David Lee Thomas – Independent – Vale of Clwyd
All views on this page are from the candidate unedited.
We first asked them to tell us a little about who they are, any political history, about their political leanings and what skills you have to be a top level politician in Wales?
1 – Aside from Covid and Covid recovery, what do you feel is the top issue for this constituency in the forthcoming parliament term, and briefly explain how you would like to see your desired outcome achieved ?
It has been said for many years that politicians can not be trusted and recently I think that perception has increased. I intend to fix that public perception and show politicians can be trusted and true to their word. I have set out local plans that I will implement starting with monthly touch points to work with the public to fix issues within the Vale of Clwyd and acting more proactively rather then reactively. I will set up a children’s charity to support children suffering from bullying and cyber bullying. I have plans to tackle poverty in the elderly locally and make healthcare appointments easier to book. Support equestrian, pet owners, livestock and farming communities. Helping local Charites is another promise and that is just the start of our long journey together.
2 – What is your plan for helping residents and businesses in your constituency in the coming years to recover from the pandemic?
It was announced that an extra £650 million pound was given by the UK government to the Welsh government to support people, business’ and jobs affected by the pandemic. I think we need more transparency where this money is going and is the Vale of Clwyd getting the fair share of that pot? I will actively demand transparency. I also think that there are lots of newer business’ that have had no support at all and that needs to change and that is something I will push for going forward. I will be active in the community asking what the people want and try to get a solution.
3 – The pandemic has highlighted to many for the first time the powers that the Senedd have under devolution. How has the pandemic changed your views of devolution?
I have mixed feelings on this as I think its good that we can call on such powers in times of need but on the other hand those powers can also be used to play political games with Westminster and in turn that is not good for the people who are stuck in the middle. There have been times during the pandemic that a Cardiff/Westminster stand-off has occurred and the people within Wales have been neglected whilst political party tactics have come before the people that matter.
4 – What would you have done differently on the Welsh covid response?
I wouldn’t have been playing games with Boris Johnson and always trying to win that war. I would have ensured better relationships with England for the sake of the people to tackle the covid war together over the political cross-party wars. In Wales things were not clear and that caused lots of confusion by locking down with a few hours notice, prohibiting the sale of non-essential items but then not disclosing what items are essential, all added to frustration and rule braking. Things should have been made much clearer and really transparent to gain respect from the public and working better with the rest of the UK.
5 – Would you support legislation to hold an independence referendum for Wales? How would you vote in such a referendum and why?
No matter what my personal beliefs are, I will always be the peoples voice and if the people want an independence referendum then I will push for that so they can have their say. As it stands today I would have to vote no until I see all the facts and figures, income and expenditure for Wales. I genuinely want the best for Wales and the Welsh people so after seeing all the figures I would then vote on what would be best for Wales and the Vale of Clwyd.
6 – What actions would you take, or support, as a MS to encourage Welsh language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?
This is an area that I am very passionate about. I speak to so many older people who are upset with themselves that they never learnt the Welsh language as a youngster. So many jobs in Wales these days require some level of Welsh speaking. I would work to get more courses locally within the Vale of Clwyd but then also work hard to fill the courses as I know in the past the uptake hasn’t always been there, causing cancellations of courses.
7 – What does “climate emergency” mean to you, and why?
Climate emergency is a very serious concern and something that we have all contributed over the years causing global warming and aggressive climate change. We all need to be part of the change to stop the rapid damage that we are doing to the planet for the benefit of our children and future generations. I don’t think everyone understands the change that is required and this is an area that people need to be educated on quite fast.
8 – There can be a perception that politicians are too “South Wales focused” and can see a north south divide. Do you think this is the case, and realistically if elected which of your North Wales specific goals do you think you can deliver?
It certainly feels like North Wales has been left behind over the years and when you visit South Wales it looks like lots more money has been invested in all sectors in comparison. I will deliver all my goals set out because I’ve focused on local issues, unlike the political parties who have the same script for every constituency in Wales and how can that be when we have different issues to other areas? I will fight for our share of everything and ensure that we are not left behind, I will make good on all my local promises and pledges and i will work with the people of the Vale of Clwyd to make it a better place.
9 – What are your views on a LGBTQ+ plan for Wales?
I think this should have happened a long time ago and I feel in Wales that we are behind the times a bit when it comes to LBGTQ+ plan. I know the draft is scheduled to happen after the election in May and the LBGTQ communities have had input last year but its really important that they continue to have lots of input so we get things right the first time and not just rush them through.
10 – Children and young people have missed almost a full year of regular education – what are your plans to make sure that children who have missed out on academic and social experiences are not left at a disadvantage in the next few years?
This is a really difficult question to answer as so many children would have acted differently throughout the lockdown. There is a massive variation from Children doing little or no schoolwork all the way up to and including working many hours each day. In the middle of this crisis is the child and their potential grades shouldn’t suffer for something that they can not control. I agree with exploring the idea of an extra year for children who need extra support or didn’t hit grades due to covid. This would be a massive ask but we are talking children’s futures potentially depending on the correct grades.
