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Aidan Burley: He won't be seeking election this year - but will his Tory replacement be any better?

Aidan Burley: He won’t be seeking election this year – but will his Tory replacement be any better?

According to Wikipedia: “On 11 December 2011 it was reported by The Mail on Sunday that Aidan Burley [Conservative MP for Cannock Chase] had attended a stag party at the French ski resort of Val Thorens which involved Nazi salutes and a toast “for organising the stag do, and if we’re perfectly honest, to the ideology and thought process of the Third Reich“.

“Burley subsequently released a statement through the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, saying: ‘There was clearly inappropriate behaviour by some of the other guests and I deeply regret that this happened. I am extremely sorry for any offence that will undoubtedly have been caused.”

“On 17 December 2011 the Prime Minister, David Cameron, sacked Burley from his role as PPS after new claims emerged linking him directly to “the offensive and foolish behaviour”. On 22 December, French prosecuting authorities announced they had started a preliminary inquiry into the event. The groom was prosecuted for wearing Nazi uniform and his French lawyer said it was “deeply unfair” that Burley, who had organized the uniforms, had not also been prosecuted.

“An internal Conservative party enquiry found that Burley had “caused deep offence.” Although not a racist, he had not clearly shown his disapproval of the Nazi toast and had not been present during Nazi chanting. However the Daily Mail published pictures which it claimed proved that Burley had misled the enquiry in that he had been present during the chanting. The paper also criticized the inquiry for accepting Burley’s word at face value and not interviewing their reporters. Claiming that Burley had already admitted bringing shame on the constituency, Ian Austin MP said the report’s findings should be rejected and he should be kicked out of the party.”

This was not the only controversy in which Burley was involved. Let’s go back to Wikipedia:

“During the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, taking place in London, Burley denounced the content of the ceremony on the microblog Twitter as ‘leftie multicultural crap. Bring back Red Arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones’.

“He went on to suggest that it was ‘the most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a Communist state’.”

One more point:

Aidan Burley received six bottles of wine from Hitachi consultants for a speech in 2011. Hitachi Consulting UK built an online ‘portal’ for NHS commissioners to help them monitor performance. He is one of the many Conservative MPs who have profited from the creeping privatisation of the National Health Service.

This may seem like strangely excessive behaviour for a man occupying only a marginal Conservative seat. Perhaps Burley felt overconfident because he won the seat with a swing of 14 per cent, one of the largest from Labour to the Conservatives in any contest in 2010.

A fat lot of good it did him: Burley announced on February 5, 2014 that he would not contest the 2015 general election. The Conservative candidate this year is Amanda Milling, director of a market research business and a councillor for Rossendale, which is in another Parliamentary constituency. Labour candidate Janos Toth, meanwhile, is a councillor for Cannock Chase itself.

What could Cannock Chase voters expect from another Tory MP? Let’s look at Burley’s voting record to find out:

Well, gosh. He voted very strongly in favour of the current government’s creeping privatisation of the NHS. Considering he had an interest in it, this is unsurprising.

Like a good Tory backbench sheep, not only did Burley support the twin drains on the education budget that are privately-run ‘Free Schools’ and privately-owned ‘Academy Schools’, he very strongly supported them; he voted very strongly for the increase in undergraduate tuition fees to £9,000 per year; and he voted very strongly to end financial support for 16-19 year olds in training and further education.

He was strongly against increasing income tax paid by the extremely rich; strongly against a bankers’ bonus tax; strongly supported cutting Corporation Tax (even though this does not make companies more likely to invest in the UK or its workforce); and supported the increase in VAT strongly.

He supported the Bedroom Tax.
He strongly supported cuts to social security benefits including Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, the Personal Independence Payment and so on.
He very strongly supported the benefit uprating cap, ensuring that benefits do not rise in line with prices.
He voted  for making local councils responsible for helping people afford council tax – and for reducing the amount available for such support.

He was a strong supporter of military operations overseas.

He voted both for and against a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU – and both for and against more EU integration.
Perhaps his mock-Nazi leanings have confused his understanding of what this means.

He is against localism and has voted to reduce both the powers of local councils and their funding.

He strongly supported the waste of money that is Police and Crime Commissioners.
He supported the restriction of Legal Aid that has made justice available only to the rich.
He supported secret courts.

He also supported the invasion of privacy that allows the security services to monitor and keep information about your communications.

He voted for the botched privatisation of the Royal Mail – and very strongly for the sale of England’s state-owned forests.

He very strongly supports unrestricted rises in rail fares, and is very strongly against regulation of gambling.

He opposed green energy generation.
He supported the badger cull.

If you live in Cannock Chase, you need to know this information.

Vox Political readers are invited to distribute it to friends and relatives who live there.

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