iFAQ: Who are you and why are you standing?

Look, we’re all trying to deal with this General Election in our own way. We’re now covering our eighth Medway wide poll in the five years we’ve been doing this thing, and mostly just wondering when we’ll be allowed to rest. But whether we like or not, another General Election is upon us. It’s all been a bit rushed, and a number of last minute selections have had to take place. As such, we decided to try to get to know our General Election candidates a little more by sending them a couple of straightforward questions.

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below, grouped by the constituency each of them are standing in.

Chatham and Aylesford candidates

1. Why are you standing in this election?

I’m proud to be the Labour candidate for the place I’ve called home nearly all life, having grown up living on Luton Road. The past decade of austerity have had huge impacts on our communities. We need a Labour Government and I’m proud alongside Andy and Teresa to be the candidates standing up for the Medway constituencies.
My experience of representing Chatham for more than a decade, dealing with hundreds of individual cases, leading community campaigns to make a positive difference is my track record of being the voice for those who need to be heard.
The Labour Manifesto will have strong, costed policies which will truly improve the lives of those in Medway and across the country
Vince Maple, Labour

I’m standing because like so many people I’m frustrated by the state of politics in this country, and the lack of action on climate change.
Geoff Wilkinson, Green Party

2. What advice would you give to voters concerned about having to come out and vote on a cold, dark December day?

I don’t think anyone’s first choice for timing of an election would be two weeks before Christmas. My advice to any political Medway readers is sign up for a postal vote, it means that you have much longer than 15 hours to vote! You can register to vote by post here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote
Vince Maple, Labour

Please make the effort to come out and make your voice heard. The country is crying out for change and if we keep on doing the same things and voting for the same old tired parties then we’ll keep getting the same results. Even if your chosen candidate doesn’t win in your constituency a strong Green Vote will hold the Government to account and show just how important the environmental crisis is.
Geoff Wilkinson, Green Party

We received no response to these questions from Dave Naghi (Liberal Democrat). We were unable to find any public facing email address for Tracey Crouch (Conservative) or John Gibson (Christian People’s Alliance).

Gillingham and Rainham candidates

1. Why are you standing in this election?

I am standing as the Lib Dem candidate for Gillingham and Rainham to give local residents the opportunity to stop a harmful Brexit and instead build a brighter future by investing in vital public services and tackling inequality. My main priorities are transforming our mental health services by treating mental health with the same urgency as physical health; tackling the climate emergency by generating 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030 and insulating all low-income homes by 2025; giving every child the best start in life by recruiting 20,000 more teachers across the country as part of an extra £10 billion a year for our schools; and providing free childcare from 9 months and giving every adult £10,000 to spend on skills and training throughout their lives.
Alan Bullion, Liberal Democrat

In brief, Brexit is very obviously a “Dead Cat”, so I decided to stand a dead cat to point out that Boris Johnson’s “Dead Cat Politics” are dead.  In my local area, Rehman Chishti does not deliver for his constituents and I would like people to wake up to that fact.  The Tories are now not a responsible party to vote for:
·         Economically, as Boris said he wants to “fcuk business”.  Brexit has already hollowed out many of our businesses and sectors in the UK and we have not even begun the process.  All of us will pay the price for this whilst a few make a killing on the markets.
·         Socially.  For example, through the utter mess of Universal Credit.  The results of this disaster are very visible on the streets of Medway.  If Brexit happens, we jump out of the EU frying pan into Trump’s fire.  This means a fire sale of the NHS and private healthcare as the norm for hard pressed people in the Medway area.
·         Politically, through acting unlawfully in a number of areas, the most recent of which was the prorogation of Parliament.
·         Environmentally, through the plans to increase global trading leading to a greater carbon footprint and reductions in food standards, leading to sharp practices which are unkind to mother nature.
·         Ethically through Boris Johnson’s normalisation of lies, beginning with bendy bananas and the gross lie about the £350 million per week for the NHS.  Johnson won’t even answer the question on how many children he has.  Locally, I have been disappointed when I have asked Rehman Chishti for his plans to help business owners on Brexit related matters.  He has simply sent back standard letters with catchy catchphrases but zero substance.
This explains why I am standing as Peter Cook, Independent candidate and leader of “Cats Against Brexit Mayhem”, aka UCAT.  Please see our articles in The Daily Mirror / Metro / New European for more details of this piece of “serious fun”. 
Peter Cook, Independent

