Is there an election around the corner? The Brexit Party seems to think so. Their social media feeds show frantic preparation, as the party announces electoral candidates for all regions, ready to answer whenever the call comes. One of the most recently announced “Army of Leavers”, standing for Brighton Kemptown, is Dr. Graham Cushway – a local historian keen to make a difference.
Brighton Journal got chatting to the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate about everything we could think of.
What’s your profession?
I am an intelligence professional running my own business. Day to day that usually means corporate investigations. Before that I was a defence analyst. Like almost all Brexit Party Parliamentary Candidates I have had ‘proper’ jobs and currently run my own small business. That is why The Brexit Party understands Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) – and there are an awful lot of SMEs in Brighton.
Before doing this I spent 16 years in the Reserve Armed Forces (Army) as well as six years in Iraq, first working with US and British forces during the War on Terror and then again in Baghdad during The Islamic State invasion. I ran the Hezbollah and Iran desk for the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague for three years and worked on The London 2012 Olympics – among a few other things.
Why do you want to leave EU?
Because I believe in the principle of one person, one vote, and that you should be able to vote out a government that isn’t performing.
The EU is anti-democratic in nature. The EU has MEPs but for something to be a ‘democracy’ the ‘demos’ (you and I) need to be able to vote for an executive representative. MEPs are powerless. They can vote on whether they like things, but they can’t change decisions by the un-elected European Commission. Therefore your vote is worthless.
The EU is an autocracy and is now even calling itself ‘an empire’. An empire is a collection of conquered countries run by an overlord. Historically they have inevitably collapsed in freedom struggles and secession wars. By staying in the EU we would become actual subjects of a corrupt foreign bureaucracy. Why would we want that?
We managed to govern ourselves pretty effectively between the ninth century and 1997, including that bit where we also had to manage the largest empire the world has ever seen. The idea that corrupt foreign autocrats can govern us better than we can manage ourselves is ludicrous.
What made you interested in politics?
I wasn’t at all interested in politics. There was no point. I voted just once before 2015, for John Major in 1997. I wish I hadn’t bothered. Politics then was just the two main parties – the Tories and Labour – selling our country to the EU and acting against our interests every single day and there was nothing we could do about it.
However, from around 2014 I became aware of Nigel Farage’s work in the European Parliament. His television debates with Nick Clegg in particular showed that actually the majority of people in the country were unhappy with our direction of travel politically and wanted to leave the EU. It also showed that there was something we could do about it.
I became involved in politics during the referendum in 2016. I saw then that this was a historical moment in which the fate of our country would be decided. We could either stay an independent proud democracy, or let our country be subsumed into an anti-democratic bloc. I couldn’t accept the latter, so I had to stand up and be counted.
What made you volunteer for the Brexit party?
It was pretty obvious watching Theresa May bottling it, giving up, surrendering and capitulating to the EU day after day for the last three years, that she never had the faintest intention of implementing the referendum result.
I knew that Nigel Farage was going have to have to DO something, or the greatest exercise in democracy ever seen in this country would be betrayed. I was determined to help out politically for the same reason that I had to be involved with the referendum.
I joined The Brexit Party almost as soon as the website went up and applied to be a candidate as soon as the party had won the European elections, less than two months later.
What would your first job be if voted for parliament?
Ensure that the UK leaves the EU with a WTO exit, thereby honouring The People’s expressed wish to really leave the EU. That’s the main point of The Brexit Party at the moment.
We have a few other policies, such as scrapping inheritance tax, and using £200 billion saved by scrapping HS2, not paying the EU £39 billion and halving Foreign Aid to invest in the regions outside of London.
Electoral reform is also a massive priority. It is obvious that our Parliamentary system doesn’t work and is too open to abuse by unscrupulous individuals. That’s why The Brexit Party want to change politics for good.
However, our priority right now is to leave the EU.
Are the rumours about the NHS being sold true?
I am not aware that the The Brexit Party has a fixed policy on the NHS at the current time, but NO! That’s a scare story. Why would we want that?
Would UK citizens be restricted when traveling after Brexit?
