HEDON Town Councillor Terry West has been announced as the UKIP candidate for this area – the South West Holderness Ward – in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) elections to be held in May 2015.
The names of the party’s local candidates were released during a visit to Hedon by UKIP MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Mike Hookem on Saturday 18th October 2014. Councillor West spoke to Ray Duffill from the Hedon Blog about his decision:
Cllr. West who joined UKIP two years ago explained why he joined: “I can’t understand why someone in our Parliament would want someone from another Parliament to tell us what to do, but that’s what is happening.
“In the referendum on joining the Common Market in 1975 I actually voted in favour of joining and supported its initial ideas including the free movement of trade and people within Europe, but for it to have worked it would have meant general living standards to have been consistent across the European states, which of course they are not. That, and the excessive waste and enormous pyramid of bureaucracy associated with Europe – especially highlighted since Mike Hookem became an MEP – turned me against the idea.
“Independence from Europe would mean regaining control over the country’s own destiny. It would mean not having to go to Europe cap in hand to negotiate our own trade agreements and laws. UKIP are the only party standing up for the country.”
What about jobs that might be lost if we left Europe: “Nick Clegg of the Lib-Dems famously made the comments that 3-million jobs would be lost if we left Europe. But UKIP, including members locally, got involved in a fact-finding exercise about that statement and in reality analysts had said that 3m jobs may be affected but this would be offset by the trade with Europe that would still take place after independence from Europe.”
So why is he standing in the ERYC elections? “My experience to date as a Hedon Councillor is that while there’s a certain amount of influence at a Town Council level on issues such as parking, planning, flooding and housing, they are better tackled at the East Riding Council.”
I press Cllr. West on what difference it would make being a UKIP member on the ERYC; Labour and the Conservative Parties would probably list parking, planning, flooding and housing as key issues. He explains that he attended the UKIP national conference in Doncaster recently and heard Tory defector Mark Reckless explain and list the policies and promises that he had been unable to keep as an MP because of the restrictions of having been a member of the Conservatives. In a similar way, Cllr. West argues, an active UKIP group on ERYC will have the independence to be able to really influence the way the council does business.
He also emphasises how new eyes on council affairs should be able to identify and highlight where wasteful expenditure might be taking place: “It would be nice to be able to find out first hand how the council spends its money and identify excessive spending. I find it worrying that the council can pay its top officers such high wages and yet still offer them the best ever pension deals and golden handshakes when they leave.
“I’m not saying that excessive spending is done on purpose, but for the old parties it’s become the norm – just look at the MPs expenses issue. UKIP’s new eyes would be able to identify such excessive spending and tackle those issues. Whether it’s in Brussels, MPs in the UK Parliament, or on local councils vast amounts of public money is spent every second. Let’s identify any excessive and wasteful expenditure and do something about it.”
Cllr. West is a local business man with a building and design business and his professional skills and knowledge have been brought to bear on Hedon Town Council issues. Cryptically he mentions how this experience may influence future housing policy: “Housing and where new housing is built is an important issue. People still need to have somewhere to live and homes need to be built. But we are still building properties like we did 30 years ago. We need to build in a different way.” Cllr. West wouldn’t expand on what that ‘different way’ was, but there are indications that we will hear more about this at some point before the elections next May.
Finally, what would it mean to be elected an East Riding Councillor in that it is a ‘fuller time’ political role: “Being a Town Councillor has been a real learning process and has dug into my precious free-time from my business and into my family life. There’s no doubt that being an East Riding Councillor would really change things for me. Such a change has been experienced by Mike Hookem. In January Mike was helping me in my Town Council Election campaign as an ordinary UKIP member, but lo-and-behold he’s an MEP just three months later. But like Mike I’m motivated by being able to change things for the better, whether in my part of Holderness or in the country.”
The local elections will be held on the same day as the general election on Thursday 7th May 2015. Also declared for the ERYC elections are three Labour Party candidates, all Hedon residents; Neil Black, Steve Gallant and Brian Stockdale. The sitting councillors for South West Holderness are another three Hedon residents; Mike Bryan and John Dennis both Conservatives and Ann Suggit an Independent.
Also of interest locally, will be the selection of Andrew Weaver from Thorngumbald as the UKIP candidate for the Mid Holderness Ward in the ERYC elections.
Mr Weaver is also the recently appointed Membership Secretary for the Beverley & Holderness Branch of UKIP. He says that the Branch currently has 135 members but the renewed interest in UKIP is leading to more requests to join. Part of his role is to ensure that the increase in support for the party is reflected through more members. New members can join online via the Branch website www.ukipbh.org and Mr Weaver says proceeds from membership will then remain in the branch for local use.