BY JON ALEXANDER
Comedy Writer Tim Dawson has recently announced his intention to stand as a councillor for the Conservatives in the upcoming local elections.
For those not on Twitter you may not know the name Tim Dawson, but those of us in the know, he’s an up-and-coming young Conservative breathing new life into an arguably stale and uninspiring campaign. After launching himself into a successful screenwriting career with BBC3 comedy ‘Coming of Age’, which was commissioned when he was just 19 years old, Tim became ‘Broadcast Hot Shot’ in the 2008 Industry Magazine. Whilst he saw his TV series run for three successful seasons (2007-2011) he also lent his hand to writing for ‘Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps’ starring Ralph Little and star of stage and screen Sheridan Smith. He, however, has possibly the most challenging task of his career to date; standing as the Conservative Candidate for Hulme in Central Manchester. What made the 30-year-old take the plunge and put himself out there for the Conservatives in the North West?
When did you decide you wanted to stand?
Only quite recently. I’ve been around Manchester for quite a long time but spent most of my twenties living in London. Since moving here I’ve realised the city is crying out for political change. It’s completely controlled by the Labour Party and that is deeply unhealthy. It means bad decisions are made and money is wasted – nobody is there to hold them to account. As a city, we must change that.
What made you want to do it, also, why now?
Obviously, Manchester was built on free enterprise and since 2010 has benefitted from enormous central government investment. I think Manchester Council has got very lazy and a council where all but one of its 96 councillors are Labour is unsustainable. This city would be so much better off if it elected a meaningful opposition to hold Labour to account which would hopefully sharpen up the council’s performance. That’s why I’m standing, I genuinely believe I can do better than some of the Labour candidates who simply expect to win because of the party they represent. I encourage everyone to look at the council’s record and dig through the “3 votes for Labour “ hyperbole into the facts – in so many areas from key local services to dealing with homelessness and building affordable housing – our council is found shamefully lacking. In the last two years, Manchester Council has built no affordable housing, how is that a council acting “for the many, not the few?”
I’ve known you for a few years now and you were hardly political back then. Was there a specific event that made you realise you had to get more involved?
I just decided to “come out”. Film and TV swings to the left – the BBC particularly, I was reticent because I thought being a vocal Conservative in such a socialist industry may cause me damage – and it has lost me contracts – but it definitely made me some too. I tend to find it’s the very left-wing Corbynites who can’t cope with my views – but most normal Labour people are adult about it. And those people tend to have a more sophisticated understanding of politics, anyway – so we can have a bit of a joust and usually find things to agree on, ultimately we all want what’s best for the country, we just have different ways of going about it. There are lots and lots of Conservatives in this country and they deserve to be represented in our cultural landscape. But softly, softly more of us break cover and hopefully, that will encourage others to start speaking up.
What are your policies?
In Hulme, I will be standing on a very specific local ticket of getting the council to address our local issues which it doesn’t bother with – litter, fly tipping, anti-social behaviour – the problems they spend no time and money on but are really important in the community and affect us all daily. In addition to this, I intend to take a proper look at the way the council is spending money – the information is freely available but there are an insufficient number of non-Labour representatives to ask the proper questions and challenge the council’s spending decisions. I will also offer weekly surgeries – people have complained that they do not see their representative except at election time – a previous councillor here was stopped from standing again because she didn’t turn up to any key council meetings for nearly six months. Dealing with local government here often means layers of bureaucracy and can be a complex process – how our residents are expected to find the time to do anything let alone understand it is beyond me, I will be assessing this for them. I will also be against any tax increases proposed, it’s not necessary – especially when so little money is being spent on the key local services expected by residents.
What do you believe you can bring to Manchester that will attract the voters?
I hope I can provide a bit of opposition and push them to deliver a better service, some value for money. The council blame everything that goes wrong on “Tory cuts” – even issues that are nothing to do with central government and claim credit for everything that the people like – even if it’s the direct result of new legislation or funding from the Conservatives – information is so easily manipulated to work in their favour. What better way to tell a Labour council they need to get their act together than by sending in a Tory or two to mix things up and hold them to account?