I am standing because I feel it is my duty to represent the one party that fully comprehends and will act on the threats our society faces from Climate Change.
George Salomon, Green Party

I am standing as a UKIP Candidate for Gillingham and Rainham to highlight that Medway Council and the Government cannot be trusted to provide any real solution or money particularly for the housing crisis affecting so many lives and causing so much misery and distress to increasing numbers of  Medway residents. No budgets for the redevelopment of Gillingham and Chatham town centres and the surrounding ever decaying housing which is a national disgrace. No additional funds for policing to urgently address drug, gun and knife crimes affecting the lives of so many Medway residents and visitors. Medway Council Local Plan is relying on private developers to build the 37,000 new homes, but history has shown that predatory housing developers are only interested in maximising profits and not providing the substantial infrastructure funds needed. Yes, Medway MP’s and Medway Council have got £187 Million from the government to build a new train line and new roads to help London commuters live in Medway but where is the money for the infrastructure and thousands of affordable homes for Medway residents urgently needed now !!!! 
I am also asking all Labour Party and Conservative voters in Gillingham and Rainham to vote UKIP and stand up against the phoney BORIS TREATY. UKIP is the only party promising to carry out the democratic decision of Medway residents and Britain to leave the EU and take back control of our borders, our money, our laws and fishing grounds.
Rob McCulloch Martin, UKIP

2. What advice would you give to voters concerned about having to come out and vote on a cold, dark December day?

I would encourage anyone concerned about coming out to vote on a cold, dark December day to either apply for a postal or proxy vote with their local council as soon as possible. Or organise to go to their polling station with a neighbour or a group of friends or relatives during daylight hours, either on foot, by bus, bike, car or taxi, according to your preference. You could also walk your dog there. Make it a social as well as a political event.
Alan Bullion, Liberal Democrat

If you are fed up with 3.5 years of Brexit paralysis, costing us £66 billion for nothing, come out and vote for parties that want to remain and reform our relationship with the EU for a better Britain of which I am standing as one.  This flow chart helps people to see the options for smarter voting so that your vote counts for more in a broken system.

If you want to show your angst about the failure to deliver Brexit by the Conservatives, then vote for Peter Cook.  I will do much better than Rehman Chishti.  My UCAT party sounds like a bit of a joke but I am deadly serious about the need for reform of our politics.  I am uniquely qualified to offer the people of Medway a better deal.  I am a self-employed business owner of 25 years standing, having worked worldwide with businesses and public services.  Born and bred in Medway with a deep understanding of the towns and the people.  Having grown up in a council house, I have never moved away from my true beginnings but have succeeded through education, which is key to our children’s futures in the 4th industrial age.  As a musician and author, I am just as comfortable working with those without hope and means, to those who run the country and have the ability to create hope for those who feel helpless.  My work has brought me into contact with rock stars, professors, politicians and business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson, I will bring that understanding, skill and experience to my role as an MP.
I recognise that “Brexit Apathy” is a thing in Medway and right across the country at the moment, having listened long and hard for thousands of hours to people’s stories of woe on both sides of our division over Brexit.  I wrote about them in my book “Let’s Talk About BREX .. it”  My cat Stan also has “Brexit Apathy” and will probably be sleeping on the day, as it is very cold and Christmas is coming.  Hibernation from politics is also an option for humans and I must be honest when I say that I have been told that some people will not bother to vote.  In those cases I urge them to give me and my cat a chance.  By the way, Brexit is not just for Christmas, it’s for life.  So many people around here think that Boris will “get Brexit done”, without realising that we are only at the “easy bit” of the Brexit journey.  We have at least another 10 years of Brexit on the telly box and in the newspapers.  I want Brexit gone, and, from our street research, nearly 90% of people say YES when asked if they wish Brexit could be vanished away with a magic wand.  Brexit can be stopped quite easily with an e-mail to revoke Article 50 and then a People’s Vote to put Britain’s house in order, by fixing the long list of things that prompted the Brexit referendum result.
You would not buy a house without a roof or floors just because the estate agent had “bored” you into accepting it.  Brexit is a much bigger decision than a house purchase and this Government want to you feel bored and vote your futures away.  Vote to Stop Brexit and build a Better Britain in a United Europe for your children’s futures.  I’ll help you do that if you vote for me.
As I began, Brexit is a “Dead Cat”, so I decided to stand a dead cat to point out that Boris Johnson’s “Dead Cat Politics” are dead.  Even Rehman Chishti has dabbled with cats when he called for compulsory micro chipping of cats to reunite them with their owners.  Some of my stated policies for our feline friends are indeed faintly ridiculous, but I’m no monster raving loony.  I believe politics should be a little more humane and a bit more fun, so I suggested these policies in the Daily Mirror and the Metro:

