Interview with Councillor Jeet Bains, Conservative Candidate for Luton North GE2019

Croydon Councillor Jeet Bains stood in the arguably safe Labour seat of Luton North in the recent General Election.  He first became a councillor in 2010 in the then Coulsdon West ward.  In 2018 he campaigned in Addiscombe East and split the ward with Labour’s Councillor Maddie Henson winning the other seat, a somewhat surprising result written about in ConservativeHome.

Jeet thank-you for your time..

How did you find it being a Parliamentary rather council candidate, what were the big differences?

It was an honour to be the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Luton North. I absolutely loved it, so much so that I felt this is what I was born to do – not a feeling one often gets. For me, every minute was a joy. Whether it was pounding the streets for hours on end delivering leaflets, talking to people outside shops, being praised, receiving abuse, answering questions on radio stations, debating at hustings, going to different places of worship and community centres – I thoroughly enjoyed it. I made good friends – some stayed by my side day-in and day-out. There were the Sikh businessmen, the Kashmiri radio hosts, the Irish construction guys, the Afro-Caribbean church community…innumerable and wonderful community members. It is an experience like no other. I’ve been thinking about why I liked it so much. My wife says it’s because I like being the centre of attention…

As a council candidate, the issues are obviously very local – streets, planning, bins etc. Many people do, however, vote according to the national picture even in a local council election. In fact we come across many people who aren’t aware that the local council is controlled by Labour – they just assume that, because the Conservatives are in power nationally, that the Conservatives therefore run the council too.

Running for Parliament is different. I found that people are much more engaged and passionate. The issues are also on a wider scale: I received questions about nuclear disarmament, abortion, euthanasia, the environment, and the NHS. I also attended several hustings, community meetings and was interviewed by local and BBC Radio.

In short, running for Parliament is more intense, and I enjoyed this.

“Throughout the campaign, I felt that in this election the electorate had a clear choice between a Marxist agenda from Labour and an economy-boosting agenda from the Conservatives”

What led to you being a candidate in Luton North?  What were the big issues in the area?

To stand for Parliament in the Conservative Party, you must be an approved candidate. Being one, I was asked to stand in Luton North.

Luton suffers from higher than average poverty levels, and so for me an emphasis on improving the economy and generating jobs was important. I made the case that getting more companies and government departments/agencies to locate in Luton would create more jobs. This would lead to people having more money in their pockets and feeling better about their lives, and there would be a beneficial effect for the local economy. This was in contrast to my Labour opponent who emphasised public spending and advocated scrapping Universal Credit. Throughout the campaign, I felt that in this election the electorate had a clear choice between a Marxist agenda from Labour and an economy-boosting agenda from the Conservatives. This was quite different to recent elections in which people would complain that there wasn’t much difference between the parties.

Housing was another big issue in Luton, as more people are coming to locate there from other areas. The experience I have of dealing with this issue in Croydon was very useful. People also felt that they were waiting too long for GP appointments, so this was an area on which I was particularly committing to focus.

We’re sure you’re pleased with the overall election result.  What do you hope to see the government deliver on?

It was a great night for the Conservatives. The Great British Public utterly rejected Corbyn and his hard Left agenda and, frankly, saved the country. I met people who aren’t usually very interested in politics but, on this occasion, were quite appalled at the prospect of Corbyn in No. 10. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has committed to getting Brexit done, levelling up investment across the nation, and investing much more in health and education. I think this is absolutely right, and I know the government will deliver.

More broadly, the country now has that great benefit of the first-past-the-post system, viz. a clear majority. Gone is the previous deadlock in Parliament, and with it the endless gloom propagated by those that refused to accept the result of the referendum. There is an air of positivity and energy to get things done. I think we will see quite a transformation in the country. In particular, I think there is a permanent shift of political loyalties that has occurred, for example in many northern constituencies. I worry, however, about how it is that some of our younger generation have been convinced that the solutions to their very valid concerns lie in Marxism. I hope the government gives attention to re-making the case for capitalism.

You used to represent Coulsdon West and are now in Addiscombe East. What are the similarities and differences between the two wards?

Coulsdon West was larger, with the usual three councillors representing the ward. Addiscombe East is smaller and thus has two councillors. It’s interesting that in Coulsdon West there was just one Residents’ Association for the whole ward, which is quite normal, whereas in Addiscombe East we are blessed with four!

In Coulsdon West there are family homes in the main, and the issues I dealt with there were chiefly around planning, building control, and traffic and parking in Coulsdon Town. I was also involved in the Cane Hill development – a fine example of Conservatives providing housing of various kinds, in contrast to the Labour council policy of wantonly permitting highly inappropriate developments in existing streets.

Addiscombe East has a greater variety of housing and, I guess with it being a marginal ward and in the Croydon Central parliamentary constituency, the politics is a little more intense. A long running issue, and quite jarring to local residents, has been traffic flows on local streets. An historic decision to make certain roads one way in neighbouring Addiscombe West has resulted in a wholly unequal distribution of traffic on neighbouring roads. In essence, Elgin Road  is now flooded with traffic night and day, whereas the residents of Canning Road in Addiscombe West benefit from hearing the birds chirping and their children playing safely in the street. All sensible people agree that this is an anomaly, but the fact that Labour control the Council and all the councillors in Addiscombe West are Labour has nothing at all to do with this sad problem remaining unresolved.

“in Addiscombe East. We focus on helping and making a difference to local residents rather than fighting over our political differences. I think local people quite like this arrangement”

Addiscombe East is the Boroughs only split ward.  How do you find representing an area with a Councillor of a different party?

It actually works well. I get on well with Maddie Henson, the Labour councillor here, and we keep things friendly and cordial. I have heard that in the past where there has been a split ward, the councillors from different political parties barely spoke to one another. It’s not like that in Addiscombe East. We focus on helping and making a difference to local residents rather than fighting over our political differences. I think local people quite like this arrangement.

What are your thoughts more generally on Croydon politics?

Croydon is a great town with huge potential. I think Croydon has been let down by the Labour-run council. The town centre has declined, major employers have left, Westfield is nowhere to  be seen, and Labour have a quite deliberate policy of allowing highly unsuitable residential developments (mostly small flats) in the middle of streets with family homes. Everyone was hoping for some positive news from the redevelopment of Fairfield Halls, but even that looks to have been botched, and there are complaints arising about where and how the money has been spent.

All of this means that there is a lot for politicians to address. The case needs to be made to local people on which party can best solve these problems. My focus would be on attracting employers to Croydon, providing jobs to people so that they feel responsible and can look after their families. I also want to see a relentless focus on improving the standard of our schools, so that our children have the springboard for getting good jobs.

I think a directly elected mayor could make difference, because the Council is patently failing. Let’s take a tangible example. The government announced a £28.8bn National Roads Fund and an increase to the National Productivity Investment Fund so that it totals £37 billion. I’m not aware that either the Croydon North MP or the Croydon Central MP have made any efforts to have some of these funds come to Croydon. In contrast, Chris Philp, the Croydon South MP, has made herculean efforts in, for instance, getting funding allocated to improve the Brighton-London rail line so that Croydon passengers benefit. This is the kind of thing that a directly elected mayor can really boost.

