I work closely with the community I live in. One of our policies I will be pushing is devolving power down to our communities from government. A modern society ought to revolve more around your choices rather than those politician’s in ivory towers. My community is changing beyond all recognition and is expanding at such a fast rate. The community have had very little say of what has been designed by political partiesin power not communities. Some parties want elected Mayors others want citizen panels. We say no more layers, no one knows how our three layers of town/parish, district/city or county councils work. This takes even more democracy away from the people. There would be costs attached to more layers, taking it away from being utilised in the community.
Make homes more affordable to working class and low-income families. Stop driving these people out of their hometowns.
There has been a massive housing drive all over the country. The question is who are these for? Developers have been allowed to lead the housing policies. They hold government and councils to ransom and no one dares to stop this. I don’t have a problem with developers making money. I do, if they are only building high-end homes for the largest profits.
There needs to be a radical overhaul to meet needs of the working class and low income families who’ve lived and contributed to the towns they come from. The local council builds very few homes and have on many occasions moved families from the town they’ve lived all their lives to places like Durham at the other end of the country. Moving them from their jobs, family and medical networks.
I will be looking into modular housing as a cheaper alternative option and look to ID council land to do this. We also need to stop developers getting away with not meeting their requirements under planning law to include 22% affordable housing, in their developments. The developers do a viability assessment which always concludes the development is not sustainable.
The Police must work more closely with their communities not remove it.
PCSO’s have been cut from Kent Police/Country Council. They were our communities direct contact. I had a really good PCSO who was very visible and worked closely with myself and our community. PCSO’s dealt with drug issues on our streets and had a lot of great success, held local PCSO and Councillor meetings on a regular basis, walked the streets, dealing with crime, care in the community and many other things. Most of us knew our PCSO, she use to give everyone her contact details.
We are being promised by Kent’s new Chief Constable he will continue to work closely with our communities. I hope that is the case as I will hold him to his commitment.
Local Elections are on 4 May 2023.
I’m looking to get my District Council seat back. It is interesting to note the changes that have been made to EU citizens voting rights and others, as well as Photo ID being introduced in 2023 elections.
My District Council recently asked Cllr’s their opinions on the new law that Photo ID is required from 4 May 2023 local elections. Below is a list of what are acceptable forms of ID.
However a concern I have is, If a voter has none of these ID’s they can apply for a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’. I have replied asking what this involves? What criteria do they need to meet to have a VAC?
In 2023 The Democratic Network will be supporting candidates in the May 2023 elections. We are looking for people to help candidates in their campaigns. Once the May 2023 elections are over we will be looking towards 2024 when there will be PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) elections.
In October I attended the LGA Independent Group annual conference. The group represents just over 3,000 Councillors. The majority (just over 2,500) are Independent or Resident Association Councillors with the balance made up by Green Party, Plaid Cymru and smaller party Councillors. In the absence of a party whip they can actually do the job of representing residents. We will be working with members of this group to help them get re-elected and to expand their numbers providing a counter-balance to the Westminster parties. For more information visit www.TheDemocraticNetwork.org where you can take part in our Network Survey… let us know what matters to you and sign up to receive more information if you want to.
We will be involved a series of local meetings, the first of which will be in Hove on Tuesday 24th January. Feel free to join us at 7.00 pm in The Sussex pub, St Catherine’s Terrace, Hove BH3 2RH. The more people get involved the better chance we have of improving local decision making.
Our interest in the PCC elections is rooted in our own experiences. Five years ago, between Christmas and New Year my wife and I were invited in for separate interviews with Sussex Police. These resulted in us getting Community Protection Warning Letters ostensibly preventing us from going to the beach near our house or from being perceived to be looking into any property in the village where we lived. The orders were so ridiculous they gained widespread media attention with the help of the Manifesto Club, the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show and the Daily Mail. They were withdrawn after we launched a legal challenge and had a second set of police interviews which found we were doing no wrong.
Our legal challenge confirmed the advice we had received from online cop expert Crimebodge, which was that we could ignore them providing we were doing no wrong. Subsequent developments showed that the interview transcripts were not a fair or accurate representation of our police interview and that an off duty Met Cop had provided false testimony alongside the main complainants. Subsequent transgressions are too long to list here but include a police raid on our house in 2020. Research we have conducted suggests many people lack confidence in the police, whether that be if they are calling on them for help or the subject of police attention. Views on the effectiveness of PCC’s suggest an independent challenge could be worth launching.
