Milton Keynes South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 27601 (46.8%)
Labour: 18929 (32.1%)
Lib Dem: 2309 (3.9%)
Green: 1936 (3.3%)
UKIP: 7803 (13.2%)
Independent: 255 (0.4%)
Others: 116 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 8672 (14.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Buckinghamshire. Part of the Milton Keynes council area.

Main population centres: Milton Keynes.

Profile: Milton Keynes is the biggest planned newtown in Britain, effectively the only "new city", the town is built on a characteristic grid of roundabouts with a central shopping and leisure district. The town is almost all built since the 1960s, and has a younger population than most of the south-east. The southern seat is the more compact and is dominated by Milton Keynes itself. It includes the Open University headquarters, Woodhill prison and the second world war codebreaking facility - now a musuem - at Bletchley Park.

Politics: Both of the Milton Keynes seats are Con-Lab marginals. They were created (as Milton Keynes North East and South West) in 1992, in an unusual interim Parliamentary boundary review that split the existing Milton Keynes seat into two.


Current MP
IAIN STEWART (Conservative) Born 1972, Scotland. Educated at Hutchesons Grammar School and Exeter University. Former accountant. Contested Glasgow Rutherglen 1999 Scottish Parliament election, Milton Keynes South West 2001, 2005. First elected as MP for Milton Keynes South in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 23034 (42%)
Lab: 17833 (32%)
LDem: 9787 (18%)
UKIP: 2074 (4%)
Oth: 2605 (5%)
MAJ: 5201 (9%)
2005*
Con: 16852 (35%)
Lab: 20862 (43%)
LDem: 7909 (16%)
UKIP: 1750 (4%)
Oth: 1336 (3%)
MAJ: 4010 (8%)
2001
Con: 15506 (34%)
Lab: 22484 (50%)
LDem: 4828 (11%)
GRN: 957 (2%)
Oth: 1609 (4%)
MAJ: 6978 (15%)
1997
Con: 17006 (34%)
Lab: 27298 (54%)
LDem: 6065 (12%)
Oth: 389 (1%)
MAJ: 10292 (20%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Milton Keynes South West

Demographics
2015 Candidates
IAIN STEWART (Conservative) See above.
ANDREW PAKES (Labour) Born 1973, Newport Pagnell. Educated at Ousedale School and Hull University. Labour party special advisor and former NUS President. Southwark councillor 2006-2010. Contested Milton Keynes North 2010.
LISA SMITH (Liberal Democrat)
VINCE PEDDLE (UKIP) Engineering designer.
SAMANTHA PANCHERI (Green) Educated at Roehampton Un iversity.
MATTHEW GIBSON (Lets Keep It Real) Digital consultant and web project manager.
STEPHEN FULTON (Independent)
Links
Comments - 226 Responses on “Milton Keynes South”
  1. The other reason why we can’t cut university places is because the ‘secret’ job of the HE system is that since we effectively ended mass skilled trade employment in the 80s and 90s, it has become the gatekeeper of entry to the professional middle classes, with the £9k a year being the entry fee.

    This club allows you better, more satisfying, more secure work, a better standard of living and the trapping of middle class life. Short of a good inheritance, all other methods of entry to the club have pretty much gone. If you’re a very fortunate tradesperson and navigate our serious recessions effectively, you might pull it off, but it’s far more difficult. Graduate parents want their children to go to university because the advantages of going are simply overwhelming (this has actually been the trend for a century).

    Unless we develop an entire new parallel education system delivering *secure*, *well-paid* and *high-status* employment (so not the proposed tech colleges, unfortunately, which seem a mechanism to divert able working-class kids out of the path of the children of the affluent middle-classes and into insecure trade jobs where too many think they ‘belong’), any Government trying to cut university places would lose the subsequent General Election very, very badly indeed, and would find the policy reversed tout-suite if there were any employers left in the UK.

    If you don’t believe me, list all the developed nations who have deliberately cut their university sector significantly, ever.

    It won’t take long, because there aren’t any.

    And that’s not because they’re simply not brave and clear-sighted enough to realise that the problem with modern society is that too many young people are getting educated. It’s because it’s a ruinously bad idea.