“We have a great tradition of being free to hear all sides of an argument make their cases robustly, and we shouldn’t lose this. Shouting that the end is nigh is, I suggest, counter-productive”

On Twitter you have expressed some concern with the doom mongering of the environmental lobby. What sensible action do you think we should be taking on the environment?

I think that people don’t respond well to doom mongering, and there is an adverse reaction to endless lectures. At the same time, most people want to do the right thing and be environmentally friendly. If we look at how the world came together to tackle the ozone layer issue, that is an excellent example of how people made conscious buying decisions which stopped the ozone layer being damaged. Similarly, the government’s measures on charging for plastic bags in shops and the ban on the sale of products containing microbeads are measures that make a real difference. The government has also committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. That may seem a long way off but it is realistic and achievable. In contrast Labour was talking about reaching net zero by 2030 – something that even the GMB union refused to support.

I think the key is to be realistic and help people to do the right thing – because, most of the time, they want to. I also think we’re not hearing serious dissenting voices, such as Lord Matt Ridley who presents data and questions some of the conclusions that we are asked to accept. We have a great tradition of being free to hear all sides of an argument make their cases robustly, and we shouldn’t lose this. Shouting that the end is nigh is, I suggest, counter-productive. Also, walking along the top of tube trains in Canning Town is probably best avoided.

Any other thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Politics is important and (as apparently Charles de Gaul said) it’s too important to be left to the politicians. I’m encouraged by the increasing engagement in politics by young people. It doesn’t matter which party you join or what your cause is, it’s good to be involved in matters that affect you and your community. I am worried, however, that someone who was utterly unfit to be Prime Minister was one step away from achieving it. It is important that we look at how it is that the hard Left ideology, long ago rejected as damaging to society, has reared its ugly head again.

Finally, a word about social media. Its ability to amplify and to distort is something that we are just beginning to understand. Our greatest minds will need to be brought together to wrestle with this problem. Anonymous accounts, fake news, false utterances with no consequence – freedom and liberty need armour against them.

Jeet can be found on twitter at @Jeet__Bains.

GE2019 Campaign Review – Mario Creatura

During the general election we interviewed local pro-Brexit candidates.  Following on from this we asked the candidates how they found the election and for any thoughts they had from the campaign.

Below is the update written by Councillor Mario Creatura the Conservative Party candidate for Croydon Central.  Mario’s original interview is available here.

In December 2018 I was lucky enough to be chosen to be the Conservative candidate for Croydon Central. At the election on 12th December, 21,175 people in my hometown chose to put their faith in me – I am sorry that it was not enough, but I will be forever grateful to every one of them.

It’s been an incredible year. Over the campaign my team and I have spoken to many thousands and ran a positive, energetic campaign. We highlighted vital local issues, like Labour’s plans to build on the green belt and their wanton destruction of community identities, as well as fighting to respect the result of the Brexit referendum and shining a spotlight on Labour’s illiterate economic policies. I am truly proud of the way my party behaved during the campaign.

Across the UK so many unbelievably talented Conservative friends have been elected – particularly those from blue collar backgrounds breaking through the so-called ‘red wall’ in the Midlands and the North of England. Our Parliament is lucky to have each and every one of them. It was the greatest result for the Conservatives since 1983, and the worst performance by Labour since 1935. We now have five years of stable national government, one that means we can finally get Brexit done and move on with our lives.

“Chris Philp’s majority went up in Croydon South, a testament to his incredible work ethic and stamina. Steve Reed’s majority was slashed by a massive 8,000 votes. The start of a worrying trend for Labour in London?”

In Croydon, it’s well worth looking at the results of the two ‘safe seats’. Chris Philp’s majority went up in Croydon South, a testament to his incredible work ethic and stamina. Steve Reed’s majority was slashed by a massive 8,000 votes. The start of a worrying trend for Labour in London? If I were Croydon Labour, I would be very concerned about what this means on a local level for the 2022 Council elections.

For every candidate standing for election there are dozens, if not hundreds of passionate party volunteers helping our democracy to function. Every leaflet delivered, every street pounded and door knocked – it’s a huge team effort and they are all doing it out of love for their party, community and country. It takes a lot, particularly in the cold winter months, to forgo spending time with your loved ones and to instead pull on a waterproof and try to campaign in an election. I’m grateful to each and every one of them.

“There are 81,000 electors in Croydon Central alone – so it takes years to get around everyone once, which is why it feels like you only see us at election time”

One thing all political campaigners will hear on the doorsteps repeated time and time and again: “we only see you out at election time”. It’s one of the most frustrating things to be accused of – of not caring about our community enough to be out all the time, not least because it’s just not true! There are some 47,000 properties in Croydon Central. If a single volunteer can knock on 100 doors in a given canvassing session, around 2/3s of people will be out. Which means each activist might get to speak to 30 people a week. There are 81,000 electors in Croydon Central alone – so it takes years to get around everyone once, which is why it feels like you only see us at election time.

So here’s my plea to everyone reading this: if you are upset by the result of the election in Croydon, if you want to get Labour out of Croydon Town Hall in 2022, then don’t sit at home complaining – get involved with the Croydon Conservatives and help us do something about it. We need good people to stand to be local councillors. We need talented locals to help us build a machine to take the fight to Labour over the next few years. We need bright, passionate members of our community to get stuck in any number of different roles and activities.

If you would like to find out more, then get in touch by emailing mario.creatura@croydonconservatives.com and I’d be happy to meet to explain more about what it might involved – there’s something for everyone!

Croydon is my home town. It’s where I was born and where I live with my wife. I’m still a serving councillor and I’m not going anywhere. Croydon has so much potential just waiting to be unleashed – get in touch and let’s make it happen!

Sputnik Interview – UK Election: ‘The Polls Are Getting Tighter, There is Some Reflection of Truth There’

Michael Swadling, from the Croydon Constitutionalists, offers his forecast for the election outcome in an interview with Sputnik Radio.

“The Conservatives clearly need to play the expectation game. They want to make sure their voters come out on what might be a miserable winter’s day next week and they need people scared slightly of a Corbyn government”

“Labour’s campaign change doesn’t appear to particularly have worked. They have attempted to become a more Brexit-y party with some of their core voters – I think people see through that very clearly”

“the biggest democratic vote on any subject in British history, which needs to be honoured for Britain to remain a democracy, and even if he [Jeremy Corbyn] was in a restrained manner in government, that would be a real systemic risk to the British economy”

Interview – https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201912041077484778-uk-election-the-polls-are-getting-tighter-there-is-some-reflection-of-truth-there–activist-/

Audio:

Interview with Candace Mitchell, the Christian Parties Alliance Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon North

Always keen to support people in Croydon prepared to support Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke to Candace Mitchell of the Christian Parties Alliance candidate in Croydon North.

