We are joined by Harry Fone, the Grassroots Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, as we discuss ideas for a Post Lockdown economic recovery, the TPA’s Town Hall Rich List and their Axe the Tax campaign to scrap the BBC Licence fee. We then chat with Harry about his role at the TPA, his campaigning experiences and current and future TPA campaigns.
Formed in 2012 the Scottish Libertarian Party is separate from the Libertarian Party UK and with good reason. Being both pro-Brexit and pro-Independence for Scotland, gives the party a key different priority. Tam Laird the party leader is a former infantry soldier and lives in Edinburgh. We speak to Tam about the campaign for liberty in Scotland.
Tam thanks for giving us your time…
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming the leader of the Scottish Libertarian Party?
I think probably my journey from Authoritarian to Libertarian is a more interesting story, but let’s not answer a question I wasn’t asked. At the beginning of my association with the Scottish Libertarians I had no interest in joining let alone hold office. That’s not a reflection on the movement it’s an indication of my attitude towards politics in general. Completely disillusioned, agnostic and cynical. It seemed no matter who I voted for, I ended up with the government and government is a cancer. So I hadn’t even voted for about 16 years. I was convinced by John Watson, who was Secretary at the time, to stand in a local by election. It seemed to me it was not so much about gaining votes as it was a good way of getting the libertarian free market message out. I was elected Deputy Leader soon after and was Deputy when I stood in the Edinburgh Central constituency against Ruth Davidson in the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016. After that election, due to his extensive overseas business commitments our previous Leader was persuaded to step aside and I was voted in.
Could you in a couple of sentences tell our readers about the party?
We are a party of principle committed to free markets, free speech and individual rights and liberties. Accordingly we believe that self-determination is a fundamental individual right. For more information on policy and our full constitution check out our website.
The party is pro Scottish independence. What drives this and what sort of Scotland would you like to see once independent?
Echoing my previous answer, it’s not just a matter of Scottish Independence. What drives it is our belief in the right to self-determination all the way down to the individual. We support English independence. If Yorkshire, Cornwall or even Milton Keynes wanted to be independent we’d support it. Whether it’s a good idea or not is a matter for those constituents. What we’d like to see is a Scotland that absolutely protects the individual rights and liberties of each person. In fairness that’s a long way from what the Scottish National Party (or as I call them Sturgeon’s Notionalist Party) is even capable of delivering if they had the will. Which they don’t. It’s worth mentioning that there are many party members who fear Scottish Independence as a precursor to an authoritarian socialist state under the SNP. I respect that, and those individuals are free to vote accordingly.
The Scottish government’s budget deficit and what currency an independent Scotland would use were major questions from the independence referendum. How would your party address these?
I think the first step is to reduce the tax burden on individuals and business. In tandem public spending has to be cut back massively. Starting from the top. It’s pretty pointless cutting back on subsidies to the vulnerable in society if you are going to give out generous corporate welfare to the likes of Amazon. Unfortunately the SNP have convinced many Scots, especially the young, that free education, healthcare, housing are all God given rights. That’s tough to roll back.
I think the currency issue is a bit of a red herring. We can use any currency we like. We can use Rupees if we like provided someone else will take them. The issue, I suppose, is the currency of ‘last resort’ but it’s not an issue that can’t be solved with a will do so. A good start would be to NOT have a Central bank. Have competing currencies on a national level exactly the same as we have it on an international level. Anyone who wishes should be able to start a bank and issue their own currency. It’s called a free market.
We have now left the EU and are in the transition period. How do you think Brexit is going and what position would you like to see us in with the EU come 1st January 2021?
I think the way Theresa May handled it was a shambles. Which is to be expected as she was not a believer in it. It should have been No Deal = Good Deal from square one. The way the opposition parties handled it was nothing short of disgraceful and even treasonous. I hope by January 21 the EU is a distant memory. May it implode from within and die a horrible wasting death.
You ran in the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections in Edinburgh Central. How did you find the experience, and do you have any interesting stories from the campaign trail?
It was an interesting, and slightly surreal experience. It couldn’t have been that bad as I’m determined to do it again in 2021. I’d advise anyone running to go to the count and keep an eye on the adjudication of “spoiled ballots”. I spotted about 6 that were absolutely fine and couldn’t get to the bottom of how they ended up in the spoiled ballot pile. Before heading onto the platform for the return results, I jokingly quipped to Ruth Davidson that it wasn’t too late to join the SLP. She replied that “there’s a libertarian streak in us all”. I hope she makes it a wee bit wider next time. It would be nice to be able to see it manifest. I won’t hold my breath.
What’s your party’s plan for fighting elections and getting the message of liberty out to the electorate?
We plan to fight as many council and parliamentary by elections as we can. The former cost very little or nothing, and get the party name on the ballot papers. We also plan to field as many candidates as possible in the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2021.(Provided it goes ahead in view of Covid) Ideally I’d like to fill all the regional lists and additionally have a candidate in at least four key high profile constituencies.
