Fringe Box



Candidate Interview: Harry Aldridge – UKIP

Published on: 28 Apr, 2015
Updated on: 29 Apr, 2015

Martin Giles of The Guildford Dragon NEWS has invited each of the parliamentary candidates for the Guildford constituency to take part in a short, ten question interview. Each response was limited to 100 words.

He has marked each response out of three for the directness and quality of the response as he sees it. See if you agree. Marks have not been subtracted if a candidate appears to have diverged from his/her party policy but this may be mentioned.

Harry Aldridge ukipHarry Aldridge

1. Is more austerity necessary to tackle the deficit and the huge national debt? Aren’t more cuts and/or tax rises inevitable whichever government we get?

Yes more cuts are necessary. The deficit must be eliminated, otherwise we continue to live beyond means and send the bill to our children which is immoral. UKIP has set out a costed manifesto showing how we would save £30bn per annum, saving money from EU contributions, reducing foreign aid, scrapping the HS2 project, and reviewing the Barnett formula to have fair funding across all nations.

Score 2 – Honest on his perceived need for more cuts and a good point about the impact of debt on future generations. Savings could be made by leaving the EU but at what economic cost and what about the morality of cutting foreign aid to some of the poorest countries in the world? Reviewing the Barnett formula might be very popular with many English voters but will further divide us from those north of the border.

UKIP logo2. How can we afford to maintain ever increasing demand on NHS services?

We have pledged an extra £3 billion per annum by the end of the next parliament, equating to £12 billion over the next parliament. This will help, but the NHS also needs to continue to make more efficiency savings and better utilise assets, for example moving to a seven-days-a-week operation. GPs must be resourced to alleviate pressure on A&E, and we need to encourage healthy lifestyles so fewer people need expensive care. New technology like telemedicine and smart watches may help with more cost effective remote care and early intervention.

Score 2 – A better answer than most we have seen, so far, to this question but the scale of extra spending required might be far greater than that outlined by Harry. Good that some potential efficiency measures have been included even if they might only scratch the surface.

3. What do you say to those who say that immigration to the UK has been beneficial, bringing many willing workers to the UK prepared to take on jobs British people won’t do?

Immigration can be a huge benefit economically and socially. However along with benefits also come challenges, not least pressure on public services and infrastructure. Schools, dentists, GPs, housing, don’t all appear overnight, they need planning and investment. What we want to see is an Australian style, points based, managed immigration system that applies equally and fairly to everyone wishing to come to this country, and gives us some control over the numbers and allows us to meet skills shortages. The public must have confidence that immigration works for the benefit of the country otherwise resentment will build which is dangerous.

Score 1 – If it is a “huge benefit” why worry? What are the down sides? The UK has, in fact, been operating a points based system since 2008, not sure why the Kippers prefer the Aussie system. But however you prioritise those applying to come here the key thing is controlling the numbers. Government after government has failed, lamentably, to do this. Of course leaving the EU would reduce a lot of the pressure, about 45% of immigrants are from the EU. While Harry seems sincere many feel that UKIP is still populated with too many closet racists.

4. Would you vote to retain Trident?

Yes. The purpose of defence is to be prepared for the unforeseen and Trident is an effective insurance policy. There may be a case to scale it down slightly, but I think it is a necessary evil. Effective defence also underpins our security and stability and thus prosperity, which also funds public services, so underpins and safeguards our way of life. Also the cost, of £3 billion to 4 billion a year is about the extra debt interest we would have due to Labour’s spending plans over the next parliament and I’d rather cut the deficit and spend on Trident rather than debt interest.

Score 3 – Good direct answer but it won’t satisfy, of course, those who feel nuclear weapons are immoral.

5. Wouldn’t leaving the EU make Britain a less prosperous, poorer country?

I believe it would make us more prosperous. We would save £9 billion per year by the end of the next parliament in net contributions for a start. We would also be free to determine the laws and regulations that best serve the UK, and only those companies who trade in other European countries would need to comply. We want a bi-lateral deal, like Switzerland, which ensures tariff free free trade but not one-size-fits-all harmonised laws and regulations. Open Europe estimate the benefits could be roughly 1% of GDP if the right steps are taken post Brexit.

Score 2 – Another direct answer but even Nigel Farage has admitted leaving the EU might leave us poorer: a price worth paying in his book. Harry has also ignored the fact that countries like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland have to comply with EU regulations without having any influence over them.

6. All polls indicate that UKIP will have a higher share of the popular vote than the Lib Dems but, under our “first past the post system”, win fewer seats? Presumably you favour PR but under the current system isn’t voting UKIP a waste of a vote?

The only wasted vote is a vote for a party who you do not believe in or agree with. If you always vote how you always have then you’ll always get you’ve always got. UKIP has managed to fundamentally shape the UK debate on the EU and immigration without having any seats in the House of Commons, so it is possible to influence even without seats. But we hope to win a few seats this time round to give a voice in parliament to all UKIP voters across the country and every vote will give more strength to that voice.

Score 3 – Good answer which could apply to any minor party.

7. None of the major parties are willing to enter a coalition with you. Even if your party does win a few seats how will you exercise any power or influence?

Well this election is looking like it will result is a very hung parliament and the influence of individual MPs will be magnified. UKIP has shaped the national debate in this country simply by proving electoral support across the country, and all parties will need to respond to the concerns of these voters if they want to succeed at the following election. So UKIP would influence not just in parliament directly but also outside it by continuing to campaign and take votes from the old failed parties.

Score 1 – Hmm… not sure. The Lib Dems had to get 50 seats in a hung parliament before they could really bring much influence to bear. This time it could be the SNP with a similar number of seats, albeit from far fewer votes.

