Craig supports ‘Share The Orange’ campaign for World Alzheimer’s Day

Too many people still think dementia is just a natural part of ageing, which means they do not realise that it is something we may, one day, overcome.

As we near World Alzheimer’s Day on 21st September, Craig Mackinlay MP is supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK’s #ShareTheOrange campaign to help raise awareness and improve understanding of the diseases that cause dementia.

Dementia is the world’s greatest medical challenge, not only for the individuals affected and their families, but for society as a whole. Over 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, and the condition has an economic impact in the UK of over £26bn a year – more than cancer and heart disease combined.

Current treatments can help some people with dementia, alleviating some of the symptoms for a time. But the reality is that no treatment currently exists to slow or halt the diseases that cause dementia.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity and last year pledged to commit a landmark £250m of funding towards pioneering medical research into the condition by 2025.

Craig Mackinlay MP, commented:

CM Alzheimer’s Research UK Share The Orange badge wearing Sept19.jpg

“Progress in the care, support and treatment of people with dementia has been made, with more people receiving a diagnosis of dementia than ever before.

“Over 660,000 NHS staff have received dementia training with further training opportunities rolled out to all NHS staff by the end of 2018, and over 100,000 social care workers have received some form of dementia awareness training.

“But there is always more to do, which is why, as we approach World Alzheimer’s Day on 21st September, I want to lend my support to Alzheimer’s Research UK #ShareTheOrange campaign to help increase understanding of dementia among the wider public.

“We need to challenge fatalism around dementia – we don’t have to accept it as part of later life. We also have to ensure that people with dementia are supported to live well, including the 1698 people with the condition in my South Thanet constituency. I will continue to speak up in support of Dementia research and care wherever possible.”

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Research has made major breakthroughs in other disease areas in recent years and we can do the same for the diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that cause dementia. Our scientists are already making vital discoveries and with more support for their work, we can turn discoveries into life-changing breakthroughs more quickly.”

“We’re calling on the public to #ShareTheOrange, turn fatalism into hope and make dementia the next big medical success story by backing Alzheimer’s Research UK’s world-leading research.”

You can watch the latest film in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s award-winning #ShareTheOrange campaign, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, here.

My regular update - 16 September 2019

I forecast in my last article that some of my colleagues might find themselves on the ‘naughty step’ before the week was up. That forecast came to pass and then some. Where I got it wrong was that they didn’t find themselves with a simple telling off, as is usual when MPs go against the Party’s whipped line, they found themselves expelled from the class.  I’ve rebelled on numerous occasions, but this was entirely different as the vote in question under a procedure usually used to grant an emergency debate was flexed to give the opposition control of Parliament’s Order Paper – effectively handing government temporarily to those who, via the millions of ballot papers cast in 2017, were not strong enough to form a government. What then came to pass was Parliament passing a major constitutional Bill over just four hours of debate and limited scrutiny to demand a further costly extension to Brexit. Whichever side of the Brexit fence you prefer, it can never be right to pass hasty, poorly drafted legislation in just four hours. None of this is about ‘soft’ Brexit, ‘hard’ Brexit or preventing ‘no deal’. These people want to stop Brexit entirely.

 The correct way for the opposition to take control is to call for a vote of no confidence in the government. They did not do this. The other way of taking control is for a general election to allow the public, those we are elected to serve, to take the decision as to whom they want on the government benches. We entered the world of the truly bizarre as for the first time in history, the opposition declared they don’t want an election, despite calling for one for years. If opposition parties don’t want the chance to form a government, one starts to question what they are for at all. It was curious that protesters outside my Broadstairs office recently were holding up ‘General Election now’ placards. I want an election, the Conservative Party wants an election, the country needs an election and I agree with the placard wavers. Perhaps they could get a message through to Jeremy Corbyn’s office and allow us one.

 So we’re now saddled with the curious European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Act which requires the Prime Minister to beg for an extension to 31st January 2020. Extension of membership under Article 50 requires both parties to agree. The Act further requires that if the 31st January 2020 is not acceptable to the EU, then the PM must accept any date offered. Presumably this could mean years. The EU must be laughing; they have little to no incentive to see sense over a revised ‘deal’, why would they whilst they know there are hundreds of British MPs willing to do their work for them and continue the monthly cash payments of over a £billion per month. It is not easy to see a way through this. The PM is robustly maintaining that we’re leaving on 31st October come what may. The government faces a Supreme Court hearing on whether the recent ‘Prorogation’ of Parliament was lawful. And yet the simple means of resolving all differences – by having a general election is closed off under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act requiring a 2/3rds majority of all MPs to allow one. Confused?

Great news for Thanet last week with £millions on its way under the Stronger Towns Fund and the Heritage High Streets Fund which will target Ramsgate for action. Retail is changing, and we’re all responsible for that with online shopping. High Streets need to become places of leisure, entertainment and enjoyment; a place to visit in their own right, because, shopping incentive aside, they are great places to be. Coastal towns are well placed to find this new role, not least because of the spending power of visitors and tourists. We are well placed to ride the wave of employment and economic success.

My regular update - 2 September 2019

Well that’s that, the end to another great Summer, a mixture of ‘what a scorcher’ and ‘what a washout’ but generally memories of Summer weather 2019 will be positive. The appeal of Thanet to visitors continues to grow, whether for a proper holiday or a short visit: really good news for local employment and businesses who I’m sure have enjoyed a bumper year. The Addington Street fair in Ramsgate this weekend was bigger than ever and hugely enjoyable.