In a hustings for the 2019 general election you said “Well okay, I can only speak within my own family. I know some people in my family who use food banks and they’re at it. And that’s just a fact”. “But I do think the answer to poverty is more jobs.” How did that go down in the hall, and with your family?
Could have worded that one better. But I stick by it. In fairness I was referring to extended family. Haven’t had anything back, but then getting upset would be tantamount to admitting you were the guilty party. I think there was a some incredulity in the hall, but I articulated what a lot of people know and think but won’t say. The Daily Record appeared to try and do a hit piece, but if so it backfired as most of the feedback I got was positive.
Other than Independence and Brexit, if you could introduce, repeal or change 3 laws what would they be?
I’m not keen on introducing laws, but I guess a law prohibiting government from using force or coercion to collect taxes would be a start. Also laws prohibiting government from interfering in private life and business. Provided there is no harm, injury or loss. If so it’s a matter for the police, not the government. I’d repeal any laws that infringed on the right to freedom of association. It’s difficult, because what you really are asking is what I would do if I was an absolute monarch. The reality in a democratic system is it’s almost impossible to get things done without a huge majority Even then it’s tenuous. As we have seen with the Brexit farce that played out over two years.
Lastly how do you think the governments of both the UK and Scotland are handling the Covid-19 crisis, and what would you like to be done to help the eventual economic recovery?
I think the governments are handling the crisis as only government can. Disastrously. I think Boris had the right idea at the start, then he did a Thatcher and blinked. Look, I’m not an expert epidemiologist, but many who are have questioned the wisdom and efficacy of the lockdown. I agree with them. I think in the end the economic fallout will be far more devastating than the virus itself. What would I do? I think I’d have started by not promising mass bailouts to everyone. Also I wouldn’t have allowed an economy to become so bankrupt that it couldn’t survive this crisis. I’m not optimistic about the outcome. There’s nothing the government is even planning to do that can put this right.
Perhaps we could start by telling Richard Branson to sod off?
Mike Swadling was interview by Sputnik Radio about Government’s plans to procure more personal protective equipment for the NHS, the overall handling of the pandemic, and how the economy will recover from the impact of Covid-19?
“I think the Government has done a tremendous job in meeting our unprecedented amount of demands, and it does appear that some more manufacturing could be done in the UK, but we haven’t yet hit a crisis when frankly it wouldn’t have been unreasonable if we had.”
“the comments about there being no risk of a second peak worry me immensely; to my understanding, there is always a risk of a second peak, that needs to be measured, and this came out the same day that Nadine Dorries put out a tweet saying that we can’t end the lockdown until we find a vaccine, but what happens if we never find a vaccine?”
“the best way to bring in more tax revenue is to lower tax rates if you raise tax rates; you see investment dry up, the most capable people will leave the country, and you remove incentives for people to work harder, so it’s absolutely critical that we lower tax rates to collect more tax revenue”
We discuss the Government’s COVID Lockdown Exit Criteria and the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s latest Town Hall Rich List. We then have an interview with David Kurten, the Brexit Alliance GLA Member and London Mayoral candidate. David shares his views on; the COVID Lockdown, Mayor Khan, Woke Culture & Brexit as well as discussing his upcoming campaign.
Following the success of our first online meet-up, thanks to all who joined and enjoyed our chat. The event will be hosted using GoToMeeting which you can access from your computer at https://www.gotomeet.me/CroydonConstitutionalists, on Thursday 30th April between 7:30pm and 10pm.
Standard video conferencing you will need a microphone and camera, we will ask you to be on video so we can verify people. If you have a laptop you can just use the built in camera and microphone that most modern laptops will have.
To join us for a chat, simply join at any point between those times on the 30th. All we ask is you bring your own drink!
Nearly a month into the COVID-19 lockdown, and what we saw as normal life seems a distant memory.
It can feel like a lifetime has gone by since we all could go to the pub for a cold beer (or in my case, gin) after a long day. It can bring a great level of reflection on just how important little things were to us enjoying our own, individual lives; things that would bring value to us no matter how big or small we perceived them, whether they be financial, emotional, mental or physical.
Going for a picnic, visiting family and friends to share stories and good memories, working at a job that brought food to the table, all of these and more can feel alien to us now; as the old saying goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.
But in order to get these back, and make our lives better, we need to take a moment to now consider not when we will recover, but how we will recover, and how we will not simply bring things back to the old system but make them better. Not just so we are better prepared for another pandemic, but so we can also improve upon our own, subjective standard of value; we as a country have to have the conversation, and now is a good time; nay, an important time to have it. If we’re to return to our liberties, better protect them and enhance them, we need to have the conversation now.
We’re supposedly coming close to the peak period of the COVID-19 pandemic, after said point, we will (hopefully for our economy and social values) be working towards lowering the restrictions in place from the lockdown in an attempt to bring society back to a state of normality.
