Speeches during this 2017 campaign

There have been six hustings during this campaign, and at each one, the candidates were asked to prepare something slightly different, to a fixed time. I wrote out what I intended to say in each case, so for anyone who wasn’t there, here they are, in reverse order.

In Ashburton, on 6 June, we were asked to speak for two minutes on the two issues we felt were most important in this election. Here’s what I said:

“I’ve chosen two things which are over-arching, and which cut to the very core of what is wrong with Theresa May’s Conservative government, and where I believe The Green party, and others offer so much more. These things are RESPONSIBILITY and LEADERSHIP. 

The Tories are desperate to absolve themselves in government of responsibility for everything – they think it’s ‘efficient’ for prisons to be run by G4S, for Hospitals to be run by Virgin, or Circle (who gave it back when they couldn’t make a profit), or schools to be run by anyone with a cheque book and a logo. But people who work for those businesses don’t ‘love’ them, the way people once loyally served the NHS, or Schools, or even British Rail – and as a patient or passenger, I want to feel proud of a great public service, not just a share price. 

They appoint ATOS to assess disabled people as ‘fit for work’, thousands of whom have then died within weeks. ‘I Daniel Blake’ shows a Kafkaesque, inhuman nightmare. Now the home office is, VERY DELIBERATELY telling people who’ve lived here for years to get ‘ready to leave’ the country. Responsible? My Arse!  

The EU referendum and what’s happened since is, I believe the most monumental, destructive, incompetent failure of leadership that I have ever seen. The will of the people? A Democratic sham! Even after the result, the Tories seem determined, to turn it into the biggest British tragedy since the bubonic plague! Never mind Trump, it almost looks like it’s Theresa May and Boris Johnson who are working for Russia.

This particular leadership failure started with David Cameron’s fear of the UKIP bullies. It continued with Boris and Gove – who were clearly horrified when they found themselves on the winning side, accused by Michael Heseltine of creating the “biggest constitutional crisis of modern times”! And now we have in Theresa May, a ‘leader’ who refuses to engage with any issue – at all! Instead she just lies, and lies, and lies. It’s absolutely outrageous – and SHAME ON THEM.”

We were also asked to speak for a minute about ourselves, without mentioning politics:

One minute – no politics!
Scottish dad, American mum – both teachers in Nigeria. Biafran war. To Glasgow, I was born. 1967.
Four years in Deal, Kent, then to County Durham. Local primary, two comprehensives. Free viola, clarinet and singing lessons on the county music service – singing in the national youth choir, playing in loads of orchestras.
Got two As at A level so to Oxford to study physics, which I loved, but not as much as all the music. More choirs, orchestras and Jazz sax with some Honkin’ Hep Cats.
Married. Worked in London for Dorling Kindersley – hi-tech new media. Moved to Bristol – web, and interactive TV.
Divorced. Went travelling, Shetland, Cuba, Corsica, Mozambique, Russia, America.
Met eco-warrior on a train from Bristol.
Kidneys failed – Polycystic Kidney Disease. Dialysis and two transplants from living donors, so far so good.
Married eco-warrior. Moved to Ashburton. Daughter. Love food, cooking and making music.
Wouldn’t it be great to turn Ashburton Methodist Church into an Arts Centre? Time’s running out for that! And for me.

[More to come]

Coming to a door mat near you

centraldevon-GE-A5-back and front 400pxThis little flyer on the right should be coming though every letterbox in Central Devon in the next few days. On the other side is something you can put in your window if you like. It’s impossible to really explain things in just a few hundred words, so here’s my attempt to give a bit more context to everything I wrote on the right hand half. On the left are Green Party policies, and I’m happy to endorse them all. Again, they’re very succinct here – for more, see the ‘Green Guarantee‘, essentially 10 priority policies for this general election, or the full Green Party manifesto.

So, here’s the front page, broken into sections, with more about why I wrote what I did in each bit.  

