The Foundation Party are a party of first principles defending our nation’s historic values and neglected foundations. Their aim is to revitalise our freedom, liberty and democracy.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your party
My name is Mary Lawes, I am standing for the Foundation Party, I am one of the founding members back in 2018. No party was talking for me. I think the two major parties have morphed into the same thing. High taxes, lock us down hard, starving us into paying green taxes and creating an awful sad and dangerous country to live in.
Can you introduce your ward and say what you can bring to the area?
I’m standing in Folkestone Harbour Ward for the Town & District Local Elections. Our ward is classed as a deprived area although there are private and councils housing. The environment is by the sea with lovely cliff top views, fabulous walks and beaches.
People lose sight of the fact these are local elections, not general election. Local Councillors cannot solve the NHS issues.
Local Councillors concentrate on local not national issues we can achieve. Improving the safety of where we live, drugs, anti-social behaviour. We have local ward meetings with our Police. Voting in planning for good quality housing but object if poor quality or imposing problems with existing residents. It’s our ward so should be our choice. Supporting volunteers in creating better spaces and bring unkept areas back to use.
More widely what would you like to see change at the councils and across the area?
There is a severe lack of democracy in our Councils. Main parties get voted in and have majority votes. We would want to change from a Cabinet to a Committee system. A cabinet has 9 selected councillors mostly from the ruling party as it’s a leader’s choice. A committee system allows all elected councillors to make major decisions and it allows your elected member to have a say on the ward they represent.
How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved?
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.
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.
We are joined by Chris Mendes, the leader of The Foundation Party and local Brexiteer Duncan Forsyth, as we discuss the Post-Brexit Trade Deal with the EU and the latest Covid Lockdown. We then consider the planned May local elections and the latest developments in US politics.
You have been a member of the Conservative Party, UKIP, run a think tank, The Libertarian Conservative Group and now are a Party Chairman by age 23. How have you found the time, and what are the highlights of what you have worked on?
In my years in politics I have been an active member of UKIP, the Conservative Party and the Libertarian Party. During this period I founded a think tank called the “The Libertarian Conservative Group” with the aim of uniting both Libertarianism and Conservatism as I noticed that both ideological actions always fought each other when in fact they are more alike than they like to admit.
I have always found the time to be so active because I am someone who works non-stop when it comes to politics. It is a subject that is always on my mind morning, noon and night. I want a country very different from what we have now, a country that respects the smallest minority, the individual. This is the driving force that gives me the energy to be as busy as I have and I do not intend to stop anytime soon.
Your appointment said the party’s internal focus will be in “ethical party governance, full exploration of modern digital technology, and properly supporting the hard-working volunteers”. Can you tell us a little about how you plan to take forward work on each of these?
Almost every political party I have been involved in has had two fatal flaws. It has ignored its members and it has never offered them the support they need to go out and campaign on their party’s behalf. The parties I refer to are UKIP and the Conservative Party.
Instead of properly valuing the dedicated active member who has worked so hard for their party, they have valued and prioritised the big donor instead. However it is not the big donors who meet the general public, deliver the leaflets and keep the party’s candle lit, it is the ordinary hard-working members and supporters and this is where I intend the Foundation Party to be different.
With respect to “ethical party governance”, I want the party’s members to be involved, to be provided with a voice to speak up against things they both agree and disagree with. I want our party members to feel like the door is always open for them. I want to hear everything you have to say, every idea you have, and why? Because this is the only effective way to succeed as a political party -united as a team we can accomplish everything, divided and we will achieve nothing.
Fully exploring modern digital technology is something that the Foundation Party is successfully doing. We are using some of the latest cloud technologies to automate many backroom processes so that we can invest more of our time on policy and campaigning . This also helps us to reduce operating costs and increases our overall efficiency as an organisation. The more time we can spend planning on how we will improve the state of the country, the better!
You’re building up to the 2021 local elections. What are your hopes for the party in these?
You are right that we are currently working very hard to get our party ready for the 2021 local elections. My intention for the party in next year’s elections are to a) increase the number of council seats we currently have, and b) increase the public’s awareness that there is a fresh, exciting political party out there providing the radical opposition, nationally and locally, that the country so badly needs.
We often highlight Croydon Councils wasteful spending, excessive debt and ever-increasing council tax, areas you are focusing on. What do you think of the performance of many local councils today?
