On Tuesday NUCA went on a trip to Westminster organised brilliantly by our 2012/2013 Vice-President, Luke, and Publicity Secretary, Jack. We had a great day seeing Conservative MPs and what is going on in Parliament.
News at Ten, NUCA goes to Westminster.
We arrived at Westminster around 10:50 to meet Chloe Smith MP. Chloe was known as the 'baby of the house' during the last parliament but now she has come of age with her obvious talent showing through. She was Economic Secretary to the Treasury and now is in the Cabinet Office, where she also has to work with Nick Clegg. Chloe emphasised on our visit the amount of waste that has been cut in the Cabinet Office. So far the Conservatives have cut £20 billion so that we can tackle our deficit problem.
Chloe Smith is a really lovely lady.
Next up was Adam Holloway MP, he is Luke's MP from Gravesham. Adam seemed very relaxed and gave us free reign to ask us questions. He took a keen interest in Jamie's tie and also my arm braces, to hold up my sleeves. I really enjoyed meeting Adam, he was really fun and told us some really good stories especially about his previous life as a journalist.
Douglas Carswell came on afterwards. He spoke a lot about his plans of democratic reform from open primaries to the right of recall. I personally agree with Douglas Carswell, the people do know best and should get the final say. He pointed out to us that Parliament is not as steeped in tradition as we may think, our electoral system is not very old at all. For example, before 1918, if a backbench MP was selected to be a government minister he had to resign his seat and fight a by-election to get the people's approval.
Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless with the NUCA group.
Mark Reckless then came to speak to us and talked about the problems with a coalition government in general. I'm not a big coalition fan. If there was to be another hung parliament in 2015, although I believe the Conservatives can win, I do not think that either Labour or the Tories will want to do it again. Coalitions are a tainted brand and rightly so in my opinion.
In the committee rooms tea was available. We should make a cut and stop using Twinings and have Yorkshire Tea instead.
After all this we went to lunch where we were joined by Colonel Cooper but more importantly our life President John Hayes. As I have said before, I like John Hayes and I told him that I was very pleased with the results he promised on wind turbines after the NUCA Dinner. It is good to see that the final decision on these turbines lies with local people and not some court, very much detached from the local people. John talked to us about his role as an MP in balancing his work in Downing Street and in South Holland and the Deepings, my next door constituency as it happens. We also engaged in a very philosophical debate about liberalism and conservatism and the right and left spectrum within the Conservative Party. For example Douglas Carswell who is very classical liberal is more right than David Cameron, although he is a definite One Nation Conservative.
John Hayes and NUCA outside the House.
During this time we spied many MPs. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband walked past us having a 'heated discussion', Labour has such cooperative front bench. MPs from Tim Faron, Dr Therese Coffey and John Redwood were also spotted when walking around Portcullis House and the Houses of Parliament. The Speaker was also playing Tennis on the lawn outside, so all in all we saw most of the important people in politics.
The chap in the white shirt is the Speaker.
After Lunch we met Adam Afriyie. Someone asked the obvious question on him standing for the leadership and Adam said that the closest he ever came to challenging David Cameron was saying once that if we lose in 2015 and David Cameron steps down he may try to become leader. Adam pointed out he is a Cameron loyalist, putting donations toward his own campaign to be leader. Other questions we asked him showed he has very good business experience and believes we should start a Conservative Reform. Reform of the modern Tory Party so that it emphasises more business and with other key issues of the day, but is not going backwards to where we opposed many socially liberal policies. Adam wants us all to cheer whenever we hear a company making profits as it means that more jobs will be created and people will be better off. The mood at the moment is more of the left where profit equals oppression, which is very far from the truth.
No wonder Conservatives complain Cameron is too left wing, the only papers we could find in Parliament are left leaning.
Last but not least was Robert Halfon who gave a good speech on Neo-Conservativism. Robert has stuck his neck out and said that we should not shun intervention and bring freedom to those who are oppressed by tyrannical regimes. He says we have adopted a semi-appeasement stance at the moment and this should not continue. Rob believes that intervention works and pointed to Kurdistan in Iraq, where Sadam killed thousands of his own people with chemical weapons in a genocide. But now Kurdistan is a fairly peaceful region, there hasn't been a suicide attack in the area for many years. Intervention does not necessarily mean sending in the tanks however. In Syria Robert believes that we should have created safe zones for innocent civilians and wishes to put greater emphasis on international aid to winning hearts and minds. Thanks goes to ex-NUCA lady Emily Burditt for helping to get Robert to speak to us.
Group photo with the Great Robert Halfon MP
Our Trip to Westminster was great and I really enjoyed it. The speakers were very good and showed how many talented individuals we have as MPs.