AWCD-Front-2-pic and unity

I know that there is a huge number of people in this constituency (and nationally) who would far prefer any combination of Labour, Lib Dem and Green MPs to form our government to the Conservatives, who achieved full control on 36% of the popular vote in 2015. Our ‘first past the post’ electoral system is patently broken, archaic and unrepresentative. The only way within this, for the electorate in Central Devon to have a fair chance to cast a vote which counts, is to offer a binary choice between the Conservative and a ‘unity’ candidate representing these other three parties. Until we have proportional representation, this imperfect solution is the only way. I tried to persuade the local Labour and Lib Dem groups and candidates to agree to this, with a week to go before the deadline for registering as a candidate. In 2015, the LibDem (12%), Labour (13%) and Green (9%) votes were very close. Had we been able to agree on a single candidate, then I think the clear choice this provided would have had a very good chance to attract enough attention to stand a good chance of winning against the Conservatives (52% in 2015). For different reasons, both other parties decided against any such agreement. In this case, it’s almost certain that the vote will again be split 3 ways – as neither Labour nor Lib Dem has been close enough even to be a strong candidate for mass ‘tactical voting’ to give them enough support. On June 8, it seems inevitable that tactical votes will go in each direction. The Green Party has voluntarily withdrawn candidates in some 26 seats, where it looks like that could affect the result in a positive way. Here, that is not the case; my voluntary withdrawal would achieve nothing – so, as in the majority of seats across the country, the Green Party has a candidate here, and people should, I think, vote for whichever candidate most closely stands for what they think is important.

AWCD-Front-3-judgement

This is a general election like no other. Theresa May has called it opportunistically and unnecessarily. Her excuse was ‘Brexit negotiations’. It’s clear that it’s really all about political machinations within the Conservative party. And that’s nothing new. The  EU referendum only happened because The Conservatives were scared of UKIP attracting ‘their’ votes. They didn’t expect to win the election, and so would easily be able to drop this commitment if a second coalition happened. They went ahead with a referendum in the most incompetent way imaginable. The legislation and campaigns were a farce. And for the result to be declared ‘the will of the people’ and for the turmoil and suffering we see as a consequence is an outrageous thing to inflict on the UK’s population.

The Tory party incompetence is continuing through this campaign, in particular it’s decision to focus everything on one person, Theresa May as leader. Now good leaders are important – but they’re not everything. in particular, in our parliamentary democracy, any party could win this election, form a new government then ditch the leader and appoint a new one, without any recourse to the rest of us in the electorate. So the whole Tory campaign is utterly disingenuous, and frankly is infantilising us all.

AWCD-Front-4-laughable

For the EU referendum to be described as ‘the will of the people’ is clearly nonsense. As I predicted before the 28 June, ‘Brexit’ now overshadows everything, leaving no time for our government to deal with the really important issues of our time: the global threat from manmade climate change and the need for us to replace our dependence on fossil fuels with renewable, sustainable alternatives; and the global conflicts which are creating the biggest refugee crisis in history.

AWCD-Front-5-CarolineLucas

Historically, in party-blind polls about policies, the Green Party consistently comes top. But people say things like, “I love what they stand for, but the Greens will never win so it’s a wasted vote.” But when the Green Party DOES win, it has brought us people like Caroline Lucas, widely regarded as the most effective MP in Parliament, and Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West who is doing fantastic work, and who I hope will be elected on 8 June to represent Bristol West as an MP. I can’t promise to be equal to Caroline’s talent, but if elected I will do my damnedest to follow her example.

AWCD-Front-7-UK

The EU referendum has brought to the surface all sorts of competing and sometimes contradictory things. The tolerant, inclusive, country where ignorant bigotry and ‘fear of the other’ was regarded as unacceptable, which I have grown up in all my life seems different now, almost a distant memory. Clearly there are many people who feel abandoned, unheard, unrepresented, unfairly treated, etc, and who expressed this on 23 June 2016. I don’t believe that leaving the EU will solve any of these problems. In fact, I believe they’ll be exacerbated and we’ll be in an even worse place trying to sort them out. However, we are where we are. Article 50 has been triggered, and the next UK government need to carefully and thoughtfully do what is in the best interests of the country. I believe that the Green Party’s proposal to offer a second referendum on the outcome of these negotiations with the option to remain in the EU is what should now happen.

