About Paul Maynard
I like to think I’m different. There is no point getting yourself elected as an MP if you’re not going to go down and there and kick up a bit of a fuss. I think Blackpool and Thornton Cleveleys need an MP who will be a cheerleader for their cause in the corridors of power, kicking up a stink where need be. I think for myself, not just parrot what I am told to say. You need an independent mind to be a good MP. I think Blackpool has been written off for far too long, dismissed as somewhere without hope. We know different. And Thornton Cleveleys is regarded by Labour as just somewhere they pass through – very briefly – on the way to Fleetwood. In some ways, I don’t really want to be seen as a politician – just as someone fighting effectively for their community. But to do that, you have to get elected – and that makes you a ‘politician’.
I started out, when I was three years old, at a special school in Winsford, in Cheshire. I only went to the special school for some intensive physio, before transferring to the local village primary two years later. By the time I reached 21, I had got myself a first class degree from Oxford. Yes, I have cerebral palsy. It’s very mild, and doesn’t really affect how I live. It probably affects the way some people see me, and there will always be people who write you off because of it – but I’ve never let them stop me. Having had it all my life, I don’t know any different anyway! That was why being diagnosed with epilepsy at 22 was a shock – because I had to change my life. Alcohol was one of the triggers for a fit, so I had to go teetotal to my very great regret. You have to be careful, as your health is too important.
But I reckon that these life experiences will make me a better Member of Parliament. I’ll have a perspective no-one else will. And I think it will make me a more effective representative for Blackpool and Thornton Cleveleys. Plus, I’m bloody-minded and hate being told what to do – especially by a Government that seems to want to tell us how to live our lives, and ban everything in sight.
It’s a real excitement for me to have the chance to be the MP for Blackpool. It’s a resort that has always been part of my life, and my parents’ lives before me. My Mum is from Liverpool, and she can remember going up to Blackpool regularly. I remember the thrill as a little boy as we went up the M6 heading for the illuminations too. I don’t like all this ‘flat cap and whippet’ caricature of being a ‘northerner’. But I am proud of my northern roots. My family is from Liverpool, I went to school in Manchester. I’m a staunch supporter of my local non-league team Northwich Victoria. I think we’re a lot more down to earth up here in the north – and that’s another quality that politicians need to learn to acquire.
I may have gone to Oxford, but in no way am I ‘posh’. I’m a firm believer that if you want to get anywhere in life, it shouldn’t be on the basis of who you know, what family you were born into, or where you went to school. Never look down on anyone, but never look up to anyone who doesn’t deserve it. I admire the likes of Steven Gerrard because of their talent – not their multi-million pound lifestyle.
What matters is what you have to offer. And It’s up to you decide whether what I have to offer is worth your while voting for. Even if you have never voted in your life, maybe I’m the one to change all that?”