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Ian Sharpe

Background

I am a retired Finance Director, having worked in the Aerospace and Renewable energy industries. I am now involved in voluntary and political activities.

I have been involved with the Liberal Democrats since the foundation of the SDP in 1981. I have served the party as Branch Treasurer and as campaign team chair.

I have been elected as Councillor for Borough, Town and Parish councils. I served as cabinet lead member for Finance for Charnwood Borough Council.

Manifesto

We are living through the most turbulent political times since the second world war. Politically there are the consequences of Brexit at home and the rise of populism abroad. Economically, in addition to Brexit, there is the irresistible rise of China and a pace of technological change which will change the world of employment in ways we can scarcely imagine.

The wonders of modern medicine mean that we are all living longer, an achievement to celebrate but a development with profound implications for our health and social welfare services and for pension provision.

Our housing market is broken, the dream of homeownership is a fantasy for most and affordable accommodation is unobtainable for many families.

All these issues, and more, demand political leadership of the highest order. Instead we are led by a Tory Government mesmerised by Brexit, incapable of delivering on that nativist fantasy and oblivious to the other challenges we face. A Government for whom the only objectives are to remain in office and keep the Tory party from ripping itself apart.

A successful democracy requires an effective opposition, a party waiting in the wings with a coherent, credible programme for Government. That is not a description of today's Labour party. Labour has no Brexit policy beyond, say nothing and letting the Tories self destruct. Labour has a hard-line Socialist economic policy which would take us back to the anarchy and collapse of the 1970s. Jeremy Corbyn has skills developed over decades of addressing left wing rallies, these are excellent skills for enthusing true believers they are not the skills needed to lead our country.

We clearly need a better choice, than that between a dysfunctional Tory party torn between its Brextremist and realist wings and a 1970s tribute act Labour party.

I am convinced that the Liberal Democrats are the only party with the values and policies to address the issues this country faces. Unlike Labour we believe in fiscal prudence, the free market economy and personal liberty. Unlike the Tories we value public services and have a clear and coherent policy on Brexit, we will exit from Brexit! Our values and policies allow us to create a clear and distinctive vision for the future of our country.

Too often the media portray us as splitting the difference between the other main parties, it is essential we project a distinctive message of our own. Our message must lead on exiting from Brexit, but must be much more.

Our key messages must be:

  • Exit from Brexit.
  • The NHS will not be sustained by warm words. We will fund the NHS with 1% on income tax.
  • Housing. Allow Councils to build new social houses. End the tax advantages for buy to let landlords. Penalise builders who sit on land banks.
  • Social services. We must have a Royal Commission on the funding of Social Services. Our longer lives must be enjoyed with dignity and security, but the current tax base cannot provide the funds to guarantee this. We need a cross party solution.
  • The economy of the future. In Government Vince Cable implemented excellent programmes to prepare the country for the industries of tomorrow and to provide our citizens with the skills to serve them. We must build on Vince's work.

I believe the message, that I have described above, will align well with the beliefs and values of the voters of Loughborough. Our town, which has high technology companies and strong academic institutions, is a liberal constituency, so far it has not been a Liberal Democrat constituency.

I am proud to be your PPC, delivering our message to Loughborough and a Lib Dem MP to Parliament.