The Short Manifesto. Election 2021
After being approached by a number of people I am offering myself as a candidate in this year’s election.
For those of you who know me, you know what I stand for but for those who don’t I come from a working-class background and I haven’t forgotten that, in fact I value it, and value the efforts of those who came before me to make the Falklands a better place for me and you, just as it is incumbent upon us to leave a better place for those that follow.
I am not a status holder but a Falkland Islander and will challenge this horrible expression (status holder) wherever I find it. A status holder has a ring of something that is temporary and can be removed. We are Falkland Islanders and nothing and no one can take that or our country away from us and in that I include those who have chosen to make the Falklands their home, to work towards taking our nationality, embracing our values and living as we do.
Despite some shortcomings we live, in my view, in the best little country in the world but it didn’t get that way by itself nor will it remain thus unless we practice prudent fiscal management and look after our infrastructure and core population.
We basically have a three legged economy, fisheries agriculture and tourism (leaving income from investments to one side, important as it is). Two of those legs on the stool are, to put it mildly, quite wobbly and even fisheries income can and does wax and wane.
We have some very big ticket items on the way such as the new port – and we have to have a replacement for FIPAS but it has to be affordable and allow enough freeboard for us to afford the other capital items that are required such as roads and the like and we must not forget that we are living on borrowed time with power provision. Potable water is also in a bit of a precarious position.
We have to be prudent and desist from chucking money around like well-oiled sailors and concentrate on looking after our people and stop our infrastructure crumbling. We must always be on the lookout for ways to strengthen our economy
Housing is an issue, rents are generally high and I support the making of plots available for people to build, but even they are getting beyond the reach of some people. It seems as if the food bank is being used quite a lot, some people not being able to afford rent or fuel etc. This points to something going very wrong in our society and it is incumbent on any government to identify and take action to rectify the issues. Whether this is by controlling rents, increasing the living wage or some other method, whatever is driving this seeming malady in our society must be understood and addressed as a matter of urgency.
FIG seems to be expanding (mainly at the top) at an alarming rate, putting pressure on infrastructure and budgets, possibly helping fuel high rental prices. I would like to see a review done as to whether we need all those posts. It is not the fault of those that are here but of those who waved the posts through.
There is the feeling in some quarters that we really aren’t in control of our country and whether right or wrong it must be understood and addressed. I do wonder whether MLAs should insist on a timetable for the localisation of all senior positions (where it can be practically done). The Falklands is our country and we must be in control. Local post holders save money and bring something that I sometimes feel is missing and that is local knowledge.
Whilst I am an ordinary person and am on the side of the ordinary man or woman, I also know that we need a thriving business sector – one that adequately rewards those who helps those profits to be generated.
CBD oil used by folk with arthritis is now freely available in many countries and I believe we should act with speed to allow people to bring it in to the Falklands without fear of prosecution.
Another piece of legislation that I will push to have modernised is the workers protection ordinance. We tell the world that we are a modern country 40 years after the war but that piece of legislation is horrendously outdated, isn’t modern and must be updated.
OAPs deserve a dignified retirement and were treated extremely shabbily in the last budget. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have a country and the standard of living that we have. I would push for an adjustment to be made to pensions in this financial year. Inflation, as even I can see, is starting to build in globally and we will not be immune.
The environment is a hot topic at the moment and we must move forward but whatever we do it must tie in with our way of life, be practical and affordable and we must level with people about how much it may be going to cost them.
There doesn’t seem to be much to be said for salmon farming but I do support the approach of the last Government as we already have a fish farm and we have to have proper legislation in place to cover this and any further schemes. We could be playing with the big boys and if processes are not followed and decisions made that are backed by fully reasoned arguments then you could find yourself undergoing a judicial review- and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of one of those. If or when a firm proposal is received I would like to see independent evidence gathered both for and against and laid before the electorate as a referendum.
At least one company here in the Falklands has signed up to the UK Armed Forces Covenant, which is truly awesome as veterans and serving members should be respected and valued but do we do this for our own here in the Falklands ? If elected I would like to explore and one hopes, see implemented something similar here in the Falklands for past and serving members of the FIDF (and we must never forget the former camp members of the FIDF either)
Telecoms: like everyone I do not like what I am having to pay for the packages we have and I believe there are technologies coming that will challenge the present setup. But whatever we do has to be a whole country solution and we must have security over our telecoms. For me the landing of our telecoms in a country that has a hostile claim on ours is a red line I will not cross.
External communications: We have to start opening up. It must be done sensibly with Covid prowling the world but Covid isn’t going to go away. We must start putting the heat on LATAM and if it is the carrier that does not have the appetite then maybe we should be looking for another. If there is another reason, such as a country hostile to ours stopping the resumption of flights then Government has to be straight with the public.
Immigration: seems to be calls to further relax the requirements more. I will take a lot of persuading as we must protect our core population and be able to look after the people who are here.
We must have more openness and explanations given for decisions taken.
Education and medical must be protected and enhanced but I would like to see more of Falklands political and social history taught in the schools as only by knowing how our country evolved can we ever hope to continue the evolution of our national identity.
Stanley is not the Falklands so I say to the people of the camp – I have your back but will rely heavily on camp members for their guidance and expertise.
I hold two part time jobs and if elected I shall be carrying on with them. Both are outside of “political hours” and if elected it is vitally important to me to be doing other things that keep my feet firmly on the ground.
Finally external relations: Whilst I welcome cooperation in areas of mutual interest with those over on the coast (such as conservation of fish stocks) but if you are looking for someone who wants to cosy up with a country that is actively trying to steal ours – then I suggest you vote for someone else because I will not be heading down that particular path. Been there, seen and been part of the result and never again.
I am afraid I cannot cover everything but I hope that you know me well enough to know that I love our country and I want the best for it and our people. Coming up 40 years ago we lost our freedom. There were times that we thought we would never be free again – but we were liberated and our freedom and democracy was restored to us by those brave people who came so far and put their lives on the line for us.
Let us celebrate the gift of freedom and democracy that they gave us by turning out on the 4th of November and casting your vote.
Remember, a vote for Short, is a vote for common sense, a free Falklands and a commitment to making sure, as best I can, that this continues to be the best little country in the world – for us all.