I am taking on UK Prime Minister David Cameron in next year's General Election. AMA!
My name's Duncan Enright and next year I will be standing for the Labour Party in Witney. The constituency is currently held by the UK's Prime Minister, David Cameron.
A sitting Prime Minister has never lost his or her constituency before, so we are attempting to make history.
But the main reason we are doing this is because we think Mr Cameron's policies have damaged the UK. He has cut funding to vital services and cut benefits to those most in need, while at the same time reducing taxes for the richest.
Mr Cameron has represented Witney for the last 13 years but achieved next-to-nothing in that time to benefit the area. We still have problems with congested roads, a lack of affordable housing and a lack of jobs in the area - most require a commute to Oxford. And nothing has changed during his 13-year tenure.
Yesterday we launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com. We think we may be the first Parliamentary campaign ever to try and raise money this way. Please visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-us-to-kick-out-cameron-in-2015.
We also think I may be the first Parlimentary candidate from a major party ever to try an AMA on reddit.
For more information about me, visit duncanenright.com
So, without further ado, Ask Me Anything!
Edit: Proof it's me: https://twitter.com/duncanenright/status/518775742067654656
Edit: Thanks everyone for your questions. I hope I got to yours, but apologies if I didn't. I was delighted to get so many questions, and by their range. Mostly polite too! I will be doing more work on internet policies and censorship! Oh and chorizo, brie and beer. I was at this for four hours, but it felt less - went really quickly! I hope you'll follow the campaign and do get in touch if you can help (particularly our fundraiser on Indiegogo!)
Thanks for the question. I disagree of course! Specifics: 50p tax rate cut at cost of £3bn. Low paid in-work benefits frozen. Politics is all about choices and these are Cameron's. I would make sure everyone shouldered the appropriate burden - would cut at basic rate before high earner rates. Also tax cuts for lower earners boost the economy straight away, because there is more spent, whereas higher tax earners not so much.
Locally this means a cap on council tax for lower bands and working to introduce more high-value bands, also Labour Councillors have fought to introduce living wage at the council including contractors
The Prime Minister promised he will raise the level at which tax begins to be levied to £12,500, so someone working 30 hours a week at the minimum wage would pay "nothing, zero, zilch" in income tax. I don't call that screwing over the poor.
I like the idea of taking people out of tax by raising the allowances. But this is something that would have happened with normal adjustments if his government had not held them back in the last three years - and cutting tax credits is also counterproductive. There's a proposal for an intro 10p rate too - all of these must make work worth doing but provide decent incomes for us all.
I like universal benefits like this too - shows we are all in it together and the admin is super cheap. Taxes are a means to an end not an end in themselves. One of those ends is redistribution.
Damn, I respect you for taking all these questions/comments head-on.
we are all in it together
Nice try David Cameron.
*''Upvote'' but you're new so we'll let it slide
Just my 2 pence on universal benefits. For people with drug problems or improper spending habits, this will suck for them, as rent will go to them directly and can easily be spent on other things than it's intended purpose. I can't say for sure, but I think this could result in a large amount of people becoming homeless, are you taking any measures to stop this?
Universal benefits - I meant something rather different than the current move to a single benefit with payments not going to landlords. What I meant was benefits that go to all citizens like the basic pension, or TV licences for over 75s, or free bus travel. Child benefit used to be one until this govt made it means tested. I like them because they are cheap to administer, and we all pay in and get out of the same system.
Do you think punishing people for working hard and smart (50p tax rate) is a good thing? Do you think that work tax, in general, is a good thing, or should we move on from it and look elsewhere for government money?
Tax isn't for punishing people, it is for services and for redistribution. I don't think 50p tax rate payers work any harder than the rest of us! Lowest taxes commensurate with fairness and good services is the aim of any sensible government. And more should be raised locally and less nationally I feel.
If you beat him, would you fight against the ignorant internet censorship that he brought about?
I will be happy to look into it though I know less than you by the sound of it. Can you mention some specific concerns? There are some blunt instruments being used I feel.
And this right here is my main worry about every politician in our country. You are internet-savvy enough to find Reddit and launch an IAMA yet plead ignorance about internet censorship? As a representative of people it is your duty to understand just what the internet is and how important it is to the progression of our society.
I am left-wing but I have seen nothing from the left this term to even make me consider voting for a party in the next election.
