We've had Conservative Dr Luke Evans: stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/stewart-bints-blog/dr-luke-evans-conservative-parliamentary-candidate
Labour's Rick Middleton: stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/stewart-bints-blog/for-the-many-not-the-few
Lib Dems' Michael Mullaney: stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/stewart-bints-blog/campaigning-to-save-local-services
Today, it's the turn of The Green Party candidate, Mick Gregg.
Hi, my name is Mick Gregg and I am definitely not going to be your next MP.
My 52nd birthday is fast approaching. I live in Desford with my wife and 8-year-old son, who enjoys going to Desford Primary school.
We’ve been in the village for 2 years, and before that we were in Kirkby Mallory for 12. I have been a social worker in various Midlands councils since 1991, working in children’s safeguarding, mental health, courts and have now been employed with Leicestershire County Council for the last two years as a senior in a team for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, and I like my job.
As a hobby I like walking down canals that are no longer there.
The truth is that most MP’s in our parliament are sitting on jobs that are pretty near as safe as any job you can get in the public sector. I think it’s bad for our democracy; it means that new voters, or even older voters, can wonder why they vote, when the outcome in most constituencies is a pretty near certainty. And it’s also bad for our democracy because it means that many of our representatives don’t really, deep down, have to worry too much about what the people they represent really want or need.
As long as they keep in with the local party members (the ones who chose the candidate) they can be pretty sure where they’ll be after the election. Now I am not saying, at all, that the other candidates in the election in Bosworth would take this attitude. On the contrary my fellow candidates seem to me to be decent people who want to work for our area. I am not picking a fight with them about how they’d perform if they were our MP; in fact, as a Green candidate we purposely choose to be polite and respectful to other candidates. And I think this Green Party principle of good manners shows when Caroline Lucas speaks out, and what you can expect when more Greens get elected.
In Bosworth, and everywhere else, we would change the voting system to one where you can show preferences for the parties and candidates. We’d give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote; we trust young people. How exciting would it be to feel that your vote choices really mattered even if you lived in a safe seat? and even (although I’d really rather you didn’t) if you wanted to vote for the Brexit Party!
So, if I know I’m not going to win then why do you stand?” The answer is because I want you to know us, and not the cliched stereotype that you might think of as Greens. I want to tell you of the Green solutions, and I most of all I want you to have the opportunity if you share our vision and values to be able to vote Green in Bosworth. My Party took the step to see where, if we stood back, a LibDem might be able to win; and they did the same with us. Bosworth was a long way off being on that list.
What I want to do with this time you have given me in reading this is to encourage you to look at what we stand for and what we want to do. When people are asked to rate various policies in a kind of ‘blind taste test’, the Green policies always come out near the top of people’s choices.
We have the solutions to all things in our lives and future, way beyond just the climate crisis.
I wanted to spend the next paragraph or two to tell you what distinguishes the Green Party from all the others; what it is that makes us different.
1. We are driven by a basic undeniable logic. Simply put, we know cannot keep taking things from the earth, and expect to grow every year on year, on year; eventually the things we take run out. What we ask is simply, “will this still be here as a way to do things for the next generation?” Even our ideas in detail are called “Policies for a Sustainable Society”!
You’ll find them at: https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/core-values.html
2. We take a global view of how to solve the world’s problems, but we are not naïve as to how difficult this is. However, anything other than this view of all people working together and you end up with divisions and blaming other countries and people. We embrace diversity and difference whether it’s in Hinckley or in the World. We believe, if we don’t view the world this way, we will see more wars for oil, wars for water, wars for land as these things get scarcer. We are citizens of one world. If this sounds naïve then it might be a good point to mention that we are not an overtly pacifist party, we would indeed avoid killing people and use every alternative method to change corrupt governments, and manage conflict, but a Green Government would still have our armed services. What makes us different is that we would take our place within strategies agreed through the United Nations. We would not start wars on our own or at the bequest of America. There is no ‘macho crusade’ in the Green Party. We would cancel Trident and in doing so find something like a £100 billion down the back of the sofa; (we’re also going to scrap HS2, and there’s another odd £100 billion).
We have some people in the world who would presumably do me harm for holding my values of tolerance and respect, whether they be Islamic extremists or fascists in our, or other, countries. But to have fought wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya has really solved what exactly? We do have an alternative international way forward, which doesn’t destroy countries, and in doing so create a new generation of bitter and angry people.
4. It is this belief in ‘one world’ that leads, in part, to our stance on the EU referendum. We are very democratic in our Green hearts! I believe that the EU referendum was not fought with anything like accurate information and because of this was not democratic in the real sense. The ‘remain’ side never really believed that we vote to leave (and frankly neither did Boris Johnson).
Let’s say I go to have an operation I can only give my consent knowing all the facts, and all the risks; if I am sold PPI without then giving me all the details I get my money back. Where in the referendum was ‘this is going to really mess up Ireland?” or “we’ll be paying the EU at least £39 billion just to leave?”……...The reason we support an immediate new referendum - and were involved at the start of a People’s Vote campaign - is because now we really do know what it would mean to vote ‘leave’ or ‘remain’. This new vote will be taken with our collective eyes fully opened, and if it’s to ‘leave’ then we will leave. At our core, the Green Party believes in democracy, we believe people will do the right thing in the right circumstances with the right information - essentially, we believe in people!
4. Another big difference between Greens and the rest, is that we want you to work less, we want everyone to have more time to spend with family, finally learn to play that guitar (ok, that might be just me) or whatever; have access to green spaces and time to go there; feel less anxiety and angry. Our collective improving emotional wellbeing would reduce the cost of health services and everything that goes with it for families and communities. We are not simply here to work; we are here to live!
5. For this reason, and many others, we want to promote a Universal Basic Income - £92 per week paid into every citizens’ bank account. As we earn more this basic payment is reclaimed in tax. The idea that this would somehow result in people giving up work has no basis in reality or evidence from where it’s been tried in practice, we would still work as we’d want more for ourselves, there would still be people with much more money than others, Amazon would still be delivering your Christmas presents (but paying tax) It isn’t impossible, think about how many families get Child Benefit every month into their accounts. Think about how it could remove the whole benefits system, student loans, old age pensions and give people security.
6. Locally, or course, is where we believe decisions should be made, and the best decisions for our communities are made. We would create Citizens Assemblies and the right of constituents to call for a sitting MP to be removed, making it easier to get rid of corruption and self-interest. What is needed is more control for the people who use the services and not leaving to an MP to try to create change.
The Green Party would provide free public transport across the constituency, monitor air pollution, pay to reopen the Ivanhoe railway line that runs through Desford to passengers, and provide a safe cycle path alongside it.
We would spend the money, raised through specific taxation to restore, and provide parity of, the funding to Leicestershire County Council with other councils in England, and our local NHS Trusts necessary to ensure that services are local and accessible. We would make it illegal to profit from an NHS service. Provide enough money to reopen Surestart centres, and build quality local housing with a strategy that only small estates could be built, attached to existing villages and towns, that are relevant and affordable to local people, with a clear answer to ensuring that schools, transport and doctor surgeries have capacity to absorb the new families.
Your local candidates make promises, but be careful to consider what candidates tell you they can do about health, transport, creating jobs or other important issues for our local towns and our villages: remember to ask them “how?”
Now, I thank you for reading this and considering the ideas, and you’ll see that I hardly mentioned climate breakdown (I presume you already know where we stand on that - and how dangerous our situation is if we don’t do something big and do it now. All I’ll say is that as far as ‘Green New Deals’ go; the original is always the better than the copy. Who do you believe will do what is necessary without distractions?