But it’s not just about the UK’s place in the EU. If a Conservative government is reelected on 8 June, then the NHS is under more threat than ever from predatory global companies who seek to profit from our pain and illness and a government set to continue the privatisation of NHS services to the point where integrated treatment in the patient’s best interests becomes impossible. Our education system is set to be further divided, into grammar schools, free schools, multi-academy trusts, etc – making choices for parents and children ever more unnecessarily complicated, without taking account of all the best evidence as what is really best for our future generations.

The above has been written quickly. It could do with some editing I’m sure. And there’s lots more to say that’s still missing. However, there are emails to answer (apologies if I haven’t got to yours yet), and hustings to prepare for tomorrow in Bovey Tracey, a daughter to collect from school, and a non-election-related event, this ‘Campfire Conversation‘ happening in Ashburton this evening to set up.

AWCD-Front-8-banner

Central Devon Hustings, June 2017

Here are the details I have so far about Central Devon hustings. I will attend all of these, and update this page as I find out more.

Sat 27 May, Bovey Tracey, 7.30pm

Venue: Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Thos, Bovey Tracey, De Tracey Park, TQ13 9EP
The organisers say, “We are inviting written questions in advance – may be submitted until 7pm on the night.”

Mon 29 May, Moretonhampstead, 7 for 7.30pm start

Venue: The Stable Room, Union Inn, Moretonhampstead

The organisers say, “We will be inviting members of the public to submit written questions from 7.00pm until 10 minutes before we begin.”

Tue 30 May, Okehampton, 7.30pm (doors 7pm)

Fairplace Church, Okehampton. Questions to okehamptonpioneer@hotmail.com by noon on Mon 29 May.

Mon 5 June – Crediton, Queen Elizabeth’s School, 6pm for 6.45pm

Venue: Drama Hall, QE Western Road Campus, Crediton
Doors open 6pm. Audience are asked to please arrive by 6.30pm, to be seated for prompt start at 6.45pm (tea/coffee and soft drinks will be served from 6.00pm, with proceeds in aid of QE students’ fundraising). We are aiming for the event to be finished by 8.45pm.

Sat 3 June, Bradninch, Guildhall, 7.30pm

Venue: Guildhall, Fore Street, Bradninch, EX5 4NJ

Format: 5 Minute statement from each Candidate; Open Mic questions for 1 hour; 2 minute sum-up from each candidate.

Tue 6 June, Ashburton Town Hall, 7pm.

Questions to jgordonjones@hotmail.co.uk, or to Sophie Richardson at No 14 Wine Bar, Ashburton by Fri 2 June.

Will there be a ‘Unity’ candidate in Central Devon on 8 June 2017?

Sequel to: We need a Unity Candidate in Central Devon for the General Election on 8 June

Since proposing this on Friday afternoon, I know of nearly 100 emails that have been sent by Central Devon voters to the constituency Labour and Lib Dem offices supporting the idea of a ‘unity’ candidate on 8 June. There may be many more. I hope to share some of them soon, for they put forward great arguments about why we need to do this now. In some, they admit that it’s not how they would normally like to do things – naturally, people who get involved in politics tend to think carefully about the issues, and there are good reasons why they choose one party rather than another. In deciding to join the Green Party several years ago, I did exactly the same. But the common theme is that right here, right now, in Central Devon in 2017, having to choose between three parties, when you’d essentially be very happy for any one of them to represent you in Westminster, and where all three are far preferable to an having a Conservative MP who has been a loyal supporter of everything that the Tory government has done since he was first elected in 2010. As a fellow voter, this is how I feel too.