The performance of all local government is nothing short of abysmal. They spend money that they do not have, they raise everybody’s council tax systematically, each year without fail, whilst making sure that their chief executives are paid handsomely, often more than the Prime Minister. I would advise all of your followers to read the Town Hall Rich List, from our friends from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which shows you how each of these councils are very happy to waste your money without a care in the world, and in next year’s elections this is something that we will fight against.
More broadly what policies do you see the party focusing on in the coming elections?
Broadly speaking the Foundation Party is radically different to the other parties. We believe in a confident bottom-up society shaped by the choices, innovation and good judgement of the people, with overriding government power that is cautious in nature, limited and robustly held in check, because the people are the masters, not the servants, and the true source of our success.
So our policy priority generally is about enhancing your ability to choose. We believe in lowering the tax burden on millions of ordinary families and millions of hard-working businesses so the people can choose how more of their own money is spent. We believe in free schools and the right for parents to choose the education for their children. And we believe in a democratic self-governing nation so the people can choose the government that governs them.
Locally we want to see decisions on major local issues made locally, rather than in Westminster, by devolving powers downwards to local authorities. We want to lower council tax. And we want to import long overdue financial discipline into Conservative and Labour controlled councils up and down the country who have a long track record of wasting the peoples’ money and delivering very little in return.
The Foundation Party is truly a party on the side of the people.
We have recently seen a year of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. What are your thoughts on that year?
I was hopeful that we at least had a Prime Minister that was a bit less out of touch with the people, but the last year has shown me how wrong I was. Whilst he may be delivering “Brexit” (as far as we know), he is failing in every other regard.
I have never known at least in my lifetime a government to perform this many U-turns just because of an outrage to something that is being expressed on Twitter. What Boris has shown is that being popular is more important to him than being a good leader, and in the words of the late and great Margaret Thatcher, “If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and would achieve nothing.”
I think Boris Johnson has gone down severely in the estimation of many, many people who were expecting much more, but then why should we expect any different from a Conservative Party politician of today’s calibre?
With likely increased unemployment, massive government debt and new ways of working impacting many industries, economics is likely to once again be at the centre of our politics. Given the opportunity, what are some of the main things you would do to kick start our economy?
There are two things I would do to kickstart the economy. Firstly I would cut all taxes to give both individuals and businesses more money to spend. They know how best to spend their money to get themselves back on track.
Secondly I would look at severely cutting government spending as it is not morally right to carry on borrowing record level amounts of money while the country is economically suffering. We need financial discipline and responsibility at times like this, and that includes the government. This would encourage businesses to invest, employ more people and grow their business, while allowing individuals to spend more money in the economy and increase economic growth – you cannot tax your way to economic recovery.
With BLM protests, pro and anti-statue protests and the rise of cancel culture, we appear to be copying the culture war from the US. How do you think we bring the country closer together?
We can’t go wrong by reasserting the neglected values that pave the foundation of our country, such as freedom, liberty and democracy.
Statues should not be pulled down by mobs, they should be debated by the people and by their representatives and decisions made as a result of a democratic process. Speakers should not be cancelled, they should be free to speak and subsequently supported or opposed as a result of a free choice by those listening.
The recurring theme of this culture war is the “regressive left” and its abandoning of reasoned and civilised argument, in favour of uncivilised shouting and screaming.
But more crucially, we are faced with a movement that judges people on group identity rather than individuality. As groups like BLM charge a mass number of people with the collective crime of “white privilege”, for example, the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. of ‘judging not by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character’ is thrown out of the window and everybody suffers.
What we need is a return to genuine liberty. The problem is, we simply do not have the political class that understands what liberty truly means, and even if they did, they wouldn’t for a moment have the courage to defend it.
You’re after people getting involved. What’s your elevator pitch to people who might like to join or help your party?
We are always looking for people who share the values of the Foundation Party. At the core of the Foundation Party are our cultural values. The value which I think sets us apart from other political parties in the United Kingdom is our integrity. We uphold the highest standards in all of our actions and seek to maintain the trust of our members, supporters and voters. To achieve this we hold ourselves to the highest standards ensuring that we are transparent in everything we do as well as accountable allowing for proper scrutiny at all times.
As we have already discussed the Foundation Party is not the first party I have ever been involved with. However one thing my experience has shown me is where other political parties get it wrong. Instead of recognising their members for their individual merit, they have instead given preferential treatment to those with the most money, or those with the most blind loyalty and who will fit into their little inner circle. This is something I will never allow to happen to the Foundation Party. In the end, democracy and accountability within such a party is undermined and the work towards continuous improvement and development of the party comes to a halt.
