I was born in Maidenhead in 1943, and have lived in the constituency all my life. I have five children and four grandchildren. I am concerned for their future, and for others of their generation, as the politicians of the mainstream parties simply won't face up to the scale of the mess they've made and the challenges we face.
I am Chairman of my family company, Summerleaze Ltd, a Maidenhead-based business with interests in sand & gravel, renewable energy and waste treatment. Our success depends on good judgment and the courage to take tough decisions for the long-term, even when it goes against received wisdom.
I love sports, as both player and supporter. My company hosts North Maidenhead Cricket Club, Holyport Football Club, Bray Lake Watersports, Maidenhead Sailing Club, Sheephouse Shooting and Trout Fishery, and we sponsor Maidenhead Rugby Club. Sadly, my cricket-playing days are recently behind me, but I enjoy passing on my love for the game to the younger generation, and continue to enjoy skiing, sailing and hill-climbing.
Community is important to me. I founded and continue to support the Thames Valley Adventure Playground for children & adults with special needs. I am a governor of Furze Platt School, and Chairman of the Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group. We need to rely more on each other, and less on the government.
My initial reason for becoming a prospective candidate was frustration at the total inability of the present MP for Maidenhead, Theresa May, to grasp any substantive point that I made to her. When I looked further into Mrs May's record, I found that in 13 years in Parliament, she had failed to make original contributions in the House of Commons to any of the important issues of our times, and that she is against small government and in favour of activist government..
And what has she delivered on local issues? She championed a new hospital at Braywick, but where has that got to? She provides sympathetic words, but Maidenhead needs more than that - it needs dramatic action now from an activist, prepared to ruffle feathers if necessary, to bring new life and business to the town.
A politician with a mainstream party will usually have one eye on their career, and will be inclined to tow the party line and keep their head down. At my age, I have no political career plans. I simply cannot stand by any longer and watch the mess that our mainstream, career politicians are making of our country. People who know me know that I am not afraid to speak my mind and to stand up for what I believe is right. I believe those are qualities that are sorely needed at Westminster.
We have set out in a series of posters just a few of the issues on which Mrs May should have been equipped to have an opinion, was in a position to make her opinion known, and yet said nothing of significance until it was too late. Her greatest skill appears to be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. I want to give the people of Maidenhead the option to vote for someone who would stick their neck out.
I once played Rugby in front of a crowd of about 300,000 people. Not many can claim that. The Aldermaston to London Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament march came through Kidwells Park Maidenhead where I was playing rugby for the Thames Valley Rugby Club.
It's very hard for private pension fund trustees to know where to invest pension fund money in view of the way that governments and central banks borrow from the future in order to keep in power. But the position for public pension funds seems to be very easy to manage.
Public pension funds apparently don't have to make pension fund recovery plans like private funds. As I handed in my nomination papers it was explained to me that this was the case with the local authority, because local authorities can't go into liquidation. Someone will always take them over. I am not sure what happened when Mr Hatton was prominent in Liverpool City Council in the 1980s, but it was very close to insolvency and the Government then was not keen on accepting its deficits.
As a pension-fund trustee, you have the responsibility for the quality of your members' retirement-years. It's an onerous obligation and I have always taken the view that a cautious and safe approach is the correct one. I have never heard a beneficiary of the fund say that he preferred the prospect of a risky but possibly higher pension to a safer but lower one.
Once, you could resolve your duties by buying government bonds that roughly matured at the time that the annuity had to be paid. That was an expensive route for the pension fund, but the risks were very small. But now that the Bank of England, under pressure from the government, has been printing money so fast, is it a safe route to take? The prospect of the government defaulting on full redemption of its bonds is undoubtedly much greater. It is very likely, for instance, that Greece will default on fully repaying its bonds, and the UK economy hardly looks more sound than the Greek economy.
So where else should a trustee invest pension funds? Who knows what will happen to the stock market? It looks grossly overpriced, and wholly unsuitable for a prudent pension fund investment at these prices ( about 5700 FTSE). Gold earns no interest at all, and could go either way. Cash is earning very low interest rates if it is invested with AAA-rated funds, and with all this printing of money going on, it's likely that inflation will erode the cash value. I do not believe that pension-fund trustees should gamble on currencies. In my view property prices will have to fall.
Peter Prior at Maidenhead’s Hustings: Fighting for Britain’s brighter future
Candidates contesting the Maidenhead and Twyford constituency were quizzed at a question and answer session at Furze Platt Senior on Thursday night, organised by Freedom& Responsibility’s party leader Peter Prior.
Freedom & Responsibility will be taking part in a hustings event this week, so please do come along to support us and take part in what should be an interesting evening.
Thursday 29th April
Furze Platt Senior School
The panel consists of:
Peter Prior Freedom & Responsibility
Pat McDonald Labour