Election Special: UKIP, Herbert Crossman interview

Rachael Graelish G:Going back to the beginning, why did you get into politics? And Why the UK Independence Party?

Herbert Crossman: Back in 1993/4 when I was first elected, I was at a loose end, I had lost my wife a couple years before and you could see there was things that needed to be done in the area. The Lib Dems asked if I fancied standing as a candidate for Ridgeway Ward so I went door knocking and I got elected.
I thought oh my goodness gracious me what do I do now? So I took the bull by the horns, let’s have some fun and see what happens. In the first few months of me being a councillor a social services issue came up: the closure of an elderly residences, Sandcroft Hall, which I objected to. I was told that I had to toe the party line, I said no.
I was chastised for voting against the closure of Sandcroft Hall I became an Indpendent from then. Labour wanted me to join them, the Conservatives asked me to join them, which I did.
Richard Ottaway came down and gave me my ticket and said ‘I was the voice of the people and we welcome him with open arms’. I went to be interviewed to stand nationally, and two – three days later I got a letter saying that I could not stand because I was part of a group that wanted to get us out of Europe. So I quit and I joined UKIP.

RG: In the past you were the UKIP candidate for Harrow West and you’re not from Cumbria, so why stand for the Copeland seat?

HC: I came up to Cumbria in 2015, during the flooding. I got the Big Yellow Box Company to give a discount to people to store their belongings in. I’ve always liked Cumbria, liked the Lakes, and I was asked by people from Copeland, UKIP members, to run, because I came up and campaigned for Fiona Mills, and I said I would love to.
I think you can blend in anywhere. If you mingle and mix with people they can see how genuine you are, life is all ups and downs and we’ve got to help people who can’t help themselves.
I had a place already here and planned to move up, but things are now moving a bit faster as I have been selected.

RG: In the Copeland by-election there was a big focus on nuclear, the NHS and education, what
issues will you be highlighting and focusing on in the general?

HC: There are so many issues that are relevant to Cumbria compared to the rest of the country, what I would need to do is communicate with the residents, because it is such a vast area and a mountainous region I am not going to expect people to come to me I am going to go to them. I will have the surgeries in regions.
Westminster is the administrative place, the office and working place is Copeland. I need to find what is going on on a daily basis and if I need to go back and report in Westminster and fight our corner that is what I am going to do.
The NHS has a massive problem nationwide, I would ask for an independent audit to find out what is going on and why is it in so much trouble.
How can we have more people coming into the area with less beds available, I don’t have an accident or fall ill by appointment and having to travel miles with an extreme emergency, if you have bad weather you could put that person’s life at risk.
If that does happen I will personally hold the person who closed the hospital responsible. They spend money on HS2 but not on the things we need.

RG: Brexit is a big issue nationwide, but how would intend to represent your constituency on the Brexit front?

HC: I am a Brexit myself and I have been campaigning for many years since 1995/6 when the Referendum Party was formed. I voted back in the seventies not to enter the common market.
We’ve been abused by unelected commissioners that are threatening us with all sorts of things. The EU has become uncontrollable with an agenda that is beyond anyone’s control. We’re paying silly money to finance the dreams of the unelected commissioners. I don’t like the unfairness that goes on, people taking liberties, things for granted.

RG: Can you comment on the UKIP manifesto and what points you’re really in favour of and why?

HC: Every region has its own issues and problems and although the manifesto comes out in general it might not be appropriate to the area we are representing.
If it doesn’t fit in with the area I am representing then I won’t be able to support it.
If it is party policy then I will try and get as close to it as I can as long as it is for the benefit of the people of Copeland.

RG: In the past it was stated that your key priorities were to help small business and see a change in politics, are these points still important to you and how would you implement them, in reference to the benefit of Copeland?

HC: Small, micro businesses are the backbone of any country in the world, including the UK. The problem in the past is they have been hampered by the banks and government.
I would need the small, micro businesses to come and talk to me to work out what they need to help them grow and expand. The only condition that I would impose is that if you become successful you take on a young unemployed person to give youth a chance.

RG: How would voting for you differ from voting from other parties and how would it benefit the constituency?

HC: If you vote for me I am employed by you. We are not whipped, I understand that life is very harsh. The other two parties have used use as doormats and abused us for so long and we are going to go back and elect them again. I think it is time for change.
If I don’t work out right you can take my vote away in five years time. I know people are afraid of change but do we really need to be afraid of change.

RG: How confident are you, in yourself and in your supporters, that you can win this seat? And why?

HC: Unless they get to see who I really am, people know me in Harrow and certainly because of standing against Theresa May in Maidenhead, I was on Question Time in November and I hung upside down in Trafalgar Square with money haemorrhaging out of my pockets.
People don’t know me they can find me online, if they want to talk to me I have been to the markets.