Why do you feel current voters aren’t being represented (Manchester’s Current MP is Labour’s Lucy Powell)?
Because the council is totally stitched up by Labour – you can’t have proper representation, or proper democracy, in what is effectively a one-party state.
What do you feel politics is lacking these days and how will you combat that?
We need more respect for individual thought and less of this angry, group mentality identity politics. Sadly, much of this nastiness is from the hard left- there’s a Labour councillor called Chris Paul standing in Manchester who’s decided to delete his Twitter account because he was exposed as a vile bully but Labour is letting him stand. I loathe bullies, I will not put up with it.
Are there any parts of politics that you feel are positive and in particular that the Tory party does well on?
The economy. It doesn’t matter what way you spin it, it’s a simple fact that Labour overspent. Remember when their Chief Secretary to the Treasury left a note after the 2010 General Election saying there was no money left? Appalling! We’re virtually at full employment and we’re delivering on Brexit – which is a big issue for me – leaving the EU will be a massive benefit to our country, particularly to people on lower incomes. We’re also making good progress on tax reform – it’s really important that lower earners get to keep as much of their incomes as possible and that is happening now; it encourages people into employment. It improves their lives and it is morally right. Why should politicians like Jeremy Corbyn tell someone on £16k a year what to spend their money on, rather than trust them to do it themselves? Why would a family on a low income in Manchester want to fund bus passes for people on £30k-£40k in London? It just can’t be morally right. My party does best when it offers simple, practical policies – that’s where continued long-term success lies – meanwhile Labour just ladle out “free stuff” and let future generations pay for it.
Have you had a good response to your announcement so far?
Yes. The ward where I’m standing (Hulme) is interesting – some nice middle-class apartments then across the road are quite a lot of council estates and rarely do the two communities meet. I find the working class communities are much more open to my message. They know all the Corbyn rhetoric of “for the many, not the few” is nonsense and they didn’t appreciate being patronised. They’re patriotic, some have children in the army, they know they’re a low priority for the council because the area has been under Labour control since time immemorial and Labour’s focus is on vanity projects in the city centre of trying to take Trafford from the Tories. I think in the long term, these are the people that the Conservatives need to make a big offer to. These are the people I will be answering to.
How have your family and friends reacted to the news?
They find it entertaining. They are largely conservative. My father’s parents were Labour voters – but that kind of modest, patriotic working-class Labour voter which Corbyn has turned his back on. My other grandfather was a conservative, a gamekeeper – my two grandfathers got on very well. But they came from a different generation – they all fought in the war. They would be genuinely appalled by Corbyn and McDonnell. I don’t think it’s real Labour – not what I think of as the Labour Party, anyway. My nan is 87 and was an excellent Nurse in the NHS, raised 6 children, kindest woman you could ever meet – again, a conservative. My parents and uncles are conservatives – though my father voted for other parties in his youth. But they’ve experienced left-wing governments in the 70s. Left-wing governments simply do not work – and they always end up with the least well-off suffering the worst. A Corbyn government – Jeremy Corbyn is far more extreme than someone like Harold Wilson or Jim Callaghan – would be a disaster. It would be an absolute disaster, in particular, for people in poorer areas. Capital flight, a devalued currency – there’s little point in re-distributing money which is worthless. How would we fund the best drugs and equipment for the NHS? It’s just a terrible prospect, and I hope people who have maybe voted Labour all their lives will think very profoundly about whether they can support The Corbyn Project.
So people can get to know the real you, what can you tell us about you?
I love comedy. And good drama. I particularly like the classic sitcoms – things like ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘Are You Being Served?’ – funny shows that the BBC make very little of today. I read a lot, I enjoy politics. I am bisexual but I can’t stand identity politics, I think adults should be allowed to get on with their lives without a bunch of holier-than-thou fanatics telling them what they can and can’t do or say and think. I’m probably not the type of candidate that people would expect to be standing for the Conservatives although I do have a bit of a “Tory voice” but I’m hoping people will see past that.
If you’d like to follow Tim then his two Twitter accounts are;