    In any case, because of demographics, we actually have fewer graduates than we had a few years back because there just aren’t as many young people. This is proving a bit of a problem for business.

  2. ”If you’re a very fortunate tradesperson and navigate our serious recessions effectively, you might pull it off, but it’s far more difficult. Graduate parents want their children to go to university because the advantages of going are simply overwhelming (this has actually been the trend for a century).”

    This is simply false. There are a lot companies who like to take school leavers at the age of 18 and train them up within their own business structures. In my experience these people become vastly more successful than those who go to university and do micky mouse degrees. The government should be pushing more school leavers in this direction rather than getting palming them off into the university system where they come out with a degree in some useless subject that is effectively worthless plus tens of thousands of pounds in debt.

    ”any Government trying to cut university places would lose the subsequent General Election very, very badly indeed”

    Not if they massively expanded apprenticeships or some other scheme to get companies to train up young people. Thankfully university mania or the early thousands seems to be stopping and the views of both parents and school leavers have completely soured of late as people have seen people go to university study something that is essentially a complete waste of time and when they come out do the same (or in many cases worse) than people who went straight into work/training.

    ”And that’s not because they’re simply not brave and clear-sighted enough to realise that the problem with modern society is that too many young people are getting educated. It’s because it’s a ruinously bad idea.”

    What is the point of getting educated if the thing they are getting educated in is of no use to them in the real world or to emerging industries. It would be far better for the aompanies to train up young people with skills that they are actually going to be able to use in the work place.

    If it were up to me I would defund all the ‘micky mouse’ degrees and instead encourage business to take take far more young people in apprenticeship type schemes and actually get them to learn relevent skills. Arty type qualifications would be moved back to part time studying in colleges/placements with companies whilst courses in the ‘gender studies’ type vein would be axed all together. Only the brightest students who want to study the in the most acedemic fields e.g. medicine, physics, chemistry should go to uni. Even things like finance should be handed to financial institutions (maybe with side part time college courses) to do the training.

    The prictice in theis country of sending peoople to universities to study essentially pointless things which are of no benefit to them whilst accruing huge debts I believe is socially and morally wrong.

  3. How would you encourage business to do that in your fantasy world? It seems to be a lot of British businesses are pretty woeful at training people up. They prefer to piss and moan about the state of British education system (without ever wanting to pay for anything themselves, of course). Whilst I am far from a socialist and I enjoy the financial trappings of having a decent job in the private sector, there’s a big part of me that gets fed up of them always demanding more whilst doing as little as possible to help and train their staff.

  4. Additionally, good luck defining what a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree actually is. From your rather haughty tone it certainly doesn’t apply to what you studied, or indeed where you studied. People more successful than you may disagree and think your degree a load of crap. And be wary of pushing the STEM subjects too much…the moment we get a glut of graduates, wages will start falling..

  5. @Peppermint Tea

    “This is simply false. ”

    No. It isn’t.

    Much of your post is just plain wrong. Rather than debunk everything you said (which I started to do but even I got bored), here is a basic reference:

    From ‘Graduates in the Labour Market’, April 2017, the ONS (here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/610805/GLMS_2016_v2.pdf)

    So, here are some comparisons for 21-30 year olds.

    Employment rates:

    graduates: 87% (the majority of those graduates not working are in postgraduate study)
    non-graduates: 73.3%

    Unemployment rates:

    Graduates: 4.6%
    Non graduates: 7,7%

    Inactivity rates
    Graduates: 8.7%
    Non-graduates: 20.6%

    One in five non-graduates are not even trying to participate in the labour market!

    “In 2016, working age (aged 16-64) graduates earned on average £9,500 more than non-graduates, while postgraduates earned on average £6,000 more than
    graduates. These gaps were narrower for the young (aged 21-30) population, with graduates earning £6,000 more than non-graduates, and postgraduates earning £4,000 more than graduates, on average”

    There are a small handful of really good post-18 schemes from employers, but honestly your comment that ‘in your experience….’ etc is dubious because most of them have been going nowhere near long enough for even mid-career effects to have become clear and so I have to reluctantly conclude that either you’ve made a mistake in recall or you are indulging in a certain degree of artistic license. Since you’ve made some fairly sweeping statements that I also know to be somewhat more colourful than the true situation I think we can conclude that you’re building your point a little higher than it can be sustained.