But it shouldn’t, and cannot be seen as a simple task of simply, flipping a switch; the economy isn’t something which can simply be halted and allowed to resume without serious ramifications, and harm to peoples’ living standards, values, and their ability to satisfy their needs.
It is the same for the social aspect of human existence, it isn’t something that can simply be shut down and allowed to reopen as if nothing happened.
So after saying this, how do we return to normal life?
How do we better protect our freedoms?
How do we further acknowledge what our freedoms consist of?
How do we restrict the power of the state when it can shut society down at a whim?
These are all questions we cannot rely on the government to answer for us, we have to sit down as individuals and find the answers within ourselves.
As the late Margaret Thatcher once said:
“Freedom is the birth right of every citizen”.
I’d argue it’s about time we put that statement into practise for the long term benefit; not the quick fix, short term we are so used to practising simply because “it’s easy”.
So what are my answers to these questions? I will answer these questions after giving a brief note:
These are not “end game” solutions that lift us into utopia; no such place exists nor could it ever exist. No central end game plan can bring about the utopia ideal of, how Adam Smith described, The Man of System; the man who believes he can plan a society from a central point of power, and believes himself to know what is best for everyone around him. These are intended as solutions to better lift the burdens on the people placed there by the government. To better embrace and protect each individual’s freedoms. To call out the fallacy of the faux-rights many claim demand for, such as the “right” to not be offended, or the artificial “group rights” of (insert group type here;) each human being has individual rights, we are all human beings, so we all have the same rights; whether each human beings’ rights are acknowledged by the state, is another topic for another time.
Now that the fine print is out of the way, let us delve into the answers. I will give you my perspective, as an Austrian Economic writer, and as a true, real Liberal.
In order to better protect our rights and freedoms, we first need to understand and acknowledge what they are; whether the state wishes to acknowledge them or not, you and I must, so we can better fight for them.
We as human beings hold certain inalienable rights and freedoms; the right and freedom to live, the right and freedom to speak, the right and freedom to choose, the right and freedom to think, and the right and freedom to our property. All of these are the foundation of a truly Liberal society.
My right to life does not mean I can force a doctor to operate on me, as his labour is his property; he must be compensated for the use of his property. Freedom to live means quite simply, I cannot kill another man. I may value my child’s life over that of a stranger’s life, but that does not mean I get to decide who is deserving of life and who is not; each individual’s life and body are their most fundamental forms of private property; you don’t get to decide whether I am deserving of life or not, nor do I get to make that choice for you.
My right to speech means exactly that, I get to speak; whether you or the government likes what I have to say or not, whether it is uncomfortable or not, whether it is good or evil, whether it is offensive or not; all speech matters. Freedom of speech not only ensures that each individual can speak from their mind and heart, but when it comes to combating ideas that seem dangerous, it is the best weapon; how can you or I know the substance of a man’s ideas, if his ideas are forbidden from being heard? If evil or dangerous ideas are forced underground and the speech that encompasses these ideas is censored, how can you know how many people support the ideas when they are covered by a veil of sensitivity? This does not mean there are no consequences for my speech, there are social consequences: for example, the government has no authority to force legal action against a man who calls trans women “men”, but that doesn’t mean the trans woman has no right to talk back, criticise, challenge, mock, or insult. Is the trans woman an individual human being? Yes? Then the trans woman has a right to speech too! The individual in question has a right to choose whether to associate with that person after their use of language or not; which brings us to our next right, choice.
My right to choose does not mean I get to choose whether you live or die, or that I get to choose how you must live your life; rights do not contradict themselves. By doing such an act, I would be infringing on your right to life and your right to choose; remember, each individual has the same individual rights. Freedom of choice ensures that each man’s consent is not only necessary, but vital to him being able to run his life with what ensures he can best satisfy his needs, values and identity. I as an individual get to choose what actions are best for my life, what healthcare coverage I wish to engage with, who I desire to be friends with, who I allow access to my property, how to best provide for myself and my family, whether I allow someone to be intimate with me and my body or not, who I wish to give my money to if anyone etc. As stated above, this does not mean I face no consequences for my choices. As an individual, I must accept that all choices add profits and losses to my person, and it is up to me which risks I am willing to take and which profits are worth the risks; whether they be long term or short term. I made the choice to start smoking when I was nineteen, I knew the tobacco companies were not responsible for any damage dealt to my lungs; they did not force the cigarette into my mouth, I made a conscious decision and accept any consequence that comes to me due to my actions, I’m a free individual, it is my body, my property. Do I regret my choice? No. Do some smokers regret it? Yes. Does me not regretting it mean I get to tell others they’re not allowed to give up smoking? Absolutely not!
