- Labour Party and Business: A Difficult Relationship?
- Chameleon Conservative Cameron Shows True Colours
- An Election Reflection for a Majority Minority
- Mhairi Black: Giving Politics a Makeover
- Galloway Threatens Legal Action Over Election Result
- Voter Turnout: What The Numbers Tell Us About The 2015 General Election
- Looking At The Reaction to the Election Explains its Result
- The Polls Were Wrong Because People Lied, it’s That Simple!
- Russell Brand “Resigns” from Politics following General Election Result
- It’s Not The Cold War Anymore, We Don’t Need a Nuclear Deterrent
- The Future of Labour: Who Will Be The Next Leader?
- The Future of the Liberal Democrats: Who Will Be the Next Leader?
- The Future of UKIP: Who Will Be the Next Leader?
- A Tale of Three Ends
- The Tory Legacy
- If the Party Leaders were characters from Friends…who would you vote for?
- The Ten (Well, Six) Commitments: Is Stone Legally Binding?
- Tuition Fees: A Hollow Attempt to Pander to the Student Vote?
- 6,417 Ed Milligrams – What Do You Actually Vote For?
- Boris Johnson to become Gangster Rapper
- Political Engagement: The Calm After the Storm
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Green Party’s John Spottiswoode.
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: TUSC’s Sue Atkins
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, Independent Candidate Chris Daviss
- “I don’t think the Liberal Democrats should be in government just for the sake of it” – An Interview With Nick Clegg
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, TUSC’s Nick Chaffey
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Conservative’s Jeremy Moulton.
- Should Young People Be Made To Vote?
- The Nationalist Parties
- No Votes for Women?
- None of the Political Candidates Ticking Your Box? There is Another Option.
- The Other Parties
- Liberal Democrats Party Profile
- The Green Party
- Labour Party Profile
- In Defence of the Coalition
- Why Labour Should Win the Election But Won’t
- The Protest Vote: The Weapon of the Disenfranchised.
- Why Young People Must Use Their Vote
- An Interview With Natalie Bennett
- What Will a Multi-Party System Mean for Britain?
- Tuition Fees: Must Try Harder Ed
- Science and Policy
- This Election is Far Bigger Than Party Politics
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: Ian Callaghan, Green Party
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: Lib Dem’s Adrian Ford
- Paliamentary Candidate Interview – Labour’s Darren Paffey
- Parliamentary Candidates Interviews: Lib Dem’s Eleanor Bell
- TV Debates: The Crucifixion of David Cameron
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview – Labour’s Rowenna Davis
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, the Green Party’s Angela Mawle
- Can We Trust Politicians Who Act Like Schoolchildren?
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview – UKIP’s Sandra James
- Manifesto Focus: Labour
- Why Nuclear Weapons Are Imperative For The UK’s Security
- Southampton’s Role in the General Election Should Not Be Overshadowed by a Sausage Roll
- Just When You Thought UKIP Couldn’t Do Anything Right…
- What the Hell Do You Want?
- Which Political Leader Are You?
- The EU: To Be or Not To Be
- Your 2015 General Election Candidates
- What a Silly Sausage: Southampton UKIP Candidate Accused of Bribery
- UKIP Party Profile
- Conservative Party Profile
- The Leaders Debate: The Insurgents, The Pretender & The Incumbent
- SUPA’s Short and Sweet Guide to Voting on 7th May
- TV Debate: Clash of the Titans
- Leaders Debate Brings Hope For Progressive Politics
- TV Debates: David Cameron and Ed Miliband Versus Britain
- 14,000 Voters Missing From Electoral Role in Southampton – Register to Vote Now!
- Men’s Rights Party Set To Contest in General Elections
- A Royal Coup? – Queen Guitarist Brian May Considering Standing for Election
- Debating Over Debates
- Galloway Demands Inclusion in TV Debates
- The General Election 2015 – A Disunited Kingdom?
- 99 Days To Go: The Most Unpredictable Election Yet!
- Poll Indicates Demand for Green Party to be Included in Election Debates
- Have You Registered To Vote?
- Is Sol Campbell running for Parliament?
- Salmond to Stand as MP
- Students May Hold the Key!
- The Green Party Should Not Be Included in the 2015 General Election Debates
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Alan Whitehead MP
- What’s at Stake for Students in the General Election?
- It’s Time For Politicians To Get Down With The Kids
- The Debates Debate
- Who Will Run The Country in 2015?
- New Year, New Government? New Politics?
- Newly Elected Itchen MP Accused of Helping UKIP Secure Labour Votes
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.