OK - will bear it in mind. I think internet censorship is a symptom of wider problems of control by Westminster/Whitehall.
Internet censorship is a symptom of the fact that nobody in Westminster has even a passing understanding of new technology and the internet, and much less a grasp on the unintended consequences and sheer impracticality of some of the knee-jerk legislation they are pushing through. This is an issue that I've written to my local (Tory) MP about, and the responses I got are so shockingly ignorant that I'm surprised they were even sent out.
I think you make a good point.
I'll read this once I've done the questions. Thanks
They like lambs in Witney - it is a blanket making town! But no, I think I have momentum and good arguments on my side. Every year since the 2010 election additional Labour councillors (including me) have been elected locally. I reckon if I make an effort to fight for local issues I have every chance. The Lib Dems locally have been reduced and some have joined us, which is good.
Fleeced we call it. And we are all getting fleeced at the moment! Problems round here include isolation, poverty (we have food banks), transport or lack of good roads, homelessness and sofa surfing, insecurity.
They have to start somewhere. His father was an MP a while ago so he might have some connections, but the Labour list for good seats is dominated more by ex-advisers and ex-ministers children.
Well spotted! My dad was MP for Hemsworth in Yorkshire. Famous for singing Yellow Submarine in Latin in the House of Commons to prove a point about the value of state education! I'm standing here because I live here and love it. There is a huge mix of people standing for Labour this time; famous kids (not me) are the ones that make headlines.
What is your individual opinion on legalising cannabis recreationally in the UK? As a UK citizen who has been watching legalisation across American states
I'm in favour of decriminalisation of cannabis personally. What about you? I favour licensing so that more damaging forms can be excluded (where there is evidence, for example, that they damage health). Skunk fits this category I believe. I would always look to medical evidence for these matters.
Easy tigers, just got lost in the mix. This is my first experience of IAMA! I n case you missed it I favour decriminalisation of cannabis and licensing to manage those forms which are unhealthy.
As a German, I am interested in your take on UKIP, more specifically their idea of a Brexit and what you think about the current state of the European Union? Also, can you please make sure England stops spying on us? I don't feel safe watching porn anymore...
I'm a Europhile, and right behind the idea of working together across Europe. It seems to me that our efforts which have resulted in creating a Union have brought a measure of peace, prosperity and democracy across our continent for the first time. But the EU is not perfect by any means. I believe a pro-Europe Government such as the next Labour Government (or previous ones) has far more clout in Europe than a bunch of whingeing sceptics! Not sure what to make of the comment about spying but I am not a fan of an over-intrusive state
Thanks for answering! If I may follow up:
but I am not a fan of an over-intrusive state
So would you vote to scrap the GCHQ or other UK spy agency's programmes, that intrude on your fellow Brits' and your fellow europeans' privacy?
I wouldn't scrap GCHQ, as it is an essential part of our defence infrastructure. But I would always subject it to scrutiny by elected reps so it remains a servant of democracy not a power in itself. I am appalled at the over-reach in recent times - hacking phones and so on.
But I would always subject it to scrutiny by elected reps so it remains a servant of democracy not a power in itself.
Gonna have to define "scrutiny" or this is just empty words. While GCHQ is undoubtedly ahead of the curve in technology, and this is a strength for our national defence, i feel politicians are behind that curve, and this is a weakness for our national freedoms.
What will Labour actually do to secure online civil liberties?
Point well made. Not much I can add though from my position, sorry.
Not gonna happen. Unfortunately, the UK is so far up the US's backside, it's just scary. Look at all the scaremongering, CCTV density across England, etc.
And I say this as a German who's grown up in Britain and loves it, and hates what it's made of itself.
Interesting. CCTV isn't all bad if used to combat crime and make people feel safer. But it isn't something to do for the sake of it. The way you describe it sounds like we are indeed a surveillance state! I'm off to Frankfurt tomorrow - love Germany too!
There is little to no evidence indicating that CCTV surveillance significantly reduces crime or increases safety.
Yes, I think "surveillance state" is pretty accurate.
But most of the CCTV cameras are in the hands of private individuals, not hooked up to some police system where they can track your every move.
Yes interesting. Met someone from the Security Industry Assoc recently who keep some eye on this, but willing to see if more can be done to regularise. I bet most of them don't work!