My right to think is heavily linked to speech, however it does have separate elements. My right to think ensures I can believe what I choose to believe, and no individual or state can force me to stop. I can believe in whatever religion I want or whatever philosophy I want. I have the right to think a certain way about another individual, religion, culture or society, but as stated before, I cannot force others to believe or think the same way through violence enacted by myself or on my behalf by the state. I am an Atheist, but though I do not think or believe any deity exists, it doesn’t mean I can force churches to close, stop individuals from reading religious text, make others become Atheists through the threat of a steel boot; I can attempt to convince through my right to speech, but if they make the choice to ignore my arguments, I do not then garner the authority nor does the state, to then put a gun to their head (figuratively or not) and decree “you will think x or else”.
My right to my property, is slightly different to the previously mentioned rights, though it is none the less important to a truly Liberal society. Each individual has a right to property to which he is in ownership of and holds command over. The farmer is in ownership of his cattle; they are his private property, it is not owned by society, nor does he owe anything to society; he cannot be told how to use his property; if he is an economizing man, he will make the choices which best serve his needs and priorities the needs most important to his subjective values and situation. Every individual looks to better serve his needs in relation to how much he values the goods necessary to do so, and will exchange his commodities for goods which hold better use value to him. The same is true for the consumer as well as the producer. The consumer has a right to his private property in the form of money, and cannot be coerced into spending it in ways he does not deem valuable to him or that would risk him not being able to serve the needs he perceives as more valuable. The producer has a right to the capital he has command over, and cannot be forced to use his property in such a way that would risk his ability to provide for his needs he classifies as most valuable to him. I cannot force you to give me your car, nor can you force me to give you my money. If I or you wish to exchange property, there must be a mutually beneficial exchange, and only those involved within the exchange are in a position to set the standards for said action; the good you wish to exchange must have more use value to me than the exchange value of my good, and your commodity must have a higher exchange value to you than its use value. The fruit of your labour is your property, and you have a right to it.
All of these rights and freedoms are the very essence of a Liberal society, but they are completely undermined by not just the COVID-19 lockdown, but a number of policies, institutions, and regulations our government places on human existence.
I will go over these in brief and how we can better these for the full acknowledgement of all of our rights and freedoms, but overall, the issue can be summed up in two statements, which I ask the reader to ponder over.
Government and society positions itself on the notion of ‘Assumed Consent’.
The Government does not believe in ‘ Inalienable Rights’, but rather ‘Loaned Rights’.
I think it best to cover the topic most find difficult first; our healthcare system.
The fact that many would view the following statement as heresy, should be a clear indicator that many have been overcome by nostalgia for days which never existed, idealism, self-deceit, and a lack of either will, or desire for change; the statement is as follows:
The NHS Is A Government Run Centralised Monopoly.
Now this is not an attack on the doctors and nurses, they work extremely hard within a system poorly structured; we should consider change not just for the better satisfaction of patients, but for the hard working doctors and nurses to be able to better operate. Patients, nurses and doctors deserve much better.
There are two primary reasons for this statement, one of which is based in economics, the other is in direct opposition to our right to choose; these are:
The Tragedy of the Commons.
Centralised Planning of Healthcare.
The Tragedy of the Commons, is when there is no distinction between one man’s property and another man’s property; where a product, or service, is owned by everyone. With this, people face zero opportunity cost and tend to take more than what they need, causing supply to not be able to meet with demand, as there is no pricing system in place to coordinate causes, allocate resources or incentivise choices; this in turn creates rationing, shortages, long waiting periods before new supplies can become available, and additionally causes quality to drop dramatically with the costs rising exponentially.
On the subject of a Centralised Government Monopoly, The primary issue with this format, is that the central organised body, the government, due to having no income of its own; its income after all comes in the form of forcing money from citizens, whether they be consumers or producers by the means of taxes, and so faces no risk to itself should it make choices, which may be well intended, but that do harm. The other issue with this system, is that, as indicated, the NHS is a government run monopoly. Due to its legal monopoly status; not a monopoly status based on higher competitive abilities, such as more attractive wages, higher quality, lower prices, but due to an essentially limitless budget and a monopoly status derived from force and power of authority, where even in the case where fewer need or want it, it continues to have money forcefully taken from people, it creates a lack of incentive for efficiency, a lack of opportunity cost, and a lack of risk and loss on the part of the provider. Let us imagine for a moment, there was a company, let’s say a company which makes lifts; this company, no matter how large or small its consumer base is, no matter how many people want its services or not, has access to a limitless budget which it forces from people’s pockets; how much waste would be created from this company? What standard of quality do people believe this company would produce, considering it faces zero loss? Most people would rightfully say, it would create an unprecedented amount of waste, funnelling much towards its inputs but creating very few outputs, and would rightfully say that the standard of quality, would be so low, that under normal circumstances, where loss and risk are possible, this company would’ve gone bankrupt and possibly even sued.
