Saturday, 9 January 2010

GE2010: Lincoln: Karl McCartney is On The Attack

Update to 'Echo Readers to Quiz Parliamentary Candidates'. Related content 'GE2010: Lincoln: Reg Shore U-Turns and Waffles.'

In Thursday's Lincolnshire Echo the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Lincoln Constituency had the opportunity to respond to questions from the paper's readership, yesterday Mr. Karl McCartney (Conservative) had his answers published.

Mr. McCartney was presented with the same set of questions as Cllr. Shore had answered previously, so to start of with the question of fees for university, which Cllr. Shore had handled resonably well. Putting forward well a moderate view Mr. McCartney stated:
"As a Conservative I believe every person who can benefit from university education should have the opportunity to do so if they wish.

"But the proportion of young people going to university has scarely changd in the last eight years.

"At the current rate, it would take Labour more than a century to meet their target of 50 per cent target. Aiming for such numbers has already had an adverse effect on standards within universities...

"...It is only right that those who benefit from higher education should meet some of the cost of their degree."
On the issue of fox hunting, in the second question raised, Mr. McCartney evades answering, listing the failures of the Labour Government and the 'time and expense wasted' on a 'bad piece of legislation' that has 'not saved one fox'.

Next, answering a question about rail freight being diverted through Lincoln Mr. McCartney strikes a much better note than Cllr. Shore on Thursday, he empathises with local residents and admits to having been inconvienienced himself in the past and suggests that a footbridge near St. Mary's Church could be a solution to both the pedestrian underpass and possible increased use by Netwrok Rail of the line. He concludes:
"Whoever Lincoln's MP is after the election, that person needs to work with council and business leaders to help solve the problematic rail, road and other transport infrastructure issues that beset Lincoln and Lincolnshire."
Answering a question from Penny Kemp about the minimum wage, Mr. McCartney shows his human side recollecting a time when his working life, in his twenties, was not particularly well paid. He says:
"I am pleased that workers of all ages and in similar situations, are no longer taken advantage of.

"However this Labour government's record is woefully poor and disheartening...the number of people paid less than the minimum wage has doubled from 248,000 in 2005 to 445,000 in 2008."
In responding to the fourth question about MPs having second jobs Mr. McCartney indicated that he supports second jobs for MPs, it gives them a broader view of the world outside Westminster and is acceptable where it does not 'directly infringe on their role as an MP'. Mr. McCartney also points out that being a minister is also an additional job to being a member of parliament.

The next question, from Mr. Doug West regards the party policy on concessionary bus travel for the over-60s. Mr. McCartney states he would 'like to see greater freedom' to travel for the elderly and that such provision is reliant upon the grant made by government to local authorities. He continues, by criticising Labour's record for pensioners and takes his first crack at the Liberal Democrats, describing them as 'no friends' of the elderly.

Answering a question about which cabinet post he would like, if elected, Mr. McCartney indicated he would relish Transport as this would allow him to help the city and county's transport infrastructure. In the following question about the eastern bypass Mr. McCartney continues talking about transport in sme detail demonstrating a considerable concern in this area and a willingness to think strategically about possible improvements.

On the final question of the privatisation of the civil service Mr. McCartney states his view that he is not against 'privatisation where appropriate'.

So, final score: A respectable 7/10 a good set of responses with some statistical detail with demonstration that the candidate is thinking strategically.

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