Which is your favourite pub, and why is it Turf Tavern?
You scare me. Actually I like lots of pubs almost as much as the Turf, e.g. the KA (Wadham pub) and The Plough in Wolvercote; further afield and closer to my home is the excellent Griffin, Newland, and I was inb the fab Chequers in Chippy this week. Always a treat. Did you know 5 pubs are closing every week in the UK? I think we need fairer beer taxes in pubs!
Of COURSE his most up-voted comment is on lowing beer taxes in pubs. Oh, you Brits. Love ya.
Pubs are solid employers and pillars of communities, when stable and viable for the long-term. It's one of his better answers in this thread by some distance.
Thanks - pubs are more important as community glue than many think. It is not only about the beer. Though I do like beer.
Taxes are one thing, but what can be done about the PubCos and breweries? I know some of the larger chains here are deliberately keeping ownership of some of the buildings and keeping them closed to reduce competition. Not to mention the extortionately rising leases..
Absolutely right. Another example of where the govt should step in to a failing market. One thing we can all do is list our locals as community assets with the council. It just takes 25 or so people to sign a request and the council to agree to list it, and it provides an extra period of notice before a pub can be changed into something else like a betting shop or a house, during which the community can raise funds to stop it. Also the beer tie needs reform and CAMRA have good ideas on this.
Would you be willing to make unpopular decisions on climate change for the long term benefit of the country or do you prefer to win elections?
Doing the right thing on climate change will, I believe, win elections. People aren't daft. They know that there is overwhelming evidence now to support efforts to reduce carbon and live more sustainably. There's a co-op solar farm near here which is doing well, and things like this can help boost the economy as well as save the planet. What's not to like?
Hello Duncan. I'm a disillusioned lefty. I used to like the Liberal Democrats, despite their odd mad policy, but they've thrown any legitimacy out of the window now. The problem with Labour I see is they don't have a strong connection with working people anymore. Oxbridge career politicians seem to be the dominant force and to quote the not-so-great Nigel Farage "you can hardly fit a cigarette paper between Labour and the Conservatives". Do you feel this is an issue? Do you think anything more needs to be done so one socio-economic group do not hold so much sway over our everyday lives?
It is an issue but I think Ed Miliband has done a lot to address the substance of this with a clear set of proposals to combat inequality, which Conservatives don't even see as a problem. Also intervening in markets such as energy is a distinctly Labour approach. I think that supporting communities and co-op action are two more areas of difference. I do think we need more diversity in our democratic representation, plus devolution to spread the power!
I think Ed Miliband has done a lot to address the substance of this with a clear set of proposals to combat inequality
Could you describe or send me a link to what these clear proposals are please? As another incredibly disillusioned lefty, I'd love to hear something concrete from "Red Ed"!
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/09/ed-miliband-s-speech-labour-conference-full-text This is a good place to start.
Power to the people!
I live in this constituency. What exactly would you do to improve the congested roads? What do you think of Blenheim's plans to build hundreds of houses on farmland in the area?
Our roads are a disgrace. The A40 is the worst. I would demand action from all the authorities along the line, from Wales to London. I would also lobby hard for national funding. It seems crazy that our MP is PM and still hasn't been able to secure resources. Personally I would like to see a dedicated bus or coach shuttle every ten minutes from Carterton, Witney and Eynsham to Oxford, and back in the evening, along its own lane beside the A40. That should be cheapish and easy to install. I'm interested in other options including better cycle lanes along our main roads and perhaps reopening rail lines. I'm very much against massive housing developments like those proposed by Blenheim. It seems all the power is with developers these days, instead of communities. If asked most towns and villages would propose sensible developments of appropriate scale for sustainability (I rarely meet a NIMBY no). Give power back to the people, I say!
I'm very much against massive housing developments like those proposed by Blenheim
How does that sit with your opinion that there is, " a lack of affordable housing...in the area", given that many of the proposed houses are affordable?
I don't see a clash between more affordable housing and inappropriate siting of such housing. There are better places is what I am saying.
In Mr Cameron's recent speech to the UN one issue he raised was those who challenge the official line on events can be considered non-violent extremists and are a dangerous threat.
