THE first thing that struck me about Margot Parker was her friendliness. I have spoken to many political activists, candidates and politicians from a whole array of political parties, Margot certainly came across as one of the few that have genuine warmth and friendliness. The only other politician I can think of who came across in a similar fashion was a personal hero of mine Steve Baker MP. Most politicians attempt warmth and friendliness but I usually get the feeling it is an act – a well crafted disguise – and that really they couldn’t care less about what I think or say. That was certainly not the case with Margot Parker.
Would James Delingpole pose a threat to Margot’s chances in Corby due to his UKIP shared anti wind farm stance.
‘It is a nuisance’ Margot conceded ‘it is a very strange thing for him to do’ as this is a UKIP policy. Margot highlighted her own opposition to wind farms by telling me that she had been against them ‘long before I was selected as a candidate’. She made a passionate argument against windfarms, by mentioning how they are not cost effective, how the local people do not want them, and how they punish the very poorest in our society with higher energy costs. ‘From every single angle’ she told me confidently ‘it’s [windfarm building] wrong’. Turning back to Delingpole she said had no idea how it would effect the campaign but did tell me that she felt it was a ‘shame’ he had stood.
Crime and unemployment: Corby has higher crime and unemployment than the average for its region. Indeed it has been labelled a youth unemployment black spot. What would Margot do to turn this around I asked.
Youth unemployment she told me was her ‘top top priority’. She first identified local manufacturing as a way to help return jobs to the area, moving quickly on to tell me about how many people are worried about youth unemployment in the area ( a lot it seems) before coming back to the UKIP favourite: immigration. Young people who are desperate for jobs are being overlooked in favour of agency workers coming from the EU (first mention 4:01 into a 13:49 interview, impressively far into the conversation compared to most kippers) and Eastern Europe.
Coalition: After 2 years in office, how do you feel the Coalition’s policies are affecting the people of Corby as a whole, and what are your personal views on the Coalition and its effectiveness.
‘I don’t think the Coalition is effective at all’ was Margot’s instant reply labeling the current government as ‘weak’ criticising the numbers of promises made compared to the ‘very very little’ that has been delivered. She summed the coalition up with the typical British understatement of ‘it’s just quite awful really’ mentioning that ‘I don’t think people have confidence in them, in fact I know they don’t, because they are telling me they don’t.’
One part of her answer that impressed me was when she said ‘the bill is going up’ when I asked her about that she told me she meant the ‘huge huge borrowing which is going up and up and up.’ It is nice to see that UKIP – if no other political party – realising that the issue of national debt (which is set to rise more under the Coalition than it did under Labour) is a real issue.
Margot did not just save her criticism for the Tories and the Lib Dems who she thought were having to ‘please each other’ with contradictory policies and as such were merely ‘cobbling their way along.’ ‘People see no benefit in Labour either, they remember the 13 years of the Labour government which left the country covered bare financially.’
I wanted to ask Margot about specific Libertarian politics – given the stance of this magazine.
First of all was tax. UKIP MEP, John Bufton, recently struggled in a cringe worthy clip to properly explain UKIPs tax policy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-19672839) I wanted to know if Margot could give me more detail on the policy.
‘We want to bring down tax and national insurance’ Margot told me, ‘the tax burden deters employers from taking on young people. She went on to attack the personal threshold, labelling taxing people on the minimum wage as ‘crazy’ and that UKIP’s no tax on minimum wage policy was a ‘no brainer’ stating that the current economic orthodoxy was ‘not encouraging people to set up business and get people a job but making it harder for people’. She went on to reference the EU (2nd mention 06:39) as another issue on the economic horizon, by telling me that it was shrinking whilst the rest of the world was where we need to do more of our trading. ‘We need to pick up our businesses, make sure people are paid properly, and don’t, for God’s sake, tax people on the minimum wage.’
My final question was also on a Libertarian theme. UKIP had recently removed health vouchers as a policy. How did that chime with UKIPs constitution describing the party as ‘Libertarian’?
‘We have to be practical and realistic’ Margot told me. ‘We support the changes’ (presumably the Coalition health policy). She went on to reference a local example: the Labour Corby candidate had put out a leaflet entitled ‘Save our NHS’ claiming a local hospital was under threat of closure. To cut a long story short, it wasn’t. More Labour lies but I am not sure what it had to do with UKIP’s health voucher policy, or lack of.
‘The last thing you need to do is frighten people’ she told me, once again mentioning the need to be ‘practical and realistic’ again saying the changes that are in place needed to be supported. ‘We have to work with what we have got sensibly’ she told me.
‘It is critical that we don’t lose doctors and nurses’ was a point that she emphasised a few times, telling me that instead we needed to lose ‘paper shufflers’ and get ‘better value for money’
‘At the end of the day’ she told me ‘we don’t want to cut anything for the NHS’ (except the paper shufflers I presume) ‘we want a better service delivered properly, really an excellent service, that benefits all the people’. The UKIP candidate was keen to emphasise that her party supported local doctors and nurses, and that it was they, not the ‘pontificating politicians’, who best know how to run health services
Margot went on to highlight other areas UKIP was fighting the Government, huge cuts to our service personnel ‘we don’t have an aircraft carrier’ despite the ‘massive massive realignment’ that is going on in the world.
The interview finished with Margot telling me of her door knocking experiences ‘they’re all the same’ she is told on a regular basis ‘I don’t want to vote for any of them’.
We think UKIP are in with a slight chance in Corby, and with such desperate times politically for the 3 main parties, the rebel vote might end up with Margot Parker. Time will tell if we are right.