Nigel Jacklin is a member of the Independent Network and an Independent Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bexhill and Battle. We spoke with Nigel about his decision to stand.
Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a market researcher and statistician. My job is to help organisations take the right decisions and to make sure people are correctly represented. Like many people I’ve had enough of the mainstream political parties. We just need elected representatives who represent people.
I also think there is a more general problem exemplified by the way my wife and I have been treated by the Sussex Police. In 2020 we had a raid on our house on the basis of false allegations made by a cop. They took our laptops, computers, evidence bundles and a Met Police Professional Standards Complaint response. They returned it 14 months later saying no action would be taken against us; no apology. This was the ninth time we’d been investigated with no action being taken against us. We reported three incidents last year. Rather than investigate the people we reported, the Sussex Police investigated us. Two of the investigations are about things we’ve already been investigated for. We’re waiting for a decision by the CPS. A fellow member of the Royal Statistical Society Law and Policing Group confirmed…whilst the police do make mistakes…so many mistakes is unlikely to be down to coincidence.
What made you decide to stand for the Independent Network?
I joined the Independent Network back in 2021. As the name implies it’s a network of Independent Local Councillors and Candidates across the UK. The group promotes the ‘Bell Principles,’ named after Martin Bell, the journalist who became an Independent MP in 1997. The Bell Principles go beyond the seven Nolan principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership adding, amongst other things, being free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip. The Independent Network was set up in February 2016 and registered with a very public launch meeting in Westminster, attended by Martin Bell, following which the Bell Principles were adopted.
The group helps at a practical (rather than a policy) level and includes Councillors who are in the leadership groups of several local Councils. A number of members have stood in general elections before. I expect others will announce their intention to do so in the coming months.
You’re standing in Bexhill and Battle; what’s made you decide to represent this area?
We’ve lived here for 30 years. Like the other Independent candidates, I’m in touch with, we all live where we’re standing and have done so for some time.
What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?
Most people I speak to have had enough of the Westminster parties. They want someone who’ll represent them and speak up for local people. We are in a ‘safe’ Tory seat, so I could be in with a chance.
The big local issue is the proposal to use a site in Northeye, West Bexhill, as a secure detention centre for illegal arrivals. There is widespread concern about this. We’ve worked extensively as the No To Northeye campaign group, liaising with other sites such as Scampton and Wethersfield. It’s clear that there are limits to the number of asylum seekers who can be accommodated safely in one site without fights, disorder or fires. This number is probably somewhere between 250 and 500. This may mean more sites are needed and so my national ‘ask’ if for the Home Office to actually talk to local residents when they turn hotels into asylum seeker hostels, set limits on the size of camps and put 15% of the money spent actually in to the local community.
It’s also pretty clear that we need a different approach to education, skills and employment. We need a shift in emphasis which gives more respect to skills, trades and ordinary jobs rather than an over-reliance on paper-based qualifications. Ask any farmer about this and they’ll give you an earful on DEFRA and government officials.
As you may know, Bexhill is by the sea and Battle is in the High Weald (an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). We need to do more to promote ‘visiting friends and relatives’ (VFR) and day trip tourism. We’re down the M23 or A22 and then east…or the A21. A nice day out from South London. If we promote ‘VFR’ we can ‘tick’ the environmental box whilst helping people to have a good time at events like the Bexhill 100 Car Show!
For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?
I have a personal Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nigel.jacklin.71 and a twitter account @TheGoodStatsMan. People can email [email protected] (this is the group we set up to encourage people to get involved with local decision making). I am also developing at site on YouTube.
It would be great to hear from anyone willing to help with leafleting or standing in the street with me! We are also about to start some work funded by the Local Government Association encouraging people to become a Councillor.