Meet the Lichfield candidates: Karen Maunder (UKIP)

Karen Maunder. Pic: Nick Brickett

Karen Maunder. Pic: Nick Brickett

Karen Maunder is, by her own admission, not a natural politician. She doesn’t profess to be a public speaker or an expert in the field.

But what she is promising to be is a fast learner who will do everything in her power to represent the constituency.

The UKIP candidate suprised many at a recent hustings event in Lichfield when she refused to comment on issues she didn’t feel in a position to debate.

So why is she standing in Lichfield? Karen explained:

“I guess the question is not really why Lichfield, but why am I standing – and as I said at the hustings – I have no background, training or experience, but I do believe in democracy and part of that is giving people choice.”

As you may expect from a UKIP candidate the issue is of Europe is one of the areas their Lichfield hopeful is prepared to comment on.

And she firmly believes that the issue of the EU, combined with a need for a different voice may benefit her come polling day.

She said:

“There are many people who are beginning to see the EU for what it is – a controlling political union – and they don’t like it. They particularly don’t like the fact that they were not asked whether they wanted it or not.

“There are also a lot of people who simply don’t like the three main parties, so people want to be able to register their objection to all three main parties by voting for someone else.  I am giving people the choice to do that.”

As an active Christian, Karen works for a local ministry and leads the worship band at the Renewal Christian Centre.

And the issue of religion is one of many that has cropped up for the UKIP hopeful as she hits the campaign trail. She said:

“Because I’m a Christian I’ve had a lot of people want to talk about our current anti-discrimination laws which actually are proving to be discriminating against Christian beliefs and ethics. And the health service is an issue to some because of the difficulty getting life saving drugs when you need them.

“Of course the high speed rail link is a big local concern, then there’s the economy and how we’re going to get out of debt, will it affect public spending etc. and also why are we still in Afghanistan.  People are still angry about the deceit involved in the Iraq war.  “

Despite being a self-confessed novice in the political arena, Karen’s found support from an unlikely ally – Conservative rival Michael Fabricant.

But she doesn’t believe that voters should look to heavily at individuals. Instead she wants to see people look at the politics behind them before casting their votes.

“I had not met Michael Fabricant until the hustings in the past couple of weeks, and he has been very supportive and kind, so my standing in Lichfield is nothing personal!

“I obviously know much less than Michael about how the system works, but I’m sure I can soon learn.  So for me it’s not really about Michael, or me or any of the other candidates, but more about what our parties represent.”

There’s no doubting that what Karen lacks in experience she is trying to make up for in enthusiasm.

But with so little real recognition of what goes on behind the corridors of power, she believes people need to know more about the decision making process.

And this is an area the UKIP candidate believes she will offer a real alternative in. She explained:

“Any of the candidates would do their best to campaign for the right thing for the people of this constituency, whether it be housing, or wind turbines or high speed rail.  I would hope that we would all listen to both sides of any argument, ask the people for their views and campaign vigorously.

“What I would want to bring is more awareness of what is happening in both Westminster and Brussels.  I think people are being kept deliberately in the dark about both national and international issues.

“Parties are not very good at keeping to their manifestos and it amazes me how many people I speak to who don’t yet know that they are now legally EU citizens and have an EU president let alone know his name.  Laws are passed that affect our everyday lives and we don’t even know about them.  So I would try to do more in the area of making people aware of such issues.”

As someone representing a party who were not featured in the TV debates, Karen has been unable to benefit from any boost given by a slick performance from her party’s leader.

And although many local politicians are likely to receive a boost, the UKIP hopeful in the Lichfield constituency doesn’t believe the debates add any real value to the election picture.

She said:

“You will always have some people who are voting for a person because they know and trust that person or because they have heard them speak or read an article and feel they can trust them.  But I think the majority of people vote for a party based on how the leader has performed in the media.

“I’m not actually a fan of the televised debates because I think anyone can say anything on TV, but it doesn’t mean that’s what they really think.  As we have seen, some are more skilled than others at the showmanship, but politics is a serious matter and I would much rather people read full policy documents, tried to understand the issue from both sides of the argument and then decided which they think is the best option.

“Voters should also look at track records of whether the politicians have followed through on what they said they would do or not, or conversely, have they done something which they promised they would not do!”

Because I’m a Christian I’ve had a lot of people want to talk about our current anti-discrimination laws which actually are proving to be discriminating against Christian beliefs and ethics. And the health service is an issue to some because of the difficulty getting life saving drugs when you need them.
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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

1 Comment

  1. nonoftheabove

    5th May, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    You are correct that Christianity is being forced into the background, and I would support anyone that promotes Christianity as the prime religion of the UK.