Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jury Team Profile - Grahame Leon-Smith

These are the responses sent to me for Grahame Leon-Smith who is running in the South East Jury Team Primary.

Grahame's full Jury Team Profile can be viewed, here.

If you would like to vote for Grahame, text GRALEO01 to 86837 (25p + Standard Rate).

As is becoming customary, Grahame did expand on the True/False section, so I have shortened his answered for consistency with he other respondents, not to misrepresent in anyway. Grahame is free to elaborate on any or all of these points in the comments field. I have indicated where I have shortened Grahame's responses

Please answer True or False to these statements:

1. The EU should have even more control over the governing of member states including the UK. False. [response shortened]

2. The EU is the future of Continental Europe; the UK should be less resistant to this and more willing to be engaged with EU partners.
True. [response shortened]

3. The EU is fundamentally undemocratic in how it is made up and how it functions.
True. [response shortened]

4. If elected to the EU Parliament I will always vote in favour of returning legislative powers to member states.
True, [response shortened]

5. Countries like Iceland and Norway should be made to join the EU.
False. [response shortened]

6. Ireland was wrong to vote NO in their referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
False. [response shortened]

7. The main reason why people are against the EU in the UK is because the Tabloid media runs scare stories.
True. [response shortened]

8. I believe the UK should be a part of a federal Europe, whether as the UK or as component nations or regions.
True, [response shortened]

9. The UK should leave the EU as swiftly and as amicably as possible.
False. [response shortened]

10. The UK Parliament should be sovereign. No laws made by the EU should be above the law making decisions of the UK Parliament.
True, [response shortened]

11. The UK and France should give up their seats on the UN Security Council in favour of an EU representative.
False

12. The city of London and UK financial institutions should be regulated by the EU.
True, [response shortened]

13. The EU has kept peace in Europe for 60 years.
True. [response shortened]

14. If the UK left the EU, it’s economy would never recover.
Partially True. [response shortened]

15. Plans should be made for the UK to join the EURO within the next five year sitting of the EU parliament
True. [response shortened]

16. UK armed forces should answer to a European Military Chain of Command.
False. [response shortened]

17. The EU should be allowed to collect taxes directly from European citizens and/or businesses.
False. [response shortened]

18. There will never be war in Europe as long as the EU is strong.
[Did not answer with a true or false]

19. The UK should not be allowed to declare war without the approval of the EU
False. [response shortened]

20. The UK should be allowed a referendum whether it accepts the EU Lisbon Constitutional Treaty before it comes into force.
True. [response shortened]

21. I am prepared to give up some small freedoms so that the UK and/or the EU governments can better protect us from terrorists.
True. [response shortened]

22. The EU should have control of EU wide policing to make standard the same across Europe, as well as centrally gather intelligence.
False. [response shortened]

23. UK Common Law is incompatible with European Courts. We should protect Common Law.
[Did not answer true or false]

24. People who stand opposed to the EU should be punished.
False.

25. The Eurovision Song Contest is a wonderful form of European entertainment and the voting is in no way rigged.
True, but I would not use the term “wonderful”. It is amusing entertainment and certainly does no harm. The voting is not “rigged” by the organisers, but unsurprisingly neighbouring countries with similar cultural backgrounds tend to vote for each other’s entries.


In no more than 200 words for each question, please tell us about the following:


Q. If you are elected to the EU Parliament, by what method and frequency will your expenses be made public?
Unlike the present MEPs I would keep receipts for all my expenditure and publish a spreadsheet of my expenses month by month on my website. I would do my utmost to persuade all other MEPs to do the same in the interests of honesty, integrity and transparency.

Q. Have you ever stood for an elected position before?
Yes, I was an Elected Councillor for Runnymede in Surrey for six years and am very well acquainted with the rules regarding expenses and possible conflicts of interest. These are much stricter than the rules for MPs and MEPs, which are incredibly lax, and they should form the basis of much needed reforms. I also stood as a candidate for the European Parliament in 2004 and gained 42,681 votes. I don’t think any of the other candidate have had this experience.

Q. Do you have you own website or blog?
Yes, my websites are at: http://www.seniors-international.org/ which is a not-for-profit organisation which encourages Seniors age 50+ to use email and the Internet to communicate with each other and share their ideas, views and experience, and at: http://www.seniorcitizensparty.org.uk/ which is essentially a lobbying group set up to represent the views and concerns of Seniors to MPs and the Government.

