Always keen to support people in Croydon prepared to stand up for Brexit. The Croydon Constitutionalists spoke to Alan Cook the Brexit Party PPC for Old Bexley and Sidcup.
Alan was originally standing in Croydon North. Mike Swadling of this parish stood against the current anti democracy MP Steve Reed OBE in the constituency which included part of the Crystal Palace triangle, Norbury, Thornton Heath, the transport hub of West Croydon and of course the home of football [Mike insert] Crystal Palace.
Old Bexley and Sidcup voted 62% Leave in the referendum and is currently represented by James Brokenshire MP.
Alan thanks for your time.
So tell us a bit about your background and how you found yourself being a Brexit Party Candidate?
My parents were in the services, my father was in the Fleet Air Arm and my mother was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. I was born in an RAF base in Singapore. We returned with my elder brother to England when I was one year old and briefly lived with family in Thanet. I grew up and was schooled in South East London, I now live in Westminster with my girlfriend and our two daughters.
By twenty I had secured a position in finance in London, my first day was Black Monday! I discovered there was no prospect of progression within that company due to not having a degree. I very quickly changed industries to Information Technology and what followed was a dream of a career in the City starting at the end of the Thatcher years.
For many years I have been a member of a parliamentary think tank, amongst other things promoting and progressing leaving the EU. I am a trustee of a local charity, and co-vice chairman of a civic body looking after over 1400 residents and businesses, dealing with the local council, The Met., TfL and the Grosvenor Estate.
I have realised over the last few years that The House of Commons is in dire need of reform, it is lacking MP’s from a normal background. I decided earlier this year to put myself forward as a candidate for The Brexit Party, the only party currently offering political reform. I also requested a South London Constituency, and here I am now.
What first got you involved in politics?
Frustration in the knowledge that the previous leaders of both the main parties have not put the needs of our country first. They have created division and caused lasting damage to the long term prosperity and independence of the UK. Also a feeling of betrayal over the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and now I can add May’s new EU treaty to that as well. The voice of the electorate is very clearly being bypassed and ignored. Of course I have an overriding conviction that I can do so much better. Better for Croydon North and better for the country as a whole.
Any stories from previous campaign trails that have stuck in your memory?
I spent a week in Wales helping The Brexit Party before the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. I took some time off from the normal day to day canvassing and joined our candidate Des Parkinson for a tour of the constituency on the Brexit Bus. Little did I know how dangerous such a pursuit was going to be. There are a lot of trees in Wales, and some very low tree canopies that span the whole road. If anyone on the bus shouted “tree” you didn’t have time to look and would duck or throw yourself to the floor with great speed. The only one who was truly safe on the top deck was the T-shirt wearing Brexit Dog who just happened to be called Nigel. At one stage on our journey the Brexit bus was being lead and flanked by two dozen escaped bullocks, it was at that stage someone on the top deck shouted the very memorable, “Bullocks for Brexit“.
You were originally standing in Croydon North where you follow Winston McKenzie and our own Mike Swadling in standing as a Pro-Brexit candidate in Croydon North. What were you focusing on to make a breakthrough?
Thanks to the work of previous Pro-Brexit candidates in the Croydon area, I was not starting from the beginning but I have a foundation to build from. Brexit is now more in the public conscience than it has ever has been. I am not here alone, The Brexit Party has broken all political records with its rapidly growing supporter base. The battle isn’t just about leaving the expensive and corrupt EU institution it is about protecting our democracy and it’s about political reform. People are sick to the back teeth with the undemocratic MPs who currently sit in the House of Commons. They are clearly not following the wishes of and are not acting in the best interests of the electorate.
What are your thoughts on Croydon Politics?
Croydon is in an envious and very unique position, it is an outer London borough with easy, quick train access to central London,16 minutes, but it is also very much a business hub of its own and indeed an international business location. With easy and quick train access to both St. Pancras International Station and Gatwick Airport the future potential of the tri-constituency area is huge. This unique situation needs to be highlighted to and recognised by the government. My constituency, Croydon North, deserves the highest calibre representation in the commons to reflect this. This is why I am dedicating myself to becoming the MP for the area.
What surprised you most about getting actively involved in politics?
That’s an easy question to answer, it is the people you meet, the true diversity of those who have joined The Brexit Party is staggering. I am not just referring to race and religion but everything – across the board, from their locations, vocations and especially their political stance. It doesn’t matter where you are on the political spectrum, be it central, right or left wing, every day I have found myself happily discussing politics in groups of people with different ideologies. As long as you are pro UK, pro Europe and you put the interests of our amazing country before that of the EU you have a home in The Brexit Party. People where travelling from the tip of Scotland and from Continental Europe to volunteer and help The Brexit Party at both of the recent by-elections.
If you introduce or repeal 3 laws (other than for Brexit) what would they be?
I am a huge fan of democracy so I wouldn’t wish to repeal any law that has been democratically arrived at. I know you said other than Brexit, however, there are two things which I have previously mentioned The Lisbon and Maastricht treaties. Now both of these should have of gone to the electorate for a vote, but the polls at the time suggested neither would of have a favourable result, so they were pushed through without public consultation. Since then there has been the ‘in and out’ referendum which should, in practice, remove these two undemocratically installed treaties from the UK constitution.
Back to non Brexit. I do love food, I should be a lot bigger than I am. I am passionate about UK produce and high welfare meat. I would definitely change UK labelling laws to give the consumer all knowledge available and not just what the industry wants us to see.
I would also like to see a completely different model for prisons, with a far greater emphasis on vocational education. On release everyone should be in a better situation having hopefully learned a trade or gained further education, ambition and hope for their future.
I will add a fourth one to end with, I would like to make MPs more accountable to their constituency voters. I am open to suggestions from voters for this one, so please do email me with suggestions.
Any other thoughts you want to leave us with?
Politics used to be discussed over a pint in pubs, but people no longer dare talk about politics in case others have opposing views. We need to get back to talking and debating. It is fine to have a different point of view, this is healthy and normal for society. There is no place for anger and aggression in politics it needs to be removed and replaced with discussion.
Alan thank-you for the interview.
Alan can be contacted by email at [email protected] and followed on twitter at https://twitter.com/T_Alan_Cook.