Formed in 1999 the Christian Parties Alliance is a coming together of the Christian Party and the Christian Peoples Alliance. With members come from all backgrounds and church traditions.  The 2017 Manifesto supported Brexit including “to be prepared to walk away from the EU”.  They supported the end of fractional reserve banking to reduce debt and want to “rebuild favourable trading relationships with any country in the world that wants to join with us in doing so to our mutual benefit provided they do not have an unacceptable human rights record”.  As you would expect from a Christian Party they have some more traditional policies including a plan to “Restore a pro-life ethic across the NHS so that every member of staff is doing their best to assist the healing of a patient and where life is coming to an end” and “to  support  marriage  and  family  life  to reverse the domestic de-population trend”.

The CPA support our proposal that in future no newly appointed council employee will earn more than the Prime Minister and the local campaign for a Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon.

Candace thanks for your time.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and what first got you involved in politics?

I am a local resident in the Croydon North constituency (which includes Thornton Heath, Upper Norwood, South Norwood, Selhurst Norbury), a former school teacher, a Youth & Charity Worker, founder of RevolutionChange, an international speaker and a professional transformational life coach who is passionate and has a heart to see positive change impact this great nation. Over the years, I served as a Community change agent representing the youth and also where I campaigned for the homeless and anti-trafficking; standing up for families, single parents, mentoring young people and children. I fought for Change and my core belief is that “To make a difference, you must BE the difference. So change begins with me.” 

I host workshops, conferences and seminars for the young to elderly, and to dynamically empower women. Strategy is important and with the right effective plan of action, every one, young and old, can affect change in their personal worlds. This is the change that will inherently change a nation and we need you all. Since 2015, more politically I have been interested in and standing up for things that are important to our community and country and it has been and continues to be an honour to do so! I’ve seen many great successes of lives been turned around and this is just the beginning!  I look forward to all that’s to come and intend on giving my very best to my constituency. 

How did you find yourself selected as the candidate for Croydon North?

In recent years, since 2016, I have linked and connected with the CPA Party Leader, Sid Cordle, a dynamic key politician, author & strategist determined to restore Britain. I was delighted to be selected to stand for Croydon North, a constituency that bustles with the heart of this nation, diversity! This resonates so deeply with me as it is my passion to see many peoples come together as one to live as a thriving community. And I believe this is the heartbeat of Croydon North. When people come together, we can change a community, a city, a nation! 

“Understandably the unknown is oftentimes scary. But we have come to a point in the political atmosphere where something’s got to give. A party that is brave and courageous enough to go against the political fear tactics and status quo!”

How do you find the experience of the campaign trail (have you run anywhere else)?

Walking around and getting to know one on one and hearing the hearts and views of you all in Croydon North has been such a great journey! We definitely are a people of diversity and a myriad of colours that bring culture and all things British into celebrating our nation. I’ve found many voters stick to conservative & labour because it’s the ones they know. Some don’t even know the underpinning views of the party or why they vote for them but because it’s the popular choice, they go with it. But look at the state of our nation being in the hands of these two parties. The time has come for a change. It’s going to take something different! Understandably the unknown is oftentimes scary. But we have come to a point in the political atmosphere where something’s got to give. A party that is brave and courageous enough to go against the political fear tactics and status quo! CPA is that party and I am that person to stand with you the people of Croydon North constituency. It’s time for change. 

Any surprises you found running any stories from the campaign trail?

Many surprises, yes! But the best stories so far, have been in just spending time with residents and hearing your views. I’ve been pleasantly and warmly invited in your homes to have a chat and just share and exchange views. This community of Croydon North has so much to offer and give not only locally but even by wider impact. We have so much to learn from each other and put all our thoughts together to affect positive change. We would love for more people to join and support however you can. You don’t have to disqualify yourself from politics any longer. We need real people with real hearts, stories and passion. If you are passionate about making a difference then please get in touch with us or myself directly at candace4cpa@gmail.com 

Manpower is always welcomed. Let’s increase our reach and get involved Croydon North. We are a open community. So, Let’s unite and stand together, stronger! 

What are your thoughts on Croydon Politics?

With the many diverse issues in the constituency, for critical focus, Croydon has always been a hub of bustling youth & It is known for the elevated young offenders and knife crime. This is at the forefront of our focus and aim in fighting crime. With many years experience working with youth personally, I believe we the CPA can start to implement from foundation level and work on the family construct to get to the root of the issue. Youth crime is a by-product of family breakdown and seeing to this issue will undoubtedly affect positive change, reduce the young offending statistics and turn things around systemically. Things aren’t getting better because we’re so busy fire-fighting when we should be getting to the root of things and implementing forward-focus, motivation, goal direction workshops and courses for young people to engage in to find their purpose and fulfilment. I will be strategising and implementing such transformational avenues for the youth of our constituency, as I believe this will bring tangible results and reduce the youth & knife crime rates significantly. 

What’s next for the Christian Parties Alliance, how do you see them making a breakthrough?

We the CPA Party are committed and determined to be the voice for the voiceless. We fervently beleive that we have the best policies for the nation and that everyone in time will see this. Because we genuinely care about the wellbeing of a nation and not just fire-fighting issues but rather getting to the root of the problem, we are a party you can trust to have your best interest at heart. We are not a party of quick-fixes and minimal effort. We are a party that knows this is going to take hard work, strategic action, much heart, and incredible effort! We are ready! The good news is that as well as being committed, and determined, we are laser-focused in our mission and manifesto and most importantly, in what may seem a very bleak-looking atmosphere in our nation right now, we are filled with hope! Hope cannot be lost at this critical time. We are positive that with a solid, clear and strategically sound manifesto as ours, we will see breakthrough, positive change and a restoration of the heart and soul of Britain! 

The issue of the day is Brexit.  What are your personal thoughts on the subject that divides Britain?

Great Britain has always been exactly that – a GREAT country of immeasurable honour and heritage, and we want to bring respect and honour back to our very strong nation. Our stance on Brexit is an Honour Democracy.

We need to honour the democratic will of the British people and get Brexit done. That means we must honour the 2016 Referendum result and leave the EU completely.  We will offer a second Brexit referendum five to ten years after we’ve left completely when there is evidence of what has happened.  I believe we can make a success of leaving the EU. We can’t predict the future but we can plan for it. Time will tell how this unfolds, and if needs be, there must be a simple mechanism in place for returning (the referendum). This will unite the nation.  

We have faith in Britain’s ability to thrive as an independent nation with new international trade deals. The referendum 5 – 10 years after we’ve left completely is to ensure the country can be brought back together when there is evidence of however performed outside the EU.  

“Aside from the human cost, family breakdown has been estimated to cost the taxpayer £48 billion per year. No other party will address this issue’.”

