We’re in the final stretch now with the election just over a week away. If you’re sick of hearing about it every single day, rejoice because it’s nearly over, and if you don’t care, here are six reasons why you should.
Our final set of responses is from United Kingdom Independence candidate Daryll Pitcher.
Why did you get involved in politics?
A question I ask myself all the time! Ultimately I feel as though I can make a difference, however small. I like helping people and I like improving things. What I have learnt is that helping and improving are possible but are often difficult, complicated and take a huge amount of time. It’s still worth it though. If I’m not prepared to stand up for what I believe in I can’t expect anybody else to do it for me.
What is your stance on the legalisation of cannabis and why?
I am against it. You wouldn’t legalise tobacco or alcohol either now, but for historic reasons they persist. I wouldn’t be surprised if tobacco was banned eventually looking at the way things are going. Not that I would support banning anything that we are currently allowed to do, I can just see it coming.
The average debt of a recent university graduate is £44,000 – the highest in the English speaking world. What is your stance on tuition fees?
I would like to see a system whereby certain subjects for instance science, maths, and languages were free while other courses were rated and banded so that at the end those courses with little academic use were charged at full rate, but the ones in between were on a sliding scale.
We send too many people to university to study subjects that are either irrelevant or should never be degree level in the first place. Some of the most successful people I know never went to university and conversely I have never required my degree for my career.
Do you support Isle of Wight Pride and what are your thoughts on Andrew Turner’s decision to resign?
I support all events that help to put the Island on the map. Pride is no different. We do a lot to celebrate our community on the Island and I think that is a good thing. The MP should represent our community in all its forms and for that reason Andrew Turner had to go.
Do you support votes at 16? Why or why not?
I think the current age of 18 is the right one. When asked about votes at 16 I tend to flip the question and ask “So why stop at 16? What have 15 year olds done wrong, or 14 etc.” We have age limits for many reasons and quite often they are set by whether they ‘feel’ right, and in my view this one currently does.
I remember being frustrated myself when I was below 18 as I wanted to get involved in politics, looking back I think it was probably right to make me wait a bit.
Many young people feel they have to leave to succeed. Do you agree, and if not, can more jobs be created on the Isle of Wight?
I absolutely refute that idea. I was told it once and I am still angry about it twenty years later. We can create jobs here. In fact the Island is ideal for many different industries. Much of commerce is global, people collaborate on projects from thousands of miles apart. Global industrial companies have factories all over the place.
A certain American motor company manufactures in 21 different countries. Three miles of water is not what is stopping us. How do we attract these companies? Have a highly skilled and motivated workforce and backing from the government and council to put in place the infrastructure. A ‘can do’ attitude helps as well. The Island lacks confidence in its abilities, I intend to change that.
Since 2010, we’ve seen the longest fall in wages since records began, making it it joint worst with Greece in the developed world. What would you do to ensure a fair wage for young people in work?
According to my research, while it is true that real earnings have dropped since 2010 they have grown again since 2014 which was the low point, but they seem to be stagnating or worse at this very moment.
Also it is worth noting that since 1975 average earnings for full time employees has doubled even after inflation. It is also worth noting that the largest fall in income since 2011 has been amongst the top 10 per cent of wage earners. Inflation is one of the key drivers of falling real earnings at present.
According to Fullfact.org, the NHS funding gap will be £30 billion by 2020. What are your thoughts on the current state of the NHS?
UKIP would redirect money from the foreign aid budget to the NHS. However money is not the only issue.. Many of the problems are caused by poor management rather than lack of funds.
We must also be aware that the country is currently borrowing an extra £1bn per week just to stand still, and that current tax rates are quite close to the historical high point leaving little room for maneuver.
Living on an island, transport is a priority for residents of every age. What are your views on transport around the Island, and across the Solent?
For a start we have to live with the reality that we rely on our road system which is at capacity. I can’t see major road building happening any time soon for a number of environmental and financial reasons so we must manage with what we have.
I would like to see a blanket 20mph speed limit in all residential and pedestrian heavy areas. The bus service is actually not bad but it’s too expensive and there are black spots such as Havenstreet which get no buses.
I support keeping Island Line as part of the franchise and would like to see community non-executive directors appointed to all ferry companies to represent Island residents.
What would you do to help young people get on the housing ladder?
We are not building enough houses that is certain. The problem is where do we build them and how do we make that happen. I am a firm defender of the so-called Green Belt and do not support large estate building in rural areas.
We need more Social Housing and should change legislation to encourage it. The other thing we need to do is manage the numbers. Net immigration to this country in 2016 was 273,000. Even at the rate of four to a house that required an extra 68,250 properties last year alone. As a comparison there are 72,000 households on the Isle of Wight.