What would be your first Private Members Bill?
To get Oswestry reconnected to the mainline railway and the stations at Baschurch and Hadnall re-opened.
What policy area do you wish people asked you about outside of environmentalism and what do you plan to do within that?
Cuts in all public services particularly health and social care, and our Council tax monies being wasted on building relief roads and buying shopping centers in Shrewsbury.
Having conceived and implemented a Police Partnership Panel, which is now accepted as best practice in bringing together all agencies together to tackle community safety issues locally, I would replicate this approach to establish a local health partnership panel to bring together all local agencies involved in health and social care and use this to gather the data and focus necessary to challenge the minister to address the very evident failings in the health provision locally and provide the long-promised urgent care centers in Oswestry and Whitchurch.
Right now, there is a lack of trust between the electorate and MPs. With all parties contributing to an extent, what will you do to combat this?
It is a truism to say that trust arrives on foot and leaves on horseback. I wasn’t responsible for any of the behaviours that led to this election. Indeed our last election leaflet warned voters that the size of the payment being made to the previous MP by Radnox made it difficult to see how he had time to do his job properly. A healthy democracy is vital for to tackle the problems that face us. It is just a few weeks since Remembrance Day and we must all remember the sacrifices some have made for it. In response I have said that I will make the sacrifice of only drawing the average UK wage in remuneration. That’s still considerably above the average wage for North Shropshire. I will ask that the rest is donated to local Shropshire charities.
What’s your view on some, who would argue that parties such as the Green Party focus too much on ecosocialism rather than straight up environmentalism, citing the party’s stance against nuclear power, and the favorability towards redistribution of wealth?
There is little point saving the planet if it is only for the benefit of the wealthy few. The development of a more equal society where everyone can contribute is an essential pre-requisite of effective action to tackle climate change.
What would you say to those who would argue that voting Green only helps the Conservatives, as the left-wing vote may be split?
In this, as in previous elections we have made it plain we are happy to speak and work with all progressive parties, but this invitation was declined. We urgently need a more representational form of governance. According to a House of Commons report at the last general election it took 866,435 to get one Green MP elected compared to just 25,883 for the SNP. The public has shown it does not want to be forced to choose between just two old parties. We need to recognise diversity and move to PR to break the current deadlock.
It doesn’t help that at the local elections in May 2020 the Green Party need to gain just 12 votes to defeat the Conservative Councillor. We achieved that with ease but weren’t helped by the Labour instance of standing a candidate in that ward for the first time in 10 years.
Whats your thoughts on Insulate Britain?
I find it interesting that the people being presented by the PM as the most hated in Britain who need to be locked-up are trying to get Britain’s leaky houses insulated in winter, during catastrophic rises in the price of energy and when world has failed to agree limits that can constrain climate change without major damage to our environment and health. If in 2012 the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government hadn’t reneged on the commitment to make all new properties zero carbon from 2015, we might not need them.
You once talked about the issues local parties have faced with lack of support from the central party, do you think that there are institutional issues within the Green Party that has hindered their electoral progress since 2015?
Financially we are a very small party without major donors from business or unions. We therefore have to prioritize and ruthlessly focus on electoral success. It’s not always easy to see the way of achieving this, but as a democratic party it is a debate we return to constantly at our conferences.
You’ve stood in this constituency twice before, achieving the Green Party’s best result in this constituency in 2015, but went down in votes in 2017. What lessons have you learned from those two elections which you plan to implore in this vote?
We have very successfully built our election success in Oswestry from one Town Councillor in 2013 to taking control of the Town Council winning 12 out of 18 seats in 2021 and winning two of the four County seats here. For many people the Green Party is still new. Now they’ve had had a chance to see the benefits that a Green administration can bring at the local level we have the credibility to increase our vote share in national elections. It helps us that instead of having to fight climate change deniers like Owen Paterson, we are in a world where all parties play some regard, albeit all too often lip-wash, to climate change.
In your previous results, you finished last on both occasions, what do you think will be different this time? And does this suggest that the people have not been persuaded by yourself as a politician?
On the ground, a lot of people are telling us that we have earned their respect by working hard, providing newsletters, dealing with ward issues and running campaigns and they will be backing us this time.
This is a challenging seat to win for any party that aren’t the Conservatives, what would you define as a win for the party?
The minimum for us is to come third and double our vote share.
The Green Party have had some very good local election results, but that has not materialized as much in the Parliamentary constituencies, what do you think the party could do to change that?
As above it is about credibility – we have passed that test locally and I think you will see this time we will pass it for a parliamentary election. Every Green vote is an unambiguous call to address climate change and build a more equal society. If not now when?