An interview with John Swallow Independent Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough broadcast on 12th April 2010 at 07:40 in the Paul Stainton Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Peterborough.
PS: Right let’s meet a man who’s taking on incumbent Tory MP Stewart Jackson. Let’s meet a man who’s taking on Ed Murphy the Labour Parliamentary Candidate. Let’s meet a man who’s taking on Nick Sandford who’s standing for the Liberals. As Labour publishes its pledges, this man, Peterborough’s Independent candidate John Swallow is launching his Agenda for Peterborough today. Morning John.
JS: Good morning Paul.
PS: Thank you for being so patient while we put the wires together.
JS: Well Paul can I just say ..
JS: .. you’ve run later than I have ever run with any bus this morning. Congratulations.
PS: That’s because you were a bus driver, weren’t you?
JS: I still am.
PS: Just remind us why you are standing in Peterborough.
JS: Because I don’t think that the party politicians have done us proud in Peterborough. I think it’s time for a change. Independents have always looked like just a protest vote, and I believe now that Independents are actually a credible alternative. We can make a difference with this parliament. We can get standards back into public life. We can raise that game. We can deliver policies and things. If there’s a hung parliament we can get in there and deliver policies. And I want to deliver those things for Peterborough.
PS: You haven’t got a chance of winning though John, have you?
JS: I think we have. It’s this .. this is going to be the chance, now or never. When you look, there’s ninety eight point five per cent of people do not belong to a political party. That tells me that they’re not very enthusiastic about party politics.
PS: What’s the big ideas for you though John? What’s going to win it for you? Why should people vote for you over Stewart Jackson, or Ed Murphy? What’s your big idea?
JS: Big ideas? It’s basically jobs. We’ve got to get high-quality jobs into Peterborough. We need a major employer. We need somebody to come into the town who’s going to bring well-paid jobs, and that money can then flow through into the economy. Housing is a real, real issue in Peterborough. How can it be, in the twenty-first century, we’ve got homeless people out there, people who actually want to live in a house, in a home? We don’t have council housing, we can’t get first-time buyers into property because they just simply cannot afford it. So it’s jobs, it’s housing, it’s education.
PS: These are all great ideas John, but I mean everybody wants this. How do you go about doing this?
JS: We’ve got to get into Parliament. We’ve got to actually be banging the drum for Peterborough down there. We’ve got to approach these big employers. we’ve actually got to do something .. when we get out of bed in the morning we’ve got to think, right, what can we do for our schools? How can we get into schools, find out what’s going on, and then take that down to Westminster, and then come back and say, look guys, this is what we’ve done.
PS: Immigration as well. What are the adverse impacts of immigration, do you think? And how are you going to remove those in Peterborough?
JS: I think when you look at immigration you have to split it down to two, maybe three areas. The first one is asylum. Anybody who comes here and claims that they’re in danger of their life and that, we need to deal with them fairly, we need to deal with them quickly. And if they’re not then they go home. Economic migration, we need to go a little bit deeper into the problem. And it’s things like cancelling third-world debt. Why do people want to come to Britain? It’s for the work, it’s for the money they can actually make here. They don’t come here to scrounge, or to sponge. we’ve got plenty of those ourselves.
JS: But when you actually look into the problem of why they ..
PS: You’re saying British people are scroungers?
JS: Go past the JobCentre guys, and have a look, You won’t see many foreign people actually out there, because they’re not entitled to the benefits and things. But you will see some of our guys, they’re stripped to the waist, they’re drinking the cans of Stella.
JS: Workshy. But that’s not the whole of the British people. We .. there’s much much more to British people. But when you dig in to immigration, we need to understand why the people are coming here. Can we make it better for them in their own country, cancelling third-world debt, extra support out there. Fairtrade is another thing. If we can bring Fairtrade out there into Africa and things, pay the right money for the right ..
PS: These are all big things though John. People on the ground are seeing the money fall out of their pockets. Yes you want to take every schoolchild to the twenty twelve Olympics for at least a day. I mean it’s a great idea, but it’s going to cost, isn’t it?
JS: It’s going to cost. But I think that cost is going to be worth it. It’s not a huge cost. we’ve got two years to organise that one. I’ve got two years, if I was MP, to go around and shake as many cans as I can, to get people down to there. What a fantastic opportunity that would be for every schoolchild. To actually turn round to their children in years to come and say “I went to the Olympics.”
PS: You also want to establish a People’s Bank, a sort of Peterborough Credit Union, don’t you?
JS: That would be fantastic. Because when you look, the banks aren’t actually relevant to us. They have higher interest rates. They’re not interested in many of the people who actually live and work in Peterborough. And then when they do they offer so much credit to people that they get weighed down. And when something goes wrong in their lives their life then goes into a tail-spin.
PS: We had one before though John. It didn’t really work, in the Ortons.
JS: Well we need to take a bigger view on it. We need to actually include the whole of Peterborough, and we need to get more people actually involved with it. We need to make these things work. The big banks certainly haven’t worked for Peterborough. We’re picking up .. half of the reason we’re in trouble in Peterborough is the fact we’re picking up the bill for paying for the banks’ mess.
PS: John, are you going to lose your deposit?
JS: I don’t know. There’s guys out there. They will know if they’re going to turn round and they’re going to make the choice. If they’re going to sign up to somebody who’s signed up to the Bell Principles, somebody who’s independent, somebody who’s completely different. The Independent Agenda for Peterborough, they need to have a look in that, and if they like what they see there, I won’t lose my deposit.
PS: Thank you for coming in this morning John, and we wish you all the best. John Swallow, who’s the Independent Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough. (other candidates listed)