UKIP North Thanet have been busy interviewing the MEP candidates ahead of the elections in May. They have kindly allowed us to reproduce those interviews here on UKIP Daily.
Janice Atkinson is the #2 Candidate for the South East Region for UKIP, in next May’s European Elections. She is a business woman, a mother, a step mother, a campaigner, a former Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, and journalist.
She has been acknowledged by Conservative HQ as running one of the best political campaigns of 2010, and was Quentin Letts’ 2011 Woman of the Year – “because I’m everything Harriet Harman isn’t”.
She is a working class girl who was shaped by the inequality she saw growing up in social housing, by 1970s politics, and by a certain lady named Margaret Thatcher.
She is happily married to Simon and has two children, aged 18 and 22 years and two teenage step children. Together, they have all campaigned for UKIP and attend Kent grammar schools.
Q1. Why did you enter politics and what was your previous working background?
I am standing because I want our sovereignty back. I want our children to have control over their own country; to restore respect for elected politicians; for our children to have the same opportunities from working class backgrounds as I did through grammar schools and to restore social mobility; to demolish the debt that our children will inherit and to promote trade and business for the UK.
I’m in business and know how hard it can be, most elected politicians do not.In business for 20 years, running global PR & charitable arm of www.gotradelive.cm providing the third world with mobile devices to trade – trade not aid, leading ultimately to freedom from political despots. We believe in real capitalism and undermining corporatism.
Q2. Was there a defining moment when you knew UKIP was the party for you, and what was it?
Well, it’s been a gradual process, but I have always been on the UKIP wing of the Conservative party. I suppose it started with UKIP standing down their candidate against me in the General Election of 2010 – one of a handful of candidates and the only woman, the window started to open (although I had known Nigel for a while).
Then a number of shadow cabinet ministers visited my constituency. They told me I couldn’t discuss immigration (I had a 15% Asian demographic who wanted to discuss immigration), I couldn’t discuss Europe and my support for a referendum and I couldn’t discuss grammar schools (we had grammar schools in the constituency).
Then when I lost the election (Clegg TV bounce and a surge in support for the vile BNP), I got angry at every TV appearance by Cameron and Clegg – two peas in a pod in a rose garden – I decided to join. And I have never been happier.
Q.3 What are your personal long-range goals and objectives for the next 5 years within UKIP?
To ensure that we get our in/out referendum.
To fight a Kent key marginal Parliamentary constituency and win to secure a seat in the House of Commons to ensure we get our referendum.
To gain as much publicity as possible to put our case for a referendum.
To continue to shape the political agenda as UKIP has been doing over the past year.
To campaign with UKIP activists across our towns and villages.
Q.4 What would you consider to be your Major Strengths?
Tenacity achieves goals.
I’m a good campaigner and good at getting our message across.
I’m a conviction politician: not in it for the money, prestige or as a career.
I don’t dodge questions and I am not politically correct, although I will not insult people.
Q.5 What would you consider to be the accomplishments that have given you most satisfaction to date?
Personal – my sons and my second husband, Simon.
Professional – lucky enough to have had work that pays well enough to pursue nearly everything that I have wanted to achieve.
Political – proud to have been the girl from social housing without a degree to have fought a General Election in a key marginal seat and hopefully to become a Ukip MEP.To have been a pain in David Cameron’s side through the media.
Q.6 Why should the people of the South East give you their vote in May?
Because I am a conviction politician and not in it for the money, prestige or career. We in UKIP are the only politicians who want to lose their jobs.
I’ve been in business, so I know how hard it is and I’ve seen at first hand how the Brussels machine makes it tougher to do business. Most MEPs, including the UK cohort, have never been in business, only career politicians – from top schools to Oxbridge to researcher to elected politician.
I’m not a xenophobic Little Englander. I’ve worked with large European and global brands, I’ve worked in Brussels and Strasbourg, I’ve seen the damage that is done to the UK economy there and the dilution of our sovereignty. I want to attract the brightest and the best from around the world to work here, from across all continents, but I don’t want uncontrolled immigration from poor economic migrants, undermining the salaries and job prospects of our 1m unemployed 16-24 year olds or the 3m over 25’s.
I will fight for the south east against the Brussels machine so that we can spend our £53m per day that we pay into the EU on our own citizens, for jobs, wealth creation, lower taxes, better education and health.
Q.7 What UKIP policy would you consider to be the one that most resonates with you and why?
Coming out of Europe. But that is not what defines us now. We have domestic and foreign policies as we are standing for Parliament and have many councillors up and down the country. We are redefining politics and the official opposition in most areas.
So, if I am allowed a second policy I would say education because that defines a nation, an educated society that acknowledges elitism in education, not by your background, status or money, but because you are able. That’s why we want to bring back grammar schools, but with more fluidity in the system, more technology schools, like Germany where working with your hands isn’t a dirty word. Instead of teaching our children that they can get a mediocre media or film studies degree and walk into a job, they can’t. These subjects are extra curricular activities, or on the job apprenticeships. There is a disconnect between what employers want and what our education system teaches our children. We need to join the two together.
Q.8 What is your favourite…
Wine ? Lots of white, mainly sauvignon, Rioja for red. Very partial to pink Champagne.
Newspaper? Daily Express for telling it how it is and because I also write for them.
Meal? My roast beef from the local butchers with my roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding.
TV Programme? Hard. All political dramas and comedies from The Thick of It to Borgen.
Political interviewer? John Humphrys, he’s a national treasure.
Q.9. What would be your favourite or ideal day off?
A walk, followed by going out to lunch with my husband to somewhere very nice and then seeing my sons.
Q.10 Name 5 dead or alive Politicians you would have loved to have had dinner with all together and why?
1. Margaret Thatcher
Why – because I would love to discuss how they thought they had shaped politics to the reality of it now. Did they make a difference? Are they happy with the current leaders of their parties, is the shape of today’s politics fitting to their legacies or was it just inevitable that the current weak willed lot got elected and why, how did it all go so wrong? I’ll throw in Nigel so that we can have some fun too and to find out what they make of him as a man and a political leader. I met Margaret Thatcher on a number of occasions and Norman Tebbit too, they shaped my politics and my life.
To find out more about Janice, visit http://votejaniceatkinsonukip.co.uk/