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding before us following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. The risk of a major military conflict is remote but real, and the situation on the ground continues to change. We asked our contributors how they think Putin’s aggression will impact politics and policies in the UK and what if any changes are needed?
As noted author, detective and volunteer firefighter Lemony Snicket once wrote, if everyone fought fire with fire, the whole world would go up in smoke. It is worth considering that quote in the context not merely of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, but also the actions of our own governments both leading up to and during the crisis.
First, I make no apologies for Vladimir Putin, whose unconscionable escalation to violence is but a less restrained expression of how he treats his own people. But neither do I think very highly of Volodymyr Zelenskyy or his government, who are not blameless in this conflict and deserve to be subjected to far more scrutiny than the present consensus permits. Truly, I do not care which group of corrupt, rights-abusing kleptocrats strut through Kyiv’s ministry buildings.
The people I care about, and for whose wellbeing I state my case are the innocent people caught up in this game of thrones, both Russian and Ukrainian alike. The people of Ukraine do not deserve to have their homes, their lives and even their children blown to bits by Russian missiles. That is obvious. But too little sympathy is being shared with citizens of Russia (and, it must be noted, the Russian-speaking people of Donbass), who are currently being severed from the outside world, worldly comforts denied, their whole lives and prospects rent asunder, and subject to the most outrageously fervent racism courtesy of the Tolerant and Inclusive. Whether Vladimir Putin brought that upon them or not, the fact is that it is “us” – our governments, Western media, Western corporations, who are doing it to them. It must stop.
Our leaders have no moral high ground from which to lob criticisms at Vladimir Putin. When the likes of Justin Trudeau, Joe Biden and Scott Morrison call him an enemy of freedom and democracy, who is it that Mr Putin sees? A bunch of blood-stained hypocrites. Who would take seriously these charlatans posing as respectable people, when they call for peace, unity, restraint and diplomacy? As if they hadn’t invaded nations on flimsy pretexts. As if they hadn’t murdered foreign civilians in pursuit of self-righteous conquest. As if they don’t turn those guns on their own civilians when convenient. As if they allow peaceful protest. As if they don’t collude to spread propaganda. As if they operate with a free press. As if they don’t fiddle with elections, both in their own countries and abroad. As if, begging your pardon, they hadn’t committed war crimes. As if Ukraine don’t also shell civilians, imprison political leaders, ban opposition parties, and entertain radical elements. As if they, the whole stinking lot of them, weren’t corrupt… so horribly, openly, intractably corrupt.
One cringes to see these self-appointed arbiters of moral virtue in charge of making the serious decisions affecting the lives of millions – possibly, even, billions, at least if the prospect of nuclear war has any legs to it. But they’re not serious people, and a serious response to Russia is unlikely to come in any good time before the damage – to both Russia and Ukraine, to the geopolitical situation as it pertains to China, and to the obvious self-harm we’re doing to our economy and, naturally, the poorest in our society – can be contained. A whole world up in smoke, ourselves included, with many lives lost or diminished, and for what? For the hypocrites to grandstand about the fire while they fan the flames.
A serious response involves recognizing that Russia is a legitimate nation with legitimate national interests, not merely a pariah state Soviet caricature led by the new Hitler, and then treating them as such. A serious response involves being an exemplar of the values of ‘freedom and democracy’ you claim to represent, rather than that now-cliched slogan being the war cry which precedes drone strikes, propaganda, and destroying the lives of innocent civilians.
The Ukraine situation is so confused that I am in no position to make confident predictions, but there are a number of possible outcomes which I hope will not materialise. In our rush to virtue signal, some voices among us have called for all manner of dangerous, unethical or self-destructive policies. Currently, the only victims of the war between Russia and the Ukraine are the unfortunate Russian and Ukrainian citizens who have been dragged into it. If some warmongers have their way, people everywhere will suffer.