I’m NOT trying to create a back room deal here. There is no ‘quid pro quo’ being discussed here. It’s also as public as possible and the response I’ve seen so far has been very encouraging. Over the weekend I discovered that it’s possible to register a candidate so that they appear on the ballot form as ‘joint’, ie representing 2 or more parties. This has happened in the past between Labour and the Cooperative Party, and Green and Plaid Cymru. I’m sure I saw a reference to a Green + Lib Dem joint candidate somewhere too. The law was made clear under the coalition government, though as far as I know, there’s never been a joint candidate representing three parties. We have the opportunity here to take our broken ‘First Past The Post’ electoral system, and do something different; to take a grown-up approach to politics rather than the usual childish tribal warfare, that really serves nobody well.

I believe that if we could make this happen here – BY 4pm this Thursday, 11 May! – it could have a truly renewing effect on politics here in Central Devon.

Under ‘normal’ circumstances, I would agree with those who say that everyone should have the opportunity to cast their vote for the candidate or party which most closely reflects what they want to see happen in this country. It’s why I stood here in 2015 for the Green Party, knowing that the best I could hope for was to increase the size of the Green vote, and perhaps to take our arguments to the half a dozen public hustings which happened. But this election is not a ‘normal’ one. It is being held at a time when our country is in a state of turmoil and division beyond anything I could have imagined. The governing party faces allegations of criminal electoral malpractice in the last election in 20 constituencies – a greater number than its parliamentary majority. It is now dealing with Brexit – the consequence of incompetent legislation and campaigns – which has now replaced the real important issues of our times (eg climate change and the global refugee crisis), and which risks breaking up the countries of the United Kingdom. All for what? So David Cameron could win a few votes from UKIP?

The Conservative Party has managed to govern this country on its own since 2015 having won just 37% of the popular vote, from 24% of the electorate. Never mind ‘strong and stable’ – in that time it has lurched from one disaster to another, endangering our education system, our NHS, our ‘United’ Kingdom and the respect we’ve always had from the rest of Europe and the rest of the World. Everything right now points towards them winning this General Election in a similar way. We have an opportunity here to make a stand against that by creating a clear choice, where normally there would not be one. Vote Conservative or vote for something different.

So far, the Labour Party has said publicly, and in an email yesterday to its members in Central Devon that it will not be part of a Unity candidate agreement. So far, the Lib Dems have in private made promising noises and say they are actively considering this suggestion. Both parties surely know that it is the only way for the people of Central Devon to have a clear choice where every vote will count. We don’t have much time. The deadline for nomination papers to be lodged is 4pm on Thursday. Where this has been done already, it’s still possible to change things so that a single joint candidate appears on the ballot paper. If you haven’t already, email the parties to let them know what you think – post about it on social media (here’s the Facebook version of this post). If you know other people who agree, then ask them to do this too.

Secretary of Central Devon Labour: Paula Frisby: paula.frisby@outlook.com
Central Devon Liberal Democrats: info@centraldevon-libdems.org.uk
South Devon Green Party: members@southdevon.greenparty.org.uk (I’ll see this one – so copy us in).

We need a Unity Candidate in Central Devon for the General Election on 8 June

I’ve been selected as the Green Party candidate again, to stand for Central Devon in the General Election on 8 June. However, I believe that Lib Dem, Labour and the Green Party should agree to stand a single candidate here against the Conservative incumbent. ‘A betrayal of democracy!’ I hear Theresa May claim. No. What we have right now is a sham democracy. ‘First Past The Post’ is clearly more broken than ever as an electoral system where the Tories on 37% of the national popular vote can rule by dictat, making decisions every week that the majority of the population find unpalatable. In seats like this one, many people don’t bother casting a ‘wasted’ vote. In the absence of Proportional Representation, this year it is time to put party tribalism to one side, and find a way to work together to do something about this. We have until 4pm on Thursday 11 May to do it (the deadline for confirming registration as a candidate).