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

1. PROTECT UNBORN CHILDREN

We stand on strong pro-life platform and we pledge to restore full legal protection to unborn children while diverting more than £200 million of taxpayers’ money spent each year on funding abortions here and abroad into supporting any mother in a crisis pregnancy situation.

It is painful to note that within election campaign period alone an average of 598 babies will lose their lives to abortion in the UK, with over 9 million lives lost altogether as a result of the 1967 Abortion Act. This is a national tragedy — we have to have the courage to face this issue and look for compassionate alternatives.”

2. MAKE TAX FAIR AND CARE FOR THE POOR

We’d end the scandal of big multi-national companies (eg. Facebook, Google, Starbucks) sending their UK profits abroad in order to avoid paying their fair share of tax.By introducing a Turnover Tax (of 5%), offset against Corporation Tax, we’d address the disadvantage faced by British businesses. This would raise an estimated £32bn, which we’d use to halve commercial rates to revive our city centres (£11.5bn), pay for our family policies (£4bn) and restore the £12bn in Tory benefit cuts by properly funding Universal Credit. We would help everyone sleeping rough with a free night shelter, meal and the right support to get back into society.

3.  SUPPORT MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY 

The CPA will support marriage and the family with a £12,000 grant to first-time married couples and £6,000 upon the birth of their first child, provided they go for at last 5 marriage preparation sessions. 

“Aside from the human cost, family breakdown has been estimated to cost the taxpayer £48 billion per year. No other party will address this issue’.” The CPA’s marriage and first-child grant (costing £4 billion) and other key policies would be funded by the introduction of a turnover tax of five per cent, offset against corporation tax, which is intended to stop big multinational companies sending their UK profits abroad in order to cut down their tax bill.This would raise an estimated £32 billion.

“CPA is NOT exclusively for Christians. This is a core value and moral-standing issue and I believe that many people from different faiths or none at all can unite with me in our solid values and stand for the good of a nation”

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

I am proudly British and a definition of diversity which is one of the striking characteristics of our constituency. I am approachable and a strong advocate for things I believe in. I want to continue fighting for our families and community as I did and continue to in London over the many years. I ask all residents to vote for me to be a strong voice for us all in Parliament.

I strongly believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. CPA is NOT exclusively for Christians. This is a core value and moral-standing issue and I believe that many people from different faiths or none at all can unite with me in our solid values and stand for the good of a nation. Thank you Croydon North!  Align with the core values of our party and vote for us. We need you! There is HOPE, Britain! We can make a difference because we, Croydon north, are the difference! 

Candace can be contact by Email: candace4cpa@gmail.com and is on Instagram: @candace4cpa.

Interview with Donald Ekekhomen, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon North

Always keen to support people in Croydon prepared to support democracy and Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke with Donald Ekekhomen, the Conservative Party Candidate for Croydon North.

On Donald’s twitter account he describes himself as a Conservative, Pharmacist, Entrepreneur. Christian, keen on positive community action, and a Crystal Palace fan.  He stood in Waddon for the Conservatives in the 2018 local elections in what was widely recognised as a hard fought campaign.

Croydon North is currently held by anti-democracy MP Steve Reed OBE.

Donald thank-you for your time.

What led to you being picked as the candidate for Croydon North?

After the disappointment of the last local elections, it’s terrible to see the devastation that Croydon’s Labour Council continues to do to our local communities. At the same time, there is the increase in stabbings in Croydon that’s very worrying. Everyone I talk to in church, work or at football are always talking about this.  It’s causing a lot of uneasiness in the community with parents afraid for their teenage children. That prompted me to avail myself of the rigorous screening process to be the Conservative candidate for Croydon North.

“to someone who has lived through an authoritarian regime, that was exceptional by the MP and his office. It simply says the MP is concerned about the welfare of his constituents and cares enough to help them fulfil their aspirations”

What first got you into politics.

I am an immigrant who came to the UK to study and got a job on completion of my studies to provide NHS pharmaceutical services as a pharmacist. As one who works in a lot of pharmacies as a locum in and around Croydon, I get to participate in conversations about governance, taxes etc. In one of these conversations, a pharmacy owner explained to me activities that led her to open her pharmacy. She said that she was able to get the local MP at the time to help officially open the premises.  Now that might seem normal but to someone who has lived through an authoritarian regime, that was exceptional by the MP and his office. It simply says the MP is concerned about the welfare of his constituents and cares enough to help them fulfil their aspirations. That MP was Gavin Barwell; the erstwhile Conservative MP for Croydon Central.

In my job and through voluntary activities, it is clear that there are lots of issues facing local people; education, school expulsion, NHS, housing, immigration, crime, jobs etc and I believe  being part of a political party will help me try to resolve these issues by enacting laws and lobbying government in order to make a difference to the lives of these people and more.

“Having them believe that someone is there to help when they are challenged is a very powerful statement of confidence in our community and abilities”

Any story from Waddon or other campaign trails that have stuck in your memory?

While on the campaign trail, a lot of things really excited me, gave me a buzz.  People are deeply concerned about their local environment and are willing to do what they can to protect it. However, a particular incident remains in my memory: during our campaign there was an old church hall that already had a planning application submitted to convert it to blocks of residential flats. However, this old church had provided valuable service to the community as it is used as a nursery space for young children and on weekends, used as a place for meetings and parties/celebrations for locals. It forms the nucleus of the community and also retains the old architecture which celebrates the history of the place and in consonance with other buildings in the area. When I went canvassing in the area, it was the most important issue for residents but they needed help and advice on how to oppose it.  We sprung to action and helped the residents oppose the planning application using  dexterity and with the knowledge of how to do this. Eventually, this was stopped and the building was saved. The joy on the faces of the residents when we went back was a sight to behold. I felt happy to have been a part of this process: making people smile, happy and comfortable in their local environment. Having them believe that someone is there to help when they are challenged is a very powerful statement of confidence in our community and abilities.

What is your favourite Crystal Palace memory?

I love sports especially football and know it is an important part of keeping our physical and mental health in the best shape especially now with how fast and complex our lives are. It is a tool for creating firm structure for young people to learn about discipline, respect and teamwork while improving their social skills, friendships and broadening their aspirations.

The FA cup final in 2016 is one I still think about today. The run to the final was exceptional and the team did this with real determination while scraping through some games. I felt that was a given and that gut feeling was consolidated when Jason Puncheon scored the first goal in the final. That was the most delirious I have ever been!!!

It was disappointing the team lost eventually but they showed really courage; working together, challenging every ball and giving it their all. I was very proud of the boys!!

Crystal Palace football club is involved in a lot of wonderful local projects for poor communities which help disadvantaged locals to get on in life. Some of these partnerships I am involved with as a trustee. This off the field activity is awesome.

What are your thoughts on Croydon politics?

Croydon politics is in a terrible state currently. Where do I start!

