A Horsham father of two has launched his bid to be the town’s next MP and is hoping to stimulate debate on the big issues facing the country.
James Smith, who lives in North Horsham with his wife and two young daughters, decided to stand as an independent in May 2015 after becoming frustrated about the lack of choice between the established political parties on his ballot paper.
He hopes his campaign will reinvigorate debate on the big issues facing the country, and is inviting anyone to join the discussion in the launch of his project ‘Open Horsham’.
He said: “It might be hard to win but it’s not hard to participate.
“This is about giving people a choice and raising that level of debate.”
Francis Maude, minister for the cabinet office is the current Conservative MP for Horsham and was first elected in 1997, but Mr Smith feels there is a ‘hunger for change’, with many people turning to UKIP as the only other option.
He explained: “It’s very easy to sit back and say ‘this decision is terrible’, but unless you are going to offer something else what actual alternative are you proposing?”
He described that as an engineer the best results are achieved by taking on board feedback and acting transparently, lessons that could translate well into future political decision-making at any level.
At Horsham District Council he felt that there were concerns that decisions were being made in secret and for reasons that people did not understand.
Mr Smith added: “If you present people with the options and evidence they will be able to make that decision on what it is they want.
“The level of debate we have around the big issues is quite pathetic and is not going to resolve a problem but will kick the problem down the road until the next election.”
The expansion at Gatwick Airport, hydraulic fracturing, and the NHS were three examples he raised.
He explained: “The NHS is one of the greatest achievements we have ever made as a country and it’s being killed with a thousand cuts.
“It’s something we should be defending not leaving to the wolves.
“There are many things people are dissatisfied with and these things are only going to be solved by taking a long term view.
“I think it’s very important to look at the long term issues and not just take decisions based on what is going to be in tomorrow’s papers.”
He added: “It’s all part of the adventure, but it’s an adventure I hope to share with other people.”