The Chester blog

Andy Argyle is the Brexit Party candidate in Thursdays General Election : 

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Tell us about yourself and why you’re standing for election
I had no career plan to go into politics, that’s for sure. I was born in Chester and graves of my family are seen in the city going back to the late 1800’s I have always felt life is as much about what you can put in as what you take out. From a very young age I took a great interest in people and their wellbeing, serving lunches to elderly residents at St Mary’s Church Hall in Handbridge in my own dinner hour at Queens Park High School. I was very active in Scouts and ran the 18th Chester Venture Scout Unit (Explorers now) for a number of years. I was very involved in the success of the 18th Chester Scout Band helping to take them to British Champions and performing at Wembley, The Royal Albert Hall and many others as well as local fetes etc. I then left that group to start up Ghost Drum and Bugle Corps so that this great form of musical expression could be open to a wider demographic. I have, all my life fought racism and been supportive of the LGBT+ community.
One of my strongest ambitions is to rid society of bullying in all its form. Having been a victim of this myself I know how worthless it can make you feel and how hard it is to share the problem, even with your closest friends and family, as you are shamed into silence.
I have also been active in raising awareness of the dangers of hard drugs and have for 4 of the last 5 years slept rough once a year to raise money for and awareness of the problems faced by the homeless.

What are your 3 top priorities for Chester ?
This is such a hard question as there is so much to do and so many opportunities I feel have been missed.
· I would like to ensure our NHS locally is fit for purpose and I would fight for it to get the funding it needs. I have a family member alive today solely because of the great work of the NHS, and many family members whose final days were spent in exceptionally good hands of very caring NHS staff.

· I would aim to get Chester recognised as a City of Culture, for all the richness this would bring to the City as well as the boost it would give to both Chester as a city and in particular its tourism and leisure industries.
· I would like to address the homelessness we see in and around Chester and tackle the complex problems that lead to it in the first place. Whilst also focusing on ensuring Chester is a safe place to live, work and play.
How would you describe Chester to someone who doesn’t know it ?

I would describe Chester as one of the best cities in the world. A diverse city that has a wealth of history, yet is modern in its outlook. One of the most beautiful cities you could wish to see and a place that has the stature of a great city and the feel of a little village. Everyone knows someone and Cestrians watch out for each other, as well as the rest of the world.
What is your favourite thing to do in Chester.
Three things I really look forward to are:
1. Using the kids as an excuse to get onto the Crocky Trail. I love the rustic feel to everything and the fact that it is a bit rough round the edges rather than a beautifully kept theme park. Love the slide that gets steeper the longer you are on it
2. I look forward to Christmas, as I love getting the inflatables up in the garden and decorating the house and given it is the main time we spend together as a family I look forward to board games and chilling and chit chat.
3. No matter where I travel in the world I love that feeling when you are travelling home and you drive into the City and realise that home is where the heart is.

We have seen a huge increase in homelessness in Chester over the last few years. What policies/funding would you put in place to address this.
This is an issue that really concerns me and nothing I put down here could justify the urgency or give enough detail on the complexity of the problem. However, I believe this is a problem that could and should be resolved in a single 5 year parliament. Funding is much needed but is not the sole solution. Our welfare system and social support mechanisms need to be targeted and focussed. We can only deal with the problem the homeless face when we fully understand the causes of homelessness and the reasons people find themselves in such desperate circumstances.

I believe financial help should be offered to employers to encourage them to support training and employment within the homeless community, mental and physical health bodies must gate-keep pockets of money specifically to help in this area, housing must be addressed. This falls often on to planners who, when universities expand or hospitals recruit more staff, are able to build into this, a requirement to build housing for students or trainee doctors and nurses etc. Starter homes MUST become a priority.

However more than anything I feel the greatest barrier to progress is our current political system pulling policy between left and right. I believe this is a cause for concern in many if not most of our public services and national issues. That is why I strongly favour a more reflective political system where every vote counts. This would bring about a more representative parliament and I believe lead towards politicians working collaboratively on policy for the country rather than defending traditional tribal left or right policies. Politics now has to be about right and wrong.
What is your view on the ongoing homeless protest?
I think I have largely covered this above. It is not so much as a view on the specific issue we are currently seeing played out in Chester – moving people from place to place, but more about finding a way to address the issue within a single 5 year parliament.
How safe is Frodsham Street?
I was sceptical when I first heard of the proposals for Frodsham Street and nothing since its change of use has led me to believe I was wrong then. I think the shared space, whilst I’m sure was well intentioned, creates as many issues as it addresses. However I have long seen the case for the city centre to be virtually 100% pedestrianised (with very limited out of hours access for loading etc.) the underground network beneath the precinct gives a great standing start. It would take a lot of thought and a lot of effort with alternative parking on the fringes but I feel this would be a goal worth exploring and one that is certainly achievable given the uniqueness of the city layout left to us by history.
How did you vote in the EU referendum and what do you think the impact of Brexit will be on Chester Possitive/Negative/Both?
I am the ONLY candidate that voted to leave the EU in the referendum, voted Brexit Party in the EU parliamentary elections (where the Brexit Party won the most seats nationally) and believe now after 3 ½ years of seeing how the EU and our politicians have behaved, believe more than ever it is the right decision.

