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UKIP To Take A Stand At Guildford Means Business Exhibition – Organiser Interviewed

Published on: 10 Apr, 2013
Updated on: 12 Apr, 2013
Paul Bridgeland Guildford Means Business Exhibition organiser

Paul Bridgland, Guildford Means Business – exhibition organiser

The political party UKIP are to have a stand at the Guildford Means Business (GMB) Exhibition due to be held at G Live on 15th May.

The Guildford Dragon NEWS caught up with organiser Paul Bridgland and asked him about it.

What made you decide to offer space at GMB to political parties?

Business and politics are more closely linked than ever before. Government policies on taxation, rates, VAT, fuel prices etc have a a very real impact on local business. I felt it would be a great idea to have all the major parties represented at the show. The Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties all declined because the show on the 15th  May is after the local elections on the 2nd and, in their own words, they felt it was of no benefit to them to have a presence

What would you say to those who might feel it is inappropriate to have political parties at a business exhibition?

I believe in freedom to choose and freedom of speech, perhaps a controversial view itself in current times, with attempts being made to muzzle the press, and as I said I have made all the other parties aware that UKIP are exhibiting and given them the opportunity to represent themselves to provide a balanced representation.

Will UKIP pay the same rate as everyone else?

Yes, UKIP have paid for their stand in full.

Are there any constraints on the way they can behave or operate at the show? For example, can they make speeches with amplified sound?

No they are simply there as exhibitor’s and can present their proposal the same as any other exhibitor. There is no opportunity for them to make speeches.

Do you think that there is a danger that GMB will be associated with a particular political view?

Well as I said, the presence of UKIP does not represent any particular view of the organisers. Indeed I’m not even sure what political views my co-organiser has. I see no reason why a party or parties should not be represented at the show, particularly a business show. If I was to refuse their booking am I not myself exercising a degree of censorship.

Do you think that there is enough interest in local politics from those who do business in Guildford?

Frankly no, which is another reason I encouraged the political parties to have a presence. We are all sometimes guilty of behaving like ostriches with our heads buried under the sand. Or, worse still adopting the ‘not in my back yard approach’. The impact of politics on business is very real and very significant.

gmb-logo-2013sWhy have you switched to G Live this year? What more do you think it offers the exhibition?

Spectrum has been used for several years during which time G Live did not exist. It is a brand new venue with an important advantage over Spectrum: it is in the middle of town. We believe that this will have a significant impact on visitor numbers this year. In addition, it is a brand new building with excellent amenities, not least the catering, which has been a sore point at previous events. We’re really looking forward to the show and are confident we’ve made the right choice of venue.

Nomination lists of all candidates standing in Guildford divisions and wards in the forthcoming County Council elections and borough by – elections can be seen by clicking on the following links: County Council NomineesBorough Council By-election Nominees.

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test 2 Responses to UKIP To Take A Stand At Guildford Means Business Exhibition – Organiser Interviewed

  1. Paul Webster Reply

    April 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    As the co-organiser of Guildford Means Business I was quite happy to have UKIP exhibit, on the clear understanding that the other parties had the opportunity to do so as well.

    It’s interesting to note that many large companies exhibit at all the big party conferences. Why shouldn’t local parties mix with local busineses at a local event?

    I think it will add an extra little something to the show. Should be fun.

  2. George Potter Reply

    April 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I’ll just point out that we Guildford Lib Dems are also looking at the possibility of booking a stall. So I’m not entirely sure why it’s particularly news that UKIP have booked one. Different political parties have different views on how to help local businesses, so it’s not particularly surprising if some of them book stalls at events like this.

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