This format directly contradicts every individual’s freedom of choice, right to his private property, and is a clear example of “assumed consent”. For simply being a citizen, the government assumes a right to take a man’s property in order to fund a system, which he may not want to use, or he may not value. Neither you nor the government has a right to any man’s property simply because he lives within the same society; you cannot assume consent without restricting the right to choice, or the right to the private property a man has ownership and command over.
I would consider the best option for recognising our right to our private property, right to choose, and create less assumed consent, would be to reform our healthcare system. This can be done by privatising hospitals, expanding which industries can enter the healthcare market, and altering the NHS into simply, a tax funded health insurance program, where individuals are not assumed to be consenting of payment, but is an opt-in system for those who cannot afford market rates, which holds no legal monopoly by increasing taxes if consumers do not choose it as an option, but operates under competition; both public and private can benefit from competition.
Additional measures to take to better protect property rights, freedom of choice and reduce assumed consent, would be to reform the tax system.
Through the acts of direct taxes such as Income tax, the government not only harms the living standards of those already on low income, but through direct tax does not recognise their right to private property and the fruits of their labour. The government not only assumes consent to plunder the citizens, but the direct tax is the state’s position of loaning property rights to those who already (if rights were taken seriously) hold ownership of the goods he possesses command over; his money!
In order to abandon this notion of loaned rights, it would suit us to reform the tax system into one of indirect tax. An indirect tax is not along the lines of the income tax, but requires the individual to consent to perform certain actions first; the sales tax is an example of such a tax: it is not taken from the individual regardless of actions or choices he takes, but is based on the individual making the conscious, free choice to a consenting transaction.
Another area, which I would consider the most important in order for the legitimate protection not just of rights, but of value and living standards, is the subject of the central bank.
Money is not a creation of government; a money occurs when a certain economic good has acquired a certain degree of use value as well as exchange value; providing it with an intrinsic value for trading. This has allowed over the centuries for the development and strengthening of the consumer/producer relationship, however, the creation of the central bank has not only destroyed this relationship, but shifted it to a relationship between government and corporations.
Through the creation of the central bank, the government has bestowed upon itself the legal monopoly not just that of money production, but the power to define a money and through the elimination of the gold standard, the power to print limitless quantities; forever weakening our lives and values.
If we truly want to end Cronyism, we need to destroy The Central Bank.
Our rights continue down the route of being disregarded through the enactment of “hate speech” laws; fining people and arresting people for what they say depending on whether they address certain words towards “protected groups”.
The government has no right to determine what hateful speech is and what is not; nor should it be positioning itself into deciding which “groups” are “protected” groups. As stated before, there is no such thing as group rights, each individual has individual rights, so everybody has the same rights; including the right to speak. This also fails to take into account context, I think many of us remember the Count Dankula case. A man who was arrested after making an edgy joke, by portraying his pug as a Nazi, only to have the courts declare “we decide the context”; the irony being the only people in history who would’ve been offended to the point of arrest over such a joke, would’ve been the Nazis. In addition, this type of pandering can be seen as what I would call, condescending compassion: group x is so fragile and unable to handle confrontation, we must protect them from slogans and terminologies which may upset them. It’s just another one of the ironic traits of the self-righteous planners of social systems, when you really break down the position, turning round to say, a black person and saying “you’re a part of group A, so you will find x offensive, so you must be protected because you cannot handle yourself” sounds very condescending. I am by no means justifying racist, sexist or any of the “ist” forms of language, but you don’t combat bad ideas by burying them under the carpet. This type of policing of language, due to the governments nature, always leads to context being ignored through blanket, one size fits all policies, and a method of silencing opposition without forming any argument; it shouldn’t be hard to use freedom of speech to explain why Nazism is bad; banning its language just displays a lack of ability or desire to make an argument, which, if those who decree hate speech have arguments that are so bad they have to censor the words of opponents, they have failed to do the simple task of thinking.
In order to be able to think or speak, you have to risk being offensive.
I don’t care what you are, I care who you are.
In order to protect the right to speech as well as all of our inalienable rights, we need to form a codified, British constitution, detailing the individual rights of all who live within the nation.
Overall, not just the government, but we as individuals need to recognise, the government has only one role through its power of legal monopoly over force; to protect the rights of all.
Mary Lawes is a Councillor for the Folkestone Harbour Ward of Folkestone Town Council retaining her seat at the last election. Mary a founding member of the Foundation Party a pro-Brexit party that promotes freedom of opportunity for individual self-advancement, free markets for businesses, freedom for citizens to more adequately hold politicians to account, and the unrestricted freedom of speech.
Mary thanks for your time.
You have been a Councillor for almost 5 years, tell us about your area and what it’s like being a councillor?
My ward is the third most deprived area in the district of Folkestone and Hythe. It nestles in the most wonderful environment by the sea. My ward is based around Folkestone Harbour and the Warren. The ward is kind of split in two where we have areas of poor quality council and private housing on one side, the other side is private family housing. Within my community are a number of community groups which bring us all together as one. There are many diverse issues as a councillor, with some hard to deal with and other that are very rewarding. I am very determined and passionate about my work with and for the community.