To illustrate: the ban on Russian oil imports means British citizens are paying record prices for petrol and it is anticipated that energy bills could reach £3000 a year. This is a pointless act of national self-harm. Just when you think the EDL’s particular brand of bigotry is dying out, along comes Conservative MP Roger Gale to revive it, only this time it’s Russians instead of Muslims. Gale spoke on Talk Radio of the need to ‘send everyone home’, including the ‘good and honest and decent Russians in this country’. What possible moral grounds can there be for making thousands of innocent people victims of a war in which they have played no more part than any native British people? Let’s not get started on the toy-soldier enthusiasts who behave as if they think Britain really needs another raging war.
What do we really want to achieve and what do we think we’re fighting for? And who’s really to blame? Obviously, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine cannot be excused or justified, but the pantomime portrayal of the situation in which the Ukraine is a damsel in distress, the West her Prince Charming and Russia the evil stepmother must not persist. Through the expansion of NATO, the West has gone against the advice of its own diplomats and terms it had agreed with Russia, and in doing so provoked Russian aggression. Nor is the Ukraine blameless; when it was formed, it absorbed many people who considered themselves Russian. By implementing a series of anti-Russian policies, the Ukraine hastened the breakdown of its relationship with its neighbour. And if anyone thinks Putin has always been the bad man for his oppression of opposition media, they might be surprised to find that Zelensky has the very same blots on his escutcheon.
The majority of people will not know these things because the propaganda drive is well underway. Truths which do not conform to the narrative are suppressed and shouted-down. Doublethink is rife: apparently we are supposed to believe that Russian soldiers are inhuman devils, while simultaneously understanding that they have no wish to be in Ukraine and are fighting against their will. Russia Today may not be a reliable source of news, but its censorship deprives us of something vital: a different perspective.
Anyone might be forgiven for thinking we are not actually supposed to understand the situation. After all, how can anyone believe our Western leaders are sincere in shouting ‘Freedom!’ when they have spent the past two years depriving their citizens of their most basic and important rights and liberties? Whether it’s Russia or the Ukraine and the West which emerge the victor in this little skirmish is really an academic matter. The practical reality is that the arrogant, corrupt and unaccountable politicians who have created this situation will survive it unscathed, while ordinary citizens pay the price, whether it be with their wallets, their rights or their lives.
What we should be doing is making every effort to maintain peaceful relations with Russia while encouraging its withdrawal from the Ukraine by diplomatic means (which may require encouraging the Ukraine to rethink some of its longstanding anti-Russian policies). It is not our war and aggression will only hurt us all.
I am not a war expert and talk only of what I have seen and read. I hate war and my heart breaks at the thought of people, especially children are being killed for no real reason other than a bully who wants to.
So, Putin the aggressor, moved his troops into Ukraine to take what he wants. Where does this stop and who will be next if he wins the Ukraine battle. When Putin took Crimea, the west did very little to stop him, he flexed his muscles and tested how the land lies. This is not WW3, but it could be, if anyone from the West bowed to calls for a no-fly zone. This stance must remain and Boris at present is handling everything well. I believe that the young people of Russia need to protest on a mass scale to get Putin out. I think the young people in Russia want peace and do not wish to kill their neighbours, who are family and friends. I don’t believe Putin is not mad, but he is a bully that needs to be stopped.
It’s amazing how quick Europe got so heavily dependent on Russia’s Gas and oil, some Countries with 100% dependency and the likes of Germany at 40%. Billions are being frozen all around the world from Russia and Russian bank accounts and assets. Yet Europe and even the UK are handing Russia Billions for their oil/gas while handing Millions to the Ukraine in aid. How perverse is this?
We as a country are supporting the Ukraine and must continue to do so. Aid, arms, finance and other needs the country may have. The need to help Ukrainian’s women and children to enter UK must be done in a humane and measured way. Records must be kept of Visa applications of who is coming into the country and make sure this is a temporary measure until its safe for them to return to their homeland. Now I understand that Priti Patel is allowing Ukraine’s to apply for Visa’s online which will speed up the process, if they have passports.
Going forward the UK needs to look at how we survive in the future. We are an Island nation dependant on so many countries to feed us, manufacture all our home devices, white goods and utilities. We need to get back to our industrial age although being greener in how we do that. We need to get back to farming on a big scale to feed ourselves. We need to do that before we build on all our farms and green spaces with housing.
