When I read that Mr Maude is to stand down, the phrase ‘in like a lion and out like a lamb’ came to mind. Such is the picture that I have of Mr Maude and his time.
His ‘bonfire of the Quangos’ was to save £2.6 billion pa, but it seems to have gone out! While around 260 Quangos had been slated for abolition, only 56 had gone by early last year and they still seem to cost around £80 billion pa of taxpayers’ money. They are un-elected and appear to be a law unto themselves.
In fact, as Mr Maude was closing some Quangos, he seems to have been starting others!
The Planning Inspectorate was one of the latter, which costs the taxpayer around £40 million pa - to over-ride the wishes of councils and local communities.
That is the same Quango that another local MP, Mr Herbert, wants to make redundant. Mr Maude’s successor will no doubt decry the doubling of building on green field and HDC’s 20 year housing of 750 new houses pa, just in time for the General Election. But will voters be taken in again, by promises of Localism?
Parliament emerged badly from the expenses and cash for questions scandals and Leveson did not help when he was allowed to curtail the freedom of the Press. Now we hear that the media is going to have to disclose its sources, when required. Eat your heart out you (would be) whistle-blowers!
Notwithstanding the 2011 Referendum Lock, we have seen the erosion of our rights under Magna Carta, including ‘No free man shall be imprisoned ...’ which was contravened by the European Arrest Warrant.
Perhaps Mr Maude could explain for the record how he came to sign the Maastricht Treaty and what, if anything he has done to arrest the decline in our rights?
In the May 2010 General Election, the Tories got around 50 per cent of the vote compared with UKIP’s five per cent and then in the 2013 county elections the gap closed to 40 - 30 per cent. Then in last May’s Euro Election results for Horsham District, the gap narrowed to 35 - 33 per cent, ie around a difference of two per cent.
Since no other parties got more than around nine per cent of the vote last May, it should be clear now that only UKIP can beat the Tories in Horsham. That was the challenge for Mr Maude, but he was clearly not up for that, any more than he was able to deliver the new hospital that he promised.
For the first time in many years, Horsham voters have a real alternative and a blue rosette will not guarantee success for Mr Maude’s successor.
Chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Timber Mill, Southwater