Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Interview: Adam Rickitt Answers Your Questions

Two weeks ago you submitted your questions for me to put to Adam Rickitt. These are his answers.

1.What is your earliest political memory?

Probably the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a child it was the first time I really remembering seeing the power of and desire for democracy.

2.Do you regret pursuing show business rather than a law degree? How did you make your decision?

I believe I was incredibly lucky to have the choice in the first place and certainly don’t regret it. Acting has always been a passion of mine and when the opportunity came along I made damned sure I grabbed it with both hands. The only hard part was breaking the news to my father!

3.Many commentators allege you have done little or nothing for the party. Is this true? How did you first come to get involved with the Conservative party?

I have always been a Conservative and held Conservative views, believing them best suited as a form of Government. Since an early age I was taught to be very politically aware and knew from childhood that the process was something I wanted to contribute towards if I could. Despite misconceptions I have done grassroots campaigning for the party, at local and general election levels as well as independent initiatives. I took the decision a couple of years ago to try and make a bigger contribution, so submitted my name for candidate selection at that time.

4. Why do you think you got onto the A list and What makes you believe you would be a good Conservative MP? Are good looks and a six pack essential assets for those seeking election these days?

I believe in a Conservative Party that wants to put people above spin, so would hope that like everyone else I am there because I am good enough. Yes I do come from a career background seen as less typical, but from 10 years of working within the media industry I would hope to have gathered experience at how better to utilise the media to convey our message, and voice a constituency’s concerns. I think people forget that to be on the A list you first had to go through the original graded Parliamentary Selection Board. I did that and then like everyone else had the further interviews to get onto the A list. I think a good MP is someone who cares for their community and becomes their champion, which is why I will make my home in any seat I am lucky enough to be selected for. Looks play no part in the equation, what matters is your ideas and connecting them to the electorate.

5. Do you think you would have still been placed on the 'A list' if you were not on Coronation Street or a pop star?

There is a real diversity of talent and background on the A list so as to better reflect our society in all walks. There are people who have been candidates before, Councillors, Doctors, business leaders, charity campaigners. I hope that the reason any of us are there is because it is felt we can offer something to a constituency and the Party, and not to grab short term headlines. The duty of responsibility placed on any MP is one of the greatest honours that can be bestowed and I for one don’t believe the Conservative Party would abuse that trust by selecting someone who did not have the goods to do the job, just for the sake of media coverage. Anyway if you read some of the papers lately Corrie has not been all that much of an advantage!

6. Which one of the major parties do you think most effectively uses internet campaigning and how would you like to see the use of IT in election campaigning develop?

I think all of the parties still have some way to go to better utilise IT in campaigns. Although it should never take the place of the vital face to face campaigning (and utilisation of other forms of media) with more and more people registering with TPS and blocks of flats with increased security it is becoming very hard to reach many electors in the traditional way. The evidence that things are changing fast can be seen in the dramatic increase in the influence of blogging. We should be collecting emails as we used to collect telephone numbers and using them to better communicate our message to key voters.

7. Apart from IHT, which three laws would you propose to repeal if you were writing our manifesto?"

1. Reassessment of the funding legislation and rules which are destroying our farming community.
2. The Human Rights Act which is hampering our ability to determine our own laws.
3. The legal ability to shoot a Welshman from the walls of Chester with a longbow (archaic law which I am not sure really sends the right message nowadays!)

8. What is your attitude to drug use?

Drugs ruin peoples lives, break up families and have disastrous effects on our communities. There is no magic solution to the problem (although certainly the mixed messages sent by Labour over re-classification haven’t helped) but great steps can be taken through better education of our young people on the dangers. We should promote an education programme in schools where kids can hear first hand from ex-addicts on the detrimental effects. We should free up our police force from this Government’s obsessive bureaucracy so that they are better able to go after the big dealers, and at the same time expand the numbers of places available for rehab.

9. Who are your three political heroes, living or dead?

Churchill for saving our nation in time of war. Lady Thatcher for saving our nation in time of peace. The Chinese man who stood before the tanks in Tiananmen Square for showing how the courage and conviction of the individual can make a real difference.

10. How could you attract more younger people into the Conservative Party?

We need to re-engage all of our electorate in the political process. After believing in promises made and never fulfilled by Labour, people have become increasingly disenchanted with the process assuming that all politicians will say anything to gain power, and then never follow through. We need to make those commitments and promises come to fruition so that once again they can believe what they are told. With regard to the youth vote we should encourage them to partake in the process, making more use of our education system to show the role Government plays in their lives, but also utilise the youth media they relate to to better connect them to our message.

11. If you asked a question at the Prime Minister Questions to Tony Blair, what would you ask him?

Would it matter, he never gives a straight answer in any case! If I had the chance though I would ask how on earth he managed to waste 9 years and squander the stock of good will he had in 1997, as well as tens of billions of pounds, on achieving almost nothing at all.