  • The conversion of the Medway Tunnel into a giant cat flap.  Well, at least we should build a cycle and pedestrian tunnel to open up the area.
  • Setting an army of cats on Gillingham station roof to remove the pigeons.  Well, the station does need a jolly good clean-up as do the rail services.
  • Rehman points out that he wants “no cat left behind’.  In human terms, health and social care are badly in need of urgent improvement in Medway.  I will build on my work in the NHS innovation group by lobbying for these improvements.  Through my own experience of caring for my mother in law with dementia and stroke, this is a forgotten area that needs attention.  A hallmark of a civilised society is in how it cares for its vulnerable people.

Medway has just about recovered from the dockyard closure. And look how many years that took. Brexit will be worse. Do we really want a double whammy on local industry, business?”
Seeing is believing.  I’ll be offering regular surgeries to talk with the people of Medway about their hopes and fears in the coming weeks at Pepe’s Café in Gillingham, Karen’s Diner in Gillingham, The Centre Café in Rainham and Nutmegs in Rainham, plus selected pubs in the area.  To book an appointment please contact me via the Cats Against Brexit Mayhem Facebook page or find me on my candidate page Peter Cook for Gillingham and Medway.
Peter Cook, Independent

My advice would be to register for a postal vote (you have until 26th Nov) you can then spend the 12th doing what we should all be doing and that is spending time with our friends and family enjoying the festive period.
George Salomon, Green Party

The British sense of belonging, strong social fabric and social cohesion cannot be wished away by a phoney blue flag, national anthem and mass migration.  UKIP and Brexiteers absolutely know what they were voting for: to define our own future and to take back control of our laws, trade, borders, economy, tax – only enabled by a clean Brexit and vote for UKIP on the 12th December.
Rob McCulloch Martin, UKIP

We received no response to these questions from Rehman Chishti (Conservative) or Andy Stamp (Labour). We were unable to find any public facing email address for Roger Peacock (Christian People’s Alliance).

Rochester and Strood candidates

1. Why are you standing in this election?

I am standing because I believe that under a Labour government no one will be left behind or held back.For those worst affected by the Tories ideological Austerity regime we will offer hope ,support and opportunity and those doing well can help us make the investment we are determined to make work quickly.
Teresa Murray, Labour

UKIP IS THE ONLY POLITICAL PARTY PROMISING TO CARRY OUT THE DEMOCRATIC DECISION MADE BY THE BRITISH PEOPLE TO LEAVE THE EVER FAILING EU PROJECT – BRITISH PEOPLE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE UNFAIRNESS OF BRITISH LIVES BEING  CONTROLLED BY A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT NOT INTERESTED IN THEIR WELLBEING.
THE BORIS TREATY STILL LEAVES BRITAIN UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE EU COURTS AND JUST WAIT UNTIL WE SEE THE ‘PAYBACK LIST’ THE EU HAS IN STORE FOR THE BRITISH PEOPLE FOR VOTING TO LEAVE. THE SEVERITY IS INTENDED TO FRIGHTEN TO THE CORE  OF THE REST OF EU COUNTRIES FROM CONTEMPLATING SUCH A DEMOCRATIC REFERENDUM – WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO GREECE UNDER THE EU HANDS WILL BE A HOLIDAY COMPARED WITH WHAT THE EU PAYBACK HAS IN STORE FOR BRITAIN.
YES, THE EU CONTINUES TO LAUGH AT US  BEHIND CLOSED DOORS HOPING WE SIGN THE EU/ BORIS INTERNATIONAL TREATY WITH SO MANY LEGAL WORDING AMBUSHES THAT MOSTLY SAYS OUR LIVES WILL STILL BE CONTROLLED BY THE  EU COURTS !!!
Roy Freshwater, UKIP