We have a group of Labour Party councillors running the council and not delivering on their last local election promises. The Labour council do not collect bins weekly as promised, they do not listen to residents’ complaints but rather make it difficult for residents to pass on their legitimate concerns.  Council chamber question time is fraught with verbose replies, residents only have 30 minutes to ask questions during full council meetings that sit just a few times in the year!!! How is that listening to the residents?

This is your first time as a parliamentary candidate, has anything come as a surprise from making that step?

I always expected it to be intense, changing its course almost every other day with changing campaign priorities. However, the amount of energy needed to keep on the campaign trail and answer emails from a lot of people who expect responses very quickly, has been enormous. Regardless, I am enjoying every bit of it especially meeting people on their doorsteps and talking to them about their concerns and priorities.

“The current system of offenders getting up to five suspended sentences could be too lenient and doesn’t feel like justice for the victims of crime”

If you introduce or repeal three laws (other than Brexit), what would they be?

Reducing the number of suspended sentences given to people who commit serious crime to three and increasing the length of their stay in prison. I would go further to make serious offenders serve three quarters of their term before they are due for parole. The current system of offenders getting up to five suspended sentences could be too lenient and doesn’t feel like justice for the victims of crime. The Conservative government is investing in the prison services to train, educate and give ex-offenders the skills needed to be more productive in the wider society which is the duty of any responsible government.

More investment in schools in line with inflation to help recruit and train more teachers.  Teachers that will spend more time with disruptive youngsters and help improve their chances at learning to attain a degree at university, get into apprenticeships or learn other job skillsets. This will help to reduce exclusions, foster cohesion and improve life chances of disadvantaged young people.  On the societal scale it will help reduce crime, help with social mobility and improve positive community participation. Currently, the Government has promised increased funding per pupil in schools and has been doing that for over 10 years, incrementally. This is an indication that it is taking it seriously but much more will be greatly appreciated.

The Help to Buy scheme has seen record numbers of people and young families being able to afford a home. I want to see such schemes encouraged further and expanded to help a lot more people get onto the property ladder.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

The UK is currently the second best country in Europe for business start-ups.  I would want the current government fund provision for tech start-ups to continue into the post Brexit years ahead. It is vital that we encourage people with digital intelligence to continue to contribute to the digital space and create the next Facebook, Google or Amazon of this world.

Donald thank-you for the interview.

Donald can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/donaldekekhomen.

Podcast Episode 14 – General Election Candidates Update & My Tuppenceworth

We discuss the finalised list of nominated candidates for the 3 Croydon seats in the impending General Election and our upcoming free speech event “My Tuppenceworth“.

Special thanks to Tim Duce for our intro and outro music. https://timduce.bandcamp.com/

Croydon Central Hustings Tickets as discussed in this episode. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/spotlight-croydon-central-hustings-2019-tickets-82035900587

Official notices for Croydon Constituencies

Spreaker

iTunes

YouTube:

Sputnik Radio Interview – Labour’s Economic Policy ‘Farcical’ – Croydon Constitutionalists Member

Michael Swadling of the Croydon Constitutionalists spoke again with Sputnik Radio on the 7th November 2019 about the upcoming general election.

“This isn’t planned about striving and having aspirations, the Labour Party policy is really just about cutting the cake that we have today and redistribution – that doesn’t generate wealth”

In 1997, Labour became electable because Tony Blair put out a positive message, and he put out an aspirational message, going back to the 1960’s.That’s how Wilson got elected, he talked about technology and the future of Britain. …and the modern Labour Party just looks like an unhappy party. Why would anybody vote for that?”

Full article https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201911071077249214-labours-economic-policy-farcical—croydon-constitutionalists-member/

Interview with Mario Creatura, the Conservative Party PPC for Croydon Central

Always keen to support people in Croydon prepared to support Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke to Councillor Mario Creatura, the Conservative Party Candidate for Croydon Central.

Mario will be well known to many of our followers as a local Councillor and campaigner. He worked for Gavin Barwell when he was an MP, global beer company Heineken and in 10 Downing Street running social media for Theresa May. He now works in communications for Virgin Money UK.

Mario thanks for your time.

What don’t we know about you that has led you to be the PPC in Croydon Central?

I’ve lived in Croydon all my life. I was born in Mayday Hospital and went to nursery at Tollgate in Shirley; attended St Thomas Becket Primary in South Norwood; checked my first books out of Ashburton Library and learnt to ride my bike in Bingham Park.

My first job was in the town centre; first flat just off the historic Surrey Street Market and last year, with my wife Amy, we moved into our first home together in Park Hill.

Croydon isn’t just some rung on the political career ladder for me – it’s been my home for over 30 years. I want my community to thrive and that’s not been happening in recent years.

I truly believe that it’s only when our community comes together that we can tackle the complex issues facing our town – to create an environment that promotes aspiration and helps our town thrive. That’s why I’m running to be our next Member of Parliament: to work with everyone to help Croydon be the best it can be.

What first got you involved in politics?

Growing up in Croydon I wasn’t really concerned about politics, and neither were my family. My dad still gets up at 4am to go to work, and when I was a kid mum would work nights in Woolworths in the town centre.

I went to a great state school in South Norwood, worked hard and became the first in my family to make it to university. It wasn’t easy; I didn’t know anyone else that had been. Thankfully with the help of a bursary and an incredibly supportive family I graduated, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it truly transformed my life.

I met people who became lifelong friends. Some of them were interested in politics, and over many a beer it was at university that my interest in politics was kindled.

I graduated in 2009 and came back to Croydon just before the 2010 General Election. While I was away my mum had become a Teaching Assistant at my old school and my dad had started refereeing and coaching the local little league. They had started to get fully involved in the community, rolling their sleeves up and helping out. I saw the difference they made, and how much of an impact they were both making in our local area.

That’s when I started thinking about local politics. I have always thought that if you want to help your community then the best way is by getting involved. It doesn’t matter what it is – but the best way to make a difference is to get stuck in.

That’s also why I started getting involved in the local Conservative party. Politics can be a force for good, a place where people debate ideas and work to make our local area better. I wanted to be a part of that effort, so I took my own advice and got involved!

Any stories from previous campaign trails that have stuck in your memory?

I first ran for election in Selhurst ward. One weekday evening I was out knocking on doors on the Selhurst Road, working to find out about the issues and concerns facing the local residents.

In one of the houses was a lady who was clearly getting ready to go out for the night. She had a towel around her hair and was in a dressing gown – she was clearly in no mood for talking to a councillor candidate. She told me, as anticipated, that she was in the middle of something and had no time to talk – but in any case that there was absolutely no way she was going to vote for a Conservative. She thought that was the end of that, and so I (thinking I had nothing to lose) asked her ‘Why?’

She was taken aback. What did I mean: why? She was very clear wasn’t she?

I was genuinely interested in what she had to say. Why not vote Conservative? Why vote Labour? Why be so unequivocal? I was curious, and she appreciated it.

Despite her supposed rush, we ended up talking for more than 30 minutes. About schools and social mobility. About fly-tipping and potholes. About the health service and police force.