    And comparing the very best post-18 options with the very worst graduates and concluding therefore that the university sector must be slashed is, to put it kindly, not logically tenable, especially as you don’t seem to be that familiar with the evidence available.

    The very, very large majority of graduates are successful in the labour market and with occupational segregation as it is (year-on-year occupational analyses of the APS are eye-opening and alarming about the collapse of the non-graduate labour market in the UK – read up on the ‘Hourglass Economy’,, it’s pretty worrying), most would not be as successful without university and employers would not want them and would not replace them with UK school-leavers either. They’d recruit overseas as they currently do when they’re short of graduates, or stop recruiting. If you read the EPS or ESS, (which are the bi-annual reviews of UK skills from employer perspectives), employers are really happy with the quality of graduates and rate them far higher at everything than school-leavers, a view which is rather at odds with the story you are telling. I think I know which is more reliable.

    Those graduates that do struggle in the labour market frequently struggle for personal reasons and nothing to do with their education. They’d still struggle on other routes – and they’d have fewer options. It is not always easy to identify who they’re going to be beforehand either.

    You are entitled to your experiences, but quite honestly they’re at odds with the weight of evidence in the field, including persistent, long-term employer testimony and behaviour.

    It is true that if we could, as I said, set up an entirely alternative route into employment AND get rid of the UK’s class system so that this route has parity of esteem, then that might work. It hasn’t worked the last few times it was tried, though, and it’s not clear what’s different to make it work now.

    In short, as Tristan says, your view of what constittues a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree is largely without value. If degrees are not useful people don’t do them as universities are required to give all applicants the employment, unemployment and salary data for the courses they study (contrary to the implcation you make, young people are not ‘sent’ to university – they go themselves).

    Most 18 year olds do not go to university and never will.

  6. I think we need accept that not only will not everyone be able to go to university, but not everyone should have to either. And quite frankly a lot of people simply have no interest in furthering their education beyond secondary school or college for a variety of reasons. Alternatives to university would certainly be beneficial to society as a whole imo.

  7. Pepps
    “There are a lot companies who like to take school leavers at the age of 18 and train them up within their own business structures”

    “A lot” is quite strong, there are some no doubt but not as many as we’d need to provide well paying jobs for most young people. Also in my own experience that seems to be a very Southern centric thing, it hardly seems to happen at all up North/Midlands/ the Celtic nations for very obvious economic reasons.

    “Not if they massively expanded apprenticeships or some other scheme to get companies to train up young people”
    They’ve tried that and unless its accompanied with vast investment in proper industries (which it never is) then it just becomes state sanctioned subservience essentially. Look at the govs current scheme, companies like Tesco taking hundreds or “apprentices” who work on the till or stack shelves at below minimum wage with the government footing the bill for what little they earn anyway. The company my sister works at has an “apprenticeship” scheme which she told me in no uncertain terms NEVER to apply for cos all they do is take young people and have them do mundane tasks like filing and coffee fetching cos its free labour since the gov pays their wages (their below minimum wage, 4 quid an hour wages) she says its totally dead end, they receive no training and most drop out within 6 months after they realise what a con it is only to be replaced by someone else. That’s the reality of the governments much touted “apprenticeship revolution”

    “What is the point of getting educated if the thing they are getting educated in is of no use to them in the real world or to emerging industries”
    Check the myriad posts by myself and others on the pervious page about the benefits of all forms of education.

  8. I wish all these businesses would like to recruit my gf brother

  9. @Cheesus
    ”How would you encourage business to do that in your fantasy world?”

    They do it already. Basically using the big banks and financial companies as examples they essentially don’t care what degree you have or even if you if you have done a degree at all as long as you show good communication skills, willingness/aptitude to learn and an interest and some understanding into the financial world (this learning is done via books/the internet not universities).

