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On Friday 16th March, I met with the leadership of the recently launched Democrats and Veterans Party. Present were Party Chairman Gavin Felton, Deputy Leader and Veterans Spokesman, Trevor Coult MC, and Stephen Crosby.
DV “Given all that has happened in British Politics in recent years, with the likes of UKIP topping the European election poll in 2014 and now dead in the water 2018, what’s so different about the Democrats and Veterans Party? UK politics has surely never felt more polarised?”
Gavin Felton. “Well firstly we believe that we have the structure and foundations right. UKIP grew very quickly especially from 2011 and the truth is that they couldn’t cope with the volume of success. DVP recognise that they will make mistakes but they will learn from them and move on. Infighting is what our enemies want. It’s about positivity and providing hope to people. On the doorstep people are crying out for hope. It can be done, we know its going to be hard work. It’s about the right people with the right skill set, passion and drive, and then letting them set their own local policies. We won’t have a whip in the Party. Our Motto is “We Serve”. We serve the people”
DV “In terms of the change agenda what do you see as the biggest change in British politics?”
Gavin Felton. “We need to get away from the two party system. We have MPs going against the will of the very people that they are supposed to represent. That’s wrong. There is a real disconnect that we need to fix.”
Stephen Crosby. “There was a survey about what people are most concerned about. It wasn’t immigration. Yes that was important but it wasn’t the MOST important thing. It was the cost of living. It’s the needs of people daily lives that matters most.. Bread and butter issues are what count most. People are totally disillusioned with the current political system. People are by and large voting not FOR a party but rather to keep the other party out. We want to provide people with positivity. We want elected representatives to be accountable to the people.
Trevor Coult MC. “By our party bringing in direct democracy which hasn’t been done before, “DV connect” – our digital portal – enables our members to upload their concerns and when they get sufficient likes, the local representatives then MUST raise and reflect them. So doing things our way, through our digital portal, we are from the people up, not from the elite down.
Gavin Felton. “In our Party we don’t parachute people into areas we will always go with local people. I frown upon that. We can never do that, it will be local people, local issues!
Stephen Crosby. “Here in Northern Ireland we have two parties with Democratic in their title. One being Unionist and the other being Nationalist. When challenged on contentious issues in the NI Assembly what do they do? Petitions of Concerns used to stop people from expressing their views. There’s nothing democratic about that!”
DV. “There are English Local council elections coming up in May, what are your plans?
Gavin Felton. “We are planning to put up about 400 candidates. But we have already started planning in case this is an early General Election. We have members across the UK and indeed across the world, including the US and Canada. Britain is broken and we need to fix it. That’s our focus. We have to give people the chance of a fresh start. I knock on doors from Sunderland to Penzance, Canvey Island to Clacton: I came across an elderly lady who did not have her heating on even though it was freezing. I asked her why? She replied, “Oh I can’t afford to do that until 12 o clock.” Now something is very wrong when you come across this in the world’s 6th largest economy. We needs ideas that are plausible, structured and planned. Other parties folded because their ideas were not thought through. We have people from all parties in our DVP and Direct Democracy is what attracts them.
Stephen. We are taking our inspiration from the 5 Star Movement – started by a clown and it just topped the polls in Italy.
DV. “If you are successful and become a thorn in the side what is to stop the establishment from destroying you?”
Gavin Felton. “We have to be very selective in the people we use. We are in this to make people lives better. We must also not forget where we come from. Real people, real experience. Talking about something they have actually done. Normally they love that subject and talk about it with a passion. Feet on the ground, we are here for the people, not for ourselves.
DV. Can I now ask about the Veterans aspect of the party? I know a lot of our readers will share my anxiety about how Veterans are treated so badly by successive Governments.
Trevor Coult MC. “I am on this case 24/7 and I had a meeting in the House of Commons on the day of the launch of the Party to see how things can be made better for Veterans. The issue we have is that politicians have no experience of the military. Even the Veterans minister got his unit name wrong the other day. It shows the incompetence of the politicians. One of the big problems is that Veterans UK, which is a branch of the MOD, is basically then investigating claims that Veterans bring against the MOD! This is why it take years and years. The issue you have is that Veterans are being discharged for having injuries. Once they are discharged for having injuries the MOD then asks them can you prove you got those injuries in the service. Which goes against everything they have just been discharged for. It can’t improve until the MOD is held accountable and that can’t happen until we get an independent body to investigate Veterans UK. It’s not rocket science but there has to be a will to do something.”
Gavin Felton. “Can I just add that whilst we talk about Veterans, those in frontline services as a whole have been completely and utterly neglected. They see horrendous sights.”
DV. Can I ask if you think that years of massive immigration have played a role in the build up of pressure of frontline services?
Trevor Coult MC. We don’t like the current system. If I went to my local hospital in Ipswich 10 years ago I would have waited for an hour; now I would wait for 12 hours.
Stephen Crosby. We want an effective immigration policy that is fair. We are broadly speaking a Libertarian party. I am going to use the F word so close your ears if you don’t want to hear it but that word is Freedom.
DV. Talking of Freedom, and in particular Freedom of speech, there is planned speech given by Tommy Robinson, do you support his right to make that speech.
Stephen Crosby. Yes. And I would support it if it was Jeremy Corbyn or even Gerry Adams. The reason our Party colours are black and white is that we have no shades of grey. We give you straight answers.
DV. What is your view of Islam in the UK?
Gavin Felton ‘When I served in Brunei we had all faiths working in the office including muslims. And we all got on. Here is it different. There is an issue with the muslim community in this country and we must be open and honest with the people about it. My friends in Brunei frown upon what is happening in THIS country. We can’t have no go zones, the law must apply to all. The politicians and the media have both failed us in this regard. However there is one BBC reporter who has been very fair- Andrew Neill. He’s been fair and above board. He has spoken about Telford and I take my hat off to him,
Stephen Crosby. “We are libertarian but we have one red line. Does what you do cause harm?”
Trevor Coult MC. Looking at it from a veterans perspective, the Muslim community doesn’t sit right with us veterans. Whether you like it or not we have served 10-15 years in Muslim countries. operating against Muslim insurgents. These things play on soldiers minds. Soldiers should be able to feel safe in their our country when they come from serving overseas and now they don’t!
DV. “Would you bring back capital punishment?”
Gavin Felton. “My own opinion is for children killers and anyone who killed a police officer or anyone serving in our armed forces, I think it’s good our police aren’t armed and I want it to keep it that way so that’s why Police Killers should face the capital punishment. But this would be a matter for our members to decide.”
DV. OK, we’re going to wrap up now but to finish, you have 60 seconds to convince anyone reading this why they might want to consider joining the Democrats and Veterans Party.
Stephen Crosby. The Democrats and Veterans is a grassroots party. We believe in direct rule! – but it should be from your own home. We want to tackle the real issues. We are about full accountability. We want to make a real difference to people’s lives.
DV. Thank you for your time gentlemen.
For more information, please visit the Democrat and Veteran’s Party website here.