What happened after our two Tories entered Parliament
THE world today is a very different place to when our MPs first took office, back in the Thatcher-dominated era of the 1980s. Canterbury and Whitstable’s MP Julian Brazier joined the parliamentary ranks in 1987, while Sir Roger Gale has been representative for Thanet North since the constituency’s creation in 1983. Together the duo have 60 years of experience as Conservatives in the House of Commons. But after so long working as an MP, the world has changed in a number of unforeseeable ways. This week we compiled a list of the biggest changes since the good old days of Loadsamoney and the New Romantics, many of which our representatives will have to deal with head-on.
Politics: Both men became MPs during the reign of Margaret Thatcher, when the Tories were riding high. They then made it through the sinking popularity of Thatcher’s successor, John Major, then, most impressively, the massive swing in 1997’s General Election and the introduction of New Labour.
Marriage: The very notion of who is allowed to get married has gone through some big changes: since 2005 gay couples have gone from having no union options to civil partnerships, to full same-sex marriage even more recently.
Population: It took humanity thousands of years to get to a worldwide population of one billion people. But since the 1980s, it is estimated that we have grown from roughly five billion to seven billion people globally.
Temperature: The temperature of the world has risen by half a degree centigrade since the 1980s. According to climate change experts, this puts all of us more at risk from environmental disasters, from farming fewer crops to more rainfall during large storms. While climate change wasn’t high on the agenda in 1983, you can bet its an issue future Parliaments will have to tackle head on.
Cars: Cars have also gone through big changes, both in terms of their engines, look and how they’re put together, and a case in point is the Ford Fiesta Mark 1 and the Mark 6 from the modern day.
House Prices: £44,000 was the average in 1987, since when it has grown to a whopping £188,000 today. Even adjusted for inflation, houses are almost twice as expensive as they were 28 years ago.
The internet: It’s hard to believe the internet didn’t even exist when these men took office, but in the modern age it has become one of the defining parts of our lives. Social media looks set to play a huge part in this election as well, from Twitter hustings to online campaigns.
Terrorism: One of the darkest developments of recent times, the rise of radical extremists and the 9/11 and the 7/7 bombings has changed the way we think about international relations and warfare. Since 2014, Canterbury has been subjected to not one but two bomb threats, aimed at the courts and the Armed Forces.
Brazier’s novel: Maybe not a sizeable change in the grand scheme of things, but who could forget Julian Brazier’s historical novel, published last year, Viking Storm? Whatever else Mr Brazier has voted on in his 28 years in office, that book is a tangible result.
We hear what you’re saying, we just wish we didn’t
MOST of us become fed up with election slogans well before the end of a campaign, and the 2015 race for Canterbury has been no different. Here is a list of ten statements we have found local activists spouting In the run-up to May 7 whIch verde on being completely meaningless…
• Canterbury Conservative chairman Neil Baker: A Labour Government would break Britain again; they wouldn’t just empty the pot, they’d sell it aff cheaply and waste that money, too!
• Labour candidate Hugh Lanning: Vote Labour on May 7 for 3,000 more midwives.
• Conservative candidate Julian Brazier: We are the only party offering economic security by eliminating the deficit and running a surplus on a clear timetable
• From Ukip Canterbury’s Twitter feed: At least when Miliband talks about a referendum we can believe him, that’s more than you can say about the other bloke.
• From the Green Party in Canterbury: This is a politics that’s founded in humanity, in a caring Britain. But also a politics that doesn’t deny, as the other parties do, the physical limits of our natural world.
Herne Bay Times, April 22nd 2015