I wasn’t able to attend the full hustings on Saturday 16 March because I had a long-standing work commitment – but Caroline Russell, the chair, kindly read out statements from candidates who couldn’t attend. Below is my statement (with some added links) and there’s a windswept video here.
I’m really sorry that I can’t be with you this afternoon. I’m just down the road at the Globe Theatre, where I’ll be describing costumes, sets, rude gestures and sword fights – for blind and partially-sighted people. Normally I’d be able to swap with a colleague, but Saturday 16 March is ‘Disabled Access Day’. There are inclusive events in practically every London theatre and museum – which is great! – but it means everyone I know is working today, so I couldn’t get away.
I’m also sorry because I enjoy taking part in hustings – well, most of the time! I like hearing unfamilar views and experiences, thinking on my feet, and having an opportunity to put across Green Party policies to non-members who might be hearing about the four-day week or basic income for the first time. Last April, as co-chair of Southwark Green Party, I spoke alongside other party leaders at a hustings in Southwark Cathedral – a beautiful, if rather intimidating, location.
So, why do I think I will make a good MEP? The current Green MEPs have an amazing reputation for hard work, detailed scrutiny of legislation and researching and writing reports that lead to action. For example, Sian Berry has said that a report called ‘Hothouses’ produced by Green MEPs fed directly into current London Assembly policy to insulate homes properly. My background in research and writing means I have the skills and the tenacity to make technical information understandable and to show how it relates to everyday life.
I’m writing this on Friday 15 March as images of school strikers are flooding in – not just in capital cities but in more than 2000 places across the world. It’s the duty of elected politicians to respond to the call from the students for rapid and genuine action on climate change. I’m looking to the European Parliament to do that. To avert catastrophic climate breakdown and tackle the power of the planet-eating monster corporations, we need to work together.
We know what we need to do. Ban fracking and coal mining – invest in solar and wind instead. No new runways – affordable long-distance trains instead. Ban toxic diesel and replace it with electric buses, cargo bikes, cycle networks and walkable, tree-lined streets. For London, this investment would mean creating thousands of new green jobs: insulating draughty homes and installing solar panels on every block of council flats, for starters. As a campaigner on air pollution, cycling and social housing, I’ve been inspired by seeing good ideas in action in cities across Europe and have brought them into the conversation in the UK. I promise to work hard in the coming months to tell the story of the EU’s successes and to show why we need Greens in the room! Please make me your first choice for the list.