One of my main reasons for standing is because of the government’s housing policy, it is designed to attract rich people from outside of the Medway Towns at detriment to many local communities. It is expensive and carbon heavy. On the other hand, local people and families are facing financially hard times and are at risk homelessness due disproportionately high rents. We have seen too many deaths on the streets of Medway in recent years.
Sonia Hyner, Green Party

I am standing to give Rochester and Strood a choice.
With the Brexit Party withdrawing its candidate there was a lack of choice in respect of the Brexit issue.LibDems, Greens and Labour all, despite their promises to honour the referendum, wish to deny the will of the people when it comes to Brexit.Kelly Tolhurst voted REMAIN and then lived up to the CON in Conservatives by claiming she was for Brexit because she voted to trigger Article 50Given that Labour, Greens and LibDems cannot win in Rochester and Strood the choice for voters is;- 1) A true Brexiteer or a Remain voting career politician who will vote for whatever improves her job prospects.2) An independent constituency based MP or a Party line career politician who is all round the country3) An Independent MP who can represent Rochester and Strood without fear of being told to shut up by a political party enforcer or somebody who will do as their Party tells then however calamitous it is for Rochester and Strood.
As for UKIP, if it was a family pet by now you would have summoned a vet.Their own policy is NOT to stand against True Brexiteers
Roy Freshwater was well aware my papers had gone before the local collection considered standing any candidates so one has to wonder why he is even on the ballot paper.Has he been offered a peerage or knighthood by Conservative high command or does he still resent me continually asking him why he has not done anything about the money missing from the UKIP Medway accounts?Perhaps the most relevant question is this;-Will Roy freshwater by standing and splitting the Brexit vote be responsible for five more years of Kelly?
Chris Spalding, Independent

2. What advice would you give to voters concerned about having to come out and vote on a cold, dark December day?

For me Democracy and the real change Labour could bring are more important than the weather but for those who might struggle,postal and proxy votes are available.
Teresa Murray, Labour candidate, Rochester and Strood

The British sense of belonging, strong social fabric and social cohesion cannot be wished away by a phoney blue flag, national anthem and mass migration.  UKIP and Brexiteers absolutely know what they were voting for: to define our own future and to take back control of our laws, trade, borders, economy, tax – only enabled by a clean Brexit and vote for UKIP on the 12th December.
Roy Freshwater, UKIP

I urge people to register their postal votes soon, to save leaving the house on election day. It will be the best way to have your voice heard.
Sonia Hyner, Green Party

My advice to voters would be to consider a postal vote or even a proxy vote.If voting in person then be aware of the weather conditions, vote early rather than late and consider going to the polling station with a friend or neighbour or even as a group.The last piece of advice is to actually go and vote.
Your vote does matter and you can make a difference.Image you did not vote and the vote is tied. The result is decided by the toss of a coin and the one person you did not want to win gets in!
Chris Spalding, Independent

We received no response to these questions from Graham Colley (Liberal Democrat) or Kelly Tolhurst (Conservative).

Here we go again: The Political Medway is a volunteer run website attempting to cover politics in Medway from an independent point of view. As we approach yet another General Election, there’s lots of things we’d like to cover, but we only have a finite amount of resources. If you appreciate what we do, please consider making a one-off or monthly contribution via our Ko-fi page. The more money raised, the more coverage we can provide, so every little bit really does help. Thanks.

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