    The statistics you quote show absolutely nothing bar the fact that the school leavers that are complete waste of spaces that no non desperate employer would ever look at do not go to university. What they don’t show is that people who ARE capable of going to uni but don’t (sadly too small a % of the population) often do just as well as those who do go (and get saddled with all the debt) and in many cases do better (perhaps as the type of person who refuses uni tends to be more ambitious/entrepreneurial than most).

    ”If degrees are not useful people don’t do them as universities are required to give all applicants the employment, unemployment and salary data for the courses they study”

    Yeah but how many people look/care about that I know I didn’t. The way our culture is (unfortunately) set up (though thankfully I can see things beginning to change) is that when you leave school you go to uni with schools pushing as many (in many cases completely unsuitable) people as possible because it makes them look good on the league tables. And off these young people go on effectively what is a three year jolly and then they come out with a qualification not worth the paper it’s written on with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt.

    The left’s ‘solution’ is to shove the burden of these effectively worthless degrees onto the taxpayer whilst the right’s ‘solution’ is to shove ever more burden onto them young people themselves. Whereas the real solution is neither, to end the realiance on the university sector (which is a bloated drain of public money) and actually train people up with specific skills for emerging industries/the jobs of the future e.g. renewable energies.

    ”Look at the govs current scheme, companies like Tesco taking hundreds or “apprentices” who work on the till or stack shelves at below minimum wage with the government footing the bill for what little they earn anyway”

    @Rivers

    Look at the number of graduates who do that lol. Except the only difference is the ‘apprentices’ don’t have the debt and a few of them entering via this scheme will have a better chance of rising up the company as opposed to the graduate shelf stackers leaving uni with some degree that employers discount as worthless.

    ”They’ve tried that and unless its accompanied with vast investment in proper industries (which it never is) then it just becomes state sanctioned subservience essentially.”

    No they haven’t tried at all because first a hammer blow needs to be dealt to the bloated university system and then the freed up money can be channeled into actually getting young people the correct training (or not in the cases of the less talented because some people will do more simple jobs all their lives, there’s nothing wrong with that). But the current practice of shoving young people into universities studying disciplines that are essentially pointless in my opinion is pretty despicable.

    ”Check the myriad posts by myself and others on the previous page about the benefits of all forms of education.”

    Not arguments I buy in the slightest. Age 18 education is more than sufficient for the vast majority of people. But if the government really wants people to become more educated in stuff that won’t help them get a job there are cheaper ways than university to do it. For example they could run a national reading campaign akin to the very successful one over smoking. Plus we have the internet now, infinite knowledge right at your fingertips, no need to waste tens of thousands of £ per year per young person on knowledge (not relevant to employment prospects) that anyone interested could just ask google for.

    @Tristan
    ”from your rather haughty tone it certainly doesn’t apply to what you studied”

    Well by popular thinking no it doesn’t because I study maths. However if society was run differently with less emphasis put on universities I would have preferred to have gone straight into work doing a vaguely mathsy but also people orientated apprenticeship (and later job) with a decent employer. And whilst these opportunities do exist (much more than you lot think) it is true there aren’t enough of them, but if however someone had the courage to (metaphorically) shoot the greedy pigs at the money trough (the university sector) money would be freed up to fund schemes like these and the (false) perception that university=success would be well and truly broken.

    I’m sorry if this post is a bit angry it isn’t intended to be. This has really become the issue that really riles me. If a political party came along promising to end (as I see it) the scandal of blindly sending as many young people as possible off to university and actually invested in training for emerging industries and jobs that will actually be there they probably would automatically earn my vote regardless of their other policies (within reason of course).

  10. @Peppermint Tea.

    So, all the data that debunks your opinion exists but you have never bothered to look at it so it doesn’t have value.

    You know what really winds *me* up? The rise of people who have no idea what they’re talking about but who express their saloon bar received opinion so loudly and incessantly on complex issues that it can influence policy – and think that’s a great basis in which to run a functioning society.

  11. Pepps
    With respect your looking at this through the most blinkered tunnel vision imaginable. You cant just dismiss the vast array of evidence on the benefits of education and claim “you don’t buy it” there’s nothing to “buy” its tangible, provable fact and to then conflate education with the internet…its bordering on feeble Pepps surely you see that. If your point was that rather than attending a university people could do cheaper online training courses then fine but from what I could tell your point was “who cares about an ancient history degree when you can just google the answers” the value of the education isn’t about the subject itself its about the skills it helps develop (reading, critical reasoning, writing, debating, analysis, research etc) and if you cant see that then yeah I’m not surprised you think the university system is bloated and pointless.