In 2015, Conservative, Mel Stride won the Central Devon seat with 52%. UKIP, Labour and LibDem got around 13% each, and Green (me!) got 9%. You could say that that shows that no matter what, there’s a simple majority of voters in Central Devon who like the Conservative MP, Mel Stride and/or his party. How anyone can think that after seeing the last two (plus 5) years of Tory ‘control’ is beyond me. Theirs is a government of incompetence, vindictiveness and wrongheaded economic policies that are dividing our nation against itself and making the UK look ridiculous to the rest of the world which looks on aghast at what is happening here, and is horrified at the stories which come from their citizens who live, work and have families here. And don’t even get me started on ‘Brexit’, where the enabling legislation and campaigns for the referendum were frankly laughable if the consequences weren’t so serious. If Armando Ianucci had written it all as a plot for ‘The Thick Of It’ a few years ago it would have been regarded as too silly even for fiction.

This election is unlike any other. If the Conservatives win another majority, we face years of unpleasant turmoil for no benefit (even for the few people who will become financially richer). Our country will become a more unpleasant place. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose a different, more tolerant, progressive way to live where people cooperate with each other and with others around the world.

I believe that there is a huge number of voters here who just don’t bother to cast a ‘wasted vote’ for Labour, LibDem or Green. It has become more clear than ever before that a Tory government which can simply rule by dictat on the basis of 37% of the popular vote does NOT represent the ‘will of the people’. Nominations for the General Election close on Thursday 11 May at 4pm. I believe that by that time, the local Lib Dem, Labour and Green parties should agree to all stand behind a single ‘Unity’ candidate so that there’s a straight choice between Conservative and Not Conservative. It would be a radical thing to do. It would mean that EVERY SINGLE VOTE would count, just as it did in the EU referendum. It wouldn’t mean that Green, or Labour, or LibDem voters were throwing away their principles. Until we have a fair, proportional system of electing our government, something like this is the only option we have – in a constituency like Central Devon, of which there are many around the country.

I’ve been selected to stand on 8 June for the Green Party. In some parts of the country, Green candidates are standing down in order not to split the vote against the Tories. Here, that makes no sense. As it is, there is likely to be tactical voting on a mass scale for both Labour and Lib Dem – which will achieve nothing.

The only way we can hope for a positive result here is for there to be a single ‘unity’ candidate. I would willingly stand aside if we could agree on one, and I think I’d be supported by most ‘Green’ voters in doing that. But if we can’t agree on a single candidate, then I will stand, and mount as strong a campaign as possible for what I believe is important for the future of our society, and our children’s lives.

If you’re a member or voter for Labour or Lib Dem and you support this idea – email or call the Central Devon constituency office or speak to their representatives, or post on their social media groups that you’d like to see this happen. If it did, the rather pointless election on 8 June might end up creating something interesting that might lead to a transformation of our politics so that all our voices are heard and represented, because I don’t believe the Tories do it for us. Do you?

If you think the parties should make this agreement, here are some email addresses – please write to them all:
Secretary of Central Devon Labour: Paula Frisby: paula.frisby@outlook.com
Central Devon Liberal Democrats: info@centraldevon-libdems.org.uk
South Devon Green Party: members@southdevon.greenparty.org.uk

Andy Williamson video

Here’s an unrehearsed, unscripted film of me talking about various issues that I feel strongly about.

it’s easy to criticise for gross generalisations. So here are some things I wish I could have said more clearly:

I’m standing “because it’s time…” – so many things flashed through my head at that second that I couldn’t pick one. A mixture of all the things I see happening that I think are wrong; and all the positive things that we could do that would create a happier, healthier world for us all, and our children, and their children… (see the Green manifesto!)