I feel the only negative is the divide that has become visible by the debate. I use the word visible carefully, given that I highlight that the divide was always there. But those (52%) had never been given the opportunity to be heard. I believe that only once Brexit has been implemented, can the country move forwards, and then focus on the future post-Brexit. Only then will the negative aspects brought about largely through scaremongering and misunderstandings, be healed. But to do that, Brexit has to deliver on its promises, and I believe it will.
On the positive side, I think a sovereign Britain can again take its position as a world leader. I believe Chester can benefit from many of the political changes that will follow and that would not have taken place without Brexit. We can designate our steel industry as a strategic industry and support it to get it back on its feet, we can focus on the wellbeing of not just Chester but the commonwealth and the world, opening up markets and acting promptly when other countries are in desperate need of help. The money that the EU recycles and allows us to have back can be directly invested into OUR great country and city. The Brexit Party stand to ensure more wealth is distributed into the Northern regions and I will be fighting to make sure Chester gets MORE than its fair share of wealth distribution.
What can Chester improve on?
I think Chester needs to focus on once again becoming a must visit destination for tourism. I have many ideas how this can be done not least completing the excavation of our Amphitheatre and creating a world class attraction, and working towards a bid to become a recognised “City of Culture” as Hull was in 2016 to great benefit to the local community and economy.
We can improve on how we help the homeless and other groups that are struggling in today’s society and feel disenfranchised.
I would also aim to create a great business ethic and support new start-up businesses by the introduction of cheap available premises on a small business
area specifically set up to cater for new businesses in their first 3 – 5 years from inception.
I would set up forums where we give voice to ALL the lobby groups that have contacted me on subjects I would agree and disagree on but facilitate a means where they could gauge public opinion and lobby directly.
I would also set up an annual Voluntary sector forum where all local groups can attend from Scouts to St John Ambulance, cadet groups to CATH, charity shops to foodbanks can all attend and set out their position and call upon local residents not only to see the great work this sector does, but give them the opportunity to recruit more volunteers. I have considered this would be branded “A DAY TO GIVE TO OTHERS? ”
Do you support the Northgate development?
I have major concerns over this development. I am not convinced it is either the right time in Chester’s history or the right development to be investing in. I think we would be far wiser to invest to stop any further decline in our high street. Focus on the housing element of the Northgate development and less, if at all, on the peripheral matters which I feel will only serve to detract from facilities already in existence NOT add to them.
How would you describe the record of Chris Matheson?
I think anyone who is willing to stand up for what they believe in is to be commended and I have found Mr Matheson to be a gentleman and hope he would say the same in return. He is very visible in Chester and I believe his outgoing personality is admired. I do however think his biggest problem is his Leader Mr Corbyn as a vote for Mr Matheson in this election is also a vote for Mr Corbyn, and I believe Mr Matheson himself recognises this which is why he has not included him on any of his election Literature that I have seen.

How do you see the future of Chester as the High Street declines, parking issues, congestion etc. continue?
With thought and imagination I see Chester thriving. The beauty and uniqueness of this City only need promoting not developing. You only have to look back at old photographs to see how Chester has changed.  I Remember filling sacks of sand to build the skateboard park where Toy ‘R’ Us used to be, when B&M used to be where our Football Club was and my Grand Father was Chairman (Sam Argyle) When B and Q was Manweb head office and when KFC was a grey Hound race track. When Burrels was where you went for your School Uniform and where Cinderellas with Sports Bar next door, and Blimpers in City Road were the place to be seen. (Or may be not seen depending on your style of music). Chester changes well and I think it will do in the future. But I am very cautious of further out of town developments at this time as I think they are a distraction from keeping the City Centre alive and kicking.

What qualities does you party leader possess to be a good Prime Minister ?

Our party leader is not standing to be Prime Minister. Our party is standing to ensure the democratic vote in 2016 when 17.4 million people (52% of the votes cast) to leave the EU is NOT ignored or disrespected.
We stand to achieve a political system where every vote cast is meaningful and that voice is heard and the first past the post fails this test.

Why should people vote for you?
I believe that I am the best candidate by far. I am entering this race NOT to be a politician but to serve the city. I have pledged (IN WRITING) 50% of my salary as an MP to local charities. I only want to do the best I can for this city I love so much. Most of all I am not bound by Left or Right, I am bound by Right versus Wrong and I am not in need of following political norms to be successful I am fighting to make a difference in Westminster and in our GREAT CITY. I am a peoples’ person and those who know me know I will work my socks off for this city and its residents. And I will fight for freedom of fair & legal speech, diversity in all aspects of life, respect between and for all, and the right for Britain to be Sovereign again.

Is there anything you would like to add?
People have fought and died in battle to ensure we have a vote. Whilst I hope everybody will vote for me, I think the most important thing is that you vote.
Our vote is something we should never under value or take for granted. Whilst I may disagree with many of the views and policies of the other candidates I do fully respect them for having the courage to stand as candidates and ask for the public’s trust in their vision.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the engagement face to face and on social media with all those that agree with me or not and the debate has been largely constructive. However to the minority that have tried to intimidate, threaten, abuse or attack either me or any of the other candidates, or any members of our campaign teams, I simply say this is NOT what politics in our GREAT country is about and the 5 candidates were united in their condemnation of such actions and we WILL stand united on this matter beyond the election.

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