12. Who is your favourite MP from any side of the Commons.

Either William Hague for his ability, wit and fantastic oratory, or the late Mo Mowlam for her ability to make people believe she genuinely cared.

13.What is your political ambition?

My greatest ambition may sound rather like something from a greeting card, but it is a genuine desire to serve a local community and be a local MP. I have no great urge to be minister of this or minister of that, but instead would feel incredible blessed to have the opportunity to be a champion for a constituency and fight for their cause.

14. When you’re not acting or singing what do you do?

When I get the chance I am a bit of an “outdoors” type person and love to go horse riding or running with my dogs.

15. Are you embarrassed by all the photos of you half naked which constantly appear in the newspapers?

Am I ashamed of them? No. It was a part of my life which was great fun, and all part and parcel of the situation I worked in at that time, and besides I try not to worry about such things as I can do nothing to change. Is it embarressing to have people know what my near-birthday suit looks like…oh yes!

16. Are you just going to apply for safe seats? Which seats did you apply for in the initial tranche of 35?

For me it’s more important to look at each constituency individually and find a community I feel I can serve to the best of my abilities, and where I feel I can make a real difference, and further their cause. It’s a case of finding that constituency, and them finding me, so that if I were lucky enough to be selected I would be in a strong position to fulfil my duty of care.

17. Do you agree with the statement ‘A Conservative government must cut taxes or it is nothing’?

I totally agree that the big difference between Conservative and other governments is that we trust people more. That means leaving them with as much of their own hard earned money as possible to spend on themselves and their families. Conservatives always strive to achieve lower taxes where possible but making them compatible to providing the best in public services.

18. Do you support the concept of gay marriage?

I think church and state should remain entirely separate at all costs, and that the decision of religious marriage should be of each faith to debate and decide free of political influence. However saying that I totally support the concept of civil partnerships in the eyes of the law, and think it a disgrace that same sex couples have had to wait so long for legal rights, protection and recognition.

19. You’ve come in for a bit of a pasting in the media and from some fellow Conservatives in recent weeks. How have you coped? Do you regret ever putting yourself forward?

Honestly….no. Don’t get me wrong, some of the mis-informed articles I have read over the last few weeks have been incredibly frustrating, but for my part I fully appreciate the opportunity I have been given and want to grasp it firmly. I’ve coped by remembering that those attacking me don’t know me, or my political background, at all and have been lucky enough to have had fantastic support and advice from family as well as friends who have been in politics for a long time. My biggest fear with what has passed is the message it sends our already apathetic young voters who have seen someone of their own age damned by some quarters for just wanting to get involved. Well I am still here and now hopefully can begin to show them how important the process is for their lives as well.

20. If you sat down for a chat with David Cameron, what three pieces of advice would you give him?

He seems to be doing pretty damn well without any advice form me so I don’t think I’d presume!


Croydonian said...

Good stuff - AR sounds quite sound, doesn't he?

And I must be I'm getting old - when the Wall came down I was legless celebrating in a bar in Holborn. I think I might have managed a verse or two of the Deutschlandleid too.

Anonymous said...

11. If you asked a question at the Prime Minister Questions to Tony Blair, what would you ask him?

Would it matter, he never gives a straight answer in any case!

16. Are you just going to apply for safe seats? Which seats did you apply for in the initial tranche of 35?

A straight answer? Adam is learning the trade...

Archbishop Cranmer said...

O dear...

His priorities:

1. Reassessment of the funding legislation and rules which are destroying our farming community.
2. The Human Rights Act which is hampering our ability to determine our own laws.
3. The legal ability to shoot a Welshman from the walls of Chester with a longbow (archaic law which I am not sure really sends the right message nowadays!)

Bearing in mind that point 3 is probably an attempt at humour, the poor boy is ignorant that Parliament is powerless, and that competence has been granted to the EU.

And on:

I think church and state should remain entirely separate at all costs

He is apparently ignorant of five centuries of history, and a very complex settlement. We have a nation where church and state are fused. Is he advocating disestablishment? That doesn't sound very Conservative... Does he know what he's talking about?

Serf said...

Vey good, I thought the answer on Gay marriage was both Conservative and in touch with Modern Britain (as the spin doctors say).

Anonymous said...

uhm, nothing exceptional, some really predictable replies, some ridiculous ones and some a bit more interesting ones.

Anonymous said...

Not convinced by this I am afraid. Doesn't seem to say the right things about big issues. For example, it is alright sending police after dealers, but he fails to mention the obvious point...LOCK THEM UP! And keep them locked up. Admiration for Mo Mowlam is truly disgusting, bearing in mind how she crawled to murderers in a way that even her Labour predessors didn't. Mowlam did more than any other person to turn Ulster behind Paisley(and who can blame them). Get all muddled over public services. Just say it! Taxes MUST and WILL be lower. People in this country are sick to death of being overtaxed, if the Party doesn't help them then who will? And as for Gay Partnerships(or whatever they are). Just not having that. The only disgrace is that the subject has been linked to equality.