What this war in Ukraine and the Covid 19 pandemic has shown us in the last two years is how our freedoms were swept away by Parliament who all agreed a covid law. We as citizens are constantly being pitted against one another in all sorts of issues. While Parliament has all morphed into socialists and against most of the people. It has shown us how governments can shut off all our bank accounts, food can be stopped from entering the country and they can turn off our utilities at the touch of a button. The UK Government need to nationalise our utilities and stop foreign companies from controlling them. Food, heat and water are not nice to have, they are essentials to live and must be protected. If we were to ever be attacked so much could be held from as with food, power and other necessities.
The government must reflect on these issues and introduce policies that will ensure these essentials needs for its nation. Our freedoms in a democracy must be upheld and not changed to suit parliament and everyone from other countries. Anyone entitled to live in this country should not expect to change or alter our freedoms or our way of life. Our governments preach all around the world about our democracy but are in fact moving away from what they preach. We as a diverse nation must stop these changes and stick together through the ballot box. Parliament with all its parties have been against the majority of the people in this country for a number of years now. We need to pull together as a nation to change the whole rotten system.
Do we really think these sanctions will make any meaningful difference to this war? Are we so naive to think that the Kremlin didn’t anticipate them beforehand?
So why do our politicians do it? Is it really to help the Ukrainians as they claim? Some of them are probably foolish enough to think so. But for the more senior figures with broader considerations, such as the Prime Minister, it isn’t.
The obvious truth is that the only way we can really help a country under attack from a larger army, would be for Challenger tanks, RAF jets and infantry regiments to join the fight and destroy the invading forces.
But another obvious truth is that military intervention of this kind would undoubtedly lead to far greater harm to human life, rather than less, and potentially without limit.
Our economic intervention on the other hand, like a great majority of government decisions, is to defend the integrity of the government in the court of public opinion, as they hastily judge it, and defend its future electability.
Rightly, millions of people demand justice for what has happened, I’m one of them, and hopefully one day when the conflict is over the Ukrainian people will get it.
But politicians, especially of the calibre that we have today with neither courage or conviction, are ultra-sensitive to their vulnerability in this regard and are desperate to signal otherwise. And in that desperation often comes ill-considered and utterly unprincipled action that does more harm than good.
This economic virtue signalling at the expense of innocent people in Russia does absolutely no good at all and needs to stop.
Political campaigner and charity founder John Broadfoot.
Prediction: Boris will still be PM at year end because people have short memories and if Boris is seen to have managed the exit from Covid well in 2022 medically/commercially (by design or sheer luck) then people will rank his Covid statesmanlike performance as much more important long term than Boris’s personal problems.
Prediction: Keir Starmer still lacks charisma and real policies, so Labour may not even have any poll lead at all by year end if Boris Covid exit goes well compared to EU etc. and there will be calls for his replacement
Prediction: The increasing threat of Russia(Ukraine) and China(Taiwan) will have to be seriously addressed by a global cohesive Western response led by USA to these real threats from the East.
Prediction: Despite fantastic campaigning by the Croydon Conservatives , the incompetent , morally and economically bankrupt, Croydon Labour Council undeservedly, unfortunately, will be re-elected because antics of Boris at UK level not well received locally if Covid exit goes badly wrong. . I HOPE NOT !
Prediction: More terrible environmental disasters, bigger loss of life – realisation that COP 26 not enough and new COP 27 summit by year end or early/mid 2023.
Wish: I expect we will not finish off the Covid virus completely until vaccination is compulsory as France /Italy are seriously considering (except for bona fide medical grounds). As this will not happen(until 2023 earliest ) I would like to see big incentives for those who vaccinate e.g. greater freedom of movement and completely free NHS and by contrast big penalties for those who won’t vaccinate e.g. limited movement(families, pubs/clubs/shops/cinemas/theatres) and limited access/longer waiting times to the NHS or paying to use parts of the NHS( to cover cost of increased protection for NHS staff.)
Wish: Our febrile left wing, Remain, out of control biased UK media brought under bias balance control and more accountable to tell the truth and not make up stories if there is no real news. Not going to happen !
Wish: I would like to see Scotland given another Independence Referendum because following basic Brexit principles being all about bringing democracy back from Brussels to London, so I think
EVERY country in the world should be independent and self-governing – but it won’t happen of course!
Prediction: I think that the high street will start to make a comeback, not in the way that we know it and it will really depends on how local councils support them. However, I think that we will see much smaller much more specialised shops return to the high street, possibly coupled with coffee shops, bakeries and cafes which make the high street a place to go to for something specific where you can grab a coffee and cake with friend at the same time. The massive department stores will be consigned to the history books and the high street will become much more agile place, fuelled by councils trying to get people to use public transport and the ever increasing cost of car ownership.
