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Farming, The EU, The Expressway and Why You Should Vote Green [Video]

Spent the early morning yesterday in Otmoor being interviewed by the BBC about our policies on farming, food standards and stewardship of the land.  Lots to say on this, but as always happens with these things, a 10-minute interview gets condensed into a 10-second comment!

On the way back we passed several signs on field gates warning about how the area is under threat from the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.  As someone who’s been involved in the campaign to stop this ridiculous and unnecessary development I thought I’d add a few more comments by way of a video and also expand a bit on what the Green Party would do to protect our vital green spaces.

This is something I’ve been involved with for a number of years now, right across the county, trying to combat the epidemic of projects that want to destroy these areas in the name of profit and greed.

Yes we need housing, but it has to be the right housing in the right places.  Building on green belt will never be viable in terms of affordable housing as the land is so expensive.  Developers build in a set level of profitability, usually a staggering 20%!  That means that removing protection from green spaces like these just increases the number of high value, unaffordable houses being built.

Not only that, concreting over green spaces means they can no longer lock up the carbon that we need to reduce in our environment, and they also increase the likelihood of flooding as they can no longer absorb the increased level of rain we’re getting as the climate patterns shift.

The Conservatives back all these projects because they are there to help wealthy landowners, developers and investors make a fat profit out of our rural heritage.  As your MP I would resist all these projects, just as I now resist them as a District and Parish Councillor.

Greens CAN WIN

As we’ve just seen in Wallingford, where another Green councillor has just been elected to the county council, Greens CAN WIN and we WILL WIN if people get out and give us their vote.  Even if I don’t win in Banbury, a significant increase in the Green vote there will send a strong message to government that we demand change.  An increased Green vote will be a visible signal of that, whereas another ‘heroic defeat’ for the other parties will get lost in the usual fog of post-election reporting.

Now more than ever we need a strong Green voice, for the environment, for our future and for our children’s future.  Please vote Green on December 12th.

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Let’s Get Brexit Done With!

brexit

We should have a second referendum on Brexit with a properly informed and unbiased debate on all the issues surrounding our relationship with the EU.

This has to happen immediately after the election to allow parliament to get back to dealing with the serious challenges facing this country. We don’t need to get brexit done, we need to be done with it, one way or the other, and the only way to decide that is with a vote.

The Green Party is now the ONLY party offering this option as a main policy pledge.

Labour would renegotiate a deal with Europe which we have to assume they would back in any confirmatory referendum (assuming they honour their pledge to give us one). That defines them as a leave backing party. Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that he would be neutral in that campaign shows a continuation of the lack of direction that Labour has had since this whole thing began. If they’re going to back Remain, then why negotiate another deal (assuming that’s even possible), they should be honest with the electorate and get off the fence!

The Libdems are standing on a platform of revoke without a second vote, which I regard as deeply undemocratic. We got ourselves into this position democratically, and we have to get out of it the same way. We can’t simply treat the first vote as if it didn’t happen. the claim that an electoral victory that would put them into government goes against their own argument (and the Green Party’s) that our electoral system is broken. Unless they had more than 50% of the electorate voting them into power, that would not be a mandate for a revoking Article 50. As most governments of recent years have been elected on less that 30%, they would not be able to claim they were taking the majority of the country with them.

As for the Tories, we know they would throw us off the cliff-edge with or without a deal, without a second thought, let alone a second referendum! Just so that Boris Johnson could claim that he’d “got Brexit done”. Even if that means the majority of the country that now appears to want to remain would get ‘done over’!

Democracy did not stop in 2016. We’ve seen over the past three and a half years that the easy Brexit we were told we would get after the referendum has proved anything but. Not only does this suggest that people may have changed their minds, it also means that the demographic of the country has changed and that new population, who will have to deal with the outcome of Brexit, should now get a say. Either way, we know a lot more now about the reality of Brexit than any of us did back in 2016. Surely we should all be able to re-assess our decisions based on this new information.

Most polls now say the majority would vote to remain in the EU. I don’t know if that’s true, or if that’s how a second vote would pan out. But I think we should find out.

I also think those who say the ‘will of the people’ is still to leave shouldn’t be scared to find out. If they’re right, the result of the vote will be the same. If they’re worried that it might not be, that suggests they know that the will of the people has changed, and they simply want to ignore that. That’s not democracy. That’s ignoring the will of the people!

My personal position is that a second vote should be binding (the first one wasn’t) and after that, the decision is final. If that decision is to leave, I will no longer challenge it. I would instead switch my focus to working towards mitigating the worst of the damage that I think will inevitably be done to the social and economic fabric of this country.

Leaving the EU by any means will result in at least a decade of economic hardship for everyone, with the poorest in our society suffering the most.

Parliamentary time will be used up on dealing with the fallout from the severing of our membership of the EU rather than tackling urgent business, such as crumbling public services and climate change.

Businesses will suffer and investment will fall (except in the case of US drugs companies seeking to buy our NHS!).

We must not condemn our citizens to this fate without a fully informed confirmatory vote.

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Listening to Bicester [Video]

 

We spent a few hours in Bicester on Saturday talking to local residents about what was important to them.  Even though it rained the whole time, we had some great conversations with people there, and I was really encouraged by the number of people who promised me their vote.

The predominant discussions were over the climate emergency and threats to the NHS.  The state of the local high street was also a point of contention and as a retail campaigner, that was something I found very interesting.

Brexit was hardly mentioned though, which was also interesting given the strength of feeling on both sides during the referendum debate when I also ran a street stall in the town.

Here’s a video with a few thoughts about what was discussed.

We’ll be in Banbury next weekend.  Let’s hope the weather is kinder!