I was the only journalist to predict a hung Parliament in 2017, and I am predicting another hung Parliament at the next General Election. One MP is going to be able to make all the difference. Local information already has me on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here in North West Durham, meaning that any of us could be the First Past the Post. All that I need is the £10,000 with which to mount a serious campaign, plus the crowdfunding fee. I have no interest in being a paper candidate.
I was born in 1977, and I have lived in North West Durham since 1982. I never went to school anywhere else, and I went to university at Durham. I was an elected member of Lanchester Parish Council from 1999 to 2013, a governor (including a time as Vice Chair) of Lanchester Endowed Parochial Primary School from 1999 to 2007, and a governor of Saint Bede’s from 2000 to 2008. I am currently one of Derwentside’s elected public governors of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust; to the best of my knowledge, I am the only person ever to have been elected to that Council of Governors unopposed. I have had several periods of involvement with Willow Burn Hospice over the last 25 years. I am both a product and a feature of the political pluralism of North West Durham, where Labour holds fewer than half of the County Council seats, where the Conservative parliamentary candidate won 34 per cent of the vote last year, where the Liberal Democrat candidate cut the Labour majority in half in 2010, and where an Independent kept his deposit both in 2005 and in 2010. Wear Valley was controlled for a time by the Liberal Democrats, who remained numerous on it until its abolition. Derwentside was in practice controlled by an alliance between the Independents and that section of the local Labour Party which now supports my parliamentary candidacy; its Leader from that time, Councillor Alex Watson OBE, is one of my Campaign Patrons. My other Campaign Patron is Davey Ayre, a legendary local trade unionist.
I would appoint an Independent, a Labourite, a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat in each of the County Wards, ideally including at least one person in each of the former District Wards, to work with me and with local people. I would also appoint a Policy Advisor from within each of the Independent, Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat blocs, and I hereby offer first refusal on that Labour position to my old comrade Neil Fleming, who is now living here again after his time as Head of Press and Broadcasting for the Labour Party and as its London Regional Director. The price of my support for any Government in the coming hung Parliament would be the necessary support for a number of projects in each of the former District Wards equal to the former number of District Councillors, together with justice for the 472 Teaching Assistants whose pay Durham County Council had cut by 23 per cent, and together with the implementation of the plan for the rail service in the North of England that was recently advanced by well over 20 local and regional newspapers, most of which have never supported Labour, and only one of which did so last year. And yes, I do mean the price of my support for any Government. Even a Government that was headed by Jeremy Corbyn, whom I broadly, but not uncritically, support. Two of the three such projects in Lanchester would be the restoration of the full bus service and the construction of adequate flood defences, while one in Weardale would be the saving of the Sixth Form at Wolsingham.
I am now working with all of the non-Labour members of Durham County Council and with the trade unions, to bring Volkswagen’s production for the British market to County Durham after, or even before, Brexit. I am more than open to further suggestions along similar lines. Among many other things, this project will guarantee the financial future of the Durham Miners’ Gala and of the Durham Miners’ Hall. The absence of the County Council Labour Group is that Group’s own sorry fault. I unreservedly condemn the decision of that Group to award to the Kier Group, with its history of blacklisting, the contract to build the new headquarters of Durham County Council.
I strongly support the exploitation of the vast reserves of coal in this country and in this county. That, and the extension of civil nuclear power, are the means of delivering highly paid, highly skilled, high status, unionised jobs while securing independence from Arab oil, from Russian gas, and from coal that has been mined using child and slave labour. From North Korea, Donald Trump intends his dynasty to supply a dependent world with the coal of the Kim dynasty deep into the twenty-second century. Yet we have our own, right here under our feet. Horror stories about how coal was burned or mined in the Britain of the twentieth century have no relevance to the Britain of the twenty-first. At the same time, I am totally opposed to the open-casting of the Pont Valley or anywhere else, digging up hardly any coal while employing hardly anyone. On those same grounds, I am also totally opposed to fracking.
I would co-operate with people of all parties and none, in order to implement Theresa May’s original Prime Ministerial agenda of workers’ and consumers’ representation in corporate governance, of shareholders’ control over executive pay, of restrictions on pay differentials within companies, of an investment-based Industrial Strategy and infrastructure programme, of greatly increased housebuilding, of action against tax avoidance, of a ban on public contracts for tax-avoiding companies, of a cap on energy prices, of banning or greatly restricting foreign takeovers, of a ban on unpaid internships, and of an inquiry into Orgreave, while returning to her world-leading record of work against human trafficking and modern slavery, not least now that slavery has returned to Libya.
As the Member of Parliament for North West Durham, my Westminster office would be a global centre for the broadly based opposition and alternative to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy, strongly asserting that that opposition and that alternative were the real centre ground. My candidacy is already endorsed by Dr Philip M. Giraldi, Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, Washington, D.C.; former CIA counterterrorism specialist and military intelligence officer; and foreign policy advisor to the 2008 Presidential campaign of Ron Paul. It also endorsed by Dr Leon Hadar of Chevy Chase, Maryland, and of Tel Aviv, Israel; Contributing Editor of The American Conservative; Commentator, Quillette; Washington Correspondent and Columnist, The Business Times, Singapore; and foreign policy advisor to the 2008 Presidential campaign of Ron Paul.
I have spent more than 20 years, since I was just about still in my teens and had never seen the Internet, trying to get the story out about Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange. I have paid a terrible journalistic and political price for it, but I have no regrets. Media that always knew about it simply ignored the whole thing, banning me from their websites and what have you, until a period of no more than two weeks when they needed to distract attention from Patrick Rock. Normal service was rapidly resumed, and it has continued ever since. No one has done more on this issue than I have. No one. And now, the plan is advancing to make Harman the next Speaker of the House of Commons. Not only would I oppose her election, but, were she already in post, then I would oppose her re-election at the start of the next Parliament.
I am actively involved in campaigns for truth and justice as various, and yet as inseparable from each other, as Hillsborough, Shrewsbury, Orgreave, Grenfell Tower, blacklisting, spycops, Farepak, Remploy, George Bell, Julian Assange, the Miami Showband massacre, the Marikana massacre, support for the Dalits, support for the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, support for the Chagossians, support for Abdullah Öcalan and the wider Kurdish cause, support for the deportation of Altaf Hussain to Pakistan, support for an inquiry into the role of the Thatcher Government in the 1984 storming of the Golden Temple and in the events surrounding it, support for the Dorje Shugden practitioners who are being persecuted by the Dalai Lama, support for the Russian and other ethnic minorities who are oppressed in the Baltic States, support for the ancient indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa (and not least of the Holy Land), support for those in Israel who are opposed to the apartheid Nation-State Law, support for British Jews who do not identify as Zionists primarily or at all, and support for the Jews and Zoroastrians of Iran. As the Member of Parliament for North West Durham, I would board a plane to Tehran and simply refuse to leave without Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Abbas Edalat. My Westminster office would be a global centre for the coordination of these and numerous other campaigns for truth and justice at home and abroad.
My views on a wide range of issues may be read here. Any money raised over and above the target of £15,000 would be donated to other candidates, of any party or none, who broadly shared those values and policies. Very many thanks.