Policies not personalities

I hope that the pervasive war of words being waged over what defines a Northumbrian is not a portent of the debate upon which we are about to embark.

However, for the record, I was born in Tynemouth moving away but a few months later when the RAF inconveniently posted my father to the other end of the country upon his return from India.

While working in Hampshire, I met my wife, also from Newcastle, and together, at the request of my employer, we returned to the North East in 1988. About 18 months ago, we succeeded in moving to Alnwick to be closer to our family.

It is to others that I leave the decision about whether I am a Geordie by birth, a Hampshire Hog by adoption, a Northumbrian by choice, or deserving of another label.

There is much to be said for requiring all candidates for political office to have minimum residential, business or employment connections with the area that they seek to represent.

However, that is probably unattainable since narrow political interests are likely to stop the necessary legislation from passing through the House of Commons.

It is also true that some of our politicians of all political persuasions never lived in, and rarely visited, their constituencies. That doesn’t make it right but it does show that local connections, while desirable, are not necessarily vital. Churchill was a prime example.

What is of greater importance is retaining the link between an individual MP and the constituency that he or she represents. Something that would be lost by the introduction of proportional representation, something which I oppose.

Disaffection with politics is at the highest level I have known. That disaffection feeds on politicians appearing to pay regard to party interests and to the whip. We need the return of politicians who are capable of original thought.

I agree with my Conservative opponent Anne-Marie Trevelyan, though. This election should be about issues and not personalities. Criticisms should be of the stance that we take not of our circumstances. All politicians, be they Prime Ministers or volunteer activists should remember that. Not for us the negativity of American political campaigns. Please.

We need to put forward the ideas that we have and of the party upon whose manifesto we are standing.

To do otherwise is to treat the electorate with scorn and contempt. It is only upon our arguments that we deserve to win (or lose).

I will certainly be trying to put forward my case over the next few months. If you wish to question me, please contact me through ukipalnwick@outlook.com

Alternatively, please come and hear Jonathon Arnott, our MEP, at the Belford Golf Club on September 9. Full details by contacting our email address.

Nigel Coghill-Marshall,

Ukip Prospective Party Candidate, Berwick upon Tweed