THIS week, The Standard put some serious and quirky questions to the five Bromsgrove Parliamentary Candidates – Conservative Sajid Javid, Labour’s Tom Ebbutt, Liberal Democrat Bart Ricketts, the Green Party’s Giovanni ‘Spoz’ Esposito and UKIP’s Stuart Cross.
1. If you had a £1million windfall to spend on one thing in your constituency, what would it be?
SJ – As Secretary of State I have seen the real community benefits of sport across the country. It engages people from all backgrounds and of all ages both physically and socially. At the Ryland Centre where I met some of Bromsgrove’s senior residents who are having a fantastic time getting more active. I’d use the funding to help promote and facilitate better access to sport in every community around Bromsgrove District.
TE – Getting Bromsgrove town centre back on its feet. I would put money into free car parking to bring more people into our town, a reduction in business rates to boost local businesses, and a grant scheme for new start-ups locating on our high street.
BR – I would invest in the town centre and bring back a thriving high street .
GE – I would use it to attract additional funding and add value to youth provision, contributing to a large youth centre, similar to The Factory in Longbridge.
SC – I would put it towards care for the elderly. Residential care, nursing care, home care and day care have had their budgets cut and age comes to us all and we should treat our elderly better.
2. If you were to go for an evening out in Bromsgrove, where would you go and why?
SJ – I’d undoubtedly head to Artrix! There’s always something exciting going on – whether it be film, dance, music or poetry. ?I know there’ll be something for everyone – either for a quiet evening with Laura, or a family night out with our children.
TE – We’d go for quick drink at the Hop Pole Inn and then onto the Weighbridge in Alvechurch for dinner – two great pubs – good beer, great food, great people.
BR – Artrix for some live music and culture.
GE – It would definitely be The Hop Pole Inn. Though I’m not a big beer drinker, I’m told the ales there are excellent. What does it for me at The Hop Pole is the warm welcome, free live music and the general friendliness of the locals and staff.
SC – I do enjoy Asian food and there are some very good ones to choose from but it would most likely be the Mint Lounge.
3. Describe Bromsgrove in three (non-political) words.
SJ – Green, neighbourly, rejuvenating.
TE – Hardworking, friendly, home
BR – Vibrant, historic , rural
GE – Good solid people
SC – Historic market town
4. What three words would best describe you and your personality?
SJ – “Do your best” it’s three words and a mantra I live by.
TE – Optimistic, committed, local
BR – Gregarious , dedicated and busy!
GE – Anglo Italian poet
SC – Honest, loyal and enthusiastic
5. Which actor would you get to play you in a film?
SJ – It would have to be Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself, Patrick Stewart. A fantastic British actor with a similar hairstyle!
TE – Bradley Cooper
BR – David Walliams of course! As people keep saying I look a bit like him and recently I joined a lookalike agency for fun.
GE – Probably George Clooney, if he’s happy to cut his hair into a mohawk. I’m not sure if he’s attractive enough though.
SC – Tim Roth
6. If you are successful in your quest, what would be the first song you would play at the victory party?
SJ – I’d be democratic about my choice. Lots of people have helped in my quest so I’d want something we can ALL enjoy.
TE – Happy – Pharrell Williams
BR – Stand and Deliver – Adam and The Ants or Donovan – Mellow Yellow
GE- God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols
SC – Dancing on the Ceiling – Lionel Richie
7. What do you see as the one biggest issue which concerns residents in Bromsgrove?
SJ – Growing sustainably is our biggest issue. Over 13,000 constituents have written to me over the last five years so I know how important this is to many people. We have to get the balance right so we protect our green district but support local businesses, find sensible places for new homes, and make sure communities have their say on the future of their neighbourhood.
TE – People I went to school with and people I meet on the doorstep tell me that if there is a recovery going on they aren’t feeling it – their wages or pensions aren’t going up whilst their bills continue to rise. Labour will build a country which works for everyone, not just a few at the top.
BR – Not enough affordable housing in the town centre for young people and families.
GE – I think it may be the discrepancy between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ and the injustices that are put in place and reinforced by the former. We have some very wealthy people in Bromsgrove constituency, whilst also having four foodbanks that are seeing a rise in the people who use them. This is shameful.
SC – The future of the Alexandra Hospital, and lack of confidence in future healthcare. Both Bromsgove and Redditch are growing yet our hospital that serves both towns is shrinking and under threat.
8. What do you consider to be the ‘jewel in Bromsgrove’s crown’ and why?
SJ – St John the Baptist Church? in Bromsgrove is definitely a jewel we should be proud of. If you’ve driven past but never been inside, do drop in for a visit – it’s well worth the time.
TE – Bromsgrove’s town centre is the jewel in our crown – which is why it’s so sad to see our council allow it to continue to spiral into decline. Our high streets should be the focus of our communities, but they’ve been neglected by our Conservative council and they represent both what is great about Bromsgrove, but also what needs to change.
BR – Blackwell Court. I remember camping there with the Scouts
GE – There are many jewels … and I would say that they are the schools. They continue to nurture our young people in spite of massive pressures and cuts placed on them by the Government. The teachers at our schools are worth more than any jewel.
SC – Sanders Park. Gifted to the town in 1910 it’s an attractive place its lake, trees and facilities. It’s popular amongst all age groups from teens in the skate park to families enjoying the band stand and picnic areas. A wonderful place to go and any place that brings people and families closer together, and gives enjoyment is always a jewel.
9. If you were going to film a party election broadcast, where in Bromsgrove would you film it and why?
SJ – I’d choose Rubery. Employment is up, businesses are thriving and the community is out in force. There is still more work to be done, but I think that Rubery is starting to quite literally bloom. I recently met with the organisers of ‘Rubery in Bloom’ – a wonderful community initiative to brighten streets by planting flower boxes. This is what Conservatives stand for: growing our economy to create jobs, support hardworking people, and encourage communities to be involved in how their local area develops.
TE – On our high streets and on our hills. Our high streets are the heart of our communities and Bromsgrove Labour has a plan to bring them back to their best. On the other hand our hills – the Clent, Lickey and Waseley – show everyone what makes Bromsgrove so special.
BR – AE Houseman statue in Bromsgrove High Street – A great cultured space.
GE – Probably Artrix. I love that place and the people that keep it going, again, under massive pressure. Artrix opened, just as I was setting out in life as a poet. Everyone there really helped me out a lot. I will be eternally grateful.
SC – Sanders Park, for the reasons I’ve mentioned above!
10. In no more than 20 words, state why the people of Bromsgrove should vote for you.
SJ – I will continue to work hard engaging and representing all Bromsgrove constituents on the issues that matter most to them.
TE – The Conservatives have taken our area for granted for too long – it’s time for a fresh start for Bromsgrove.
BR – For Bromsgrove I want to use my experience as a London Borough Councillor to bring in innovations not yet tried and represent the community.
GE – There is a better way. Vote for the Green Party policies which show that you are a caring, conscientious person.
SC – I would make my constituency my priority, not political ambition. My job is to serve the people.
Stuart Cross from UKIP. s
Lib Dem Bart Ricketts. s
Labour’s Tom Ebbutt. s
Conservative Sajid Javid. s