THIS week, The Observer put some serious and quirky questions to the five Parliamentary candidates for West Worcestershire.
Harriett Baldwin (Conservative Party), Dennis Wharton (Liberal Democrat), Daniel Walton (Labour), Richard Chamings (Ukip) and Julian Roskams (Green Party) took on the challenge ahead of the General Election on Thursday, May 7.
1. If you had a £1million windfall to spend on one thing in your constituency, what would it be?
Mrs Baldwin – A Malvern Hop-On Hop-Off bus that takes a circular route around the major points of interest.
Mr Wharton – Use some of the money to carry out a survey and ask constituents to submit ideas about what they would want most that would be beneficial to the constituency as a whole, and not just part of it.
Mr Walton – Our constituency needs jobs, and jobs that pay. I would support existing businesses to employ people to help them grow and I would invest in new businesses who would benefit from further people.
Mr Chamings – I would donate it to Malvern AgeUK (AgeConcern)
Mr Roskams – To help fund a community bank, with full borrowing and lending powers, and with a mandate to support, among others, local business apprenticeships, community groups, social enterprises and start-ups with no access to the usual revenue streams.
2. If you were to go for an evening out in Malvern, where would you go and why?
Mrs Baldwin – An evening off?! What is that? Dinner at Anupam and Malvern Theatre.
Mr Wharton – Malvern Theatres because I have a love for the arts and enjoy watching films, plays and opera.
Mr Walton – I love movies and love the cinema at Malvern Theatre. I’m just disappointed that on May 7 – when I’m busy doing other things – they’re showing Blade Runner, which is one of my favourite films.
Mr Chamings – In the summer, a picnic on Midsummer Hill to enjoy the exercise, fresh air and views. In the winter, a meal at The Nags Head.
Mr Roskams – Start by sampling one of the locally brewed real ales at The Nags head, followed by a music night at the Cube, then a meal with friends at one of the excellent Indian restaurants.
3. Describe Malvern in three (non-political) words.
Mrs Baldwin – Friendly, Beautiful, Civic-minded.
Mr Wharton – Stunning, Friendly, Fascinating.
Mr Walton – Panoramic. Rural, Touristic.
Mr Chamings – Culture, Heritage, Nature.
Mr Roskams – Creative, Welcoming, Green.
4. What three words would best describe you and your personality?
Mrs Baldwin – Determined, Hard-working, Helpful.
Mr Wharton – Dynamic, Dedicated, Determined.
Mr Walton – Energetic. Confident. Caring.
Mr Chamings – A typical Taurus.
Mr Roskams – Determined, Fair, Inclusive.
5. Which actor would you get to play you in a film?
Mrs Baldwin – Audrey Hepburn, please.
Mr Wharton – Daniel Day-Lewis.
Mr Walton – Michael Fassbender.
Mr Chamings – Martin Shaw.
Mr Roskqms – Obviously Poldark’s Aidan Turner.
6. If you are successful in your quest, what would be the first song you would play at the victory party?
Mrs Baldwin – I Will Survive by by Gloria Gaynor.
Mr Wharton – Proud by Heather Small.
Mr Walton – I could see Come Together by The Beatles going down well, but personally, I love Scott Walker, so maybe Get Behind Me, which is a great song too.
Mr Chamings – We are the Champions by Queen.
Mr Roskams – Green Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones.
7. What do you see as the one biggest issue which concerns residents in Malvern?
Mrs Baldwin – A strong economy. Don’t take it for granted.
Mr Wharton – Speculative development and affordable housing.
Mr Walton – Low wage jobs in Malvern is a big issue for people and just lack of jobs, especially for a lot of women who may have had time away from work.
Mr Chamings – Speculative opportunistic housing developments.
Mr Roskams – Either the disastrous privatisation of the NHS, which has sucked funding away from frontline care leading to crises in A&E and social care or inappropriate housing development.
8. What do you consider to be the ‘jewel in Malvern’s crown’ and why?
Mrs Baldwin – The Malvern Community Hospital.
Mr Wharton – The agricultural farming economy and green spaces.
Mr Walton – I’m going to have to go for the most obvious one – The Malvern Hills. For most people in and around Malvern they have a great view of these epic hills and for me canvassing it’s fantastic to be able to look up and see them where ever I am.
Mr Chamings – The Malvern Hills. Everyone can enjoy them free of charge.
Mr Roskams – We are lucky to live and beneath the extraordinary beauty of the Hills, but the real jewel in Malvern’s crown is its people – innovative, welcoming and community-minded.
9. If you were going to film a party election broadcast, where in Malvern would you film it and why?
Mrs Baldwin – ?At the Malvern Science Park with all the brilliant brains inventing tomorrow’s world.
Mr Wharton – The summit of the Malvern Hills because the views demonstrate the sheer beauty and scale of the constituency as well as a reminder to people how fortunate they are to live here.
Mr Walton – Having spent a lot of time on doorsteps I’d have to film in amongst the various estates in Malvern with the people who help to make Malvern what it is.
Mr Chamings – Three Counties Showground with the Hills as a fantastic backdrop.
Mr Roskams – I would film it at the Malvern Foodbank. Nothing better illustrates how the failed austerity agenda has hit the most vulnerable in our community. But it also is a place of hope.
10. In no more than 20 words, state why the people of Malvern should vote for you.
Mrs Baldwin – Jobs up, deficit down, doctors and nurses up, crime down, pensions up, taxes down, welfare capped and immigration controlled.
Mr Wharton – I would be a strong voice both locally and in Government on the big issues that really matter.
Mr Walton – Vote for me and no one in Malvern will be forgotten. I will work hard for everyone in this constituency.
Mr Chamings – I wish to give the disillusioned people of West Worcestershire a voice. I believe in Britain and its diverse population.
Mr Roskams – Because the purpose of gaining power is to be able to return power to communities to decide their own futures.