At the end of the conversation she thanked me for my time, and that I listened to her. She told me that she would still be voting Labour but that she appreciated my commitment to our community.

A few weeks later was Election Day. That night I was surprised to receive a message on Facebook. It said:

‘Hi Mario. Not sure if you remember but you canvassed me on Selhurst Road the other day and we had a good conversation about politics. Well just to let you know that I did something that I have never done before in my life and voted for a Tory! Because you are young and passionate and I believe that you will make a difference. So good luck, and if you do get in don’t let me down!’

I sadly did not win that time, but the whole experience taught me a valuable lesson: that if you truly care about your local area, and you listen to the people in the community, then you can make a difference.

” We were all told that the referendum result would be respected; both Labour and the Conservatives ran on a manifesto commitment to do just that. If we betray that trust, then we jeopardise faith in our entire political establishment”

You supported Remain in the EU Referendum.  What’s made you now support us leaving the EU?

Although I did support Remain, I always recognised that there were merits on both sides of the argument. Since the referendum, my excitement about the possibilities for Britain outside the EU has really grown. In the last year I’ve had the privilege of travelling quite a bit, and there’s a real appetite around the world to re-engage with Britain in a way that simply wouldn’t be possible if we were staying in.

However, above and beyond anything else, I am a champion for Brexit because I’m a democrat. I believe we should leave the EU as soon as possible to fulfill the democratic instruction given to us by the British people. I therefore fully support Prime Minister Johnson’s intention that we leave by October 31st.

In the largest vote ever to take place in British history, the people made a clear decision. I am a democrat, and that decision must be implemented. To do otherwise would shake the very foundations of our democracy. 

We were all told that the referendum result would be respected; both Labour and the Conservatives ran on a manifesto commitment to do just that. If we betray that trust, then we jeopardise faith in our entire political establishment – a faith that is already being tested to the limit.

Politicians should not choose which votes they respect and which they do not. We must leave the EU – no ifs, no buts.

“However, even if we can’t secure a deal like this – which I think we can – we must leave the EU, come what may, on 31st October”

What terms would you like to see us leave the EU under?

The ideal terms for Brexit would be to negotiate a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU similar to the arrangement enjoyed by Canada. This kind of deal will allow free trade and relatively little friction on the borders but would not compromise national sovereignty, our ability to set our own laws, control our borders and pursue an ambitious global trade policy. 

However, even if we can’t secure a deal like this – which I think we can – we must leave the EU, come what may, on 31st October.

“Join a political party or residents’ group or local charity – whatever suits you, just do it. Truly the only way to improve things, and to oust bad politicians, is to work hard and push for change locally”

Until recently you were Chief Whip for the Conservatives in the Council. You must have seen a lot of what’s going on.  What are your thoughts more broadly on Croydon Politics?

Our local politics is not in a healthy place. The Labour-run Council actively avoids scrutiny – tens of thousands of residents have signed petitions that are ignored by the Council. Even in official consultations, if the response is not in keeping with Labour’s policy objectives then the results are often sidelined. Residents’ Associations are barely engaged with and whenever a reasonable local resident tries to flag issues with an insensitive development, aggressive councillors routinely shut them down.

The public gets a measly 30 minutes to ask questions at each Council meeting, and there are only 7 meetings each year. The Labour Cabinet members don’t hold public meetings and when a member of the public does get to ask a question often the answer is mealy-mouthed and obstructive.

A confident council should welcome scrutiny. The Opposition can help the (currently Labour) Administration to up their game if they are allowed to do their job properly.  However, at the moment Labour does everything it can to block any attempt at the main parties working together in Croydon’s interests – and so meetings often spiral out of control into childish bickering that debases our community.

But I’m an optimist. There are so many phenomenal people involved in our local politics – whether they’re in a political party or not, so many residents are committed to making our local communities thrive. We may sometimes disagree on the way to get there, but our ultimate goal is the same.

The only way to help Croydon thrive is to get involved. Join a political party or residents’ group or local charity – whatever suits you, just do it. Truly the only way to improve things, and to oust bad politicians, is to work hard and push for change locally.

This is your first time as a parliamentary candidate, has anything come as a surprise from making that step?

Croydon has got huge potential – the potential to be a dynamic, prosperous town that provides opportunities for everyone. I’ve spent 10 years campaigning in Croydon, and the biggest surprise since becoming the candidate is finding out just how many people locally care passionately about our community and how desperately they want it to get better. There have been heated discussions, and the vast majority have shared a common desire to boost our borough. It’s energising to know there’s that hunger out there, and I want to be instrumental in helping to make it happen for my home town.

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

  • Cracking down on crime: A review of sentencing of prolific offenders with a view to creating a clearer expectation of longer and more certain prison sentences for super-prolific offenders. We should continue the Government’s policy of investing in more prison capacity to enable more super-prolific offenders to be jailed and for longer. And we need action to improve and toughen community sentences, suspended sentences and drug rehabilitation programmes – a greater emphasis on rehabilitation is all-important in breaking the cycle that too often drags those leaving the penal system back into a life of crime.
  • Tackling poverty: tax cuts for business should be made conditional on increases in wages for staff on the lowest rates of pay, in order to counter in-work poverty. I would offer corporate tax cuts to firms that increase pay for their staff and these tax cuts should also be used to encourage more training for young and low-paid staff, who are most likely to miss out on support to boost their skills. With near full employment already achieved, the Conservatives are already helping millions, but it’s time to address the root causes of in-work poverty – this is just one policy idea to contribute to achieving that goal.
  • Social mobility: Given that gaps between the advantaged and less advantaged open up before birth and get wider through a child’s formative years, the role of parents and the early years workforce is highly important. The government’s 30-hour free childcare offer has helped many families afford a vital service – but good quality childcare is still out of reach for many. Significantly reducing the lower income limit of eligibility and working with local authorities to specifically target low-income households will help to boost social mobility. I want every kid in Croydon to get the support and services they need so they can achieve their maximum potential in life.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

We’ve currently got a Labour MP in Croydon Central who has voted to block Brexit more than 10 times. The Lib Dems can’t win in Croydon and neither can the Brexit Party – it’s a straight fight between Labour and the Conservatives. If you truly want to deliver Brexit, then the only way to do that is to vote Conservative in the next election, whenever that comes. A vote for any other party is effectively a vote for Labour to stay in power and for our Brexit-blocking MP to continue in her determined effort to circumvent the will of the people.

Don’t let that happen. Croydon deserves better than that.

Mario thank-you for the interview.

Mario can be contact by Facebook, Twitter or email at office@mariocreatura.org.uk

Interview with Alan Cook Brexit Party PPC for Old Bexley and Sidcup

Always keen to support people in Croydon prepared to stand up for Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke to Alan Cook the Brexit Party PPC for Old Bexley and Sidcup.

