Clare Eno – Reform UK – Clwyd West
All views on this page are from the candidate unedited.
Manifesto: Manifesto/Plan: LINK
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?
Why I’m standing in the 2021 Senedd elections for Clwyd West and North Wales for Reform Wales UK – Dr N Clare Eno
Northumbrian by birth, from a farming family and lived for over 20 years in Snowdonia. I studied Marine Biology in Swansea then PhD at Cambridge University. My desire to speak out for the rights of people and wildlife led me into policy work, managing large fisheries projects and making representation to Government at all levels from the Welsh Assembly to the UN for 30 years.
I established Countryside Council for Wales’ marine policy team – oversaw government advice, led on fisheries, working closely with fishermen. I commissioned work on effects of electrical cables to offshore wind farms and recall early Gwynt y Mor (= sea wind in Sysnaeg!) discussions, championing skates, rays and fishermen.
My earliest involvement with politics was with my father – our house was local liberal HQs! I got drawn into changing policies at University and eventually moved into policy development backed up by science. My talent is drawing diverse groups of people together to achieve great things: together we challenged policies so diabetics could dive safety; protected the basking shark in UK waters; helped combat spread of alien species, reform the CFP and curb scallop dredging – protecting stocks and vulnerable habitats.
Since 2015, my husband and I literally built and ran our own business and managed the North Wales’ constituent’s office for an Assembly Member. (We also played in a rock band and drove a motorbike across the USA!)
Despite close working with peers across Europe – a European Laureate, I became disillusioned with the EU, particularly with the European Parliament from where the expression ‘gravy train’ originates. So campaigned alongside my husband to leave the EU and in 2019 was selected to stand in Aberconwy for the Brexit Party. I personally have much to offer from a wealth of experience advising governments and politicians for 30 years. Helping constituents increased my understanding of issues facing individuals across North Wales. I joined Senedd Cross Party Groups (on animal attractions and tourism – I like to visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo and believe a healthy environment crucial to supporting vibrant tourism). Through Reform UK I will help reform politics and society.
My Grandpa Jones from North Wales had a great bass voice. I inherited his love for singing and delight in volunteering at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen. I serve in Church including caring for children, women and the elderly. I believe in freedom to worship and to live without unnecessary restriction of civil liberties and will push to reopen Wales to get life and the economy going again.
I should like to continue to help and speak out for the people of North Wales and constituents of Clwyd West.
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?
Covid is the top issue and has made things much worse in the constituency in relation to businesses closing, unemployment, poor health and drug usage increasing. I would push to rebuild high streets and businesses.
2 – What is your plan for helping residents and businesses in your constituency in the coming years to recover from the pandemic?
In Colwyn Bay, the lavish Council building is a phenomenal drain on Council resources and results in them neglecting parks and public transport and many other services across the constituency, yet they continue to raise council tax! So I would explore whether the offices could be partially repurposed as a business hub thus drawing in much needed revenue and employment, retaining sufficient rooms for the Council to operate – although numbers might be significantly reduced now that workers have become accustomed to working from home. I’d also encourage the (re)opening of shops in the High Streets, outdoor pursuit centres and other attractions to draw tourists back and rejuvenate the area for residents.
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?
The Senedd have made some very poor decisions often just for the sake of being different to the rest of the UK. A few examples illustrate this – the timing of closures such that Wales closed just as England reopened, thus depriving the North Wales tourist industry of much needed revenue. Four hours’ notice of closures at Christmas resulted in a huge loss of revenue (and much spoilt stock) for many Welsh businesses. Another example is that unlike England, there has been no separate pot to support animal attractions, meaning the likes of the Welsh Mountain Zoo have had to compete with other businesses for the same grant pot and as a consequence have relied heavily on charitable donations and had to appeal to the public to provide food to allow animals to survive during lockdowns. It is a disgrace that neither the Welsh government nor the opposition have changed this policy.
The present government has been officious in it’s treatment of the people of Wales and the Senedd as a whole needs major reform.
4 – What would you have done differently on the Welsh covid response?
For a start, not sent those elderly patients blocking hospital beds into care homes without testing for Covid and hence avoided spread of the disease to the most vulnerable in society (a global act of criminal negligence). We would have quarantined sick people rather than locking up healthy people and hence kept the economy going rather than destroying a plethora of small businesses. We would have restricted entry of others from potentially infected regions – instead there was no checking at airports and no restrictions on movement from abroad for the best part of 12 months. We could have followed the example of our former colony Hong Kong who had dealt with SARS in the past and employed much more sensible control measures, thus allowing – as they have – the economy and life in general to continue under far less draconian, yet sensible restrictions.
5 – Would you support legislation to hold an independence referendum for Wales? How would you vote in such a referendum and why?
We consider, at the present time, money would be far better invested in helping the economy to grow again and to get educational establishments to reopen. I would Not be supportive of independence as long as the current Labour government run Wales – politics in Wales needs reforming first!
6 – What actions would you take, or support, as an MS to encourage Welsh language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?
I have no strong views on this. There seems to be such a variety of Welsh used across Wales that it is hard to know which form to promote.
7 – What does “climate emergency” mean to you, and why?