Given the many years that it took for the truth behind the events such as the Hillsborough disaster, the miners strike, no WMDs, Bloody Sunday etc. to come out, a long period where the country was governed by both the Labour and Conservative party, I ask what are your views and/or the views of the Labour Party generally on the right of society to challenge the official response? Especially when there is compelling evidence that contradicts the official response.
Good question. That's why we have things like an independent judiciary and freedom of the press. I'd like to see devolution, really significant new powers for communities, councils and regions, which will also provide an extra layer of challenge for the government. The internet can help too!
After what we saw in the Scottish referendum, would you be willing to vote for a more federal UK, with more powers given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? Also, what is your views on an English parliament being set up similar to what we have in Scotland?
Yes. An English Parliament would be too close in size to UK and inevitably focussed on London, so I prefer devolution to regions, counties, cities, districts. I'd like to see power go further than the nations and to communities (and individuals). Westminster and Whitehall are too greedy! Power to the people!
What would you rather fight...100 duck sized david Camerons or one elephant sized nick clegg?
The 100 ducks.
Thanks for doing this AMA. My question is about your own personal politics versus toeing the party line. How close do you draw a distinction? Are there any areas where you disagree?
Any thoughts on your opinion of how Cannabis legalisation is going on in the US and Uruguay and whether you would be so bold as to acknowledge their clear relevance to our own policy?
I personally will consider voting Labour but my decision will be far easier if there are candidates with broad views which demonstrate a receptive party as opposed to a tightly bound out of touch group.
Thanks, best of luck
I think I have covered this in other answers but do let me know. I joined Labour because it echoed my values: justice, fairness, solidarity, internationalism. So sometimes I disagree with the party but mostly I see where the arguments come from at least. I'd stand by our plans at the next election as they are strong. I favour decriminalisation of cannabis while licensing to prevent superstrong health-damaging variants.
Pleasure. That's an interesting point you make. In these days of social media I think there are lots of ways to interrogate candidates so we all have to step up to the mark and voice our opinions, which goes well beyond any party "line". Besides every community has different challenges. I speak for Witney, not Westminster.
Please answer the question on cannabis.
Sorry about that - missed the question. I am in favour of decriminalisation of cannabis and licensing so that the more damaging forms (e.g. skunk) can be weeded out (geddit)!
Thanks for doing this AMA, Mr. Enright.
Mr. Cameron recently vowed to defeat ISIS/ISIL after the beheading of Alan Henning. Firstly, what is your stance on the UK's involvement in the Middle East? Secondly, what would you do differently from Cameron, in light of Mr. Henning's murder, if anything?
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Pleasure. UK involvement needs to be in support of democratic forces against those of disruption, so I would work with Iraqi government. Mr Henning's death is tragic and shows what lengths ISIS will go to in trying to get a reaction from UK Government. I think we need to bear that in mind when responding.
The coalition government passed an emergency retrospective law that reversed a court decision last year to avoid paying damages:
Labour decided to abstain from voting. Why? It's the reason I'm not going to vote Labour. I want to know why Labour abstained. It was the Rule of Law that the government was breaking and I'm still angry that Labour didn't even register their opposition. On a similar note, what are your positions on the reduction of legal aid and the raising of the costs of going to employment tribunals?
I don't know why Labour MPs abstained. I think it is quite wrong to deny people legal aid. It means only wealthy people have access to law.
Stand by the agreement signed when HK transferred. I will not be THE leader, but if elected as A leader I will be happy to help stand up to UK responsibilities. HK can be a beacon for working together.
Mr. Enright, we the people must know your stand on chorizo sausages. Are you for them, or against them?
For. Strongly. Peperoni Pizza is the best. Also liked Peperami so much I had to give it up.
Do you believe in a deity God and should there be unelected church men and women in the House of Lords?
Yes I do and no there shouldn't
Katie Melua - Wonderful Life, on BBCR2 I think. Last one on my Spotify account probably Adele. I like classic rock mostly so usually Pink Floyd and Genesis (to my slight shame, should listen to more new stuff)
That's all a bit 'middle-of-the-road'. Are you sure you're not a Lib Dem in disguise?
Easy now! That's a bit harsh! I bet Peter Gabriel is one of ours! Internationalist like him must favour Labour I'd say
asking the important questions.
Giving the big answers.
Will you and your party restrict immigrants entering the UK?
