We host a forum on the Future of the BBC. Croydon Councillor Jeet Bains, Sofia Svihurova, former Brighton Group Leader of the Libertarian Party, and Harry Fone of the TaxPayers’ Alliance present their views on what’s next for the Corporation.
We then hold a panel discussion with questions from our online audience.
The Croydon Constitutionalists are delighted to host a forum on the Future of the BBC.
Croydon Councillor Jeet Bains, Sofia Svihurova former Brighton Group Leader of the Libertarian Party and Harry Fone of the TaxPayers’ Alliance will present their views on what’s next for the Corporation.
We will then hold a panel discussion with questions, followed by an opportunity for all to get involved.
Libertarian Sofia Svihurova, has recently completed a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Ethics at the University of Brighton, with a thesis on “Concerning the Right to Self-Defence in the UK and the Issue of Empowerment”.
Conservative Councillor Jeet Bains stood in Luton North in the 2019 General Election. He first became a councillor in 2010 in the then Coulsdon West ward. In 2018 he ran in Addiscombe East and in a surprising result split the ward taking the seat from Labour.
Harry Fone is developing the TaxPayers’ Alliance grassroots network to apply pressure on the government and local authorities across the country. He can often be found in Croydon campaigning for local Council Tax payers or canvassing across the country.
We discuss the COVID posturing of various politicians, the TFL Bailout and the developing trade talks with the EU, Japan & the USA. We then have an interview with Jeet Bains, the Conservative Councillor for the Addiscombe East ward in Croydon. Jeet talks about his ward, his recent Parliamentary candidacy in Luton North, housing development in Croydon and how he believes the Tories can win back the Council. He also discusses the opportunities that Brexit can bring for Croydon.
Quotes from Councillor Bains. On the Election and government:
“Jeremy Corbyn for example, he in no way represented a thing called the centre ground”
“there are just certain things the British people will not countenance, for example Marxism. However you dress it up, nobody in Britain is interested in Marxism”
“quietly privately the British people will not put up with that kind of prejudice”
“from the LibDems it was clear you need a credible leader but also someone who is believable. For example Jo Swinson, who kept on calling herself the next Prime Minister, it just wasn’t credible it went beyond laughable”
“local action on the ground, there is no substitute for it. It’s still really, really crucial in elections”
“the public sector, there is a bias towards caution and inaction. That kind of thing at the best of times is not the best way to do things, but in the situation we have today could potentially be lethal”
On Croydon Council:
“contrast that with Labour. They are allowing residential homes to be converted into flats anywhere and everywhere, and not just allowing it they are positively encouraging it”
“if you live on a road there is every chance the house next door to you will be converted into a block of flats. We need to get that message across”
“being clear the existing folk are not monsters. They are very understanding folk who want to accommodate more housing provision, but we can do it in the right way and in a sensitive way”
“Why has Croydon signed-up pretty much unilaterally to a far higher housing target than Bromley and Sutton?”
“it requires imagination, that was point, to simply keep on saying ‘Brexit equals threat, oh my god it’s so awful’. We’ve got to stop that, we’ve got to have, it’s an opportunity, the people have voted for it, it’s happening, stop it with the misery”
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?
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…
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.
led to you being a candidate in Luton North? What were the big issues in
stand for Parliament in the Conservative Party, you must be an approved
candidate. Being one, I was asked to stand in Luton North.
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.
sure you’re pleased with the overall election result. What do you hope to
see the government deliver on?
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.
used to represent Coulsdon West and are now in Addiscombe East. What are the
similarities and differences between the two wards?
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!
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
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.
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.
are your thoughts more generally on Croydon politics?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
other thoughts you would like to leave us with?
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.