are the rest of us. Therefore I do not chastise politicians simply because it is too easy.

I suppose this is why I do not like the anti-political parties or populist one issue parties like the Greens. They seek votes because they are not other parties which is dangerous. They play on the fact people vote for who they do not want e.g. “I'm voting Labour because I don't like Cameron.” And vice versa. All parties receive this support with open arms, but a vote against someone is a vote for someone else and a shocking percentage of voters have no idea what they are voting for. I dislike tactical voting for the same reason. It undermines democracy. UKIP courts the vote of people “disillusioned with mainstream politics” and have positioned themselves as the party of the anti-establishment voters. UKIP gladly collect those votes and walk a cleverly spun tightrope of “not being rascist but offering an electoral home to those disillusioned with immigration”. All of this spin confuses voters.

I am not someone who has voted Labour all my life without thought. I took the time to consider where my vote would be placed and whilst I can say that I always voted Labour, I did so conscientously and was open to changing if I saw a better option or became alienated. So far I am loyal to the cause and believe I will remain so. I eventually joined the party to participate in the political process as an alternative to sitting at the sidelines doing nothing and having plenty of easy opinions. I leaflet, I join in and help because I believe Labour is the best choice for the country. I note that nastiness that surrounds it with disappointment. I prefer not to have this sort of negativity in my life. Life is short and I prefer not to associate with people who write nasty emails to people. They are unpleasant. Newspapers excuse this behaviour, I find rudeness rude and unnecessary.

There is a dark side to politics. I come across so much ignorance from the public I wonder why anyone would want to become an MP. Thank God for ambition and ego, because no-one in their right mind would subject themselves to such disgusting vitriol as MPs (and some councillors) experience. Letters are sometimes received that require police intervention. Otherwise nice people show a nasty side when the world politics is mentioned. I have witnessed people who used to be my friends or neighbours visible change when I say who I work for or what I do for a living.

I do wonder why people think being a smart-alec looks good. My life would need to be pretty boring to write a nasty letter to an elected representative and then feel good about it. These people must have nothing positive in their lives at all. I like to think some of them are just writing almost as a joke and are generally positive people, it is hard to tell from one email. I have an approach where if I feel strongly enough about something I try and get involved, I do not just sit at the side criticising those that do. I am massive believer in putting yourself into the firing line if you believe in something.

With this high level of negativity surrounding politics I believe this is a factor amongst many other factors that answers another of politics key questions. Why do women not get more involved? Labour have been forced to abitarily force all women shortlists to candidate selections. Many women simply dislike the negativity surrounding politics. Unfortunately it is mostly men (I'd say 75/25) who write the silly emails and nasty comments, but not only men. I am certain that quality female people are put off by the nastiness.

Spin is also an issue. I do not think Blair invented it, but he understood the power and Blair/Campbell/Brown perfected it's use within the 24 hour press frenzy. Their ability to spin a line caused additional confusion and disaffection as people were frightened of their ability to control the press. But they were and are not the only exponents. When the SNP spun a decisive defeat in the referendum into an apparent success and look like winning seat after seat at the upcoming General Election, they are the modern press machine. The SNP effectively spin anything good in Scotland as a personal SNP success story and anything negative as the horrible Westminster government preventing Scotland from moving forward. The reality is the SNP do both good and bad things like all political parties and everything is relative to your own opinions and how it effects you. As an interesting sidenote, will the people of Scotland who vote SNP but voted 'No' in the recent independence referendum allow the SNP to gain independence through the back door and will their good result maintain the interest of the 85% of electors who are engaged in politics? The extra 20% of voters may return to apathy and many of those are new SNP voters, given their recent surge in support. We have seen it before with New Labour in 1997, you eventually fall as hard and as far as fast you rose and were loved. If the SNP have almost every seat in Holyrood, only they can be blamed for things not working. And the public will turn on them, many voters consistently vote 'against', no matter what.

It is often discussed how to re-engage people with politics. It is going to be a tough job. The media follow the public interest and a newly breaking story of Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind being accused of 'Cash for Access' scandals showed perfectly how the media run the story over and over and over without any new information, taking comments from any number of campaigners eager for their moment in the spotlight. By the way, before anyone thinks I dismiss these allegations, they are serious and need investigating. Why both could not have waited a few more weeks until they leave office before setting up future income streams is a mystery to me. It is another blow for politics, given the anti-everything brigade will show this as “another example of politicians in it for themselves”. I wonder if those journalists writing the story are doing it free of charge. I doubt it.

One social truth never applied to politicians is, those without sin cast the first stone. They should, of course, be held to a high standard, but the savage media and distant public couple together to cause true dissaffection and nothing will change. If this reads as “we are doomed”, I do not intend this, I just intend to point out we can call for change all we want, but when we do not even know what we are changing from, how can we possibly ever be satisfied with what things change into?

22nd February Politics Podcast with Malcolm and Liam

Here is our latest politics podcast, our first of 2015. It is hosted by North West Durham Labour activist Malcolm Clarke and the Labour Party Candidate for the Hexham Constituency for the May 2015 General Election, Liam Carr.

This week we discuss the distressing coverage of three young girls apparently joining Isis in Syria and the comments made by a former (not at the time) UKIP councillor. Please press play to listen to the podcast or subscribe via our talkshoe page by clicking this link.

We also filmed our recording of the podcast which you can watch here.

Our political podcast is available on iTunes where you can subscribe FREE by visiting their iTunes store. Click here to subscribe to our Politics Podcast on iTunes. There is no better way of ensuring you do not miss a show as any new shows as they will automatically be downloaded to your computer each time you open the iTunes application.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen in and we hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

1st February Politics Podcast with Malcolm and Liam

Here is our latest politics podcast, our first of 2015. It is hosted by North West Durham Labour activist Malcolm Clarke and the Labour Party Candidate for the Hexham Constituency for the May 2015 General Election, Liam Carr.

This week we discuss Education and speculate on David Cameron's speech scheduled for tomorrow and what this may mean for the Conservative's Education policy. Please press play to listen to the podcast or subscribe via our talkshoe page by clicking this link.

Our political podcast is available on iTunes where you can subscribe FREE by visiting their iTunes store. Click here to subscribe to our Politics Podcast on iTunes. There is no better way of ensuring you do not miss a show as any new shows as they will automatically be downloaded to your computer each time you open the iTunes application.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen in and we hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

25th January Politics Podcast with Malcolm and Liam

Here is our latest politics podcast, our first of 2015. It is hosted by North West Durham Labour activist Malcolm Clarke and the Labour Party Candidate for the Hexham Constituency for the May 2015 General Election, Liam Carr.

This week we discuss the need for the inquiry into historic sex abuse and we discuss how it seems allegations against the elite are held back until the accused pass away. We also discuss the defection of a UKIP MEP to the Tories and whether we feel there will be two General Elections in 2015. Please press play to listen to the podcast or subscribe via our talkshoe page by clicking this link.

Our political podcast is available on iTunes where you can subscribe FREE by visiting their iTunes store. Click here to subscribe to our Politics Podcast on iTunes. There is no better way of ensuring you do not miss a show as any new shows as they will automatically be downloaded to your computer each time you open the iTunes application.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen in and we hope you enjoy it.