What are the big challenges facing Folkestone, what’s going well and what needs help in the town?
The big challenges facing Folkestone, are health, housing, employment and drugs. Over the last 10 years private housing has been built on a vast scale, but are the wrong type of housing and are way beyond the majority of residents means. Locally most, of our high streets are diminishing. The consequences at present are that they have created working poor. With the major chains leaving the high street, this has left low paid jobs like restaurants, pound shops and call centres. The landscape has changed drastically with the seafront development and the creative quarter (arts). Lots of people have moved down to Folkestone mainly from London. Together these have put Folkestone and the harbour area on the map. But unfortunately this has done nothing to help the locals who are being squeezed out by the ever increasing property values.
You are a founding member of the Foundation Party. What made you get involved and what do you see as the key principles and purpose of the party?
I was a member of UKIP up until 2018. I felt UKIP was going in a different direction at that time. It was not a direction I believed in or wished to pursue. I felt that the main parties did not speak for me and found parliament were not listening to the people. I felt that parliament seemed totally out of touch with the people as regards its membership of the EU. I had worked with Chris Mendes our leader and the other founding members of Foundation Party in UKIP, and had formed a good bond with them. In your introduction, you have stated our parties main priorities. Our key priorities are empowering the individuals, families and community. For example, we want to devolve power from parliament to communities. Communities must be able to plan how their own communities evolve, grow and prosper while keeping the environment safe, healthy and inclusive.
We have now left the EU and are now in the transition period. Do you expect us to get a free trade deal with the EU, and what policies do you hope are pursued once we are fully out of the EU?
We have left the EU but I have concerns about the type of transition deals that are still to be agreed. I sincerely hope that there are no delays to the transition period. The major upheaval of the last four years in our parliament and the monumental win for conservatives on 12 December 2019. The Conservatives taking vast amounts of votes off Labour voters was a tidal wave in politics. I do expect the UK to get a free trade deal with the EU when we leave. Even more so since the coronavirus pandemic was called. The 27 EU countries have closed their borders and turned to national safe guarding following those in Brussels reluctant to help. Free Trade will benefit both sides of the deal and will allow Europe and ourselves to work together. There is a close bond and Europeans are our friends, families and colleagues.
We are in the period of the Covid-19 crisis. What are your thoughts on how this has been handled so far?
I have a mixed opinion of the government’s handling of the pandemic. They came straight out and seemed like they had a good handle on the situation. They straightway started talking about throwing large amounts of money at the problem. Then the cracks started showing. Insufficient PPE for front line staff, insufficient ventilators and funding for furlough staff not getting through quick enough. The longer our economy is on hold the harder it will be when it does start up. The economic impact and implications are going to hit the country very hard. The lockdown has been hard on people yet necessary to reduce the spread. I however do not believe the police have responded very well. They have been heavy handed in their approach and have not followed the guidelines. Giving police too much power can be a dangerous thing, especially when laws have not be approved and no proper scrutiny has taken place. This Covid-19 is unprecedented and different to anything we know. I will for now support the government but will continue to criticise, if I feel free speech and our civil rights get eroded any further.
The implications from Covid-19 could be wide reaching. Less tax collection, not enough employers, not enough big employers, insufficient employment and severe lack of the voluntary sector. The government and business must not be allowed to see this crisis as an opportunity to reduce wages and must protect civil liberties. The voluntary sector was mostly made up of retired volunteers. There could be a vast shortage going forward. Over the last forty years the voluntary sector have taken up the slack for numerous areas the government and councils have stopped providing. The voluntary sector have had to take up the slack for mental health, food banks, hospital service for patients nursery and early learning and other areas. Society will face problems, if these areas are not in place.
Once this current crisis is finally over what do you think may have changed and what do you think the government should focus on to aid the recovery?
Obviously the first thing that must be done is to get the economy going again. Employment will be a top priority. Massive investment to create industry once again in our country. This crisis has shown how much we rely on other countries to provide us with for example ventilators, PPE and food. We must as a country going forward be able to stand on our own two feet. We must not be beholding to others outside of the UK who can control what we get and how much we get. This country was known the world over for its innovation and creativity. We then became a service industry and lost our fishing and farming rights. This must be reversed once we are fully out of EU.
You have stood in a number of elections for UKIP and the Foundation party. Do you have any funny or memorable tales from the campaign trail?
I can say that the campaigns I have been involved in, certainly brings you to the reality of what you have taken on. I never planned to be a councillor, it kind of happened when I joined UKIP. My colleague had a mobile trailer for advertising which he said we could use during a campaign. So we had a trailer with a high board with an enlarge size poster, which had our faces on. We had so many people contacting us laughing saying they had seen us in Herne Bay or Stone Street or Canterbury. The driver lived in these communities and did not cover or change the board while going home. It became a joke as to where the trailer may appear next in Kent.
