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.

Dr Andrew Boswell

We are living in dangerous times, dark times.  The country is deeply divided over our place in the world – the Brexit crisis – whether we align with Europe or we align with Donald Trump’s US.

And we face a Climate and Ecological Emergency, our young people desperately calling for action to literally save the planet and save their futures.  They are literally showing the leadership that political leaders have failed to grasp for decades. On both issues, people feel that democracy has failed.  Trust in politicians is eroded.

This is the most important election for a generation, and the result of the election could shape the future for many generations if we miss the opportunity to take radical action on climate change and influence the world to do so too. 

Yet, it is possible to vote for real change – progressive change – on December 12th.  I am standing for the Greens.  I’m a long-term local politician who knows the issues in Norwich and Norfolk as I was a city and county councillor, for 12 years, at Norfolk County Council.  I am a dedicated and long-standing climate activist, and I am an environmental consultant dealing with climate, air pollution, affordable housing and other issues every day.  I will stand up for Norwich and Norfolk people on these issues.

The Green Party is a Remain party.  Unlike Liberal Democrats, we do not think that any one party should tread roughshod over the people and revoke Article 50.  Rather, we believe Brexit will not provide the best future for the country, and that the people know so much more about Brexit that we did in 2016 – the real cost to the economy, job losses, erosion of worker rights, environmental protections, to peace and stability.  We believe the people should have the final say in a People’s vote. I believe given the full facts, the British people will vote to stay in, if there is a new vote.

The Tory #GetBrexitDone mantra is just the start: it is just signing the withdrawal agreement. There will be years more of wrangling to negotiate trade deals.  This will hit the economy and stability.

True stability will be found by staying in Europe, but it must be staying by the will of the people in a People’s vote.

We are the only political party committed to tackling the climate emergency as number one priority.  Our manifesto lays out how we will reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net-zero by 2030.  Caroline Lucas was involved in writing the original Green New Deal a decade ago. Now we have a fully worked out Green New Deal that will replace fossil fuels with clean energy, and clean transport, creating thousands of jobs.  We know how to implement and pay for this. It is fully costed. We will invest £1trillion to 2030 to achieve this – this is 4 times the investment over Labour.

Inequality and lack of investment in communities was an underlying reason for people voting to leave the EU.  Our manifesto tackles these issues head-on. We are proposing 10 bills in the first 2 years of the new Parliament.  I fully support each of these and will work to make them work for local people. The Greens can lay these bills before parliament as private members bills, so we will do this, however many MPs we have elected.

As well as the climate emergency, the bills cover:

  • Re-instatement of the NHS – de-privatising and protecting the NHS on its founding principle
  • Access to higher education – scrapping tuition fees
  • Creating sustainable economy – biodiversity, soil and water health
  • Protecting the Rights of Future generations with a Commissioner – future people should be “at the table”, and “on the agenda” for every decision
  • Universal basic income – remove impacts of job insecurity
  • 100,000 new zero carbon homes each year
  • Renter rights – making housing affordable and fair
  • Making votes count – a radical upgrade to democracy including proportional representation, replacing house of lords and votes for young people (16- & 17-year olds)

This election is a real choice for you and your family, and all of us.

We need to move forward on Brexit in a way that heals the country. The empty #GetBrexitDone mantra just won’t do it.  We need to urgently place the climate at the top of the agenda in all decision making from now on.

Your vote counts.  Use it to make a real choice.  Elect more Green MPs to parliament, and we can start to heal the country and make a safer world.  I ask you … if not now, when?

Featured image by Sara Harrington

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