Prediction: I think the way we work will change and there will be a very big shift in the employment market. I think the mentality of workers follows a Gaussian distribution with the ten percenters at each end. The ten percenters will drive change, at one extreme end there is the ten percent with the view of “that’s it, no one will ever go back to the office ever and I will be working at home for the rest of my life, everyone thinks this is wonderful and the office is finished”. The other end is the ten percenters that think at some point this year everyone will be mandated to be back in the office 5 days a week full time and that’s that, home working is a fad and the sooner it’s over the better. Most companies will be somewhere in the middle with a mixture of home working and office working (attempting to keep the 80% happy). The ten percenters at either end will readily jump company when they realise their vision is not going to pan out. I think we will start to see a change in the way we value employees with people that do stuff that matters (like lorry drivers, shop workers, etc) being more valued. There will be a massive backlash from a small group of people who do jobs which are currently considered high status, but in the grand scheme of keeping a society going don’t do much of benefit. The perceived status of these jobs will be reduced and the people in these jobs will naturally be upset. There will be a lot of tension from this, but I think it will be a good change, as we start to value people who actually do the work that keeps the world turning.
Wish: What do I hope will happen. Well I hope that we return start to return to an age of reason. Most people are intelligent enough to realise that no one person or small group can conceptualise all risk that exists in the world, the dictatorial policies over Covid we have seen have been massively damaging. I would like to see a return to a time where information is reported and people make their own decisions. Most of the key discoveries and inventions came from people using their own reason and we need to encourage that. The big parties are utterly clueless on this issue and Britain’s key to success is people working in sheds innovating because they enjoy it and they are free to use their own minds. This applies to things like Covid too, 99% of people will make sensible decisions given full access to information. Climate change and pollution can be addressed with the same answer, empower people with the freedom and the information to make the world better and they will…. it just might not be the exact world that those in power imagined.
Prediction: Covid 19 will continue throughout 2022 with restrictions lifted in the summer but with new variants by autumn ? . The government will continue to use their new found powers on our freedoms and liberties.
Prediction: There is no doubt the country, especially small business and the working classes are going to suffer badly in 2022. With inflation, higher taxes, green taxes, VAT, increase in National Insurance, energy price increases, job loses and full digital currency all leading to serious mental health issues. Remember, these are the unsung heroes who kept the infrastructure of this country going for the last 22 months during Covid. Digital currency will be another way to control us by cutting off our access to money.
My wishes. Too many working class and small businesses have been harmed by Covid and for what? There are no real systems in place for all the mental health, existing and new cancers, heart problems, diabetes and millions of cancelled operations. If the NHS cannot cope every year with the flu. How does the NHS catch up with the millions who may die from lack of diagnosis and or treatment? The government need to cut a lot of these taxes, stop the NI increase, cut VAT as promised and bring in the armed forces medics to help with operations and start reducing the waiting list all over the country.
I wish in 2022, that the government pay the Waspi women their pension backdated to 60. I wish that the government do not vote to cut the triple lock, not cut prescription charges to the over 60’s and not cut the bus pass. Pensioners in this country are on one of the lowest pensions in Europe. Over 60’s are being hit particularly hard. Don’t put them into severe hardship.
There are people suffering financially and with health issues including death. The government need to cut funding else where and start looking after the people suffering in this country. Equality is suppose to matter in this country. All four countries who make up the uk should be equal and all citizens within the uk should be equal too.
Maureen Martin of the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA). Maureen has been London Assembly, Parliamentary and Council candidate for the CPA. You can follow Maureen on Twitter.
Prediction: The 2020 Nov 3rd Presidential election be proved to be completely fraudulent and stolen by the Democrats. Joe Biden exposed as illegitimate and the entire administration removed from office.
Prediction: End of the fake pandemic and the entire thing exposed to be the scam that it is. The main stream media exposed as responsible for peddling fear, misinformation and outright propaganda.
Wish: What I would like to see happen: the destruction of the CCP in China who are enemies of freedom and the Judaeo Christian West. The release of the Chinese people from their totalitarian oppression.
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.
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.
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.