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Thanks Once Again

I didn’t think I’d be here writing a second thank you post so soon after the last one. In fact I didn’t really expect to be doing this all again. For someone who isn’t a natural politician, I thought in 2015 that once in a lifetime was enough.

But we did it all again and I have to say I enjoyed most of it as much as I did last time.

I will admit though that the come-down from this campaign has been much harder given that I failed to build on the vote achieved last time. In fact it was reduced, mainly by virtue of people believing they were voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

I do have to say, as I said numerous times during the campaign, Labour had no hopes of winning in this constituency. The Labour candidate is also no supporter of Corbyn. In fact I support him more than he does!

So those previously loyal Green voters who switched this time to Labour really did nothing to help towards a Labour victory in Westminster and have arguably done some damage to the Greens.

The number of votes cast in a general election does count for each party. Not just in electoral terms but also in terms of how much government money is given to that party to continue to be part of the democratic process, something known as ‘short money’. We also have the deposits in each constituency, which at £500 a time is money that a party like the Greens, who don’t have large corporate backers, can ill afford to lose.

Over the whole country the Green vote fell by roughly 50% and that was certainly the case in Banbury. As a result there may well be a lot less chances to vote Green next time we have an election, especially if that’s any time soon. Much of the funds generated in this election will go towards leaflets, deposits and other expenses. The reduction in ‘short money’ will be something of a blow too.

So your vote and your support for the Greens really matters, whether we win or not. Labour won’t face the loss of their deposits and, with hundreds of MP in Parliament and now hundreds of thousands of members, they won’t be short of funds either.

Please remember that next time you think about abandoning the party you say you otherwise support. We’re only here because of that support, and when it’s removed we quickly lose the ability to give you the choice to vote Green in the future.

Every one of those 1250 people who took the trouble to support a party they truly believe in and give me their precious vote yesterday has my personal thanks.

I am of course disappointed that there weren’t more, especially as there were over twice that number just two years ago when our policies were just are relevant as they are now.

The dash to Labour was perhaps understandable in the context of Jeremy Corbyn’s popular appeal, but in a constituency like Banbury and vote for any of the progressive parties would have sent a message of hope and defiance just as effectively as one for Labour.

Sadly, in solidly safe seats like Banbury it’s very unlikely that one party will ever loosen the stranglehold being applied by The Conservatives, so we have to work together as the Greens have done in other constituencies.

Whilst I congratulate Sean for achieving an impressive increase on his vote share, he was still some 12000 votes away from a win. All the time Labour and the Conservatives continue to reject the electoral reform proposed by Greens and the Libdems we’re very unlikely to see individual votes changing the outcome of elections like these.

I’m very pleased on a national level to see The Conservatives on ever more shaky ground and I hope all the other opposition parties in Westminster will work together to thwart what will probably be a severe and extreme right coalition between the Tories and the DUP. I think we see now that this election was less about the good of the country and more about Theresa May clinging on to power at any cost.

As always, it was truly depressing to see the Conservative vote increase in number in a constituency that should be acutely aware of the damage they are likely to wreak on public services, the NHS and in particular the Horton Hospital which is now very likely to be completely downgraded or closed if the Conservatives maintain power.

Thanks to everyone who worked on my campaign and to the other candidates for a clean and well fought fight. I hope going forward, progressive parties in Banbury may work more closely together to achieve real social change and electoral reform, that way we can ensure every voice and every vote counts in the future.

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Why You Should Be Worried About TTIP

normal_ttip-eu_usa_santa_claude_eThe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a EU/USA treaty being negotiated in secret on our behalf. I believe it is one of the most serious threats we have ever faced.  Yet it’s a threat that many people haven’t even heard of.

This proposed agreement has implications on a national and global level, particularly the Investor-State Dispute Settlements clause which allows corporations and private companies to take legal action against governments if they pass laws that are regarded as restricting their ability to make profits.

This strikes directly at the heart of our democracy, whilst effectively handing over sovereignty of all signature countries to the whim Amongst other things, TTIP also has the potential to force this country to accept genetically modified organisms into our food supply.

It loosens banking regulations (as the more stringent US banking laws could be subject to the lighter laws in the UK) and it could threaten jobs as more companies will be able to base their operations in the USA where labour law, employee protection and health and safety are less strictly applied.

TTIP could also have very serious implication for the NHS in terms of the penetration of public services by private companies.  Indeed TTIP could very easily be used to prevent any future moves to stop the creeping privatisation of the NHS as this may be regarded as restrictive by corporations wanting a piece of the action.

Whilst the Conservatives, Labour and the Libdems have all stated an ambition to ensure the NHS is excluded from TTIP, we have seen no guarantees on this from any quarter.

Moreover the extremely secretive nature of the treaty and the way it is being negotiated on our behalf behind firmly closed doors, leads me to distrust the ability or even the will of some of our representatives to ensure such exclusions will be applied.

The fact that both Labour and the Conservatives have self evidently displayed an ambition to see large parts of the health service and social care hived off to private companies, amid a culture of marketisation and capitulation to private providers, leaves me with very little confidence in a positive outcome for our cherished NHS.

The Green Party is firmly committed to blocking TTIP where we are able to, and our MEPs have already expressed deep concern about what appears to be an unavoidable quiescence to this agreement.

You might like to read this article by Molly Scott Cato MEP, who was recently allowed into the inner sanctum where the treaty is being drafted. Although as you will see she was sworn to secrecy and was subject to extreme measures to prevent her from recording and/or reporting what she saw.   This alone sounds some very loud alarm bells with me! http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/04/secrets-ttip-corporations-not-citizens-transatlantic-trade-deal

If I were to be elected, I would most fervently resist the inclusion of the UK within the TTIP treaty and I would also demand that the secret negotiations now being held in Brussels should be openly and frankly reported.

Honest and open government is our only guarantee that those trusted to look after our interests do so diligently and effectively.