8. Do you agree with the Guildford Residents’ Association that the house building target for Guildford borough should be between 300 and 350 rather than the 650 figure put forward by Guildford Borough Council in the draft Local Plan?

We agree that with the revised household projections that an appropriate baseline figure is closer to 350 than 650. However we have an acute shortage now and need more houses to alleviate this as a priority. I have set out our proposals to kick start brownfield development, and said that some proportionate green belt development in some areas needs to be part of the mix. We also need to ensure the houses that are built are a mix of types and sizes to cater for everyone and not just expensive large homes.

Score 2 – Everyone agrees on brownfield first but it would require legislative changes to force landowners to develop or sell. Green belt development will continue to face major opposition and flies in the face of public consultation feedback conducted by Guildford Borough Council.

9. How do you rate the performance of Guildford Borough Council over the last four years?

It has been okay in general but poor on housing. Failure and delay to pull together a plan with the input and support of local residents is exacerbating the housing problem which must be urgently addressed.

Score 2 – Perhaps generous. Some might describe the inability to produce a Local Plan that could withstand scrutiny and resistance at first the need for master-planning in the town centre as shambolic. As stated it has certainly affected housing provision. But Harry is right to say that many other areas have been okay to very good.

10. Some say yours is a “nasty” party which dislikes foreigners, blames them for all our ills and plans to reduce our aid to some of the world’s poorest countries. What’s your response?

It’s rubbish. Yes we want to scale back foreign aid, but we would still spend over £4 billion in each year of the next parliament. We want to focus aid on disaster relief and vaccinations, and not projects of more dubious value. The government’s aid watchdog said British aid was fuelling corruption and we need spend it wisely, and in current times cut it to what is affordable. And we are not anti-immigration but recognise it should be managed to help maximise the upsides and ameliorate the downsides. It’s supporting taxpayers, not being nasty to foreigners.

Score 3 – A good answer but many will remain unconvinced, some because of their own liberal or left wing prejudice, others because of the continuing trickle of revealing comments from some UKIP members.

What do you think of Harry Aldridge’s answers and of Martin Giles’ scoring and comments? Your view is just as important. Have your say by using the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below.

Click here to see other candidate interviews.

These candidates are standing for the Guildford constituency in the general election:

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Responses to Candidate Interview: Harry Aldridge – UKIP

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    April 28, 2015 at 11:54 am

    To those who think nuclear weapons are immoral I say war is immoral.

    Having a nuclear deterrent since WW2 has helped to maintain peace against aggression here in Europe.

  2. Harry Eve Reply

    April 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    In his comment on question 10 Martin Giles used the word “prejudice” for liberal and left wing. If prejudice was meant then, for balance, it also applies to right wing. A better word to use might have been “viewpoint”.

    That aside, I am enjoying the format and am happy to read his views along with those of the candidates, even if I don’t always agree with them.

    Glad you are enjoying the interviews Harry. I am being consciously critical and challenging because I think we in the media, even at a local level, should be. Of course, I do not expect everyone to agree with my comments and encourage them to make their own.

    I said: “A good answer but many will remain unconvinced, some because of their own liberal or left wing prejudice, others because of the continuing trickle of revealing comments from some UKIP members.” It is only those with a liberal or left wing prejudice that are likely to remain unconvinced by Harry Aldridge’s answer. Those on the right are likely to be satisfied with it. Don’t you think? Martin Giles

  3. David Wragg Reply

    April 28, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Good straight answers – the Tories had better look out. David Cameron has not simply neglected defence but slashed our armed forces to a dangerous degree.

    If you want peace, you need a position of strength. Spending vast amounts of overseas aid is immoral and feeds corruption, and instead we should concentrate on disaster relief, vaccinations and providing clean water.

    India is getting £200 million from the UK this year, but has a space programme and new Boeing P-8 maritime-reconnaissance aircraft, while we have no capability in this area at all.

  4. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 28, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    I am a bit surprised that Harry A. in answer 3 says that immigration has been beneficial to our little country. I can see nothing but negatives in such things as housing, NHS, benefits, crime, schools, etc. If UKIP are not going to protect us from such things then which party is?

    • Harry Aldridge Reply

      April 29, 2015 at 7:24 am

      In response to Stuart Barnes, I said it “can be” beneficial.

      Most people wouldn’t deny that highly skilled immigration (doctors, engineers, scientists) are not beneficial. They are also more likely to be net tax contributors.

      However low or unskilled minimum wage workers can depress wages in some areas and sectors, and the scale has caused pressures on services.

      Our policy is to have a cap of 50,000 highly skilled work visas (separate to students, family reunion, and asylum) and a moratorium on unskilled immigration for the next parliament.

      Harry Aldridge is the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Guildford

      • Stuart Barnes Reply

        April 30, 2015 at 8:35 am

        I am grateful for Harry Aldride’s response. However I am still surprised by the tone of his original comments.

        I believe, like the majority of the English people, that immigration in general terms has been a disaster for our country.

        Of course there are some minor plusses but overall it has been and still is a major minus.

        One of the big problems of course is that vast numbers of the incomers are completely incompatible with our traditions and culture and have no intention of trying to assimilate.

        Nigel Farage has said in the past that he wants our country back. Most of us say aye to that.

  5. Harry Eve Reply

    April 28, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    No, the word “prejudice” is still restricted to those of a liberal or left wing viewpoint. Perhaps I am being a bit unfair, it is implied that those with a right wing viewpoint may be more easily “taken in” by Harry Aldridge’s response which was good in parts – although I have not checked, independently, all the points he makes so I may have reached an unreasonable view on this.

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