It is an emotive term. I have worked for most of my life to protect the environment and conserve nature. People need to take responsibility for how they interact with the environment. However, there is much ignorance about what the real problems are – I personally worked on revealing that plastics (and plastic surfactants inside tins of food are worst) leach oestrogen mimics into our food – yet what have governments done about that? The invisible soup of pollutants we use in everyday life and chemicals we spray on our crops combine to have phenomenal effects not only on us as consumers but on the wildlife and habitats we live in. Carbon dioxide is essential for healthy growth of plants – indeed we bubble it into our cultures, and there is a shortage of it! So why is it classed as such a demon? Many of the media messages appear to be designed to incite fear as opposed to encouraging more sustainable practices. There have been so many mixed messages from governments who told everyone to change over to diesel and now have changed their minds and want to ban it. At what cost to small businesses?
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?
Yes there is a North / South divide in Wales. One example relates to health issue which I came across because a constituent raised it to the North Wales constituency office I ran. For men who have previously suffered from and been treated for prostrate cancer subsequent screening (5 years down the line) has to be paid for by the individual (at an elevated cost hundreds of pounds more than Betsi Cadwaladr hospitals pay for the screening), yet in South Wales (where our current Health Minister resides) such screening is free. On top of that all screening in England for prostrate cancer is free. I’d campaign to ensure that the North is treated the same as the South.
9 – What are your views on a LGBTQ+ plan for Wales?
I’m afraid I’m not familiar enough with the LGBTQ+ plan to comment.
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?
More outdoor recreation would help build team spirit between groups of peers and this would also help their mental and physical well-being. That would be a tremendous basis for increased learning in the classroom. I would stop spending vast amounts on testing for Covid and divert those funds into educational needs. But more than anything, delay the ‘new curriculum in Wales’ which makes sex education for 5 years and older mandatory for children without any parental involvement. 86% of respondents to the public consultation by government said ‘No’ to this – yet it has been pushed through! Even teachers do not know what this new curriculum will involve! As children are only just starting to get back to school the prospect of hitting them with this in September as projected in Wales is unthinkable. It must be delayed and at least allow teachers (if parents are still to be excluded) to see what is involved.
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?
Local authorities need to work to build communities back up such that businesses are attracted back in to allow revenue to flow back into the constituency. Council taxes should be lowered, outdoor facilities made free again and public services such as libraries and community centres made viable again with LA support. Bus services in rural parts of the constituency need to be improved considerably or else council tax rebates provided to constituents dependent on cars or taxis. (Also see answer to Q 2 above).
12 – How would you resolve issues at the local health board that are emerging from special measures?
As highlighted in response to Q 8, get the health minister to take an interest in North Wales. The health board itself is far too big and cumbersome. It needs to be divided into manageable chunks that are responsible for their own districts. To pay for this I would remove the top tier of management.
There is also a chronic shortage of parking spaces. Multi-storey car parks should be built for staff leaving the other car parking areas for patients. If patients weren’t so stressed by the lack of parking spaces, they may be prepared to pay a nominal amount to park, they wouldn’t be late for appointments and the whole system would run far more efficiently.
There needs to be far better integration between the NHS and Social Services. It causes blocking of hospital beds on a huge scale.
A particular interest of mine is attachment disorder amongst children. Previously this used to be most common in children in care but we are seeing an increase in this condition in classrooms probably caused by replacing human interactions with technology. I suspect this has been exacerbated by Covid so we really need a centre to provide help to families of affected children so this condition can be resolved before it’s too late.
13 – What are you planning to do to help those who are finding it hard to find work?
The answer depends on the reason they are finding it hard to work, so needs to be from several stances:
There are high levels of unemployment across the constituency – exacerbated by the way Covid has been handled. Therefore opportunities to work need to be created – high streets revived so they flourish again, businesses encouraged to open in the area, including outdoor pursuits centres and tourists welcomed back (preferably not being made to feel pariahs) and parks being made more attractive.
For those unable to work at present due to mental health issues, again exacerbated by Covid measures, this needs to be addressed by better focus on mental health provision across Betsi Cadwaladr or equivalent health board.
For those who are untrained, provide training and encourage business apprenticeships.
Tackle drug use in the area thus making youngsters more fit to work as well as increasing their self-worth.
14 – Your party mentions an ‘internet sales tax’, how much would that be, who would levy it, and is that not just extra red tape for internet retailers – which is many businesses nowadays?
Abolish business rates for small & medium firms, offset with online Delivery Tax at 3%, will create fairer playing field for High Street and physical versus online businesses.
15 – Reform UK was previously the Brexit Party, which stood down candidates to help the Conservatives in 2019. For a party that says it is pro-democracy and represents ‘the people’, shouldn’t decisions on representation take place at the ballot box rather than backroom deals?
The principle aim of the Brexit Party was to get Brexit done, the Tories promised that while other parties were conspiring to stop that, we took the action we felt was necessary. It was no easy decision.
What equivalent question is being asked of candidates from other parties?
16 – Reform say ‘no new normal’, are there no benefits from the pandemic response you wish to take forward such as more remote working and such flexi working opportunities ?
It is not for government to take the lead, but individuals and businesses to do so, factoring in their own wishes, needs and requirements.
What equivalent question is being asked of candidates from other parties?
17 – How will your economic plans help low wage local people trying to get on the property ladder in this constituency?
• Reduce & simplify residential stamp duty: 0% below £750k, 2% on £750k
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 won’t change I’m here to help reform politics.
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 with other parties we report donations and expenditure to the electoral commission at the legally required time. I do not know, but not from Trade Unions or global corporations, that much is sure.
20 – In a few lines to wrap this up, why are you the best candidate compared to your competitors?
I have integrity, drive, enthusiasm – including for rebuilding the economy – attracting new businesses in, lowering council tax, supporting honest working farmers and fishermen and for protecting the natural environment. I have a proven talent of bringing people together to achieve great things.