As a Parliamentary Candidate I received innumerable emails on a range of issues. One said:
Right, Kirsten. You’ve come into my house via your election pamphlet so here’s me coming into yours via an e-mail. I have a very simple request and that is for you to describe your personal vision (not a formulaic party response) for our country in 10 to 15 years’ time and your strategy for attaining that vision.
Many of us are tired of the same old party political machinations which focus solely on ‘buying’ votes via unachievable promises. I want to be inspired by someone who is able to rise above the unedifying scramble and who can paint a picture of a UK that will become admired.
In response, I said on 27.4.2015:
My vision for the UK in 15 years’ time? Well, I want to get rid of poverty. It is not fair that people don’t have enough money to have a decent life. I think hard-working people should be paid a decent salary. I support the Living Wage movement. I think people at the top are paid too much and people at the bottom aren’t paid enough.
The other thing I would like to see is a cleaner, greener approach to business and home life. We need to live more sustainably so that we leave a healthy planet for our children. I want them to be able to breathe clean air and enjoy the outdoors. Preserving and protecting the environment is important to me, and I hope that we cut down on pollution so that in 15 years’ time our world is in better shape than it is now.
In 15 years’ time I would want to live in a safer world. And that will make us safer here in the UK as well. I think we need to tackle the causes of war. These, in my mind, include poverty, disease and fighting over resources such as water and oil. I want the UK to lead in developing a safer world.
In 15 years’ time I want the NHS to still be here! And I want a strong NHS which provides good quality care for everyone. I think we need to do as much as we can to treat people early on and to prevent problems from developing into bigger problems. For example, I help with visiting some people in mental hospitals and if they would get better treatment earlier their problems wouldn’t be so huge. Also, we need to join up health and social care so that people get proper treatment at home and in hospital.
This leads me to older people. I recently wrote a blog on older people. I think we do not respect the older generation enough. In 15 years’ time I hope this has changed! We need to honour older people and treat them with dignity.
We suffered a massive defeat. In my opinion, we need to have a collaborative vision for where we see the world in 15 years’ time and then work towards it. This vision will give impetus to practical embodiment of our values.
* Kirsten Johnson is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Oxford East and a member of the Federal International Relations Committee.