Health and Social Care: Not ALL parts of the health service are contracted out to private companies (yet!), but there’s been a huge increase in what is, and it the results are often not good. A community nurse who watched this wrote: “I see a lot of elderly people receiving wonderful care and others less than satisfactory. Important not to tarnish with same brush and maybe more emphasis on care company owners creaming profits while dedicated care workers on minimum wage with little training and not being paid journey time btw clients” which I heartily endorse. There is of course much, much more about what is happening to the NHS that I could say.

Immigration: A glib response to what I say here could be, “So you think the UK has unlimited capacity to accept more people?” – of course I don’t think that, and neither does the Green Party.

There’s more, but if I wait to write it before posting this, it’ll never appear.

Pedal Power on the Campaign Trail

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A convoy of electric bikes from Ashburton to Okehampton, stopping at various towns across the moor. Will you join us? (on any kind of bike, some or all of the way). If so, send me a mail.

Inge Page of Dartmoor Walks & Rides This Way writes:

“The Central Devon constituency covers one of the largest areas of any in England – 550 square miles – which makes effective campaigning quite a challenge, particularly if you’re the candidate for a party with limited resources and a strong environmental ethic. Add to that the fact that the heart of the constituency – the jewel in its crown – is Dartmoor which is notoriously bereft of public transport and very hilly, thus not suitable for cycling far unless you’re already very fit. What to do if you’re a Green Party that wants to reach out to rural voters but not clog the roads with yet more cars?

“The resourceful Green Party candidate for Central Devon, Andy Williamson, has teamed up with Dartmoor Walks & Rides This Way to go on the campaign trail – on electric bikes. On April 30, Andy and supporters will set off from Ashburton and cycle 30 miles over eastern Dartmoor to Okehampton, passing through Widecombe, Moretonhampstead, Chagford, South Zeal and Sticklepath. En route, the group will stop at these towns and villages to talk to residents, hand out leaflets and discuss issues affecting these communities such as sustainable transport, affordable housing, employment opportunities etc.

“As the founder of Dartmoor Walks & Rides This Way, I’m delighted to be part of this day. I set up the business because I really wanted people to enjoy Dartmoor away from their cars. By offering tours on foot, e-bike or both, I hope to encourage people to venture further afield and see the wonderful hidden corners of this unique landscape. This is very much in line with the Green Party’s focus on sustainable transport, cycle routes and alternatives to reliance on private cars. The route we’re taking on April 30th goes through spectacular scenery and visits lovely communities. I can’t wait. Look out for us if you live nearby. We plan to be in Chagford at lunchtime and in Okehampton by about 4.30 pm.”

Here’s Thursday’s schedule:

Leave Ashburton at 9.15am
Arrive at Widecombe at 10.15
have a 15 min stop
Get to North Bovey at 11am
Have a 15 min stop
Get to Moretonhampsted at 11.45
Have a 30 min stop
Get to Chagford at 1pm
Stop for an hour at the Courtyard Café to have lunch and charge the bikes.
Get to South Zeal at 3pm
have a 15 min stop
Get to Sticklepath at 3.30pm
Stay for 15 mins
Get to Okehampton at around 4.30pm

Recover in time for:
Okehampton Hustings, Main Hall, Fairplace Church, Okehampton, EX20 1DT
7pm: Doors open for submission of written questions; 7.30pm Start.

Why ‘Austerity’ is the wrong economic plan

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I’ve said several times in various public places during this campaign that the Coalition Government’s economic plan, that it likes to claim has been working very well for the last five years has been doing nothing of the sort. I’ve gone so far as to call it a ‘lie’. This is a very serious accusation that I don’t make lightly. I am in good company in saying this, as you can see in some of these recent things, from economists far more eminent than I. Unfortunately if the same thing is repeated again and again, people start to assume that it must be true, because everyone is saying it.

Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman wrote about the UK election in the New York Times in March: “Unfortunately, economic discourse in Britain is dominated by a misleading fixation on budget deficits. Worse, this bogus narrative has infected supposedly objective reporting; media organizations routinely present as fact propositions that are contentious if not just plain wrong.” And later, “What about growth? When the current British government came to power in 2010, it imposed harsh austerity — and the British economy, which had been recovering from the 2008 slump, soon began slumping again. In response, Prime Minister David Cameron’s government backed off, putting plans for further austerity on hold (but without admitting that it was doing any such thing). And growth resumed.
If this counts as a policy success, why not try repeatedly hitting yourself in the face for a few minutes? After all, it will feel great when you stop.”

Robert Skidelsky, former Conservative Party spokesman for Treasury affairs wrote a few days ago in his article ‘Debating the Confidence Fairy’: “The moral of the tale is simple: Austerity in a slump does not work, for the reason that the medieval cure of bleeding a patient never worked: it enfeebles instead of strengthening. Inserting the confidence fairy between the cause and effect of a policy does not change the logic of the policy; it simply obscures the logic for a time. Recovery may come about despite fiscal austerity, but never because of it.”

On his own website he wrote about the Conservative Manifesto“The Conservatives have continued to spin their familiar yarn of having rescued Britain from ‘Labour’s Great Recession’. This, as they must know, is the mother of all lies. The Great Recession was caused by the banks. Governments, the Labour government included, by bailing out the banks and continuing to spend, stopped the Great Recession from turning into a Great Depression. Yet practically everyone seems to believe that the Great Recession was manufactured by Gordon Brown.”

Simon Wren-Lewis, professor of Economics at Oxford University wrote this month in The New Statesman about The economic consequences of George Osborne: covering up the austerity mistake, from which: “The austerity mistake involves basic macroeconomics. Cutting spending will reduce demand and is not to be undertaken when interest rates cannot be cut to offset its impact. The Conservatives, if elected, plan further sharp austerity in the early years of the next parliament, at a time when interest rates are still expected to be at or near their floor. Whatever your views about the desirable size of the state in the long run, to cut spending when the economy is still vulnerable in this way is to take a huge risk. It is exactly the risk that materialised from 2010, except today there is not even a hint of market pressure to cut the deficit quickly. Being able to cover up the earlier mistake is bad enough. Planning to repeat it is pure folly.”

And remember all those dark warnings from Tories and the media which support them about how the UK is in peril of following in the footsteps of Greece. Wren-Lewis points out:  Unlike eurozone countries, the UK can never “run out of money” and so is not at risk of default.” This of course doesn’t mean we can live lavishly beyond our means, but it’s part of what makes the UK’s budget very different from that of a family or a small business.

While I’m posting links to stuff about economics that’s easy to read, here’s something a bit different from a few years ago: New Road To Serfdom by Michael Hudson published in Harpers magazine in 2006. It’s not about ‘austerity’ but about how the deregulated (under Thatcher and Reagan) financial industry can be very cavalier about how it creates ‘products’ that come back to bite us all. It was recommended to me by Plymouth University economist Neil Smith, who says “one guy I love is Michael Hudson – his New Road to Serfdom gave a perfect description of the last 8 years, except he wrote it in 2006!” on mortgage debt, and how the financial industry has persuaded people that it’s a good thing to take on as much debt as they can afford rather than as much debt as they need.

More about me and why I’m standing

I moved to Ashburton, on the edge of Dartmoor in 2009. I love life here and am an active member of this community. Before I became a full-time musician, I studied physics and worked for an international publishing company. I’ve needed two kidney transplants – I know our NHS; we must nurture it, not break it! I met and married an eco-campaigner and became convinced that we need urgent global action if we’re to stop climatic disaster this century. 

I want our local economy to thrive, with good support for all its businesses: I will work for them. I love the food grown and produced here, and will do all I can to help our great producers, markets and retailers. 

The Green Party has a full slate of positive policies that I’m convinced will improve our lives. Others are mimicking them in the run-up to the election, but
history shows that they will not enact them. 

So, I’m standing to be your MP on 7 May.  If elected, I’ll dedicate myself to representing Central Devon’s people and stand for truly sustainable local, national and international policies that will help bring about a world where we and our children can all flourish.