Yes - we need a well managed immigration system. Mostly I am concerned about gangmasters and exploitation, and we must stamp this out. I'd give overseas students the right to come though because our higher education system is one of our treasures to share and makes Britain friends all over the world.
It is a promise we must keep, but the right thing to do as well. I would like to see power devolved down as far as possible, which means to individuals as well as to communities and nations like Scotland. The Scots have inspired us to ask for more power for Witney and West Oxfordshire - too much is hoarded by Westminster and Whitehall. And Brussels (I am a Europhile but the closer to home the better!)
What is your stance on the decriminalisation or legalisation of (some) drugs?
Have you seen my answers elsewhere?
What's your view on the increasing levels of debt that are being put upon the youth of today, with regards to student fees and The Conservatives plan to reduce/withdraw benefits from the young whilst the older members of society gain much more focus in such areas (winter fuel allowance, sheltered housing/retirement homes etc)?
 Thank you for taking the time to come talk to and answer questions. I may not agree with much of Labours (or any other political party) policies, but I do respect the chance to ask/query and discuss that you're giving us.
Finances not in a good place for young people. That's why we need more young people to vote and scare politicians to take notice.
Reading up on Grayling's proposal to pull out of the ECHR, I've recently learned, that he is backed by the Tories, who apparently had their sights set on the convention for a long time. According to the BBC, even David Cameron himself wants to confront the European Court of Human Rights. So I'd like to know your take on this, as well as the underlying issues, i.e. what are your positions on a prisoner's right to vote, the whole life tariff, and leaving the ECHR in favour of a British bill of rights?
I disagree totally with Cameron on this. The proposal is extremely muddled and it sounds like a way of combatting the right-wingers in the Conservative party and UKIP. I am not in favour of votes for all prisoners but we need a clear argument as to why and who is denied the vote. The European Court asks for this and is right to do so. ECHR is our British Bill of Rights in my view.
The Conservatives oppose the ECHR because they are pandering to the far right. They dishonestly paint the issue as one of little Britain standing proud against foreign interference, despite the fact that the UK was a prime mover and the ECHR is recognised in all but Belarus (dictatorship) as a foundation for human rights. We need to set the record straight and stand by the ECHR - Labour will do so, and I will do so.
What's your position on climate change?
Biggest challenge we face. No brainer that we all need to work on this. I see sustainability and economic change as going hand in hand, and this is something that brings the world together (apart from a few deniers).
Who is your right hand man/woman, and do they tell you when an action is good for your campaign but bad for your constituents?
I want to know the team behind the leader.
I'm not the leader, but I am the candidate in Witney where Cameron is MP. There is a tight local team of us - Chris, Tom, Ric, Merilyn, Jane, Laura, Andrew, Geoff, David and a handful of others! We judge actions as best we can...Any specifics?
What do you think of Tom Brady's start in this season? (football)
Go Patriots! But I am sadly uninformed about Brady - can you enlighten me? My teams are Pats, RedSox, Leeds United (proper football), Oxford United, Featherstone Rovers and London Welsh.
Well basically Brady has been doing bad. They are current 2-2 but in fantasy football brady hasn't been getting a lot of points.IMO at the end of this season he may be the 20th best quarterback
Drop him now. But always remember the good times.
How long have you planned on being the prime minister? How were the old days like?
Not really planning to be PM! Witney has had its share already! But I was chosen by my local Labour friends to be the candidate at Christmas and have been campaigning and planning since then! The old days? Can you expand on that?
In the Good Friday agreement there was an agreement that there would be a referendum in NI to see whether or not they would choose to join Ireland, will this happen if you come into power ?
No, it will happen when the people of Northern Ireland want it to happen. My family background includes people from County Cork so I have an interest to declare here!
What are your views on foreigners in this country? In my opinion, I feel like we need them out, NOW.
Not my view. Britain is a country built on contributions from people from all over the world. My own family includes Scot, Irish, Polish etc.
I'm sorry, but this cookie-cutter, non-specific nonsense.
Every politician says this about an opposition leader. You could replace Cameron's name with anyone else who has been PM, and someone would have said almost the exact same sentence.
We really need politicians who are going to be honest, and be an individual. Not someone who just spouts the same generic lines that we've all heard hundreds of times before.
The quoted paragraph means nothing. It carries no weight. Don't complain about what someone else has done, tell us, what are you going to do? And how, specifically, are you going to do it?
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