Meet UKIP’s candidate for Guildford: YI’er Harry Aldridge
I’m 28. I was born in Guildford, but grew up not too far away in Sussex. My parents are from the Guildford area and I moved back a couple of years ago and live in the constituency with my girlfriend.
I’ve been in UKIP almost 11 years now and have stood in most elections since 2007, including the 2009 European, 2010 General, and now 2015 General elections. I joined UKIP because of the EU back in 2004, but was drawn also to the 2005 manifesto policies for lower taxes, smaller government and political reform to restore democracy and give power back to the people.
We are working from a low base of just 1.8% in 2010. The seat has been Conservative since 2005, and has traditionally been a safe Conservative seat, although it did go Lib-Dem in 2001 for one parliament.
Locally the big issue is housing development, with 89% of Guildford designated green belt, and council proposals for development around the town meeting strong opposition. Yet we need new housing as Guildford house prices and rents are among the highest in the South East and we are seeing young people priced out of decent and affordable accommodation. However, the infrastructure in the town is already over-burdened with traffic congestion a major problem.
I took part in a BBC Surrey radio debate on the issue and as a young person (just about), I am hopefully more able to be seen on the side of the next generation, whether on housing or other issues like the national debt and need to eliminate the deficit or cutting tax on the lower paid.
So far I have done 1 radio debate and 8 hustings, including two at sixth-forms reaching around 600 new or soon to be voters, and one at the University of Surrey. One lady I spoke to after a hustings said she last voted in 1975 in the referendum and voted to leave the EC, has not voted in any election since, but has been inspired to vote in this election and is voting for me.
We are picking up momentum UKIP posters going up all over and new volunteers helping with leafleting. We are on course for a dramatic improvement on 2010.