n my honourable quest to show the reality of those folks you are able to vote for on May 5th, I’m sure you’ve noted that I’ve so far given you Conservative, Labour & Liberal Democrat… Where’s the Green candidate you cry!!??
Truth be told I do have a couple of Greens in my vegetable drawer. They’re a little wilted, so I’ll put them in the food waste. The cabbage I did tonight was lovely and buttery though. Hang on, I think I’m getting off the track. I DO HAVE GREENS… but I’m not quite ready yet, so I have a neat treat for you!
Colchester isn’t just a three horse town, nor even a four horse town – it’s a blinking FIVE horse town. The Greens very nearly got a few seats last time round and are expected to succeed this year, but already CBC is made up of Tory/Lab/Lib and INDY.
That all important Independent voice is growing more strongly in 2016. Major party politics is starting to show its age and we are in an a time of change. People unsatisfied with the ‘major’ parties are deciding to go it alone.
So with that in mind, let’s meet Andrea Luxford-Vaughan, Independent Candidate and (yet another) standing Councillor, for Wivenhoe*…
Andrea grew up in Berkshire and
left home at 17 to go to Art College. This was in the
golden age of further education when kids like Andrea received full grants thanks to their parents income. She finished up with a degree in furniture and product design, moved to London and took a job as interior designer as the workplace was diminished by recession. She moved through various public sector areas (prisons, schools and hospitals) as well as the private sector (offices and domestic) in retail and hospitality. You couldn’t say that this lady was lacking a broad range of experience!
Andrea currently works in exhibition and events and moved to Wivenhoe 16 years ago where she now works between home and London on a contract basis. She met her husband 13 years ago, and they have two children ‘one of each flavour’ who are 8 and 9.
Andrea says: “I first joined the Town Council in 2007. I chair the planning committee where we maintain a strong voice for Wivenhoe at Colchester Borough Council. I am not afraid to speak out when necessary and I’m committed to preserving our community spaces and buildings and doing everything possible to limit any new development at our boundaries or on existing open spaces. I was very reluctant to become Mayor back in 2013, but found it to be one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had, and I am extremely proud to have served in that role. I got to engage with sections of the community that I previously was only vaguely aware of, met many people from surrounding areas and I got to use the status of the role to draw attention to issues that affect Wivenhoe at Borough and County level.
I’m standing because Wivenhoe needs a strong voice that is not compromised by party politics. I will work with anyone to achieve what is best for this town, and oppose those that don’t.”
So I asked Andrea the now familiar questions, and here is what she said:
Colcestrian – Simple one to get going – what’s your full name and what do you like to known as?
Andrea – Andrea Luxford Vaughan – Andrea
Colcestrian – What do you like most about the Ward you are standing for, and what made you want to stand this time?
Andrea – The short answer is Wivenhoe is a strong community. But there is also the river, as an obvious attraction. We are also spoilt for choice when it comes to clubs, societies and social opportunities. It has two brilliant schools, which makes it a great place to bring up a family, and is surrounded by calming green spaces.
I already represent Wivenhoe at parish level, but it can be very frustrating to have influence locally, but no power to make decisions at borough level. Wivenhoe is culturally very different from the majority of the Colchester borough and so requires local knowledge when making decisions that affect the town. I want to give Wivenhoe a strong voice that isn’t compromised by party politics.
Wivenhoe is a strong community
Colcestrian – As you live in the Ward, what do you think about candidates standing in Wards they don’t live in?
Andrea – I’m not a fan of career politicians and this is the only reason why I think others would want to do this. Also while I’m sure it is possible to understand a community that is not your own, loyalty is a strong motivation for me and I couldn’t be loyal to another community before my own.
Colcestrian – What political party are you aligned with, if any, and why?
Andrea – I am not a member of any political party.
Colcestrian – Why did you decide to go it alone?
Andrea – I don’t think I would last long in a party that wanted me to tow the line. I believe every issue needs to be considered individually and within the context of how it would affect Wivenhoe. I represent this town not the inflexible ideology of a party.
Colcestrian – As an Independent, do you think Westminster politics will affect your votes?