Your party is now focusing on the 2021 (which will include the 2020) local elections. What’s you sales pitch to our readers on why people should vote, campaign, join or even run for you?
‘The people are the masters not the servants’. We want the people to be in charge of their own destinations . We believe in people and want to empower them. We are listening to what our communities want. I am standing for Kent County Council Election next year. On our website we set out our priorities in areas that will affect local communities such as education, health, crime and justice, transport and the environment. I am very proactive in my community where I live. Myself and the Foundation Party will represent the people to the best of our ability and will always put them first.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s annual Town Hall Rich List has been released. You can read it in full here. This shows council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000. The latest is 226 more people than in 2017-18, and the highest number since 2013-14.
Councils talk of austerity and keep ramping up council tax rises. In Croydon the report shows we have 23 people who earned over £100,000 last year and 3 who earned more than the Prime Minister. This is up from the 19 people who earned over £100K the previous year. The London Borough of Barnet, which is about the same size as Croydon makes do with just 7 staff on over £100K and only 1 earning more than the Prime Minister. Neighbouring us, Sutton has just 11, Merton 9, Lambeth 16, Bromley 20, Tandridge 1, and Reigate and Banstead 4, on more than £100K. All below Croydon. Details of those employees earning over £100K are below.
Compensation for loss of office
Guy Van Dichele
Executive Director (Interim) of Health, Wellbeing & Adults
Executive Director, Place
Executive Director of Resources and Section 151 officer
Executive Director (Interim) Children, Families and Education
Director of Law and Monitoring Officer/Executive Director of Resources and Monitoring Officer
Executive Director, People
If the council isn’t splashing the cash on high paid executives they are spending it on cultural events and local community groups. Many of these are good causes some less so. The council publishes their spending over £500. We’ve reviewed the spend in 2019 and found some particular lowlights like the £105,666 spent on Consultancy Fees for a cost called ‘Brick by Brick Overheads and Admin’. It total £333,364 was dished out by local councillors in 2019 in amounts over £500 as part of their Community Ward Budgets. Much of this goes to local residents’ associations and clubs, many very worthy, but are these the core services we pay our Council Tax for?
We don’t think you should pay for our weekends, or for that matter we should pay for yours. We like Croydon’s Pride event, Mike of this parish has attended all of them. He would like to thank you for subsidising his day out, but would rather you hadn’t been forced to. In 2019 a total of £59,360 was paid out to Croydon Pride between Community Ward Budgets and the Culture Growth Fund, a huge amount of money for this 1 day event! The Culture Growth Fund payments over £500 totalled £754,669 of which, £160,000 went to pay for the expensively priced Boxpark, and Dance Umbrella (no we hadn’t heard of them either) received £29,000 of your taxes. Croydon with Talent Ltd received £20,000 and once again The Oval Tavern received £5,000 for we assume a very expensive round. Details below.
CULTURE GROWTH FUND
Think Events (London) Ltd
Croydon Pride Ltd
A Fairweather – Fairweather Productions
Cellar Door Promotions Ltd
Croydon with Talent Ltd
London & Partners Ventures Ltd
Gowling WLG (UK) LLP
The Brit School
Sound Diplomacy Limited
31 Percent Wool/Croydonist
CROYDONITES FESTIVAL OF NEW THEATRE
Syrus Consultancy CIC
Good Wolf People Ltd
Croydon Voluntary Action
New Addington Peoples Carnival_
Drunken Chorus Arts Collective
London Mozart Players
Kinetika Bloco Ltd
White Hut Studios
Play for Progress
WSP UK Ltd
Rap Club Productions C.I.C.
