Having the door ‘slammed firmly’ in his face when he tried to apply for a job - despite having attended both Oxford and Cambridge universities - pushed UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for South Ribble into politics.
David Gallagher, 52, who lives in Ormskirk with his elderly parents, wants to introduce the UK Independent Party’s policies to the borough, and is standing for election in a bid to become South Ribble’s next MP.
“I want to support people but we need more border control; too many people are coming into the country because of the EU”Dr David Gallagher, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for South Ribble
After initially getting a law degree and working in financial services and insurance, Dr Gallagher was made redundant in 1998, and decided to pursue further qualifications.
He did GCSEs and A-Levels at night schools in Spanish and Italian, before being accepted at Cambridge at the age of 36 to study German and Spanish.
“I was competing against people a lot younger than me, so it wasn’t easy,” he said. “But I also formed a music society whilst I was there, which I loved.
“I play the piano and write my own music.”
He subsequently became interested in German Literature, and returned to university - this time Oxford - when he was 40.
He admitted that he ‘hated’ living in student accommodation because they were ‘very rowdy’, so following his stint at Oxford, he studied a PHD from his hometown of Ormskirk.
During this time, he also completed both the Barcelona and the Paris marathon in the space of three weeks, having previously done the London marathon.
He’s also written books about German Literature, and wanted to land a job teaching modern languages.
“My desire was to be a lecturer,” he explained. “But I applied for teaching jobs and the door was slammed firmly in my face.
“They said I needed more teaching experience, but I had passed my exams and had references.
“I went to see my Labour MP for help and advice, but she wasn’t helpful at all, so I got involved in politics.
“I supported the Conservative Party at first, because the Conservative candidate for my area said he would help me find a job, although he didn’t in the end.”
Dr Gallagher was the deputy chair of the West Lancashire Conservatives between 2011 and 2013, and also joined Orton Parish Council “to help local people with issues like planning and hot food takeaways”.
He’s the chairman of the parish council now, and switched to UKIP last year after becoming ‘disillusioned’ with the Conservative policies.
UKIP’s immigration policy is something which Dr Gallagher supports, and after reading a leaflet which came through his door from the campaign, he decided to join the party as he agreed with most of the policies.
“I want to support people but we need more border control,” he said. “Too many people are coming into the country because of the EU.”
He added: “I’m also fighting for traffic issues - the roads have gone to wrack and ruin, and the roads in South Ribble are terrible.
“They’ve been neglected, and it’s wrong. The markings are poor and there are trouble spots with not enough signs.”
He’s also contacted police in Leyland to discuss the problems they face on a day-to-day basis, and says that policing and crime is something he is keen to keep an eye on if he is voted in this May.
He said: “I think there is too much crime and too many incidents. It’s difficult with police budgets, but there are a lot of issues associated with crime, such as education and broken families.
“It’s easy to blame the perpetrator of the crime, but there could be other causes - we need to look at drugs and probation, and working with offenders.
“When young people partake in anti-social behaviour, it’s usually because they haven’t got anything to do. I know people have been saying this for years, but we need to direct them in the right way.”
He would also like to oversee the Penwortham Bypass proposals, and see South Ribble’s high streets thrive with fewer closed-down shops and fewer bookmakers.