Interview with Croydon UKIP Chairman Hoong Wai Cheah

We are delighted to interview Croydon UKIP Chariman Hoong Wai Cheah.

Hoong Wai stood in Coulsdon for the 2018 council elections and Lewisham West in the 2017 general election.  He is a regular writer at the Daily Globe and gives ‘A Commonwealth immigrant’s perspective on the UK’s public arena’ on his own blog. We have also featured some of his articles on this web site.

Hoong Wai thank-you for taking part in this interview.

What first got you involved in politics?

I have been following politics closely since Blair stood down for Brown. Ever since then, I could see that politics was becoming shallower and shallower, there was a shift toward virtue-signalling rather than substantial policies based on solid economics. I was impressed by UKIP’s manifesto and willingness to speak out on important but politically sensitive issues at the 2015 election. I decided that this was a party whose ideas I could get behind, and joined the party in 2017 after realising that the government and parliament was backtracking on the promise that “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.”

What campaigns have you been involved in?

I have actively campaigned for UKIP since joining the party.  I have also invested much time and effort engaging in public dialogue and open discourse on many important topics, including issues of science, economics, ethics, politics, and religion.  

“it just shows that establishment in the UK do not believe in democracy”

What do you think is next for Brexit?

I genuinely do not believe Parliament is going to let the government deliver on Brexit. Most of the UK’s politicians have condemned even the Conservatives’ Brexit-in-name-only Withdrawal Agreement as “hard Brexit”. If anything that is not a full EU membership is considered extreme, it just shows that establishment in the UK do not believe in democracy. To me, Brexit is just the first step to bringing back democracy, of keeping politicians accountable to the electorate. This is what the establishment opposes; this is what the ruling elite, the powerful and wealthy, want to prevent.

What are your thoughts on Croydon Politics?

Croydon is under control of the Labour party by a very comfortable margin – though the Conservatives have a very active but ineffective opposition. The Labour-dominated council has no interest in being accountable to the electorate, and is more interested in pursuing their pet projects and ideological agendas. Not that the Conservatives are any better – the few Tory councillors sit in comfortable Tory-voting wards. 

“I have been sworn at, called racist by white people”

Any interesting or fun stories from the campaign trail?

Politics is not fun. I have been sworn at, called racist by white people, called fascist by intolerant “liberals” who have no interest dialogue. The most interesting experience I had was meeting a tough-looking guy who was on his way to an EDL rally – he warm and friendly, and showed absolutely no hostility to my ethnicity, nor did he have any comment on racial issues. What these guys were concerned about were cultural issues.

What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?

I was pleasantly surprised by how normal supporters and members of UKIP are. I was initially expecting a bunch of EU political geeks, but I was hit by what a wide variety of backgrounds made up the demography of UKIP. I was later unpleasantly surprised by how arrogantly comfortable the established parties are in their safe seats, in the way that lets them ignore the constituents they are supposed to serve and represent.

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

For the sake of democracy, there is a grave need to end the hegemony of the establishment parties. I think this can be achieved by removing all indications of candidates’ party affiliations from the ballot papers, if this is not enough, we could even take this further by preventing candidates and parties from publishing any literature that indicates their party affiliation. This would prevent candidates winning votes based on party affiliation, and to encourage candidates to make themselves known to their constituencies by actually serving them, rather than serving their political parties. I also have ideas on reforming the system of government, such as a directly elected head of government, to have the position of speaker of the Commons to be elected from the House of Lords, to end peerages being granted for personal favours via honours lists, and to penalise politicians and media channels when they lie or otherwise mislead the public with partial information.

“The way to deal with hatred and bigotry is to shine the full light of truth and reason on it”

Personal liberties such as the freedom of speech must be protected, starting by removing all hate speech laws. All sectors of society deserve equal protection, and all crimes must be punished equally – being an ethnic minority should not entitle me to greater protections. Even if we ban hatred, we can never eliminate it. The way to deal with hatred and bigotry is to shine the full light of truth and reason on it, we have to trust each other to be able to identify and reject hatred.

Finally, for the sake of enterprise and fair taxation, I would gradually simplify the tax system so that there are fewer loopholes that facilitate tax avoidance, making it more attractive for rich people and large corporations to actually pay tax rather than construct elaborate schemes to avoid tax.

What do you see as your parties route to electoral success?

At the ground level, UKIP will have to overcome the stigma that mass media have tarnished us with, and to communicate to the public our genuine interest in issues that actually affect people at the local level. At the national level, UKIP must to campaign on topics that real people care about but do not dare speak out on because of political correctness. People want someone who will speak up for things that are affecting their lives but feel powerless to do anything about. As a challenger party, we will also campaign for electoral reform to break the duopoly of Labour and Tories and increase democratic accountability.

Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?

The direction of politics in the United Kingdom is going in a dangerous direction. We have a Labour party who no longer serves the interests of the working people, a Conservative party who has no interest in conserving anything, a Liberal-Democrat party who opposes liberal democracy, and now a Change party who opposes change. We are moving into a situation out of George Orwell’s worse fears, where words mean the opposite of their dictionary definition, and thought is controlled by the ruling elite. I could not forgive myself if I let this happen without trying to do anything about it. As I like to say: do not just bemoan the problem, be a part of the solution.

Croydon UKIP are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They can also be contacted by email at ukipcroydon@gmail.com. Hoong Wai is also on Twitter at @hoongwaicheah.