AMONG the many surprises to come out of the recent raft of countrywide elections the emergence of the English Democrats was one of the more unusual and interesting.
Founded by Willingale resident Robin Tilbrook seven years ago, The English Democrats took the mayoralty in Doncaster and polled 279,801 votes in the European election- almost double their previous total.
A solicitor by trade, Mr Tilbrook formed the Democrats to campaign for an English parliament following the partial devolution of Scotland and Wales, and has been their chairman since formation.
He told the Guardian: ”I’d been active with the local Conservative party, then we had Scottish and Welsh devolution and I thought: ‘surely the Conservatives would want something similar?’ To my surprise they weren’t in the slightest bit interested.
“I think at the moment we have a badly thought out system. The Scottish are day-to-day domestically independent. The Government talks about being British in England, but in Scotland they’re perfectly happy to talk about issues for Scotland. They have free prescriptions for all in Scotland and Wales and no tuition fees.”
The English Democrats have achieved a number of high profile results in recent years.
TV host and former Sun columnist Gary Bushell stood for the party in south London at the last general election, and their candidate Peter Davies has now taken the elected mayor’s slot for Doncaster.
“We are very pleased with that,” said Mr Tilbrook. “The financial Times had an article headlined ‘The Boris of the north’ which said it was the most significant result on election day. Doncaster is the second largest mayoral authority after London.”
Mr Tilbrook, himself, stood for Epping Forest in the 2005 election and said he would probably do the same next time round.
As well as campaigning for an English parliament, Mr Tilbrook’s party also hopes to foster a growing patriotism for England.
But he said he had no truck with the British National Party adding: “The BNP would like you to think they are patriotic. On the doorstep when people find out they are not they are shocked. Their racial terms are straight out of Mein Kampf. They talk about a European homeland for the white race.”
Mr Tilbrook has lived in Willingale for ten years, having lived in Ongar for ten years prior to that.
He said he had a fondness for the Essex countryside adding: “We also have a record for causing trouble. Wat Tyler came from Essex.”
With his party continuing to grow, Mr Tilbrook has found himself increasingly occupied recently, but he still finds time for walks and his family.
He said his new aim was for success at the next general election.