Schools will be returning, and what greater present to staff, pupils and parents than the commitment to boost school spending by £14Bn between now and 2023 across improved salaries for teachers and additional funding per pupil in secondary and primary schools.

My ‘Big School’ of Westminster similarly returns this week; one wonders how many of my colleagues will find themselves on the ‘naughty step’ before the week is up as they advance unconstitutional measures to thwart Brexit. Let’s get this very clear: whilst referendums have never historically been the norm under the UK constitution, unlike arrangements in Switzerland, they are increasingly used in the UK for issues as diverse as deciding upon regional assemblies, alternative voting systems, Scottish independence, and yes, finally, on settling the issue of our relationship with the EU. Prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum the government sent a glossy leaflet to every household with unambiguous wording “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.” This mirrors entirely the intention of Parliament in the Referendum Act and the extensive debates in Parliament that preceded it. This was not to be an indicative vote, a maybe vote, a subject to vote or anything else. The choice on the ballot paper was clear and unambiguous as well – do you want to remain or leave? This was a time when the usual Sovereign power of Parliament was returned to the electorate; Parliament relegated itself to the second division, and the Sovereignty of the nation, on this issue, was properly given to the voters. Indeed, after a long referendum campaign spanning six months and endless analysis and discussion across all media, a well-informed public made its decision on a high turnout, with leave winning by a margin of more than a million.

 It is not now for Parliament or government to do anything but implement the will of the nation. Which leads me on to the false outrage generated about prorogation. We have a new energetic Prime Minister and Executive team with an exciting domestic agenda to advance. This requires new Bills to be introduced. This requires a new Queen’s speech to start the ball rolling. This has happened most years, generally in the Autumn, for as close to ‘ever’ as counts. Additionally, for the last 80 years, Westminster has gone into a 4-week Conference season recess. This prorogation adds just a few days to that normal conference season, returning on 14th October rather than the 7th. It is not a ‘coup’, a ‘shutting down of democracy’ or any other daft term that many want to shout about. It’s normal. What is abnormal is that this last session of Parliament has been the longest for nearly 400 years; it’s gone on for far too long, and latterly has done far too little; it had run out of steam.

Is the prorogation related to Brexit? Predominantly not for reasons above, but the government is duty bound to implement the will of the people on Brexit and must do everything necessary to deliver. With the new timetable there is ample time to keep on discussing Brexit in the Chamber, and ample time after the EU Council of Ministers meeting on 17th October, which will be a crucial last chance for the EU to play fairly and agree to a Brexit deal that benefits everybody.

My regular update - 19 August 2019

The foul trade of live animal exports out of Ramsgate has been an unwelcome feature of July and August, always reaching peak annual activity around the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. I joined campaigners at one of the transports as I always do when my diary permits. For all the doom and gloom about Brexit, entirely without foundation in my view, the new team at DEFRA including The Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers MP and Zac Goldsmith MP, both of whom I have worked with on the issue of live exports, gives a clear steer as to where policy should be heading after our withdrawal from the EU on 31st October. I hope, along with a huge majority of local residents, that this will be the last year we’ll see Ramsgate port used for this activity.

It is always a pleasure to support Sharon Goodyer and her ‘Summer Kitchen’ which brings the community together for activities and her nutritious home-cooked food over the summer holiday period. This opens a wider debate about cooking skills, unhealthy additives in our processed food and domestic budgeting. I have committed myself to work further with Sharon over the coming months.

Myself and family have had a few days away in Hungary to visit my wife’s family. An annual trip but that much more logistically complex this year with our new baby, Olivia. Whereas we used to whistle through the airport with minimal baggage, the added dimension of pram, baby clothes, nappies, toys and of course the little one makes the airport experience, never a joy in anyone’s book, a true nightmare. I now know what many of you have been going through all these years. I recall writing at a similar time last year about Debrecen airport: an old military base virtually within the city, now transformed and growing each year as passenger and logistics flights increase and with it an increasing number of associated businesses. Sound familiar?

Whilst commenting on Hungary, which politically gets its share of negative press under the Fidesz government which dominates nationally and locally (it is obviously doing plenty right in the view of the electorate), I was struck by the liberal amount of Palinka, the snapps style, high strength, fruit brandy that is offered by hosts upon even the most casual of meetings. Some years ago the government allowed each person to distil 50 litres per year free of tax for domestic consumption. How anybody could possibly drink this much per year eludes me. The EU took Hungary to the European Court of Justice for this policy, on the basis of duty evasion, and won. The Hungarian government’s response – this is ‘cultural heritage’ so we’re taking no notice. This should be our current response to madcap expensive rulings of the ECJ, the latest of which could see the final banning of red diesel for boat use in the UK, and with it a dangerous inability to refuel along the coast as sellers simply will not wish to invest in new tanks on such a low-margin product.

Obviously this, and other lunatic EU pronouncements can be a thing of the past in a couple of months’ time. As we return to Parliament, there are many forces still unreconciled to the biggest democratic vote (to leave) ever seen. They will fail as we see proposals to install Jeremy Corbyn or Kenneth Clarke as temporary Prime Ministers similarly fade away as reality returns after the summer recess. I’m delighted that measures are being taken to ensure that a no-deal Brexit will work if the Commission refuses to rethink the now dead Withdrawal Agreement. The signing of the ‘Commencement Order’ to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act was a totemic signal that we mean what we say. A great few weeks for Boris Johnson and his new team with pledges to increase police numbers, wider use of stop and search, more prison places and sentencing to more properly reflect the severity of the crime, more funding for the NHS and schools. Expect similar good news in the Autumn budget.