Policy

Jeremy Browne’s Liberal Democrat values

I can sum up my Liberal Democrat principles in three words: opportunity,
choice and tolerance.

Opportunity:

Expanding opportunity is at the core of my politics. I want every person to
be able to maximise their potential, achieve their ambitions, and to have
every chance to make their individual dreams come true.

That explains why improving education standards and opportunities is my
number one political priority. I support giving every school pupil the tools
to make a success of their life. That means striving for excellent exam
results, and having a good learning environment in schools. But it is also
about creating broad horizons for young people, allowing them to become
responsible and considerate citizens, and fostering their creativity and
sense of adventure.

And education isn’t just for children. I always admire people who are
pushing back their personal boundaries, learning new skills, and exploring
different areas of learning. Maybe they are preparing for a career change,
or gearing-up for parenthood, or using their retirement to travel to new
locations. Expanding education and opportunity is a lifelong process.

I regularly visit schools across Taunton constituency, meeting with
headteachers and discussing how improvements can be made and maintained. I
want Somerset’s schools to have the best and to be the best. That is my
ambition.

Choice:

Choice is a central Liberal Democrat belief. Over the past twenty years
Britain has experienced a huge growth in consumer choices.

We now have 24-hour shopping, even in medium-sized towns. We have ever
more television channels, and holiday destinations, and career opportunities.
Leisure opportunities have expanded, with more bars, restaurants and
sporting events.

The task for politicians is to bring that customer-orientated approach to
improving Britain’s public services. The danger to public services does not
come from reform, it comes from avoiding reform and becoming out-dated.

The role of the Liberal Democrats is to modernise our public services and
make sure we put the patients, pupils and passengers first.

That means, alongside the welcome extra investment in hospitals and
healthcare, there is also greater flexibility so that patients can be
treated sooner and at times that are more convenient for them.

It is really important to fund education properly, but reforms have to
ensure that the money is spent wisely and result in real benefits for pupils
and their parents.

And our public transport system has to start being more like a public
service, with greater concentration on improving the affordability and
reliability for passengers.

So there is a huge challenge facing politicians, which is to use their
position to give better choices to the public, and to overhaul our public
services.

Tolerance:

People should also feel free to choose how to live their own lives. We all
benefit from having a tolerant and understanding society, and politicians
should resist the temptation to be bossy and prescriptive.

I value individual identity and freedom of expression. I don’t want people
to feel bound by conformity or corralled into convention.

Of course, we all have a duty to behave responsibly and
respectfully towards one another. We should think through the consequences
of our choices, and strive to prevent ourselves from being narrowly selfish.

But the opening up of society over the past 50 years has, on balance, been a
force for good. People enjoy greater freedom than before – more choice about
their personal relationships, their career paths and where they decide to
live. We have matured as a society, and discovered a greater tolerance.

This is the very essence of liberalism.

Jeremy Browne’s current priority policy areas

Raising school standards and improving healthcare:

The Liberal Democrats stand for high-quality public services. I fully
understand the importance to the community of Musgrove Park Hospital, am a
strong supporter of local schools (including being a Governor at Taunton’s
Ladymead Community School), and have spent valuable time with the
emergency services, such as Somerset Fire Service.

Cutting crime:

Tackling crime is important. I have been on fact-finding tours with Avon and
Somerset Police, Taunton’s Neighbourhood Wardens and the North Deane Parish
Wardens. I would like greater priority to be given to reducing serious
anti-social crimes such as car-theft, vandalism and graffiti, all of which
reduce people’s quality of life.

Supporting rural communities:

I will always champion rural and village communities, and have campaigned
for local post offices, pubs, traditional brewers and village shops. I back
the farming community, support Somerset’s local producers, and I am
particularly keen to see new technology used to bring greater economic
prosperity to rural areas.