11 – Local services such as libraries, leisure centres and community centres have been badly affected in recent years due to lack of funding – how would you support local authorities?
One of my promises to the people of the Vale of Clwyd is to support local charities. If after all avenues were explored and there was no option but to close i would consult with the local people and see if that particular place is of value to them. If it is then we would find an option through volunteering, funding, donations or charity raising. I always say the answer is in the room and I’m never wrong, so I aim to engage the people of the Vale of Clwyd.
12 – How would you resolve issues at the local health board that are emerging from special measures?
This is an area that angers me as my local hospital in the Vale of Clwyd should never have come out of special measures. In January and February 2021, it still had the lowest percentage by far in Wales for people who spent less time waiting than the target at 41.9% and 42.9%. The Welsh labour government have failed in this area and by claiming a win which is shameful on their part. This needs striping back to basics finding the problem and the coming up with the solution to get things right. Then and only then, when we get things right can we see how we can continuously support to maintain the improved figures. we cant just manipulate figures to mask the real issue and this is an area the public demand we get right.
13 – What are you planning to do to help those who are finding it hard to find work?
In the Vale of Clwyd in the past we have relied on the town and tourism for jobs. Recently the shops in the towns have slowly closed causing many job loses. The council need to make businesses and customers want to return and not have shops sat empty. That’s a project that I would meet with the council to resolve. Another option I would like to explore for new self employed start ups who struggle to set a business up is a form of start up grant like a student loan and only paid back once they earn a set amount. Then there is the courses to assist people to get back into work mode, out of bed in the morning and leaving the house thus getting back into a routine.
14 – Many politicians are accused of being out of touch with voters and only surfacing before elections. What will you do to ensure you stay in touch through the coming years if you are elected?
I hear this regularly and its quite correct, many are out of touch and when elected choose to please party leaders over the people who voted then in. I have committed to have monthly touch points to hear what the people have to tell me and work with them to form a solution. I also have promised community projects so I will be very active in the community and true to the people who elect me. I care about my local community and as an independent candidate, the people will find me different to the political party candidates.
15 – Turnouts in Senedd Elections are historically low, why do you think people haven’t been as engaged in Welsh politics over the last 20 years and what would you do to change that?
This is the mistake that most of the politicians make in assuming that they know the answer to what the people think and want. Whilst we know the Senedd election turnout is roughly 16% lower than Westminster elections, the only way that we will know why this is the case, is by asking the people why and why they vote for MP’s but not for MS’s. Once we have that answer we can ask what do we need to do to change that and educate them on the benefits of voting and why we rely on their vote in the Senedd elections.
16 – If elected would you form an allegiance or join a group, and if so, who would you consider or rule out ?
Absolutely not, I stand for the people and I will be the true voice of the people. Its quite clear the candidates who are part of a party or an alliance want to please their party leaders or their party agenda and if that differs to what the people want, then quite often its a conflict of interest and they choose their party over the people. All I’m interested in is what is best for the people of the Vale of Clwyd.
17 – Do you think business rates control should be devolved entirely to local authorities, or run fully from Cardiff or Westminster and why?
I think that they should be run locally but with a higher cap in place just in case local authorities get a bit greedy. If they were managed more locally that would be better to run local projects in an attempt to get the towns busier in the certain areas whilst maintaining the standard fees in the busier towns.
18 – If you change political allegiance from what you are currently seeking election for (eg. resigning from, or joining another party or group) will you trigger a by-election? If not, why not?
I am standing as an independent candidate and if elected for the full 5 year term I would continue as an independent candidate.
19 – At the time of writing where has the top three sources of funding for your campaign come from, and are there any funding sources you feel would be relevant to voters to know about?
As an independent candidate I have had no funding or donations from anywhere. I have funded everything myself from my full time employment earnings. I haven’t used Royal Mail mass leaflet drops like the political parties and to date I have visits 10,000 properties on foot delivery leaflets. I have been working full time and delivering leaflets everyday meaning 80 hour weeks and I will continue to work hard if elected and that is the difference between me and the political party candidates who assume you will continue to vote for the no matter what.
20 – In a few lines to wrap this up, why are you the best candidate compared to your competitors?
I care about the people within the Vale of Clwyd, I am a local man who wants the best for everyone who lives here. I will be the true voice of the people and my alliance will be with the people I represent and not political party leaders. If elected I will not forget the people who voted me into office, i will continue to always serve them to the best of my ability. Over many different generations, things have been said about how politicians can not be trusted and I want to change that image locally within the Vale of Clwyd so the people begin to feel that politicians can be trusted and true to their word.
Full list of candidates standing in Vale of Clwyd - and links to their profiles below:
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