In my position as chairman, I will ensure that members are treated equally and afforded the utmost respect and courtesy at all times. We are nothing if not a grassroots party which rather than seeking a reliance on a well-resourced few, but instead the loyal support of a dedicated many.
My promise to our members is that the party will always support you should you wish to get involved in any way it can – because the central office is not the party, the members are.
Are these any thoughts you would like to leave us with?
We are at the beginning of a very exciting journey. There are millions of people in our country who are fed up with the status quo, and fed up with the complete lack of real opposition. Our politicians are interested not in defending the rights of the people, but the rights of the government.
The real opposition that our country needs – championing the peoples’ right to national self-government, robust law and order, freedom of speech, lowering our taxes, more responsible public spending rather than bankrupting the country every five years – is not going to just emerge on its own, we have to create it. We cannot endlessly complain while doing nothing about it.
We in the Foundation Party have taken the initiative so that one day we can elect Members of Parliament and elect a government that is truly on the side of the people. Join us and let’s fight together.
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.
We are joined by Chris Mendes, the leader of the Foundation Party, as we discuss the ongoing COVID 19 Lockdown and the Shadow Cabinet appointments. We then chat with Chris about his experiences as a political campaigner, what led to the creation of the Foundation Party and their future plans. The link to our virtual meet-up is: https://www.gotomeet.me/CroydonConstitutionalists
With budgets tight, and a constant demand for new and
improved services, council spending is always under pressure.
Following successful events held with the TaxPayers’ Alliance we have written to the leaders with responsibility for Croydon of the Labour, Conservative, The Brexit, Polish Pride, Christian Alliance, Unity, Democrats and Veterans, Libertarian, Foundation, UKIP, and Liberal Democratic Parties. Asking them you to support our campaign to support local taxpayers, and keep control of executive pay at Croydon Council.
In our campaign supported by local residents we have asked that they agree to our proposal that in future no newly appointed council employee will earn more than the Prime Minister. Out letter to the parties is available here:
Chris has declared the major political parties not fit for purpose, and says the country is desperately missing a party, one that is more patriotic and genuinely at the service of ordinary people rather than themselves. Many of you will remember Chris from when he was the Vote Leave lead in Croydon South during the referendum.
The Foundation Party is a long-term project for building a serious platform for clear patriotic principles for like-minded individuals who believe that our country can do so much better.
Chris thank-you for agreeing to this interview.
What first got you involved in politics?
The EU referendum. A choice between one direction or another was never clearer. Having adopted a strongly held view – to leave – the permanent nature of the referendum result compelled me to act. Over an eight month period I campaigned on the ground running street stalls, knocking on doors and holding public meetings to persuade others to vote to leave. It was clearly a rare opportunity, possibly the only opportunity, to activate the railroad switch for changing the track on which our country runs in this regard,
from the wrong one to the right one.
I was, and still am, emphatically unpersuaded by the necessity of our membership of the European Union. And when the primary argument made for voting for something does not revolve around the merits of that something, but the exaggerated-for-effect demerits of not voting for it, then that argument is an inherently weak and unpersuasive argument by default, in my opinion.
‘Project Fear’, the Remain campaign’s desperate ultra-cynical strategy of scaring as many people as possible into submission – watching it on television but also seeing the impact on the ground, the real fright affected upon some people whom I
encountered – shocked me.
And so it was and is the unhealthy state of our politics that has drawn me in. The gross irresponsibility and lack of leadership from people too cowardly to present an argument on its own merit, at the expense of ethics and more constructive discourse that in the end sinks us all, must be challenged.
For as long as open, calm and confident civilised debate is absent from our politics, we will forever move at a snail’s pace, if at all, towards forming any form of meaningful consensus around serious progressive change of any kind.
What campaigns have you been involved in?
The campaign I remain most proud of has been the most important campaign so far, the Leave campaign for Croydon. Week after week we distributed information and made the pro-Brexit argument in favour of national self-government and a
More recently however, my new party, the Foundation Party, is at the very beginning of its journey. We took part in the Local Elections 2019. It was a mixed occasion for us featuring both wins and defeats. But the highlight was the election of Foundation Party Councillor Peter Harris in Tendring, Essex, where we topped the poll collecting the same number of votes as the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats combined. Hearing this result announced live on LBC was quite a buzz!
