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Dr. John Cox, Torfaen candidate for the Socialist Labour Party, answers ten questions from Cwmbran Life readers

Dr John Cox
Dr John Cox

Readers of Cwmbran Life were asked to come up with questions for candidates standing for Torfaen. Around 40 questions were submitted on the Facebook page .

You can see all the questions in their original format here. Ten questions were shared with the candidates and here are the answers from Dr. John Cox, candidate for the Socialist Labour Party (although not a member)

1.    Before you tell me what you intend to do, please tell me what or how you have already, individually accomplished something positive for the people?

I have lived in Abersychan for 36 years and have been active throughout in local campaigns (i.e. north Torfaen), notably in opposition to plans for opencasting (I chair the local residents’ committee) and, with my late wife, on countryside issues. Further afield, I have taken part in anti-poll tax and anti-bedroom tax activities and, as you see from the photograph, campaigns for the NHS and against nuclear weapons. I was a (non-party) Torfaen Councillor for the Abersychan ward for several years.

2.    What would you do in Parliament to help people struggling to find employment and working families who can’t afford expensive childcare?

The root cause of these problems (and others referred to in questions 3, 8 and 9) is that the ConDem government has set out to slash government spending and enrich the already rich. They have deliberately unlearnt the lessons of the 1930s and forgotten how the 1945-51 Labour government, when faced with an even greater financial crisis, invested in our futures to create employment. This government has done the opposite – it has slashed government spending and made matters far worse for all but the ultra-rich 1% who now own over 50% of Britain’s wealth. Tragically also, the current Labour Party has refused to agree to reverse these cuts. Employment prospects depend on there being government investment – and this must include investment in affordable child care facilities, not cuts.

3.    The NHS waiting lists in Wales are a disgrace compared to England. People waiting nearly 18months to have cataract surgery. What are you going to do to protect our NHS and improve waiting times?

Sadly I have become a regular user of the NHS but, from talking to others, I am not sure that the situation here in Wales is any worse than in England. The cause of NHS under funding (in both England and Wales) is the Tories’ ideological fixation on cutting government spending (except 2-3 weeks before an election) and Labour’s cowardice in not challenging these cuts.

4.    We only see you out and about at election time. You should be talking to people day in day out to see what problems they face in daily life. What have you been doing since the last election to help people? 

I’m not a professional politician remote from everyday life – I live and work within my local community and take part in local actions (e.g. Varteg opencast) like anyone else.

5.    Would you support the legalisation of assisted dying for people who are terminally ill or are permanently and incurably suffering, in order to protect their right to autonomy and self-determination?

In principle I’m in favour of legislation allowing assisted dying – subject to obvious safeguards.

6.    If you could change only one thing as the MP for Torfaen, what would it be?

I cannot choose “only one”. Here are three. I think it should be illegal to under-fund Wales compared with Scotland (currently we are losing £1.2 billion every year). I want  MPs to be elected by the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system so that a party getting (say) 15% of the votes gets 15% of the seats (currently it’s near zero). I would abolish the House of Lords because it’s wrong to have appointed legislators. I have lots more ideas but I’ll stick with 3.

7.    I’m a young, first time voter who’s unsure who to vote for. With this election so wide open why should I vote for you?

Torfaen is a very safe Labour seat. There’s no danger of any of the right-wing establishment parties getting elected so you can afford to vote for what you prefer – green policies, a better future for Wales, the sort of socialism that the Labour Party stood for in 1945. Every vote to the left of the Labour Party tells them to stop kowtowing to Tory ideology.

8.    With a chronic shortage of affordable housing in Torfaen and nationally, what hope can you give to the next generation that they will ever be able to set up a home for their family?

The Tories see housing as a means of making money for business people (in the building industry or as landlords or mortgage company owners). Labour has a far better attitude and does support the building of more houses at affordable rents. In principle (no surprise here) I prefer Labour’s approach. Affordable good housing should be right – like good health.

9.    Local Government funding has been cut beyond recognition over the past few years. What will you do to protect local services in local government? 

Whatever influence I might have would be aimed at restoring the sort of financial settlements that prevailed before neo-liberal economists and austerity-minded ideologues were put in charge of government economic policies.

10. Why are you willing to spend £100bn on a weapon system that kills indiscriminately rather than on education, social welfare and the NHS? Scrap trident and you won’t need to make any cuts. In fact you could make an improvement.

I’m not. I have campaigned all my adult-life against nuclear weapons (currently I am a Vice-President of British CND) and I would be opposed to Trident renewal even if it cost zilch. Britain is responsible for the ‘horizontal’ nuclear arms race – the reason why France, then China, then India, then Pakistan ‘went nuclear’.  We need to reverse this madness.

Contact Dr John Cox-

Click here to see the full list of candidates standing for the Torfaen seat.

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Posted inNews

Dr. John Cox, Torfaen candidate for the Socialist Labour Party, answers ten questions from Cwmbran Life readers

Dr John Cox
Dr John Cox

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