Dr Brian Mathew - let's build a brighter future together
With a long history of working to alleviate the effects of poverty, Brian has spent much of the last 25 years living and working in some of the most challenging parts of the world. He is a very practical problem solver, which became both evident and a blessing during his last assignment with World Vision in East Timor.
As an engineer, he worked as water, sanitation and hygiene advisor (WASH) helping remote rural communities build and maintain WASH systems, transforming village life. North Wiltshire may have better sanitation than East Timor, but moving to live here, Brian innately understands the problems of rural communities.
He previously worked across Africa, from Darfur in the Sudan, to Guinea, Bissau and Angola. Unusually he was selected to help with governance, doubling up as honorary consul in the up-country capital city of Dodoma, while working as the country representative for Water Aid in Tanzania. This gave him excellent insight into foreign diplomacy and the U.K's national interest, a rare experience for even today's recently serving politicians.
He travelled throughout Zambia but found time to use his home leave to set up the link between the 'Glastonbury Music Festival' and Water Aid. This blossomed into one of the charity's most important and nationally inspiring fundraising events. Very much a man who can multi task and driven to achieve positive outcomes for good causes, Brian is justly proud of his work with Glastonbury.
While in Zimbabwe, he worked with the British aid programme DFID, gaining vital insights into our civil service. He returned in 2009 with CARE to help with the cholera epidemic. This infected over 100,000 people and claimed 4,000 lives, and it was British engineering that helped combat it. He is humble about this time, but it takes a strength of character and fearless commitment to work under conditions where so many are seriously ill. Brian is very much is a man who has proof, as they say, that he has 'walked the talk'.
He has also experienced life in Central and South America and while a student at the University of East Anglia, spent a year undertaking research into agriculture in the Middle East.
If you are a local farmer in North Wiltshire, Brian has relevant experience and understands what you need when local farming is struggling through such difficult times. With a strong local military community, Brian experienced war first hand during this time and as with many of our service people, came to understand the futility of warfare, while respecting those who are forced to endure it.
He witnessed Israel's invasion of Lebanon and says, "I remember just feeling this sense of anger that at the end of the 20th century, two peoples were hurling high explosive at each other, hurting and killing civilians and for what? There have to be better ways to solve international disputes"
It was from here that his belief in seeking peaceful structures of governance arose. One thing that has been missing from the debate of the EU is its original purpose post two World Wars, that of maintaining peace in Europe.
Brian gained his PhD from Cranfield University, but his wide work in depressed regions left him humble and not arrogant or pompous. Despite his academic ability, useful for understanding very complex issues, he can communicate with anyone, regardless of wealth or class. He offers to bring to North Wiltshire's representation to Parliament a refreshing mix of intellectual capability, local awareness and practical ability.
He is also very environmentally aware and has worked to improve and protect our environment. He was advisor to the 'REEF' scheme invented by Cornish engineer Rupert Armstrong Evans. "This is a green version of the Severn Barrage, and if we can get the backing could provide 12% of all the electricity currently generated in the UK, or about 30TWs per year, by harvesting the power of the tides in the Bristol Channel" Brian said.
Brian believes in living among the people he works for. He lives in Yatton Keynell and stood for Parliament for the Liberal Democrats in North Wiltshire for the General Election in May 2015. Coming a noble second in what has been a Conservative seat so safe the current MP doesn't attend all the available hustings, recent political issues has changed things. Former Conservative voters are flocking to support the Liberal Democrats on the basis they wish to avoid being turkeys voting for Christmas.
If you care about having a truly local MP, if you share his concern and interest in the environment, if you love, as he does, the myriad interests of our rural communities, why not get on board and join us?