The Norwich Radical editorial team has asked candidates for the constituencies of Norwich South, Norwich North, and Broadland, Norfolk to contribute a short piece regarding the upcoming General Election on 12th December 2019. We have contacted all candidates belonging to parties that reflect or adhere to our values as seen in our Founding Statement, highlighting what role they see their candidacy playing in the coming years in a changing political landscape, their vision of what Norwich’s role should be, and how they will approach that in practice. These are the responses from the candidates who replied.
As a Green Party candidate at this election and in previous elections, I see my role as standard-bearer for a movement away from a competitive and environmentally damaging way of life to a genuinely sustainable society. By sustainable I mean one that is concerned with environmental and social justice. An end to consumerism and towards a circular economy where waste is radically reduced by making goods made to last that can be upgraded or reused. I want to see a fundamental change in the way politics is practised from the bottom up. I believe that the political landscape today is far too top-down oriented. I want to see the creation of Citizens assemblies as a forum for continuing political discussion and decision-making at the local level. I want to see citizens assemblies feeding into to a reformed Parliament which is based on proportional representation. The job of the MP would be listening to and reporting back from citizens assemblies as well as still voting as informed individuals on matters of conscience.
I see Norwich as the dynamic centre for a new Norfolk. Building on the resources available both in the local economy and education institutions, providing a hub for bringing together public services, private businesses and new innovative co-operative social enterprises – coordinating our response to the real threat of climate change. In this I see Norwich City Council working together with other local authorities and the County Council to develop a coherent strategy for delivering a sustainable Norfolk including a target for net zero carbon emissions. At the heart of this strategy would be the citizens assemblies meeting on a regular basis to make decisions based on a dialogue and discussion with the aforementioned stakeholders.
In terms of the policy that I want to pursue: I’ve been a long-term proponent of Universal Basic Income. I believe that the compulsion to work through the current benefits system is misguided. It causes immense stress to those people who can’t work because of disability or find it difficult to fit into conventional employment. There’s also a legion of unpaid carers, doing vital work but receiving nothing. I have set up a local basic income group and publish a Facebook page on it. I want to see a pilot setup in Norwich that could provide a testing ground for roll out across the County.
I am a firm believer in protecting and developing more green open spaces within urban areas. I want to to enable local community organisations to take control of these community assets. I was involved in stopping the sell off of a valuable wood within the Norwich urban area by the County Council. I’m aware of other woodlands in Norwich where the public at the moment have access but are being forced off due to development. I want to change the planning system so that is is possible to protect the rights of access to woodlands and other amenity areas currently being used. There should be a presumption not to develop on existing woodlands.
We need a fundamental change in the way we travel. I want to revitalise the public transport system moving away from private car ownership. I want to stop all new road building and invest in bus and Rail services. I want to see free public transport for young people as well as retired people. To get people out of their cars – public transport should be free for everybody inside the large urban areas like Norwich. I want to see the car club sharing idea made more affordable and one that is flexible enough to be attractive to current private car users.
As a founding member of Norwich Community solar co-op I want to see renewable energy being generated and used for community benefit throughout Norfolk. To do this we need a decentralised grid where public service buildings,local businesses and social enterprises co-operate in terms of energy demand and generation.
Local food production is vital for a sustainable future. I want to see local community organisations working with local farmers for mutual benefit. I want to encourage the development of community lead agricultural social enterprises like Farmshare in Norwich.
Featured image by Sara Harrington
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