A SURPRISE for No Surprises this week, although I’ve promised to be political free, “promise” is a trick word in politics; I’ve received reply from Claire Perry! Shame, the chances was a gnat’s hair from becoming a running joke. So, I’m honoured to talk to our local MP; in your face Andrew Marr.
Since I started this column I’ve been fortunate to have interviewed some significant and worthy local people; can we get anyone more important? Better not muck this one up… Isn’t that what Theresa May said about the snap election?
Bear in mind these questions were asked at the beginning of the month; on my best behaviour I congratulated Claire on her successful campaign, was there ever a doubt? “Nationally though,” I wanted to ask, “I thought we wasn’t going to have a coalition of chaos?”
Claire thinks, “it’s important to recognise that, nationally, this was not the result we wanted, and we need to reflect on that and how to take the party forward. I will therefore be collating all of the feedback I have received from constituents and feeding it back.”
Seems like a lot of feeding going on, I wonder if it’ll filter down to the hungry; the homeless, disabled and nurses relying on food banks due to NHS cuts…
C’est la vie; I honestly think there’s worse Conservative MPs, it’s not like Claire would block the bid to end the 1% public sector pay cap… What, she did? Give her a cheer firefighters.
“Locally, you appear to adopt a liberal standing,” I asked, using her sway to find the Food Bank new premises as an example.
“However, when you get to London you seem to kiss the feet of whoever’s in charge. Can we ever hope you’ll cast your views appropriately and stand up for all your constituency; you have poorer people living here too you know?”
Claire is “glad that at this crucial time, having won most seats and the most votes, we’ll be forming a Government behind our leader Theresa May.” She goes on to express their ethos’s don’t clash.
“Personally, I think the Prime Minister is doing an outstanding job in very difficult and challenging times, and she continues to enjoy my full support. Some have accused her of coming across as robotic or wooden…”
No! Who said that? The survivors of the Grenfell Tower atrocity who she failed to engage with, the nurse she patronised on TV with her money tree scenario, or the millions struggling to make end meet? “However,” Claire assured, “she is anything but – she has always been a caring a compassionate leader who wants the best for her country.”
I think we may have to agree to disagree on this minor point, along with the 175,000 revellers at Glasto and the millions who shared JC’s inspirational speech over social media.
Being the Tory campaign was to put people off Labour by screeching Corybn is a terrorist sympathiser, is the DUP coalition calling the kettle black?
Claire was keen to contradict herself, “we are not entering a coalition with the DUP, the Conservative party is the only party forming the UK Government. We are entering talks with the DUP to ask if they will be willing to support us in those key votes on a confidence and supply basis. This does not mean we are entering into a relationship with the DUP, or that we support them.”
So, it’s just to patch over the fact Conservative’s lost seats. Lucky the money tree was discovered growing out the taxpayer’s purse in the nick of time; retained for when the bullies turn May’s pockets out in the playground; a weak-spot for EU negotiators to note. With a face like a wet weekend she spent our cash on keeping her job while Arlene Foster grinned like the Cheshire Cat; give them an inch.
“Are we expected to become creationists now?” I asked. “What would you say to the LGBT population of the constituency, are they unwelcome?”
“I and a number of other colleagues disagree with a number of beliefs held by some in the DUP,” she confessed, “particularly around LGBT rights, abortion, religious freedom and climate change,” stressing it important to remember the Tories introduced same sex marriage and Turing’s Law.
Claire stressed they will continue to “promote the equal rights we believe in. However, just because we hold different views doesn’t mean we cannot work together (despite stating you’re not) to provide stability the UK needs now.” There’s that stability word again, Claire assured me the DUP are “supportive and friendly,” which is nice; if it was to filter down, Northern Ireland could do with a cash boost, so could the rest of the UK.
One of my questions, “How can we be stable when we cut the school budget, how can we be strong when we cut the police budget? How can we have certainty when we are lied to about privatisation of the NHS?” clearly didn’t deserve an answer. Evidently money trees are not evergreen, a point glossed with irony as a visit to Parliament for year six pupils of Kennet Valley School made the bulk of Claire’s column this week; did she look them in the eye?
Being Theresa May is hell bent on poisoning the water, I asked what Claire was doing to prevent fracking in our area. “This is something which I have recently contacted Wiltshire Council about,” she replied, “and look forward to an update shortly.”
Given her approachable nature in a backlash of criticism and new role, I’d expect her to go against the grain on this one, but with her allegiance pledged to May, and her standard right-wing clichéd answers wrought with blasé soundbites, I’m unconvinced she has the influence or will to halt the fracking frackers. This represents the selfish Tory ideology to the hilt; claiming they disagree with the DUP but want them to embrace theirs, claiming to honour the emergency services but not financially, hosting a school party to the halls where they slashed their budget; hopefully the bottom of their bucket will fall out.
Despite this, I thank Claire for her time. I wonder if I’ll be invited onto her Gazette column next week?!