  12. Chris

    Stop being haughty.

    Your statistics really don’t prove your entrenched view of Uni education. Think about it, and you’ll realise you’re making 2+2 = 5.

    Afraid I can’t be bothered to debunk in detail atm. There’s SO many figures underneath the big headline ones you reference, this is the key to it, even if you thought the figures for grads and non-grads were poles apart (which I really didn’t).

    And there’s zero relevance in the fact that 20% aren’t even seeking work, I think we’d all agree the able amongst this group are parasites. They are outside the relevant comparisons you were seeking to make, it therefore just seemed a silly (or desperate) point to make. If you made Uni free some might even go! – not that that would make such people inclined to work.

  13. There are plenty of ex-classmates from the comp I attended who are doing very nicely without having gone to university- working in skilled trades or even in white collar jobs with their own houses at 25/26. They certainly wouldn’t regard themselves as “left behind” or whatever the patronising phrase of the month now is.

  14. Theyve done very well for themselves if they own their home at 25/26 as HH said most of us will be lucky to own their own home outright before we retire

  15. Tory is only 26? You come off as considerably older.

    And good for your ex schoolmates (some of them, anyway). Purely anecdotal though.

  16. Matt- if you have a decently paid job job, have been thtifty and you live in the provinces it *can* be pretty doable- a lot will have moved in with wives/girlfriends so there will be two incomes of course.

    Tristram- I’m 27 but am an unapologetic young fogey.

  17. Tristan even (forgive me it’s still early ha ha).

  18. I’m a left-wing fogey. It’s odd that I play a leading role in running a Facebook group which also has a significant presence on Twitter & Instagram.

  19. For what it’s worth, my cousin and her boyfriend are both 30, work at Sainsbury’s and recently bought their first home in Garforth, east of Leeds. I think talk of the housing crisis is largely skewed by London and the SE – home ownership rates have declined everywhere, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to own your own property up here than it is down there.

  20. Cheesus,

    I do think that London and the SE skews political discussion tremendously in England. I live in one of the more expensive parts Ooop North and rent has never been a problem for me.

    Now that places like Canterbury and Kensington have learned how to use democracy, I think we’ll see even more of a Southern Skew in English politics.

    “How can we make the richer parts of the country even richer? How can we justify giving benefits to the middle class, rather than the poor?”

  21. I agree with Cheesus and Bill Patrick re the southern skew.
    .

  22. I’m moving from Leicester to Sheffield and renting appears to cheaper but after buying white goods and furnishing it seems less so…

  23. Some good comments on this & I agree with the comments above on the north v south issue.

    Getting on the property ladder in the south is so much more difficult partly because it provides a property and pension pot all rolled into one, which is not so much the case up north.

    Even now, in my early 40s, I could sell my house in Sussex for say £600k and downsize to a perfectly nice small house back home in Nottinghamshire for say £150k. That’s a nice tax free £450k lump sum to live off, better than most pensions outside the public sector.

    When I actually do retire in 20-30 years time the disparity is likely to be considerably wider, unless there are major changes in demographics.

    The unsustainability of all this is exactly why I expect the next left-wing government to apply capital gains tax to primary residences, meaning I won’t actually benefit from the above to the degree that many of my baby boomer neighbours will. It would be hard to label it as a communist measure given that many countries including the USA do this.

  24. “It would be hard to label it as a communist measure given that many countries including the USA do this.”

    But it won’t stop the usual suspects from trying! 😉

  25. I don’t think that is the real Andy JS.
    Whoever is ruining this site should try to give it a break.
    The Real Joe James B

  26. Bletchley East (Milton Keynes) result:

    LAB: 50.9% (+3.1)
    CON: 38.5% (-0.7)
    GRN: 4.9% (-3.1)
    UKIP: 3.8% (+3.8)
    LDEM: 1.9% (-3.1)

    Labour HOLD.

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