We are joined by Mary Lawes, a councillor in Folkestone for The Foundation Party, as we discuss the Lockdown Exit Roadmap, what the post-Brexit Trade Deal has not done for fishermen and the ongoing scandal of cross Channel illegal immigration. We then chat about the upcoming local elections and Mary’s campaign in Kent.
Now we have left the Transition Period we asked Brexiteers if they feel Brexit is now complete, for their hopes and their predictions for the future. Part 4 below more (parts 5 and beyond) to follow….. You can also read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Councillor Mary Lawes of the Foundation Party.
Did Brexit get done? In my mind yes and no. We are out of the SM, CU and mostly out of control of the ECJ. While I am not sure of all the ins and outs of the Level playing field, yet.
No, would be that Northern Ireland who are still locked into the EU, which is an utter disgrace. I don’t believe there is any end game, so how does this play out.
Closer to home is the fishing industry. They once again have been shafted according to my local fishermen. The Supertrawlers have raided every part of the channel. There are 5 trawlers based out of Belgium. They spend 5 days a week scooping up every single fish they can get. Last year in an area where mackerel have thrived for centuries the local fishermen caught none, not even one box load. It has never been heard of before.
According to the fishermen it will take many years to restock the seas. Fishermen going out recently for cod. One boat use to get around 40 boxes a go each time. With being in CFP and quotas, they would return with about 5 boxes. Last time this boat went out he only managed to get 1 box which is not sustainable. It doesn’t matter that Boris says he’s going to give grants there is no fish left. Fishermen won’t spend or invest when they cannot make a living. Lots of fishermen were Brexiteers and voted for Boris to get Brexit done. They are very angry and more people are about to throw in the towel. The foreign vessels have still been allowed to fish right up the 6 mile mark. So basically Britain has not got its waters back at all.
How do you hope the UK will use the new found freedoms? I hope we start manufacturing quality goods like the country use to. The few manufacturers we have are poor quality cheap goods like cheap clothing. We don’t want these sweet shops. Get back to the country being known for quality and good pay. It would be good to see a lot more pharmaceuticals back in the country as well as finance and technologies.
What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next? Have a new British Constitution. Never again should this country be under the control from a foreign party. We must have our own laws and decided how we run our country. We need to ensure that Parliament are accountable to the voters and that civil servants are accountable to our government.
Government must not hold all the power and decision made afar are not good decisions. One law does not necessarily work for the whole country. Foundation Party would like to see power about communities devolved down to the actual people and let them plan how they would like their communities to evolve. The people are the masters not the servants.
Our laws must be strong and bold with tough policing. Law and order must be the backbone that protects our citizens from threat, fear and harm. We would want to live in a country where we know people and where families and children feel safe in their own neighbourhoods.
What do you think is next for the EU? That further countries will want to leave as we did. There are too many poor countries relying on help and the richer ones will get dragged down by the poorer ones. The Euro will collapse and cause mayhem.
But I will still love visiting and travelling all over Europe as the people and countries are wonderful.
Phil Sheppard local Brexit campaigner.
Did Brexit get done? Yes, I believe Brexit got done. In almost all regards, our sovereignty immediately got restored. Although there is a transition deal for fishing, the fact that eventually full sovereignty over our waters will be restored is certainly a positive thing.
How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms? I hope the UK uses its newfound freedoms to enhance its position as a global trading networks, adding to the many trade deals we have already signed. In an ideal world, I would see it as a beacon for free market economics, a bit like Singapore but pragmatically speaking with more of a social conscience. However, current events have dampened my mood on this with the seeming embrace of Keynesian economics by politicians on all sides.
What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next? The next constitutional reform I would like to see is a loosening of the Supreme Court’s power and to strip it of its ability to decide on constitutional matters, as was unfortunately seen in the Miller cases of 2016 and 2019, which was de facto an attempt to make it more difficult for Brexit to happen. We should re-embrace the spirit of Parliamentary Sovereignty that the people once again bestowed upon this great country. I would also add that a de facto constitutional reform (which cannot be an actual part of our constitution due to the principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty) that I would like to see is a new British Bill of Rights which sets out the right to Freedom of Expression, something that is paramount to the country flourishing as a democracy.
What do you think is next for the EU? I think the EU will further seek to integrate, especially in the wake of the pandemic, with projects like the EU army becoming a reality. Although there is talk of Poland and Hungary being a thorn in the side of the organisation, I do believe that they will trudge along with most things the EU proposes. However, I reckon many in the EU will become jealous of Britain’s success and will seek looser ties with Brussels, especially on the economic front, which may cause a problem. I am not going to be one of those people who predicts a collapse of the EU because for better or for worse, the notion of a common European identity is much stronger on the Continent, even among Poles and Hungarians. If anything, this may hold the EU together in any shape or form. Then again, I could be wrong, just like many experts were with the USSR.
Councillor Sandy Wallace of the Scottish Libertarian Party.
Did Brexit get done? Yes, it did. If you had offered this deal to Brexit supporters in advance of the 2016 referendum they would have bitten your hand off so to fret now about details is simply looking for a way to lose a war that we have already won.
How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms? I would like to see the replacement to the Common Agricultural policy be really radical. A budget that falls considerably in real terms year on year, with conditions applied to it that are such that landowners begin to decide not to apply for it and it withers away. My ideal is that single farm payments are conditional on the government having an option to buy which would permit the government through local authorities to buy land at agricultural prices then allocate it to housing. If we must have planning law it should benefit society, not speculators or hereditary landowners. Many landowners would not apply for subsidy rather than agree to that. Fine.
Zero tariffs on food imports from the developing world. I hope that EU access to UK fishing waters is reduced over time as our capacity increases. A welcoming economic inwards migration policy for those who apply with no upper limit on numbers, deportation in chains within hours for those who cross from France illegally. We really need a large camp to safely humanely house asylum seekers until they ask to be flown home. Somewhere like Somaliland mighty be happy to undertake that for us in return for recognition.
What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next? I am not really bothered if we have any constitutional change, the changes that need to happen can happen without it. I dream of but have no actual hope of a move towards reducing state interference in society by a noticeable and measurable amount every year. A salary cap in the public sector of £100k so that nobody wants to work there if they are actually worth twice that. (Or the removal of employment rights from staff on over £100k/year.)
School vouchers and for-profit schools. The abolition of Housing benefit which utterly corrupts the housing market. The abolition of child benefit. I would be happy to see the money saved remain within the welfare budget, it’s not about saving money, it’s about removing bad incentives. Legalization (not decriminalization) and regulation of recreational drugs. A rollback on environmental legislation, and an end to subsidy for green energy and carbon taxes, single use plastic straws and free carrier bags if retailers wish it.
What do you think is next for the EU? It’s in a bad place. Further expansion is off the table, it needs a decade of consolidation if the Project is to continue. I think they will pull it off, but the worst-case scenario for the Project is a clash between nationalist governments in the likes of Poland and Hungary and the EU, maybe a post-COVID-19 Euroscepticism in Italy, unrest in France over anything from Fishing to Islam, economic meltdown as usual in Greece, a Mediterranean migrant crisis. The EU remains hugely powerful but they have a staggering range of potential problems.
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.