Candidate (Middlesbrough): Steve Turner
Why have you decided to run as MP for Middlesbrough, and how hard is it to run for this seat as a UKIP candidate in a historically ‘Labour area’?
I decided to stand because I get frustrated at the number of things I see happening both locally and nationally and I want to make a difference. That might be a bit naïve, but at the end of the day, stones create ripples, and I just want to get involved. I don’t think we’re well represented in the North East. Historically, across the whole of the North East we are so labour focussed, and there’s a large proportion of the population in whatever constituency you look at, that doesn’t want a labour MP, that doesn’t want a labour council. The way the boundaries are set has made some local MPs complacent. Too many just get parachuted into the north-east for a spell, and then just look to see out the rest of their career in Westminster.
What do you see as the most important issues for the North East in this General Election, and how are you going to tackle these?
We’ve got to start breaking down this North-South Divide. For every 12 jobs created in the South, only one job is created in the North. There is too much investment going into the South of England, and the problem you’ve got is that when they do talk about North they talk about Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, people tend to overlook the North East, and that these people also deserve the same opportunities that are being given down south.
What’s your view on political apathy amongst young people, given that in the last generation only 44% of under 24s voted?
I think it’s very frustrating. I’ve got 3 sons, two of which are old enough to vote. One of them refuses to vote and it’s very much a case of ‘what’s the point’ they’re ‘all the same’, and I think a lot of young people see that. They’re bright, intelligent, but they open their eyes, they look and say ‘what’s the difference between David Cameron and Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, what’s the point?’. Why would they vote when everybody’s just the same? That’s why you’re seeing a rise in UKIP, that’s why we’re seeing a rise in Greens, and the smaller parties. On a more local level, what I am seeing in pretty much every council I visit is the rise of an independent candidate, which shows people are starting to vote for people and not parties.
You have these big, quite status-quo challenging ideas and policies, but if you were to get into coalition with one of the major parties like Labour for example, how much will you really be able to deliver on those policies?
The point is we wouldn’t go into a coalition, we would go for something called a ‘supply and confidence’ agreement which would allow us to stand by our principles. For example if the labour party are in government and they’re putting a vote towards Westminster, against the bedroom tax, we would support that, we would vote with the labour party because that is something that we also disagree with. If the Labour party then put a vote towards Westminster and said that there shouldn’t be an EU Referendum, then we absolutely wouldn’t support them, and if we were in a position where we held that balance of power, the labour party would have to be aware that withdrawing that vote could potentially damage them as a government.
Photograph: Ryan Gould