Both my parents were factory workers, my father having been invalided out of the army during WWII after losing a leg.
In 1979 I moved back to East London where I lived for 12 years whilst studying for a BSc degree in psychology. After that I went on to study for an MSc in applied psychology and technology assessment at Cranfield Institute of technology in Bedford.
In the 1980s I was a struggling musician for a number of years, during which time I made a living selling jewellery from market stalls in Greenwich and Camden Lock with my partner Fiona, who I met at university in 1981.
I moved to Yarnton with Fiona in 1993 and a year later we opened our first small shop in central Oxford . From there we went on to grow the business to a 6 store chain with branches across the country. We recently closed all our stores in the face of huge overheads and falling sales on the high street. We now focus on our online business and a department store concessions. I also do consultancy work and write on retail and the environment.
I’m a writer and campaigner for independent retail, and I write a regular column for the national magazine Retail Week. I’ve also written pieces for other local and national magazines, including The Independent, The Evening Standard and The Guardian, as well as local newspapers in Oxford and Banbury. I’ve appeared on National TV, radio and online, discussing economic, high street issues and animal welfare issues. I also write about politics for a number of online publications including Huffington Post and Evolve Politics.
I’ve recently been focussing on the idea of how businesses can be operated on a more sustainable and ethical footing and I’m about to launch a new business to promote and sell ethical products. I’m also increasingly concerned with how consumerism can be balanced sustainably against finite natural resources.
I’m a regular runner and outdoor enthusiast, I also enjoy rambling, scrambling, some climbing and cycling. I only take holidays in the UK, usually involving mountains or hills. I love all wildlife and I’m concerned that local habitat for many of our indigenous inhabitants is not lost. I’m also a vegan and animal rights campaigner. I’m working towards becoming as self supporting in terms of home grown or locally sourced produce as possible via my allotment.
I joined the Green Party in 2012 after becoming disillusioned with the three other main parties. I saw that the Green Party had moved on from its origins as a single policy party to offer credible solutions to fill the ideological vacuum left between Labour and Conservative.
I’ve also become something of a covert to the idea of political alliances, especially after Greens in Oxford West and Abingdon helped to elected Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran who has since been working closely with local Greens. I myself also entered into an electoral pact with Libdem Alaric Rose in Kidlington in 2018 which resulted in him winning a seat on Cherwell District Council and in me coming a very close second to the Conservatives, narrowly missing winning the seat in Kidlington East. Had Labour also joined our alliance they’d also have won a seat in the same election. I’m now working closely with Alaric in Kidlington with him representing both Libdem and Green views on the council. So it’s safe to say I’m a convert to cross party co-operation!
I stood in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections in Banbury. I believe that the Green Party now has policies that can provide fair and sensible solutions to the wider issues in society as well as focussing on the environmental concerns. I also think that in years to come green issues will become unavoidably bound to everything we do as a society and only a party with a realistic grasp of that relationship will be able to deal with the problems that will be facing us over the next several decades.
While other parties pay lip service to the idea of a green future, the Green Party allows such a concept to inform and evolve within its mainstream policies. I’m convinced that this is an essential element in world politics to ensure our future survival and prosperity as a nation and even as a species.
I’m an ardent advocate on both national and local green issues, particularly relating to sustainable farming methods, the treatment of animals in food production and green energy. As a local independent businessman, I’m also and avid promoter of local enterprise and businesses that put back as much into society as they take out.
This is particularly relevant in today’s retail world where the future of the UK high street is in some doubt. As a retailer for 28 years and an operator of one of the last remaining independents in central Oxford (before we were forced to close it due to cost pressures), I know exactly how hard it is for small businesses to compete and survive in the face of the large multi-nationals. I’m involved in many initiatives and local and national projects aimed at dealing with growing problems facing small businesses such as high rents and rates and the skills gaps opening up in many areas of commerce.
Health and education provision are issues of particular relevance to everyone, especially with many health and support services under attack from both local and national government spending cuts. I’m believe strongly that the NHS should be returned to full public ownership and control, in the face of the erosion that has been forced on it by successive governments. This has become and even more key issue since the 2015 General Election. There are no easy solutions, but the one thing I am sure will not work is the privatisation by stealth that the Conservatives have already set in motion.
We’re now also seeing exactly the kinds of attacks on our health service that I and many other campaigners warned against in 2015. Currently the NHS is undergoing yet another re-organisation, driven by Conservative policies, even though they promised that this would not happen. the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are little more than a rouse for the government to impose yet more cuts to services. Care commissioning groups are now being tasked with the job of carrying out the Conservatives’ dirty work while local politicians wring their hands and claim to be fighting to keep open hospitals that their own government are trying to close by stealth.
I support pragmatic solutions to problems wherever possible and believe local issues are always better dealt with by local people with local resources. Only The Green Party has the vision and commitment to these ideals in the face of increasingly bland and unimaginative policies from the three other main parties.
The Greens offer an alternative social contract that has been shown to be effective in many other parts of the world. It’s time we embraced this vision in the UK and took back control of our local services, our lives and our planet from massive profit-driven corporations and the vast majority of the cynical Westminster elite who have only their own interests at heart.
I hope you’ll join me in working to make the country a Green and pleasant land for ourselves, our children and the generations to come.