I have a blog at: http://grahame-leon-smithsblog.blogspot.com/ which encourages everyone to express their own views (subject to common decency and the law of libel) particularly on matters of current interest and politics, and to ask questions of politicians and other people who use the blog. I would be grateful if this could be added to the list of other political blogs on Daniel’s blog. I am also creating a new website forum called: www.tele-democracy.org which will enable any one to be Jeremy Paxman and ask me any questions they like, and I will guarantee to answer them All MPs and MEPs should be willing to give straight answers to straight questions, even if they have to say: “I don’t know, or I have not yet made up my mind on that issue.” This is the only way to get rid of the current hypocrisy, and every MP and MEP should be willing to do the same thing.

Q. Do you regularly read any particular newspapers or magazines? Who are your favourite writers/Journalists?
I read the Daily Mail every day and I subscribe to a number of daily e-newsletters such as epolitix, politics.co.uk and the BBC News for example, in order to ensure that I get a wide view of opinions. I have no particular favourite writers or journalists.

Q. Why did you decide to stand for Jury Team instead of an existing political party?
Because, like so many other people, I have become disillusioned with our present political system which gives all the power to the Party Whips and denies MPs and MEPs the right and the responsibility to listen to and participate in the debates, and then vote according to their conviction as to what is in the best interests of their constituents and the country as a whole. I believe that Christopher Hollis MP was absolutely right when he said that: “On most votes it would be simpler and more economic to keep a flock of tame sheep and from time to time drive them through the division lobbies in the appropriate numbers,” (quoted in “The End of the Party” published by the Jury Team.) We must restore democracy by restoring the independence of MPs and MEPs and abolishing the power of the Party Whips.

Q. What is the very first thing you will do in your official capacity if elected?
I will send round an email to as many of my constituents as possible and to their local newspapers thanking them for voting for me and assuring them that they should email me at any time with their views and concerns so that I can do my very best to represent them, whether or not they actually vote for the Jury Team list, and explain how they can use the web-based forum at: www.tele-democracy.org which will allow any constituent to ask me questions and receive my replies, both of which will be open to anyone to read on the Web.

Q. And, as you have been good enough to answer the above, in no more than 1,000 of your own words, tell us why we should vote for you.
My wife and I have lived in Surrey for nearly 35 years and I have been very much involved in the life of the local community as Chairman of Governors of our local comprehensive school, as President of the local Chamber of Commerce, as a member of Rotary International, as an initiator of the Runnymede Business Partnership, and as an elected Runnymede Borough Councillor for six years. The South East is the closest region to mainland Europe and there is far more contact between the people here and those in other EU countries than most other regions which is what attracts me most. I have the tremendous advantage over other MEPs and candidates in that I have studied French and German in Mainz in Germany and Cambridge Universities, taught both these languages for some thirty years to secondary school pupils, have spent a considerable amount of time in these countries, and am genuinely tri-lingual.

This would make it infinitely easier for me to discuss directly with other MEPs how different countries deal differently with the many common problems that we all face, without having to rely on interpreters and translators all the time, as most of our current MEPs have to do. Very few of our current MEP are completely fluent in other European languages and this makes genuine informal discussion and debate impossible. This is why the MEPs, just like the MPs at Westminster, tend to vote as instructed by their Party Whips or Group Leaders. We need much more direct discussion with our European friends in the European Parliament, and much fewer directives and less dictatorship from the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. I am the only candidate in the South East (and perhaps in any of the regions) who has stood as a candidate in the European Elections before. In 2004 I stood in the South East region and gained 42,681 votes, and after this experience I feel I would have a good chance of actually winning a seat this time round as an Independent Candidate with the Jury Team.

I shall be happy to engage in email correspondence with anyone via: grahame.leon-smith@seniors-international.org , or they can talk to me on the phone anytime at: 01932 874303 if they prefer. I am convinced that my extensive political experience and my fluency in other European languages will enable me to be a highly successful MEP, and I would ask every to vote for me by texting: GRALEO01 (no spaces please) to 86837.
Grahame Leon-Smith, Jury Team Candidate for the European Parliament in the South East region.

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