Alan was originally standing in Croydon North. Mike Swadling of this parish stood against the current anti democracy MP Steve Reed OBE in the constituency which included part of the Crystal Palace triangle, Norbury, Thornton Heath, the transport hub of West Croydon and of course the home of football [Mike insert] Crystal Palace.

Old Bexley and Sidcup voted 62% Leave in the referendum and is currently represented by James Brokenshire MP.

Alan thanks for your time.

So tell us a bit about your background and how you found yourself being a Brexit Party Candidate?

My parents were in the services, my father was in the Fleet Air Arm and my mother was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. I was born in an RAF base in Singapore. We returned with my elder brother to England when I was one year old and briefly lived with family in Thanet. I grew up and was schooled in South East London, I now live in Westminster with my girlfriend and our two daughters. 

By twenty I had secured a position in finance in London, my first day was Black Monday! I discovered there was no prospect of progression within that company due to not having a degree. I very quickly changed industries to Information Technology and what followed was a dream of a career in the City starting at the end of the Thatcher years. 

For many years I have been a member of a parliamentary think tank, amongst other things promoting and progressing leaving the EU. I am a trustee of a local charity, and co-vice chairman of a civic body looking after over 1400 residents and businesses, dealing with the local council, The Met., TfL and the Grosvenor Estate.

I have realised over the last few years that The House of Commons is in dire need of reform, it is lacking MP’s from a normal background. I decided earlier this year to put myself forward as a candidate for The Brexit Party, the only party currently offering political reform. I also requested a South London Constituency, and here I am now.

“a feeling of betrayal over the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and now I can add May’s new EU treaty to that as well. The voice of the electorate is very clearly being bypassed and ignored”

What first got you involved in politics?

Frustration in the knowledge that the previous leaders of both the main parties have not put the needs of our country first. They have created division and caused lasting damage to the long term prosperity and independence of the UK. Also a feeling of betrayal over the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and now I can add May’s new EU treaty to that as well. The voice of the electorate is very clearly being bypassed and ignored. Of course I have an overriding conviction that I can do so much better. Better for Croydon North and better for the country as a whole.

Any stories from previous campaign trails that have stuck in your memory?

I spent a week in Wales helping The Brexit Party before the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. I took some time off from the normal day to day canvassing and joined our candidate Des Parkinson for a tour of the constituency on the Brexit Bus. Little did I know how dangerous such a pursuit was going to be. There are a lot of trees in Wales, and some very low tree canopies that span the whole road. If anyone on the bus shouted “tree” you didn’t have time to look and would duck or throw yourself to the floor with great speed. The only one who was truly safe on the top deck was the T-shirt wearing Brexit Dog who just happened to be called Nigel. At one stage on our journey the Brexit bus was being lead and flanked by two dozen escaped bullocks, it was at that stage someone on the top deck shouted the very memorable, “Bullocks for Brexit“.

You were originally standing in Croydon North where you follow Winston McKenzie and our own Mike Swadling in standing as a Pro-Brexit candidate in Croydon North.  What were you focusing on to make a breakthrough?

Thanks to the work of previous Pro-Brexit candidates in the Croydon area, I was not starting from the beginning but I have a foundation to build from. Brexit is now more in the public conscience than it has ever has been. I am not here alone, The Brexit Party has broken all political records with its rapidly growing supporter base. The battle isn’t just about leaving the expensive and corrupt EU institution it is about protecting our democracy and it’s about political reform. People are sick to the back teeth with the undemocratic MPs who currently sit in the House of Commons. They are clearly not following the wishes of and are not acting in the best interests of the electorate.

What are your thoughts on Croydon Politics?

Croydon is in an envious and very unique position, it is an outer London borough with easy, quick train access to central London,16 minutes, but it is also very much a business hub of its own and indeed an international business location. With easy and quick train access to both St. Pancras International Station and Gatwick Airport the future potential of the tri-constituency area is huge. This unique situation needs to be highlighted to and recognised by the government. My constituency, Croydon North, deserves the highest calibre representation in the commons to reflect this. This is why I am dedicating myself to becoming the MP for the area.

“I have found myself happily discussing politics in groups of people with different ideologies. As long as you are pro UK, pro Europe and you put the interests of our amazing country before that of the EU you have a home in The Brexit Party”

What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?

That’s an easy question to answer, it is the people you meet, the true diversity of those who have joined The Brexit Party is staggering. I am not just referring to race and religion but everything – across the board, from their locations, vocations and especially their political stance. It doesn’t matter where you are on the political spectrum, be it central, right or left wing, every day I have found myself happily discussing politics in groups of people with different ideologies. As long as you are pro UK, pro Europe and you put the interests of our amazing country before that of the EU you have a home in The Brexit Party. People where travelling from the tip of Scotland and from Continental Europe to volunteer and help The Brexit Party at both of the recent by-elections.

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

I am a huge fan of democracy so I wouldn’t wish to repeal any law that has been democratically arrived at. I know you said other than Brexit, however, there are two things which I have previously mentioned The Lisbon and Maastricht treaties. Now both of these should have of gone to the electorate for a vote, but the polls at the time suggested neither would of have a favourable result, so they were pushed through without public consultation. Since then there has been the ‘in and out’ referendum which should, in practice, remove these two undemocratically installed treaties from the UK constitution.

Back to non Brexit. I do love food, I should be a lot bigger than I am. I am passionate about UK produce and high welfare meat. I would definitely change UK labelling laws to give the consumer all knowledge available and not just what the industry wants us to see.

I would also like to see a completely different model for prisons, with a far greater emphasis on vocational education. On release everyone should be in a better situation having hopefully learned a trade or gained further education, ambition and hope for their future.

I will add a fourth one to end with, I would like to make MPs more accountable to their constituency voters. I am open to suggestions from voters for this one, so please do email me with suggestions.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

Politics used to be discussed over a pint in pubs, but people no longer dare talk about politics in case others have opposing views. We need to get back to talking and debating. It is fine to have a different point of view, this is healthy and normal for society. There is no place for anger and aggression in politics it needs to be removed and replaced with discussion.

Alan thank-you for the interview.

Alan can be contacted by email at alan.cook@thebrexitparty.org and followed on twitter at https://twitter.com/T_Alan_Cook.

Interview with Yasmin Fitzpatrick Brexit Party PPC for East Surrey.

Supporting pro-Brexit candidates in our area. The Croydon Constitutionalists caught up with Yasmin Fitzpatrick Brexit Party PPC for East Surrey.

Yasmin has worked for the NHS, as a language teacher and a television executive at Channel 4. In East Surrey she is up against the existing MP Sam Gyimah.

Sam has had some national attention, and local difficulties for failing to respect the manifesto he ran on and the vote of the British people. Indeed the Leavers of Croydon spent some time in Caterham putting pressure on him http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/a-great-day-in-caterham-putting-pressure-on-sam-gyimah-mp/.

Having already made somewhat of a splash locally being written up in the local paper https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/brexit-party-makes-bid-oust-16827232, Yasmin spoke with the Croydon Constitutionalists.

