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Why vote for me? - a personal letter to the people of Odell from North Bedfordshire's parliamentary candidates

Following a lively debate in our newly re-opened Bell the other day, I have asked the parliamentary candidates to tell us why we, the people of Odell in North Bedfordshire, should vote for them.  I invited each of them to respond with 300 words maximum with their reasons why the people Odell should vote for them.  

The candidates for the May 7th election are:

Labour: Saqhib Ali  
Conservative: Alistair Burt 
Liberal Democrat: Peter Morris  
UKIP: Adrianne Smyth 
Green: Mark Bowler

This is what we received, in the order in which they were received

A letter to the people of Odell from Mark Bowler

This is a very exciting time in British politics and Iím honoured to have been selected as the first ever Green Party candidate for North East Bedfordshire constituency. Everyone should have the opportunity to vote for polices they believe in and Iím pleased the people of NE Beds can now vote for real change.

The Green Party will revitalise the life and economy of rural communities by providing better public transport, ensuring decent livelihoods for people working locally and continuing high-speed broadband roll-out. Weíll legislate to stop destruction of wildlife habitats, the soil, landscape, ancient monuments and our countryside.

Greens will commit to making Britain an energy efficient, low-carbon nation, creating investment and job opportunities whilst protecting the wider environment. I would like to see widespread community owned and managed renewable power initiatives and Iím delighted that local residents are at the crest of this wave. I fully support the proposed Harrold Community Solar Farm, which will generate clean power and a generous income for the area. Projects such as this are a responsible alternative to fracking, nuclear power and burning fossil fuels. They contribute to the fight against Climate Change, which is the biggest threat to our local environment and society.

The Green Party offers hope of a society with a fair school system, fair wages for all and publically funded, publically provided National Health Services, free at the point of use. Rather than printing money to prop up banks we would use it to end austerity. Our commitment to increase minimum wages to a living-wage level of £10.00 per hour by 2020 will empower millions of people on low wages. The Greens will create a fairer, more equal society.

Residents of Odell will also be able to vote for Green local election candidate Gary Lloyd.  

                Mark Bowler

A letter to the people of Odell from Alistair Burt

I am very proud to have represented Odell as your MP for fourteen years, and am pleased at this chance to seek your vote again.

I never forget firstly that I represent a rural constituency, where combining modern and traditional life is not always easy. I intend to continue my regular engagement with parishes and others on issues from farming, planning, country pursuits, transport and schools to help ensure the best decisions are made. 

Secondly I believe we have the right ideas and experience to see the country through the next few years. In 2010 we grasped the extent of the problems left us by the combination of the financial crash of 2008 and poor handling of the nationís economy by the previous government. Recovery has not been easy, but we have made a start - there are more jobs, we have curbed spending whilst protecting pensioners, the most vulnerable and the NHS, and got on with reforming welfare to ensure work pays, and partnering with teachers to continue improving educational standards and opportunities. I want to carry on with this.

I seek your vote also because I still believe that politics must always be about more than money and economics and that it must remain rooted in people's hopes, aspirations and opportunities. I believe politics must work for everyone, whoever they are and whatever their circumstances, but not all the answers to problems are without difficulty, and we cannot be liked all the time. I believe that it makes a difference who forms our government. From our confidence and competence at home, to our crucial role in Europe and beyond - I stand for Parliament because I believe that my Conservative colleagues and I can make a positive difference for the people I would be honoured to serve again.

            Alistair Burt  

A letter to the people of Odell from Adrianne Smyth

Adrianne Smyth is a businesswoman who lives on a farm with Chartered Surveyor husband Tim and is not a career politician.  She feels todayís politicians in the  Westminster bubble are out of touch with the rest of the country. 

Very few of those governing us today have ever run their own businesses  or shown that they understand the problems of running a going concern against bureaucratic intervention. 

Over recent years I have voiced serious concern over the damage being inflicted on the British economy and our sovereignty, by our continued membership of the EU, which changed from the original Free Trade idea to the subsequent creation of a European state governed from Brussels, continually expanding its domain and power.

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) campaign to reclaim our freedom to govern ourselves by withdrawing from the EU, would save us £55 million a day.

Our cost of belonging to the EU is estimated by independent auditors to be over £16 Billion annually. Thirteen years of Labour Government left us totally impoverished, unable to pay off our debts. 5 years of Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has left us unable to make our own laws or deport dangerous criminals and known terrorists. 

Our borders with the other 26 countries of the EU are permanently open with no controls. The massive rise in uncontrolled immigration is forcing us to bear huge costs in providing school places, infrastructure, education, medical facilities and bringing unbearable pressure on our open spaces for extra housing to support this policy.

We need not accept this - a Vote for UKIP is a Vote to govern ourselves, enough votes and they will have to take account of our policies and the people who support them. A vote for UKIP is not a wasted vote. A vote for UKIP is a vote for common sense."

Adrianne Smyth  

A letter to the people of Odell from Saqhib Ali


Born in the UK, 43-year-old Saqhib has lived in Bedfordshire since 1978, attending state schools before securing a scholarship to Bedford Modern School. This was followed by the University of Leeds and he is now a qualified accountant with a Cranfield MBA. Over the years he has worked for a variety of companies, large and small, both in the UK and abroad.

Married with two teenage sons and a daughter, Saqhib lives in the new Bedfordshire village of Wixams and is a passionate community campaigner. Having served as a parish councillor and school governor, he would relish the chance to serve his community further.

A firm supporter of equal opportunities, especially for part-time workers, the low paid and working parents, he wants to see more local employment. He is also a strong advocate for our local hospitals and health services and for more affordable private and social housing.

Saqhib says: ''The son of migrants, I understand the struggle of starting with nothing and what it takes to integrate into a new society.

ďMy varied life experiences, including unemployment and illness, have made me passionate about improving the lives of the ordinary, hardworking majority in our society, not just the privileged few.Ē 

                   Saqhib Ali


A letter to the people of Odell from Peter Morris


You can download my profile from  which includes a photograph and less than 300 words.

Peter Morris