8 November 2019
1. What the Greens think are the prospects electorally for you (and the party) at the General Election mainly in Harrogate and Knaresborough, with a little reference nationally.
Green prospects are massively improved over previous elections. Most people now understand the crucial need for a change in political direction. The combined impact of concerns about the climate crisis, species extinction and biodiversity loss, and the abuse of our wishes in the promotion of fracking led to an increase from three to seven MEPs recently, and we are confident that, on December 13, there will be more Green MPs too. Locally, we have a Tory MP enslaved to his Party’s line, despite the problems created by it. Foodbanks in this District, ‘the Knightsbridge of Yorkshire’, are a scandal, and a sign of a desperate need for fairer politics, so the time is NOW to make the changes needed. Every vote counts as it will send a message that the Green agenda matters
But, we have a broken electoral system which often makes people vote for parties they do not agree with. Various web sites (e.g. ‘Vote for Policies’) give us the chance at each election to choose the polices we like, and we are then told which party is the closest match to our preference. In the last three elections people using the site preferred a greener direction for social and environmental policy, but still voted the opposite way. The recent Euro election used a different, proportional, system, and Greens received triple the number of votes they get in General elections. So, a new voting system (PR) is desperately needed to modernise this country in line with the vast majority of ‘developed’ countries.
2. Which are the main local issues the Greens cares about and what are her thoughts on them. The local issues can be national ones which have strong local implications.
Of course the first priority is addressing the climate crisis by working, for example, to invest in energy-saving measures such as better insulation, to use all appropriate roofs to harvest solar energy, to set up reliable and responsive public transport and safe bike and walking routes. We Greens initiated the public protests about Bond End, Knaresborough, which led to the much better system of mini roundabouts instead of traffic signals, enabling the traffic to flow more smoothly, leading to cleaner air. There is so much more which could be done if the political will is there. I have been pushing for proper bus shelters now for some time, which would encourage the use of buses. The ideology of ‘let the market decide’ leads to bus companies competing over the profitable routes and no buses for quieter routes, as well as massive diesel emissions from old buses. The problem is that local councils are bound by Westminster policy. For example, why are developers not making solar panels and other green measures integral to new builds? The answer is that national government bows to lobbying by vested interests - which wants business as usual. So houses are built to profit developers, not provide for need.
Developments need to be part of a vision for cleaner, smarter, healthier progressive communities – and this is where the Green Party excels. Unfortunately, much local policy is currently ‘stuck’ with central government pushing in the opposite direction – hence the need for more Green MPs (as well as MEPs and local councillors).
So, we must demand that the right things to happen, whilst being aware of where policy actually comes from. So we need to vote for:
– Green New Deal which changes the way our economy works, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs
– fair taxation to support a humane society and provide excellent public services such as the NHS, education and care.
– a progressive transport infrastructure – to reduce fossil-fuelled transport, inappropriate road building and dangerous emissions
– renovation of existing buildings and much higher energy standards for appropriate new-build
– promotion of plant-based diets and much higher animal welfare standards
– working internationally for peace and sustainable prosperity
– Working with nature in agriculture and horticulture
– scrap tuition fees for further education
– scrap zero hours contracts
– only party to be clear that we want to give people the democratic vote on Brexit now we know more facts
3. Brief background on your life story/CV.
Species extinction worried me (aged 8) and at school I started a World Wildlife Rangers group! As an English teacher in Hull and Beverley, I encouraged debate and discussion about ethical issues including animal and human rights. I’ve always campaigned against the destruction of our environment – especially by vested interests. As well as campaigns for the Green Party, I have done this through support of organisations such as Amnesty International, RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, the Woodland Trust, CND, Burma Campaign and so on, and also through direct campaigning and speaking in schools for Friends of the Earth and Peacechild International.
I lived and worked in Kampala, Uganda for a time which taught me to respect local culture and to listen to diverse views, but always hearing the quietest or smallest voices – including that of nature. For the Green Party I have stood as candidate at local, national and European levels. 150
4. Your local links in terms of living or working here/family connections.
A key reason for my moving to Knaresborough is to support my sons and their families, and that choice has been enriched by our contact with the wider local community. From the start, five years ago, we ‘hit the ground running’ when my husband Bill Rigby was elected to the Town Council and became the first Green Mayor of Knaresborough. So we were able to share at first hand the wealth of activity in this beautiful area. A high point recently has been working as part of the small team which created the new and very successful Knaresborough Autumnfest.
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