Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Monday, January 04, 2010

General Election Start Gun Sounded

The clock seemed to have barely stuck midnight when it seemed the General Election start gun had sounded. We really are becoming more and more American, as we now appear to emulate the US election campaign - which actually David Cameron didn't start on 2nd January 2010, but realistically long, long before this - as our old, once much envied four week election campaign will now become seemingly endless to many.

We're set to hear a lot of announcements over these next weeks and months. Not least of all David Cameron's pledges on the NHS which will be released later today.

I was reading recently an article in which Martin McTague, North East Policy Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), had it spot on when he criticised Labour. Mr McTague pointed at the Pre-Budget Report and had it absolutely right when he said the National Insurance contribution increase is a tax on jobs - which will effect 85% of small businesses. Mr MacTague also reports that a staggering 95% of FSB members feel the Government has done nothing to help small businesses in the region.

Of course Conservatives strongly believe in encouraging small businesses, which will form a key part of our recovery from the economic crisis. I will listen keenly to our central messages on business over the next few months and hope very much there's some good news in there for the North East. There are many, many things we need to be talking about - our civil liberties and mindless political correctness manifested in our nanny state - after of course the economic recovery - being pretty high on my list. We need don't need more laws; endless, expensive new installations of CCTVs cameras and more red tape - people will take responsibility if we create an environment for them to be able to do so.

I must wrap up this post, as I'm at Heathrow and about to board a flight to Singapore. I always find Singapore fascinating, particularly in terms of its governance. Dan Hannan in "The Plan" draws several policy proposals from the Singaporean systems - will post more on this later.

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