Eastleigh Ukip candidate Malcolm Jones has told Eastleigh News that “Eastleigh deserves better”; that the Town’s Infrastructure problems are so bad that only a ‘local man’ can solve them and that he doesn’t believe polls which show support for Ukip has slumped to around 4%.
The candidate whose campaign placards feature the strap line “I was born in Eastleigh and have lived here all my life” said that the fact he is Eastleigh born makes him uniquely qualified to be the next MP.
“The infrastructure problems that we’ve actually got in Eastleigh really do need to be solved. That can only be solved by a local man who understands the area because they actually live here and have lived here all their life. I think that’s really important.”
The Ukip candidate is also pursuing an unconventional passive campaigning strategy.
Rather than canvassing door to door, he and his fellow activists are acting as human billboards by standing at road-junctions while holding placards.
Jones told me that he thinks householders find traditional doorstepping by politicians “annoying”.
Instead of approaching shoppers in the town centre, Jones and his supporters prefer to stand to one side and wait for voters to come to them.
Jones says these are the same tactics he employed during the referendum as Leave campaign organiser for Eastleigh that resulted in a vote for Brexit.
“It’s really important to let people know we are here and this is one of the best ways of our getting our voice out there and letting people know Ukip haven’t gone away. It seems to work. We did it during the leave campaign and we won the referendum.”
It certainly seemed to be working for some car drivers, who tooted their horns in support but not everyone was appreciative with one cyclist shouting “Nazis” while another passer-by yelled “fascists” as Jones was being interviewed.
I asked Jones why he was standing at all given that the Conservative candidate Mims Davies had voted for Brexit as an MP but Jones said Davies had ‘point blank refused’ to join his leave campaign which he felt made her loyalties suspect.
“If we are going to get the exit we that we all voted for you need someone like me, who is staunch for leaving the EU and will actually fight for it and I don’t believe she will.”
Ukip came close in the 2013 by-election when runner-up Diane James took 28% of the vote, but since then Ukip support has declined. Locally the Eastleigh party lost it’s three county council seats in last month’s county elections and nationally it is currently polling at around 4% but Jones says he can still win and that he doesn’t believe the polls which he describes as ‘false’.
“I don’t particularly believe polls. There are polls out there now saying that Theresa May will lose the election. They did that at the last election and look what happened.
“They said ‘don’t vote labour otherwise it will end up with the SNP and Labour getting in’.
“Everyone got scared because they thought she was going to lose it and they ended up with a massive majority. I don’t think people should listen to polls because polls can be twisted
“There’s lies, dammed lies and statistics. We need to get away from that and look at policies that people are putting forward. If people actually look through our manifesto they’ll see some excellent policies within it and that’s what people should be voting on not the scare tactics, not people putting polls out that are completely false.
“There’s no way that Ukip have dropped from 15% down to 4% – that’s the Tories saying that because they want to attract our vote.”
Jones says he is standing on a platform of ‘common sense’ policies and has pledged that if elected he would seek to bring back ‘mortgage-paying jobs’ that were lost when “people allowed our industries to disappear”.
Well paid local employment, says Jones, would boost the local economy and reduce road traffic and pollution by reducing commuter miles because people would be able to afford buy houses close to well paid jobs although though he says he would “fight against mass development and build houses that people actually want”
Jones said that Ukip policy would be to build ‘truly affordable housing” in the form modular units that he says would cost around £100,000.
Ukip he said, also plans to scrap university tuition fees for those studying ‘skills the country needs”.
He also said the party will use the £13 billion a year spent on foreign aid on the NHS and would make the NHS more efficient by cutting the number of managers and slashing executive pay
Malcolm Jones “People should vote for me because if they want a voice – I will give them a voice.”
The other candidates standing are:
Mims Davies – Conservative
Mike Thornton – Liberal Democrat
Jill Payne – Labour
Ron Meldrum – Green