If Rickett stands in my constituency, I won't vote for him. Come back in ten years and he might be ready, he clearly isn't now.

Anonymous said...

"The Human Rights Act which is hampering our ability to determine our own laws."

This rather says it all. Ill-informed and inaccurate, perhaps that law degree would have been of some use after all.

The Daily Pundit said...

Good interview, Iain. How about inviting 23-year-old university graduate, Emma Greenow, to do the same. Emma has been chosen as the Conservative candidate to fight Bridgend at next year's National Assembly elections.

Paul Evans said...

The point about his first political memory being the fall of the Berlin Wall is interesting – it was certainly one of mine. I’ve heard it suggested that young people who will have grown up with that, the fall of communism, etc are rather lucky because (like summer born babies) we’ll have a naturally rather optimistic bent on the future, whereas children born today with a news agenda dominated by terrorism, war and disasters might not. Typical Lib Dem guff I know, but I think there’s something in it.

Biodun said...

Please tell me he didn't really write
"The Chinese man who stood before the tanks in Thanimin Square"

Surely this was your mistake (and if so, shame on you, Iain).

This is even more irritating than his Hootsies vs Tootsies comment when talking about Rwanda!

Ellee Seymour said...

Very interesting. My teenage sons are fans of William Hague too.

Iain, you are very generous to give Adam this space too, you should have been a diplomat.

Does Adam intend to start his own blog?

Anonymous said...

I am impressed by Adam Rickett. He has one vital quality for a politician and that is guts. He's taken a huge amount of stick and he is not giving up. I don't agree with him on some things, but he seems like a solid Tory.

The idea that they should only select candidates who've previously been candidates goes against everything Cameron stands for.

Rickett will probably fight hard in a constuency to prove himself, and his name recognition is worth 1500 votes by itself. Hope an Association has the courage to back Cameron and pick him.

Biodun said...

I take it the spelling mistake was wrong, Iain.
And it still is!!

It's Tiananmen.

Sorry to be a pedant, but the mistakes look like they are Adam's and not yours.

Anonymous said...

Very soft questions Iain. Why wasn't Adam Rickitt pushed to say when and who he has campaigned for in the past? I know for a fact that tougher questions were submitted!

Anonymous said...

Adam is OK. Maybe. Time will tell whether his conviction and commitment is made of the right stuff. His actions over the medium term will expose or validate.In meantime I wish wish him well.

Anonymous said...

Three pieces of advice for Dave.

1. Leave the EPP(like you promised)
2. Promise to cut taxes
3. Stop giving Blair excuses to call you soft on crime. Vote with the Government when it tries to toughen prison terms. In fact trump them. Everyones a winner.

The Hitch said...

maybe he is getting a hard time as most see him for what he is, a lightweight, he has no original ideas or experience of anything other that acting (badly) on Coronation street and greasing himself up with baby oil.
Why should he become an MP?
Just because he wants to be one?
We have to many of these types already, lets see some people who have achieved something in life,succesfully run a business and see politics as an opportunity to use their talents to help the country rather than a career stage.
I for one don't need any baby oil application advice.
And If anybody wishes to say I am jumping on the bash somebody you know nothing about bandwagon,I have met Adam socially, nice lad, and maybe if in 20 years time, when he has done something worthwhile, he may get my vote.

The Hitch said...

I am up crap creek at the moment, have lost my direction in life.
Any words of wisdom would be most appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Erm, having made it to the top of the TV ladder by starring on a major soap IS making it in business. He's a self-made man. Rickett is highly successful, it would be strange if the Tory party started penalising that.

The Hitch said...

one swallow does not a summer make
(no puns intended)
My point was that we need people with practical life skills in Government, a good mind would also be helpful.
Rickett has neither.
Nice lad, but he doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

AR shows he has guts, political conviction and is not afraid to say things which may be unpopular with grassroots. Well done. It's about time some of the people who have commented adversely on him got behind him and others on the Priority List or leave the Party. We've tried promising the earth and cutting taxes whilst spending as much as Labour, funnily enough nobody believed us. Supporting Civil Partnerships is now a cross party consensus - time to move on I think.

Anonymous said...

AR lives in the North West and yet to my knowledge was not involved in any campaigning in the target Manchester ward in this year's local elections. It's things like that which aggravate people. If I'd been him, I'd have been out in all weathers to demonstrate my worth.

He seems sincere enough but let him prove it first.

pakman said...

Mo Mowlem?

And this lad wants to be a Tory MP?

neil craig said...

I'm not sure him being sympathetic to CofE disestablishment should be counted as such a sin. This was certainly a major Tory plank a century & a half ago but surely not now.

Praguetory said...

Good questions and good answers. He clearly has a good understanding of what it means to be a Conservative.

I'd vote for him, but I think that he might struggle to win a marginal.