The Oval Tavern
Emergency Exit Arts
Gifted Enterprise C.I.C
Gye Nyame Development Foundation
Crystal Palace Festival Group
Open City Architecture
Artist Studio Company
Zoo Co Outreach
South Norwood Community Festival
Drum the Bass
Matthews Yard Croydon Ltd
Advice Support Knowledge Information
Cellar Door Promotions Ltd
Tour Design Limited
FMM Pop Up
Made in Croydon
Fergus Ford Photography
Croydon Town Centre Bid
Well Versed Ink CIC
FMM Pop Up
Conditions Studio Programme
COMMUNITY WARD BUDGETS
The Chartwell Cancer Trust Ltd
Purley Youth Project
Stanley People’s Initiative
CROYDON BME FORUM (CWB)
SOUTH NORWOOD COMMUNITY FESTIVAL GROUP
Sanderstead Residents Association
We Love SE25 – The South Norwood Town Team
White Hut Studios (CWB)
Howard Primary School
Pinewood Scout Centre
SCOTS ESTATE NORBURY RESIDENT
Solid Rock Academy
CACFO UK (CWB)
White Hut Studios
Thornton Heath Business Partnership
St John the Divine PCC
Addiscombe and Shirley Park Residents Association (ASPRA)
London Mozart Players
St. Dominic’s Church (CWB)
Croydon Bme Forum
The Upper Norwood Library Trust
All Saints Kenley
Greenvale Primary School
KENLEY MEMORIAL HALL (CWB)
People for Portland Road
Willow Learning for Life Ltd Community Interest Company
Thornton Heath Community Action Team
DCC of St Edmunds Sanderstead
South Croydon Business Association
Elite Development FC
CROYDON VOLUNTARY ACTION (CWB)
CROYDON SUPPLEMENTARY EDUCATION PROJECT (CWB)
Bangladeshi British Society Croydon
Good Wolf People (CWB)
Croydon Pride (CWB)
The Shrublands Trust (CWB)
LONGHEATH GARDENS, LONG LANE & MILFORD GARDENS RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION (CWB)
PURLEY BURY TENNIS CLUB (CWB)
Riddlesdown Tennis Club
Brighton Road Baptist Church
Croydon Community Against Trafficking
Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid
CROHAM HURST GOOD NEIGHBOURS
Ciro Donadio (CWB)
Thornton Heath Business Partnership (CWB)
Rotary Club of Purley_
Croydon District Scout Council
Selsdon Residents Association (CWB)
St Georges Shirley PCC (CWB)
THE FRIENDS OF ASHBURTON PARK
The Shrublands Trust
285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Sqdn ATC
Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (Afruca)
Woodcote High School
West Croydon Methodist Church
Community Family Worker
GUIDING HANDS ORGANISATION CIC
GBS RE CROYDON HLTH SRVS NHST (CWB)
Forestdale Primary School
GAGE CIC (CWB)
St George’s Shirley PCC
Croydon Indians Group Ltd
Gye Nyame Development Foundation
East Croydon Community Organisation
THE FESTIVE LIGHTING COMPANY(CWB)
Friends of South Norwood Country Park (CWB)
Stanley People?s Initiative (CWB)
Crystal Palace F C Foundation (CWB)
Friends of Norbury Park
Community Garden Thornton Heath
J J Martin (Catering Appliance Superstore) Ltd
SELSON VILLAGE CLUB (CWB)
Rising Stars Support CIC
PLAY PLACE INNOV8 CIC (CWB)
Crystal Palace & Norwood Chamber Commerce
Friends of Lloyd Park Croydon
Fairchildes Academy Community Trust t/a Fairchildes Primary School
Surrey Beekeepers Association
Friends of Stambourne Woods
Citizen Welfare Organisation Ltd
All Heads Recognized Ltd
White Hut Studios (CWB)
SOUTH NORWOOD AND WOODSIDE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Another Night of Sisterhood CIC
St Gertrude’s Church
CROYDON BOROUGH NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH ASSOCIATION
Whyteleafe F C
Croydon Food Bank
Croydon Pet Hospital
Friends of Littleheath Woods
CROYDON DISTRICT SCOUT COUNCIL (CWB)
Kenley Memorial Hall
7th Purley Scout Group
Rotary Club of Purley
Evolve Housing & Support
Palace for Life Foundation (CWB)
OLD COULSDON CENTRE FOR THE RETIRED
Black Stock Target Communications (CWB)
Norbury Green Residents Association (CWB)
CHRISTIAN FAMILY CONCERN (CWB)
St Aidan’s Catholic Primary School
Grangewood Bowling Club
Foundation 47 (CWB)
New Addington Pathfinders (CWB)
New Addington Christmas Lights Appeal
ELMWOOD JUNIOR SCHOOL (CWB)
Croydon Voluntary Association for the Blind (CWB)
African Youth Development Association (CWB)
Croydon Hearing Resource
Well Being You Ltd
Friends of Littleheath Woods (CWB)
Mind In Croydon
LONDON MOZART PLAYERS (CWB)
2nd Selsdon & Addington Scout Group
Thornton Heath Community Action Team
SOLIDROCK ACADEMY (CWB)
The Children and young Peoples Gardening Project (CWB)
Imagine Independence (CWB)
Winterbourne Nursery & Infant School (CWB)
Circle of parents 2 friends (CWB)
Another Night of Sisterhood CIC (CWB)
Thornton Heath Community Action Team (CWB)
Pollards Hill Residents Association (CWB)
The Friends of Park Hill Park (CWB)
CAGE CIC (CWB)
Croydon Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association (CWB)
44th Croydon Air Scout Group
Croydon Cricket Club of India
Waddington Way Residents Association
Friends of Grangewood Park
St Peters Parochid Church Council
Active Living Support CIC
Pinspired Ltd (CWB)
Friends of Bradmore Green
KAREN JEWITT (CWB)
If you want to know more about the national picture, listen to Harry Fone the Grassroots Campaign Manager of TPA on with Mike Graham on Talk Radio.