Fringe Box



Dragon Interview: Conservative County Council Candidate David Snipp

Published on: 10 May, 2017
Updated on: 10 May, 2017

Another notable runner-up in the recent county council election was David Snipp who stood as the Conservative candidate in Guildford North and managed to buck the trend of increased Liberal Democrat votes in other Guildford town divisions.

Martin Giles thought an interview was worthwhile to discover the secret of his success…

David Snipp

How long have you been a party member?

I joined the Conservative Party in July 2016 – less than a year ago. Brexit got me politically engaged. I relish having my views challenged and enjoy exploring new ideas and learning about new issues. In campaigning for Brexit, I felt that I had made a difference and realised that I should stop shouting at the TV and actually stand up and do something about it.

What was it about the Conservative Party’s policies or philosophy that attracted you?

Before I committed fully to the party and represent them, I decided to go to the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham in October last year. You can only get so much information from TV, newspapers and the internet. Too often statements are taken out of context and important statements are not relayed.

So I sat through every single speech during the three days to see what this party was all about. At the end of it, I realised that this was the “sensible party” or the “common sense party”. They aren’t try to force an ideology through no matter what. They are really trying to make things better. They are a party of governance.

Is this the first time you have stood in an election? What made you want to be a county councillor?

Yes, this is the first time I have stood in any election. I am a technology entrepreneur and I love a challenge. Being a businessman with a passion for technology means that I can read a balance sheet, understand how much things cost and reduce inefficiencies, possibly through technology, to enable us to continue to deliver high quality services with reduced budgets. I think Surrey is a beautiful county and Guildford a lovely town but I also believe that, as a councillor, I can work hard to make it even better.

You managed to buck the trend in the central Guildford divisions by increasing the Conservative vote in Guildford North. What do you think were the reasons for that?

Sheer hard work. Since being nominated, I have literally walked down every street and knocked on as many doors as I could – given that there was just a few weeks of campaigning and more than 11,000 voters. My wife, Pauline, was by my side every step of the way and I don’t think I could have done this without her support.

We also built up a great team of helpers from all over Guildford North including many friends and family who live in Stoke and Stoughton. The typical response we received from knocking on doors was, “No-one from any party has knocked on my door before – you have now got my vote.”

Why do you think most people don’t bother to vote in local elections?

I believe that people think that their vote doesn’t matter and that they can’t change anything. I have learnt so much about how local government works in just the last year.

You can make a difference. If you don’t like how something is being run, write to your councillor – they will reply. If you think you can do a better job, then become a councillor. All parties need more good quality candidates. We also need proper representation across all age ranges. I urge everyone to consider either standing or actively supporting their councillor.

Following your campaign experience, do you think those who did vote last Thursday voted on county council policies or national issues?

Some people vote for a party, simply because they always have. Sometimes, I would put a leaflet through a door and I would have it handed back to me before they have even read it. They had already made up their mind before they even knew what the other candidates were saying. Some people vote for the person. In this particular area, the previous councillor was not standing for re-election and I was new.

What do you think can be done to address the funding gap that exists in Surrey County Council which is affecting spending on adult social care and road maintenance?

Businesses have long struggled with increasing costs and tightening margins. Providing ever increasing services with a reducing grant from the government means that we are going to have to do one of the following things: increase revenue, decrease costs or both.

We can increase revenue by increasing council tax – it has just been raised by 4.99%. We can get a better return on our investments and use vehicles like Funding Circle to invest in Surrey Based Businesses and receive more than 7% return.

We can decrease costs by being more efficient, possibly through technology. One such idea is using plastic to repair potholes. It is better for the environment, cheaper and longer lasting.

In summary, we need fresh, new, modern ideas pushed through by councillors in a bi-partisan co-operating manner. After all, we all want the same thing – to make Guildford a better place for us all.

Do you still hope to become a councillor in future elections?

I thoroughly enjoyed campaigning, knocking on peoples doors, meeting and talking to our neighbours. Guildford Borough elections are in two years time and the next county elections in another four years. There may also be by-elections from time to time.

Meanwhile, we have to get through the general election first and make a success of Brexit. I will do everything I can to help Anne Milton be re-elected as our MP to help form a strong and stable government.


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