Not as far as I am aware. Of course, the EU might implement a visa system. That would be an innovation as you didn’t need a visa to go to The Continent before 1973.
If they did though, so what?
You need visas to go to a lot of countries. Common sense would dictate that it would be cheap and easy, or they would lose the British tourists that many EU countries rely on. It is a small price to pay for freedom.
Why are you running for Brighton Kemptown?
I live in Kemptown Village, close to the High Street, so it is a natural choice.
How would you serve Brighton as an MP?
Brighton has a lot of SMEs – all sorts of small businesses. The fact that our city is full of interesting shops is a big part of our charm and a draw for tourists. I would defend them in Parliament and locally against the demands of chains and big business. I think our unique High Street culture is a massive part of what Brighton is about.
It is also pretty obvious that our city is very badly run at the moment. I have heard a lot of people saying that they feel unsafe at night. At a local level I would put the emphasis on policing in order to clear the place up and make it a pleasant environment for locally residents, as well as for revellers and tourists.
There is also rubbish all over the place due to the incompetence of local authorities, and I remember being staggered when I saw over-zealous parking officials ticketing a mini rally on Medeira Drive. There were too many minis and not enough parking places. What were they thinking? Those people won’t come to our city again – and that hurts local business. It all needs a big shake-up and an injection of common sense.
Another cause close to my heart is Medeira Terrace. What a terrible mess it is! That beautiful Victorian structure should be the jewel in the city’s crown, but instead it is crumbling, fenced off, rat infested and has homeless people living in it. I would concentrate on restoring that – not worsening traffic congestion on The Old Steine!
How would No Deal Brexit affect people in Brighton?
The so-called ‘No Deal’ or WTO Brexit has been the subject of a lot of hysteria and scare stories, originating from Westminster politicians who don’t want to obey The People’s instruction to leave the EU. Hardly any are true, and those that were have largely been mitigated since Theresa May was forced out by The Brexit Party.
No Deal Brexit will be beneficial for ordinary people and SMEs. We can expect a lot of prices to fall, particularly on food and clothing. That’s because we won’t have the European Common Tariff, which is an additional EU tax on imports from non-EU countries. Outside of the bloc we will be freer to import from the rest of the world more cheaply, and at a fairer price to the manufacturer.
With Freedom of Movement also ending, we can expect to see a lessening of demand for housing, with rents falling. That’s desperately needed or how can people survive? Prices are exorbitant for everything from transport to food and I just don’t understand how people get by right now. It will be worse if things stay as they are and prices on everything just keep increasing.
“The People are sovereign. Not some rich Oxbridge elite”
Of course, if less cheap foreign labour is available, big businesses will also have to pay more for staff and invest in training – which is already starting to happen – and small local businesses are less likely to be undercut by cheap foreign labour. It all means that the less well-off and people running SMEs are going to be doing a whole lot better.
Then there is fishing of course. Brighton Kemptown isn’t the biggest fishing community, but there are boats running from The Marina. The return of our fishing grounds would be a boost to that business locally, and we can expect knock-on gains from diving, pleasure fishing and the tourist industry from intelligent management of our maritime environment.
Aside from that there are the most important things of all – because this is about a lot more than money. If I am in government and I do things you don’t like you can vote me out knowing that it will really change something.
That means that politicians will actually have to listen to the electorate and do what they are told – or they are fired by The People.
That’s the power of democracy. The People are sovereign. Not some rich Oxbridge elite, or a bunch of unelected bureaucrats.
What are your interests in life?
I am a fencer, as in the sport. I play bass guitar and record Heavy Metal music, of which I am a huge fan. I am a keen historian. My doctorate is in history and I have a book out on naval warfare in medieval times.
I watch the Rugby and can’t wait for The World Cup to start on Sunday. SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT!
What makes a perfect country to live in?
A fascinating question with no answer. Nowhere is perfect, as anyone who travels will appreciate. Anyone who thinks that they can build a Eutopia is a deluded megalomaniac.
However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our best. We can’t promise to build perfection – but with some vision, pride in ourselves and ambition, maybe we can make things a whole lot better for everybody.
Dr Graham Cushway is Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for Brighton Kemptown