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Thursday, 26 November 2015

The "NO 3rd Runway" debate in Chiswick - 25th November 2015

Last night there was a wonderful debate about the possible expansion of Heathrow which took place in St Michael & All Angels Church, Bedford Park.

There was a wonderful attendance over roughly 300 residents from the area, including some who live in the homes in Hillingdon that would be knocked down if the runway was expanded.

Gary Malcolm speaking to a packed church hall
The event was chaired by Torin Douglas, the ex-BBC journalist and John Stewart, from HACAN, spoke listing many reasons why expanding Heathrow would be a bad idea.

I also spoke and gave a number of local aspects to Heathrow:

  • In a survey conducted by the Liberal Democrats, 65% of Southfield residents were against Heathrow expansion, 10% were undecided and 25% were in favour of expanding Heathrow.
  • I referred to an example of where I visited some schools in Hounslow where the kids could not go outside because of the frequent flights and noise they suffered. We should not treat our kids like that. 
  • We already fail EU air quality regulations. Any expansion would just add to the number of unnecessary deaths. It appears likely that the EU would not allow Heathrow to expand due to the current and likely future poor quality of air.
  • Sadly Ealing Labour Councillors have sat on the fence. They used to be against expansion and I suspect they want to come out in favour but are afraid of the back lack! How a political party can be in favour of Heathrow given the additional noise and air pollution it would cause.

Hundreds holding up anti-expansion posters
Towards the end of my speech I mentioned that an inspiration to me in the campaign against Heathrow expansion, came from the now late, local Chiswick BBC comedy actor Richard Briers (from "The Good Life"). When I visited his house he often had placed a wonderful "anti Heathrow expansion" poster in his window. 

Seeing that gave others a reason to keep fighting. So we all should put posters in our windows.

Well done to the Bedford Park Residents Association who arranged the meeting.

Finally in the next few days before the government make a decision on whether to expand Heathrow or not, please make sure you write a handwritten letter to:

David Cameron, The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London. SW1A 2AA. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Why Ealing needs the UK to stay in Europe

Recently stories keep appearing about whether we should stay in the European Union or leave.

In the referendum, which is likely to take place next year, the Liberal Democrats are clear that the UK should not only stay in but that Europe should be reformed.

One in every ten British jobs, many in London and plenty in Ealing rely on our membership of the European Union’s single market. The EU buys over half of the UK exports. Lots of American and Asian firms build factories in our country because it is in the single market.

The EU is our biggest trading partner, accounting for 52% of our trade. This rakes us in about £400bn per year, which far outstrips the estimated £12bn we spend (net) on the EU each year.

Gary Malcolm, a proud European
I was speaking to a resident recently, who lives in Acton. I was proud to remind her that we enjoy lower mobile phone roaming charges, lower credit card fees, cheaper flights and proper compensation when flights are delayed or cancelled because of European rules and actions.

We should enjoy the freedom to work and study abroad and we should allow others that same right. Nearly 1.5 million British people live abroad in the EU. About 15,000 UK students took part in the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange scheme.

If we left the EU we'd need to pay more for visas, unless we created our own agreements with different countries. The facts show that when Europeans move to the UK, they are more likely to work and pay taxes as well as not requiring benefits.

The European Arrest Warrant replaced long extradition procedures and enables the UK to extradite criminals wanted in other EU countries, and bring to justice criminals wanted in the UK who are hiding in other EU countries.

By leaving the EU we would lose our seat at the decision-making table but still pay the bills. It would be like paying a season ticket at QPR, Brentford or other local team and then not be allowed to watch any of the matches!

There are still many things that the Liberal Democrats want to see improved about the EU. These include:

  • Reforming the EU budget – Liberal Democrats will continue to cut wasteful spending in the EU budget while increasing funding for job creating policies such as cross border infrastructure projects, the digital economy, small business funding and cutting-edge research and development.
  • Cutting waste - Liberal Democrats will campaign to bring an end to the European Parliament's monthly travel between Brussels and Strasbourg. This will save £150m and almost 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
  • Reforming small business rules - we will support the ‘Think Small First’ principle to reduce unnecessary European Union regulatory costs and exempt smaller businesses from legislation where appropriate.

In summary Ealing, London and our country would be better off IN EUROPE.