Until early 2015, I’d never been the member of any political party. My passion is Leeds, and especially the communities around the south and centre of the city – and I didn’t see the need to get involved in ‘politics’. But we badly need change in our communities – so I decided to ‘get political’, and stand in the local council elections that year.

I originally planned to stand at an ‘independent’ (without any party) – because my primary concern is our communities. But I met with the Greens, and was (and still am) really impressed by the Greens: good people, passionate about their communities and wider society, daring to question the status quo, daring to stand up for a fairer society, daring to consider different solutions to big issues.

So I joined them, and stood as their local candidate in the ‘City and Hunslet’ (now renamed ‘Hunslet and Riverside’) council ward in 2015 and again in 2016. We came a strong 2nd both years. And in 2017 I was honoured to be their candidate in this General Election – for the parliamentary constituency of Leeds Central.

At a local level (ie for council elections, like the one this May – 2018), national policies are of secondary importance. Most importantly, we need local people, passionate about their communities, listening to and working with other residents, and fighting for change.

However, we (Ed, Mary, and Alaric) are proud of the Green Party’s wider vision for society. Click here to read the Green Party’s most recent (2017) national manifesto. And if you’ve time (!), click here to read the full Green policy framework – developed over the decades by the members, and always publicly visible.

National policies that especially resonate with me are as follows: real devolution of powers out of Westminster to regions, cities, and communities; electoral reform for a fairer voting system, including votes for 16+; saving the NHS from crippling cuts, privatisation, and managerial control (the idea being to democratise decision-making amongst a wide range of staff and stakeholders); designing a 21st century tax system that ensures big business pay their fair share, and rebalancing the economy in favour of small/independent business; establishing a £10 Living Wage (just one of many long-held Green Party policies that other parties are now ‘borrowing’!); a green industrial revolution to generate 10,000s of jobs; resisting daft vanity projects like the Trident nuclear programme (£110bn) and High Speed Rail 2 / HS2 (£50bn+; the money would be far better spread out across the northern transport systems); renationalising the railways, and regulating the buses more tightly (like the Transport for London model); moving towards a 4-day working week, to create a less work-centred society; enabling schools to prepare children for life not just exams (eg liberating them from the stifling bureaucracy of SATs and Ofsted; there are far better alternatives); blocking the narrow-minded push towards ‘fracking’; and serious action on climate issues like air pollution, and flooding (especially low-tech solutions like countryside reforestation).

And there’s also the Leeds Green Party website, where we have a dedicated city manifesto. Please get in touch anytime to discuss any of this.

(Top image from the Leeds visit of Green Party MP and co-leader Caroline Lucas, at Leeds Community Homes.)