Parliamentary Candidate Interview, the Green Party’s Angela Mawle


In the run up to the 2015 General Election, Wessex Scene are interviewing the candidates running in Southampton Test. Here I interview Angela Mawle, the Green Party Candidate.3120367

1. What will be your number one  priority if elected?

There will be two priorities: one would be to support a Green government or anyone who wants to implement Green Party policy. The other would be to look at the particular needs of Southampton. Nationally I would be looking at housing – there is not enough housing in this country and some of it is in very bad condition and there’s a high rate of fuel poverty in the winter. We would build 9 million homes nationally which would conserve energy and be well insulated, helping people who are in need and reducing their expenditure. This would help reduce the effect of fuel poverty and it would also provide 900,000 jobs, boosting the economy. In Southampton there are lots of people in fuel poverty which would benefit from the housing programme, but transport is also an issue – you may have noticed how congested it can get. The air pollution in Southampton is also particularly bad – the World Health Organisation found that in England Southampton was the most polluted city south of the big northern cities in terms of air pollution. Air pollution across the country causes 28,000 deaths a year. I think priorities always have to be focused on people and the community and what will benefit the greater good.

2. What can you offer to students?

I think that I can give the benefit of my years of experience while maintaining an interest in youth. Young people won’t inherit good prospects from older generations and I would work really hard to encourage the young to change things, become involved in community activities such as sustainable cycling and walking as well as helping in the community. Most importantly I would help young people to secure their base in the city, which would be affordable housing for younger people. I would also work to provide free transport and greater educational opportunities. In higher education we would eliminate tuition fees and restore the grant. That’s a national policy but I think the only way that you can energise communities is at the grassroots level. I particularly enjoy working with young people because they have the vision to take on the future. A lot of them are cynical about the future at the moment – I don’t blame them. There is a way forward but it can only be achieved if we get young people to understand older generations are not just eating all the money and not caring about the future. They need to realise that the they have experience and the Green Party has policies to help them to a happier future.

3. Now I want to ask you about your personal beliefs – on the Green Party website in your biography you say that society urgently needs change. Could you be more specific about what represents change in society for you personally as you only state this can be found in the values of the Green Party?

Change in society first of all means creating a proper democracy. I’ve worked in the community for many years and the only way you can bring about change is to encourage ordinary citizens to get involved. I believe that democracy  is dead in this country because of the First Past the Post system, where you only vote for the ‘least worst’ alternative. Therefore people don’t feel the vote they put in the ballot box is truly representative of what they feel. When I canvass around this city, many people especially young people are very keen to vote Green but are distracted from democracy as a whole by ‘Punch and Judy politics’. Older people who have grown up with the two parties – Labour and Conservative know they have to bring about change but can’t because of the voting system – they are struggling with themselves over whether to vote Green because of their vision for the future or whether to vote tactically to stop  a certain party getting into power. That’s the change I’d like to see.

4. You talk about people feeling encouraged to vote Green. Many polls are currently indicating that the Green Party is still only expected to get one seat in parliament (that of Caroline Lucas). With only one seat forecast do you think the Greens can have an influence in the formation of the next government?

Definitely when you consider what’s happening between Ed Miliband and the SNP. We hope to get two more MPs in Bristol and Norwich. You can see the huge impact that Caroline Lucas (Green MP for Brighton Pavilion) has had in parliament through the innovative and visionary Private Member’s Bills she has introduced on issues such as nationalisation of the railways – she was voted the best parliamentarian, it’s incredible what she has achieved. If we had more like Caroline it would make a huge difference.  I know three doesn’t seem like a lot of MPs, but if there was enough momentum from public support you could see the this in terms of the number of votes cast overall for the Green Party, something which unfortunately has no benefit under the first past the post system. This could lead to a push for changes to the voting system, something that the Greens could advocate especially if the government ends up as a Labour-SNP collaboration, which I suspect will be the case.

5.Many of the policies seem attractive to voters yet compared to for example, the current UKIP Manifesto which is claimed to set a new ‘gold standard’ for Manifesto as it has been fully costed. How can the Green Party be trusted with the economy as although many of the proposed policies are bold ideas it is not clear how they are all going to be paid for – Natalie Bennett has dodged questions on the issue.

Our manifesto is completely costed, the first set of costings we got have been kept under wraps and are not for public consumption. It hasn’t been audited in the same way as the same way UKIP apparently has, but all of our policies are based on the idea of a fairer society. All our research shows that when there is less of a gap in society in terms of social status it is both happier and a better place to be in. You have to take radical steps forward – you can’t just keep going down the same old economic path of exploiting the planet. We have to turn the economy around by focusing more on renewable resources and higher taxes for the wealthiest and land tax. This is all detailed in our manifesto – its not ‘pie in the sky’ and has definitely been costed. Talk to anyone in the Green Party and you will see they are passionate about our vision for the future – it is possible, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe it was.

6. You’ve had a long career in environmental health and nursing, how does this reflect on your political ambition and do you think that there are similarities between health and politics?

When I was a student nurse I noticed the people we were dealing with tended to be of lower socio-economic status. I did house visiting training and went on to work in the community, where I realised that social policy was responsible for the bad conditions that some people have to endure in society. Another thing I noticed was the impact of the environment on people’s health, which was becoming increasingly noticeable while I was working during the 80s and 90s. That encouraged me to do two things – become a Labour politician and do an environmental science degree at the University of Southampton. Everything that I have learned and done has pointed me in the same direction – that we manufacture ill health and create a society where it is almost impossible for people to thrive. All my experiences have brought my thoughts and opinions in line with Green Party policy.

A full list of all the candidates running in Southampton and Winchester can be found here. 

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Deputy Editor 2017-18, International Editor 2015-17. Languages graduate interested in Latin America, world news, media and politics.

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