Prior to forming a new party, I volunteered at a senior level for UKIP working with the then party leadership. I thought at the time it might be a party that could push on and advance a much-needed political reform agenda. But in the end, it showed itself plainly to have no such potential.
What do you think is next for Brexit?
From where we are now, leaving the EU without a deal is the
The outgoing Prime Minister’s “withdrawal agreement” violates the result of the referendum. The big print says “we are leaving”, while the small print says “we may not be leaving, it depends”. The UK would require the EU’s permission to annul the agreed “backstop” and leave the EU completely, which after a historic nation-wide majority voted to leave and “take back control”, is one of the greatest civilised insults from politicians to
the people anywhere at any time.
Regardless as to what happens outside the Conservative Party, Brexit is eventually resolved from inside the Conservative Party.
Brexit in the end is not about cargo, but constitution. We voted for our industries, our public services and our democracy to operate within a free, independent and self-governing country. We must leave the European Union. And the next Tory leader and Prime Minister, in the event of failing to secure a better deal, must take us out without a deal and show the same degree of courage as the people who voted for it.
What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?
The capacity of the individual to make a difference. Having your say and helping to one extent or another is more possible than one might think.
If you could introduce or repeal 3 laws, other than for Brexit. What would they be?
So many to choose from! OK, here are my chosen three…
Top of my list of priorities is the introduction of a new completely codified constitution, similar to that of France and the United States, with explicit guarantees of independence and self-government, enforced by the Supreme Court, changeable only by a direct mandate from the people expressed via a referendum. This would help prevent temporarily elected politicians from permanently trading away our nation’s sovereignty, slowly over many years, without the proper transparency or authority from the people.
I would repeal the current ban on grammar schools and encourage the establishment of new such schools throughout the country. There is no greater gift given to academically gifted children from poorer backgrounds in particular, than granting them access to an elite standard of education. It is a shameful social injustice that this education is currently available only to much wealthier families who can afford to live in the few very expensive-to-live areas that have them.
And for my third choice I could have chosen a radical tax reform policy I have in mind, or the power decentralisation agenda that I strongly believe in – details of which can be found on our party’s website – however I’m going to stick with cleaning
I would legislate to cap donations to political parties from any one individual or organisation at £20,000 per year. As a voluntary measure this is the Foundation Party’s highly principled policy and it is hard-coded in our constitution. We reject the murky pattern of every major political party where rich individuals make huge donations in return for unjust and undemocratic influence over the party and our democracy.
Addressing the question of party funding is just one of the many aspects of the political reform agenda, and our party is determined to campaign for real action towards rebuilding our broken democracy. The career politicians won’t do it, so we the people must.
What do you see as your parties route to electoral success?
The key to obtaining popular support on the one hand and votes for winning an election in a given area on the other, are clearly two distinct objectives that need to be appreciated separately. In the age of social media, it is all too common to get carried away and mistakenly conclude that ‘likes’ and ‘re-tweets’ will carry a candidate
to electoral victory.
We will focus relentlessly on building relationships with people on the ground in local communities, listen to their concerns, listen to their worries, help them where we can, offer our thoughts on matters big and small, and see if we can build partnerships and, in time, lead a movement towards radical change that could change our
country for the better.
Our mission is to campaign for greater accountability of the state and greater power and control for ordinary citizens.
Control, control, control. It is the sexiest word in politics today. No one is voting for less of it. And future elections will be won, not by parties that pledge the same old recycled notions of grand design where government is the answer to every problem and the source of every opportunity, but by parties that offer to transfer economic and political power and decision-making downwards to local communities, individuals and families.
This agenda touches on a range of issues such as freeing the country from the intrusive and democracy-diluting EU super state, cleaning up Westminster and making it more accountable, reducing the scope of national government and increasing that of local government, greater parent choice in the education system, greater patient choice within the healthcare system, simpler and lower taxes so we keep more of our own money, and constitutional protection for rights such as freedom of speech which is, shockingly, well and
truly, under attack.
This is a message and a policy platform that I am very excited about. There is a different way of doing things outside the tired and out-dated mantra of the major political parties. And in the years to come, we’ll see how well they cope when the people rightly come knocking and insist on depending less on them, and instead, demand the proper power and control to improve their own lives for themselves.