In a departure from our normal blogging, a little background on Tim Worstall (that being myself) and why you might want to vote for me in the upcoming UKIP London Region MEP selection process.
I think you should vote for me because I think I would make an excellent MEP: but I agree, that\’s really something I should try and convince you of rather than simply assert. So a little background.
This is what I look like.
Excellent, now that we\’ve scared away any small animals or children who might have found their way here by mistake, yes, this is indeed what the combination of genetics and life experience has led to.
I was born in Torquay in 1963, grew up mostly in Bath (with a couple of years in Naples, Italy as a result of my father\’s Naval career) and was educated at Downside Abbey. I took three years off between school and university, spending most of that time in the US. I then went to the London School of Economics and graduated in 1987. Those six years between leaving school (and on a few other short term occasions since) and getting a job where I could be paid to sit down I spent as a bartender and waiter: yes, I\’ve done hard physical work (there might be those who argue about whether catering is in fact hard work, but not those who have actually done it).
Since then I\’ve made my living in a variety of small businesses ranging from business to business marketing to the distribution of newspapers in Russia. I spent 7 years of the 90s living in Russia and then moved to California to further develop the business started while in Mosscow. That\’s this one, a company specialising in one of the weirder nooks and crannies of the global metals trade. That business would continue to operate if I were to become an MEP but the time requirements are minimal: I doubt any would begrudge me a few hours a week to continue something I\’ve spent well over a decade building. (Oddly, Nigel Farage and I have mutual contacts in that global metals industry but that\’s not what brought me to the party: nor was Nigel\’s being taught at school by my brother in law: they\’re just coincidences).
I\’ve been in Portugal for the past few years and am just finishing off the building work on the desired rural hideaway before coming back to London to work on the all important lead up to the 2009 euro-elections.
Given this background, why am I standing in London? The answer there lies in the second career that has built over the past four years. All of which has been based on this very blog. According to one ranking system it\’s the 30 th most influential blog in the UK and a (just barely squeaks into the) top ten political blog. Those numbers are true as I write this but not too much weight should really be applied to the very contentious methods used to calculate them.
What is perhaps of more import is that a number of editors have taken note of the blog and my writing and subsequently asked me to write more directly for them. For example, I defend one of the more basic concepts of civil liberty in The Times here, that those wrongly jailed are entitled to compensation. More directly applicable here, I argue for one of UKIP\’s tax policies, that we really do need to take the working poor out of the income tax net (again in The Times). Or perhaps you\’d prefer me having a dig at the cult of recycling?
Other places I write include The Register (the online paper for the web and computing crowd), The Spectator\’s online offering, the Adam Smith Institute (where I am also a Fellow) and I\’ve even managed to infiltrate The Guardian on occasion. For anyone who is interested in how I perform on TV, here\’s an example.
That\’s why I\’m standing in London, because that is where the UK media is based. Given that I\’m already involved, that I clearly have the skills to make our case both in print and in person, I can do the most for the party by standing and serving where there is the greatest access to the national media.
I agree that I\’m a fairly new addition to the party itself: I\’ve been gradually reeled in over the past few years by Gawain Towler (who is standing in the SW Region) and Annabelle Fuller of the press office. There have been odd phrases and ideas of mine turning up in UKIP press releases for a couple of years now but my relationship with and membership of the party only became formal this year.
As to more detailed policy views: well, there are some millions of words of mine out there that you can read on the internet. I\’ve no doubt that at least one of my thoughts or positions on one or another matter will infuriate everyone: no, not that any specific view will infuriate everyone, but that of all the thousands laid out one or another will some person. It works for the general public so I can\’t see why it won\’t work for the members of UKIP, but here are two things I would say about this.
The first is that we are indeed united in the knowledge that we have to leave the European Union (no, not "Europe", there\’s nothing wrong with geography, it\’s the political structure that we oppose) if we are to be able to enact any of our desired policies. We cannot have a rational fisheries policy while part of the Common Fisheries Policy, we cannot have our own trade policy while we remain part of the EU, we cannot, in effect, govern ourselves until we are a free and sovereign nation once again. That we might disagree on more minor matters is less important that what unites us.
The second is that in selecting a candidate you are, to paraphrase Edmund Burke, selecting not a delegate to vote on each and every matter as you desire, but a representative. Someone whose general views of the world you trust, someone to represent you and to take decisions upon votes on your behalf. Someone, therefore, whose attitudes and views you trust in general, someone in whom you can put your trust, rather than someone who agrees with you on each and every specific of each and every policy.
A few more detailed points: I would regard being an MEP as a more than full time job: other than those few hours each week required to keep the above mentioned small business ticking over my time would be spent as your representative. There are, to my mind, three things that an elected representative is supposed to do. The first is of course represent the political desires of those who voted for him: in our case that is of course to continue to militate for an exit from the European Union. The second is to be a member of the legislature: again, in our case that\’s while time consuming not all that difficult to describe in outline. To try and stop these people doing anything more foolish than they already are.
The third is one that is more usually connected with Westminster and single member constituencies: to represent all constituents, not just those who voted for the specific member. In relation to Europe that means intervening on behalf of constituents with the bureaucracy. That\’s a task I think I would be very good at: 7 years of living in Russia and 15 of working in the Russian metals trade have given me a number of insights in how to deal with corrupt and indolent bureaucracies.
In our specific case in London there\’s one more thing that desperately needs to be done. We have to rebuild the borough associations. If elected your MEP I would expect to be devoting substantial time to that task. Plus substantial amounts of energy in making sure that we raise the money to keep running the well oiled electoral machine we need and desire.
Finally, it is of course impossible for me to raise every subject, to answer every possible question, in a piece like this. For a start, I\’m not in fact allowed under our electoral rules to contact you to find out what it is that does concern you. So I do urge you to contact me (for then I am indeed allowed to contact you back) with any questions or concerns that you may have. The simplest way is to send me an email ([email protected]) and I can either email you back or if you prefer, let me have a telephone number and a reasonable time to call and I shall do so.
I would like to be one of the UKIP MEPs for the London Region: because I think I would be very good at doing the job, at representing you. The more interesting question is whether you also think that to be true: something I hope to be able to convince you of if you\’d like to contact me.