Andrea – Yes, for some voters the colour of their vote will always be more important than individual characters. I think both are important, but an individual’s character is of greater significance at such a local level. With the numbers as they are in Colchester the balance of power is very much up for grabs in this election. As an independent I would be at liberty to work with whoever is offering the best deal for my town.
I represent this town not the inflexible ideology of a party.
Colcestrian – Everyone needs a break – what are your favorite hobbies?
Andrea – I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies, but I like to make things, especially when that involves being creative. So I dabble in anything from flint napping or wood carving to making films.
Colcestrian – When not doing politics, what does your day usually consist of?
Andrea – It depends if I’m working or not. I work between London and home as an interior/exhibition designer on a contract basis. Financially, being a full-time mum isn’t really an option for me anymore, but that is easily the most worthwhile thing I’ve done and do.
Colcestrian – How do you feel Colchester Borough Council currently performs for Colchester?
Andrea – I think as a parish Wivenhoe is the poor relative of the rest of the borough and don’t get our far share of the revenue. But I only really pay attention when I think the borough are getting it wrong locally, so I’m not sure if my view is a balanced one.
Colcestrian – What is the best thing about Colchester and what one thing would you change tomorrow about Colchester if you could?
Andrea – History, the rail link to London and, although controversial, I do love firstste; especially when Ant from the Art Centre was running it. The facilities I use the most are Castle Park, the leisure centre and High Woods, but that is mostly driven by the kids. Otherwise I occasionally come into Colchester for live music, to eat and to shop, but Wivenhoe is mostly self-sufficient.
I think it is a pathetic attempt to draw attention away form not taxing the super rich.
Colcestrian – Who are your heroes?
Andrea – The Normandy veterans I met in my year as Wivenhoe Mayor.
Colcestrian – What would you do to promote disabled rights if you are a Councillor after the election?
Andrea – Form a focus group of disabled people so they could inform what was actually needed. Locally I would build the long overdue ramp out of Wivenhoe railway station that the rail companies won’t take responsibility for.
Insane. What idiot had that inhuman idea?
Colcestrian – What would you do for women’s rights in the town once election day is passed?
Andrea – A slightly odd question as this is not a problem limited to the town. It’s a cultural problem and the only way I can see to change it is via education of both the sexes. As a past Mayor, councilor and working mum I also think it’s important to lead by example.
Colcestrian – What is your view on the spread of fines for the rough sleeping and homeless?
Andrea – Insane. What idiot had that inhuman idea? And why aren’t they doing something to solve the problem of homelessness rather than making it worse?
Colcestrian – Do you think the ‘Living Wage’ is truly a living wage?
Andrea – I think it is a pathetic attempt to draw attention away form not taxing the super rich.
Colcestrian – Are you happy to keep promoting Colchester as a welcoming place for refugees?
Andrea – Without reservation.
Colcestrian – What is the biggest problem in the Ward you are standing in?
Andrea – The borough puts Wivenhoe under pressure to build more and more houses, but ignores the fact the infrastructure isn’t here.
Colcestrian – Which green and ecologically-wise policies do you think Colchester borough should instigate?
Andrea – After reinforcing policies that protect our green belt, it is something I would like to research with people who know a lot more about it. We are very lucky to have the Wivenhoe Transition Town group here and they never fail to inspire me with brilliant, popular ideas that make a difference.
The borough puts Wivenhoe under pressure to build more and more houses
Colcestrian – Tollgate Village, Northern Gateway… views?
Andrea – We have planning issues closer to home that have been my focus as chair of the Wivenhoe Town Council planning committee.
Colcestrian – Do you think our current government and electoral system is fit for purpose?
Andrea – There has to be something wrong when 2 million voted for the Greens, but they only got one seat in parliament. But I don’t have a workable solution yet – sorry.
Colcestrian – Are you having second thoughts?
Andrea – No. I’m putting all my heart and soul into this campaign.
And there you go until next time 🙂
I must say that I found Andrea to be a no-nonsense, impassioned Candidate. I think the public will find the refreshing lack of minced words appealing.
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If you are a Candidate who I haven’t already made contact with and you wish to engage with the public, take part in The Colcestrian’s Colchester Candidate Q&A! Drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org – Your advert could be here!
*Andrea is already a Councillor for Wivenhoe Town, hoping to become a Borough Councillor