General Election: The people behind the politics - Antony Rogers - The Solihull Observer

General Election: The people behind the politics - Antony Rogers

Solihull Editorial 2nd Jun, 2017   0

Name: Antony Rogers

Age: 38

Political Party: Liberal Democrats

In 50 words why should the people of Meriden vote for you?

I grew up in the borough and care about its future.

I’m a graduate, a homeowner and a small business co-owner. I’m married to a police officer and our first child is due this year. I know something of the pressures facing ordinary, hardworking, decent people.

In 50 words what do you believe is the key issue in the borough you will fight for?

The state of the NHS and our social services should be the top priority for any candidate in this election. Our borough is no exception.

Meriden also faces HS2, new housing and growing industry. I welcome progress but would work to achieve fair outcome for the people of Meriden.

How would you do that and how would you find the money?

The Liberal Democrats are the only party having an honest conversation with the electorate about sustainably funding the NHS. We will raise tax by 1p. Together with the rise in the amount you can earn tax-free to £12,500 – another Lib Dem policy, which we delivered in coalition – we will ensure a properly financed healthcare system for all, which is free at the point of delivery and paid for by those most able to do so.

Brexit negotiations are a key issue for many voters – in 100 words, give us your views on it:

I’ve spoken to many Leave voters who want a soft Brexit but I don’t know any Remain voters who want a hard Brexit.

The Bank of England has already increased its economic stimulus in the wake of the referendum but this isn’t sustainable. Inflation coupled with low wage growth is biting.

I want the electorate to send a clear message to the current government that they are not going to get a “blank cheque”.

As we forge a new relationship with Europe, I want that relationship to be one of close cooperation and prosperity, not division and mistrust.

What are your views on the state of the healthcare in the borough and what would you do to change it if you believe it needs changing?

I’ve already spoken about boosting funding and how I would work towards doing that. I don’t agree with those who say that more spending won’t help, or that the NHS is reckless with taxpayers’ money. While it isn’t perfect, I know a number of people who work in and for the NHS and I know how hard working they are. They desperately want to make the health service work and have tolerated pay freezes and cuts in their resources.

Meanwhile, the Tories repeatedly tell us that they have protected NHS spending, while simultaneously failing to mention that this funding level is facing ever growing demands. Waiting times for essential treatments are increasing, A&Es are in crisis, nurses are using food banks.

My Lib Dem colleagues and I have fought for our local services such as the Bruce Burns Psychiatric Ward at Solihull Hospital in the face of Tory cuts and we will continue to do so.

What is your favourite hobby/interest?

Travelling. I’ve previously spent time living in Finland and Taiwan, and this has fostered a love of seeing the world. I always like to go somewhere new rather than back to a place I’ve been. Even when we take a beach holiday, we take time to get off the beaten track and explore the country we’re in.

What would be your ideal way to spend a day?

Christmas day is usually a firm favourite. You’re surrounded by family, have no outside interruptions and there’s plenty of good food and drink.

Favourite holiday destination?

Somewhere I’ve never been before; preferably far-flung. So far, Tokyo is my favourite place to have visited.

Favourite memory in life?

My wedding day; without a doubt.

Favourite film?

Films are one of my top interests. There are so many great ones to choose from. Off the top of my head, LA Confidential but that will probably have changed by tomorrow.

Favourite television show?

Only Connect.

Favourite band/album?

A band I’ve consistently enjoyed for about 20 years are The Stereophonics. The one album I can think of where I wouldn’t skip a single track is quite different; Simple Things by Zero 7.

Favourite book?

I enjoy books that make me laugh. It’s probably a bit of a cliché, but The Hitchhiker’s Guide series has got to be up there for me.

What is your greatest strength or weakness?

I’m not a career politician and I’ve only been actively involved in politics for a couple of years and I recognise I still have much to learn. Like many other newer members, I joined up due to the 2015 results and the direction the Tories are taking this country in.

Thankfully, I’ve got a great team around me and I’ve learned a lot by working hard in last year’s local elections, and behind the scenes for Solihull and Meriden. Former MP for Solihull, Lorely Burt, has been tireless in guiding and mentoring me. I also owe the local Lib Dem councillors and other highly active members of our local party a great debt for their time, support and commitment to our campaign and to our town.

Top five dinner guests – alive or dead – and not including the leader of your political party!?

Victoria Coren Mitchell

Barrack Obama

Bill Murray

Elon Musk

Stewart Lee

Who is the person/s you most admire in life – not including the leader of your political party!?

Bill and Melinda Gates equally, for the foundation they created.

What is the most embarrassing moment in your life?

I am a part-time, freelance supercar instructor. I teach people how to drive at speed on a closed track. One event, I jumped into a car I hadn’t used so far that day and off I went with my student. I had forgotten to check the fuel level and didn’t realise we were running on fumes.

Breaking down is one thing, but being towed back into the pits because we ran out of fuel after only half a lap is quite another. As we were towed back into the pits, I was met with cheers, applause and a good amount of banter. I even got a joke certificate of achievement for my efforts.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a good father.

For a million pounds would you join one of your rival political parties?

Assuming I couldn’t cancel the new membership immediately, revert back and keep all the loot, then probably not.

How about for ten million?

It’s fun to imagine what being offered £10m would be like, but can anyone really change what they believe for money?

What was the last lie you told?

I told an overexcited aunt that my wife and I haven’t chosen a name for our first baby, who is due in July. We have, but we don’t want too many people to know yet, in case we change our minds. My aunt isn’t great at keeping this sort of thing to herself, so I keep telling her that we haven’t decided. Don’t worry, she doesn’t live nearby so won’t get a copy of this.

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