You may wonder why this page is the last, after all we are a political party. However I recognise that leadership in the Greens is quite different to that in other parties; it is not about ‘leading’ the party in a particular direction and setting the agenda, but is more about listening to the direction the party as a whole is heading and supporting that.
If elected as Deputy Leader I won’t be pursuing my own particular agenda. However I think it would be naive to think that an individual’s views won’t affect the tone of their work and also it would be very unwise to have representatives who didn’t have real political passion.
Of course my own family’s experiences inform my politics. As a young child my Dad and his family were moved out of Islington and London due to a severe lack of decent housing, they were living in an attic flat, with my Gran having to go down four flights of stairs to get water. They were at least lucky to be housed (eventually) in good quality council housing, although my Gran never quite got over having to leave her family and friends behind and always spoke very fondly of Islington, maybe that’s why I feel at home here now.
My Mum’s family lived on the same estate in Harold Hill, my Grandad was strong supporter of the Unions and worked in a factory making garage doors, until his pelvis was shattered in an industrial accident. Sadly he never really recovered, either mentally or physically. I vividly remember the many visits to see him in hospital.
Why is this relevant? Because I can see that these sort of stories are repeating themselves now, only the support structures that supported and helped my family out of poverty are eroding at a terrifying rate. Poverty is entrenched, as is wealth. People are being moved out of cities again, but this time there aren’t decent new homes for them. The NHS is being privitised and care is fragmenting, legislation designed to protect workers is seen as unecessary ‘red tape’, disabled hate crime is at an all time high and carers are often completely unsupported. And tuition fees mean that the university course I did would now leave me with a debt of more than £63,000; do they seriously think this isn’t going to put people off?
So social justice is at the heart of my politics, but just trying to be a better version of the Labour Party falls very short of what Green politics is about.
We face serious environmental crises; of climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss and and resource scarcity. Locally pollution, loss of green space and degraded environments affects people’s health and wellbeing. I believe we have a fundamental responsibility to protect the planet and nature for future generations and for its own innate worth.
I also believe we have a responsibility to the other living creatures on the planet, in particular those we use for our own ends. The Green Party’s strong animal policies are very important to me.
Green politics has many strands but I believe these strands can, and must, be drawn together into a coherent, credible and positive vision.
We will not succeed simply by telling people what we are against, what they cannot do and what they must give up. We must frame a confident and optimistic vision of a green future. If elected as Deputy Leader I look forward to working with the many brilliant people in the party to share this vision.
I am very happy to answer more specific questions; either by email or do ‘like’ and post to my Facebook page. A number of people have asked about my position on the cuts, as this is one clearly one of the major issues of our time I’ve copied my response below:
“I am against the cuts… for a number of reasons, but mostly because I do not believe the most vulnerable should be paying for a crisis they did not cause. I also believe that austerity as a way out of this crisis is economically illiterate, as the debt will balloon. However we can’t just present ourselves as against something; we need to credibly present our positive alternative; reducing tax avoidance (and evasion), making those who can afford to pay, a Robin Hood Tax and building a green economy with jobs that improve our environment and standing of living, not just back to the same old consumerism led booms. There is a lot of work being done on this by European Green Parties and attending their recent conference was really useful and inspiring, although clearly there is still a lot to do.”