Yasmin thanks for the interview.

You’ve worked for Channel 4 and in Education, this doesn’t seem a likely background for a candidate for the Brexit Party.

There are so many myths about voting Brexit and the Brexit Party itself –  I hope I can explode a few of them!

There are people in television, in the NHS, in schools who voted Leave – but they tend to be in a minority in the public sector and in the media, even though they tend to underestimate their own numbers and they honestly fear for their jobs if they say openly how they voted and what they think.  I know from personal experience that Remainers can be extremely intolerant in the workplace, especially where they feel they are in the majority.  They can make things uncomfortable for people who do not agree with them and do not uphold freedom of speech in practice, often demonising opponents by branding them as racist, stupid or misguided. 

“Recently, someone high up in television whispered to me that they had voted Leave and begged me not to tell anyone – so of course I won’t – but I’m sad that we can’t feel free to express differing political opinions”

One of my concerns is that political discussion in general has coarsened:  people attack the person, rather than their ideas when they disagree. Recently, someone high up in television whispered to me that they had voted Leave and begged me not to tell anyone – so of course I won’t – but I’m sad that we can’t feel free to express differing political opinions, because that’s how we test out and refine our own thoughts and opinions.

Many of us think of somewhere like Channel 4 has a metropolitan group think, is that fair or unfair?

I think it’s fair to say there’s a bit of ‘metropolitan bubble’ in some of the bigger cities. Certainly in London, we have grown used to hearing little or nothing from anywhere else in the UK. Many of the people I know when asked, confess that they have never spoken to anyone who says they voted Brexit and so tend to make assumptions about them based on what they are told by other people in the same bubble.  When they talk to me, they concede that I’m not racist or stupid – so I must be sadly deluded!

Journalists, with a few honourable exceptions, and news outlets generally, do have a lot to answer for when it comes to peddling myths and prejudice about people who voted to leave the EU and spend little or no time talking to or generally engaging with them.  I am always impressed when a Leaver pops up on Question Time or in a news item: they invariably speak out in ways that surprise, inform and often impress listeners.  If BBC, ITV and Channel 4 news over the recent period had fairly and impartially represented the 52% of the electorate who voted Leave in their news coverage, I doubt we’d have had the misinformed hysteria we witnessed on the streets over the weekend.

And it would be good to hear more from all those elected MEPs from the Brexit Party!

What first got you involved in politics?

I grew up mostly in Belfast, even though I was born in London and lived for a few years in Germany when I was a child. I lived on a Loyalist housing estate in Belfast and my Irish grandfather was in the Orange Order, although my mother was passionately anti-sectarian. My father was a Muslim businessman, whose family had had to flee India during Partition and had arrived in Pakistan with the clothes they stood up in.  So I had a lot to be curious about. I got involved in left-wing organisations and activities that allowed me to understand and move beyond my own immediate experience.

The Brexit Party was an easy choice for me: increasingly, I have seen what used to be the left in Britain become increasingly intolerant and irrelevant when it comes to standing up for freedom of speech – and now for democracy itself. Increasingly, they talk to themselves.

The left effectively abandoned Labour Party voters who wanted to leave the EU and then condemned them for it.  That’s what finally confirmed to me that the old left/centre/right divisions are now irrelevant – but so are the old left/centre/right political machines, who make policy over our heads, with scant regard for their own supporters.

I’m in the Brexit Party because firstly, I want the wishes of the majority of the electorate to be enacted and leave the EU; secondly, I want to help build the kind of political party that will represent the people in their constituencies, at a local, national and international level, without deferring to a party political machine. Will that happen?  I hope people join us and make sure it does!

” I also want to make sure that I help reconnect political decision-making with the people, so they can get on with their lives, knowing that their opinions are respected and their concerns properly addressed.”

You’re standing against Sam Gyimah, someone we’ve organised our own events to protest against.  Any thoughts on your opponent?

Well, I respect Sam Gyimah for sticking to his principles – but if he is not even prepared to support his own Party’s commitment to leaving the EU, as set out very clearly in their 2017 manifesto, I think he needs to consider his position.  People often feel they can’t trust their politicians to speak for them when they reach Westminster: I have no commitment to advancing the interests of a party machine at the expense of the people.  I have no private agenda for self-advancement at all costs. I simply want to honour the decision people made in the EU Referendum and help bring that political and economic dividend home to all of the the voters in East Surrey. I also want to make sure that I help reconnect political decision-making with the people, so they can get on with their lives, knowing that their opinions are respected and their concerns properly addressed.

What are your thoughts on East Surrey Politics?

I’m not sure that it’s a great idea for politicians to feel that their seat is so safe, that their majority is so large, that they can take the electorate for granted. I obviously think it’s time for a change: important local matters will also form part of my campaigning – more about that later.  I also want voters to tell me what they think matters:  let’s see what we can do locally, alongside the national election campaign.

What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?

I was incredibly impressed when I met many of the other prospective parliamentary candidates who got through the rigorous Brexit Party selection procedures. Such a wide range of lived experience, from every region and from every walk of life. People who spoke with passion and intelligence about the need for a politically independent UK. People who genuinely cared about the future for their locality and region, as well as the UK as a whole. And people who are open to and tolerant of others.

Being involved in the Brexit Party also currently means working a lot of things out as we go along. Party policy is still in development and we all need to be involved in that –  remember, the Party as currently constituted has only been in existence since April – but you can’t rush policy making.  For us, it’s not about making promises we won’t keep once the elections are over – that’s what has contributed to the erosion of trust in politicians and politics more generally.

If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?

I’d prefer not to make policy on the hoof at this stage. I’ll be looking to defend personal freedoms, hold politicians to account,  try to ensure that the many different voices of people in the UK are respected and that people are treated fairly.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

Boris Johnson has played some good moves against his political opponents. But BEWARE! If you voted to leave the EU, don’t be side-tracked in the coming weeks by any reheated May deal offerings, with or without the backstop.  I’ve looked at the Withdrawal Agreement – there are at least four reasons why we should reject it and walk away without a deal:

1. we would not be able to develop new trade deals whilst in this ‘transitional period’  and that period could go on indefinitely;

2. despite remaining in the EU, we‘d have no right to vote, no voice in debate and no veto over existing or any new legislation;

3. we would continue to be hit by EU rules and those billions of pounds of EU membership fees;

4. To add final insult to injury, it isn’t clear whether we’d ever be able to leave the EU without the consent of the 27 other member states. No, non, nein!

I say, Vote for the Brexit Party to ensure we walk away from bad deals, keep up the pressure on Government to build a political and economic future under our own control and hold all our politicians to account both now and after we leave. A tall order!

Yasmin thanks again for the interview.

Yasmin can be contacted by email at yasmin.fitzpatrick@thebrexitparty.org followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yasminfitzppc, and she is already taking the fight to anti-democracy Sam as below.

https://twitter.com/yasminfitzppc/status/1167752670569992193?s=20