We can choose a different future

Andy Williamson for Central Devon MPI’m standing in this election because I’ve had enough of watching most of the leading politicians in this country fail to even talk about  the fundamental issues where we need to take urgent action in this country, never mind actually address them and do what most of us can see is required.

I believe that I can offer a voice in our politics that will say the things that need to be said, and if elected, take a very active role. With just one Green MP at Westminster since 2010, the ‘main’ parties have already been forced to acknowledge truths that might otherwise have been ignored. Caroline Lucas has been hugely effective, representing many millions more than the voters in Brighton who elected her. I would seek to emulate the way she has worked, on both the big issues: our environment; the economy; the NHS; education; our welfare state; and those closer to home, representing all the people in this glorious constituency of Central Devon.

The Green Party’s manifesto is a visionary document. I really recommend putting half an hour aside and reading some of the 80 pages that are there. It offers a real alternative to the furrow that ConDemLab politics condemns us to plough. We really could make this choice. I’ve split the full Green manifesto into individual chapters, of a few pages each if you want to go straight to what we have to say about, e.g. Health, Transport, Energy, etc.

Here’s my election flyer with more about me and why I’m standing. If you’d like to hear more from me between now and 7 May, sign up to my mailing list.

Find me on Facebook  here and on Twitter here as @bigbuzzard.

4 thoughts on “We can choose a different future”

  1. Sian Natasha Walton said:

    Hi Andy, are you doing any events nearer to home in the next few weeks? I am in Buckfastleigh, and have 2 small children so can be tricky to get out in the evening if my partner is not back from work. Good luck with the campaign trail! Sian Walton

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    • Hi Sian. Sorry to miss you when I was in Buckfastleigh on Saturday, opposite the Seed shop. I’ll add you to my mailing list, and if there’s another time I’ll be there, I’ll trying let you know.
      There’s also a hustings in Ashburton on Sunday 3 May, 6–8pm in the Town Hall. More details about that will be here soon.

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  2. Hi Andy, I am seriously thinking about voting green for the first time in a general election. I normally vote tactically – Lib Dem although really supporting Labour. – as I have lived in both Teignbridge and Torbay. However, |I have become very disillusioned with Labour and feel that, as the Conservatives have historically had such a majority in Central Devon, I might as well vote with my heart for once..

    Nevertheless, I really value open spaces and the peace and tranquillity that these bring. I value uncongested access to these places. This does not square with the general swelling of the population now and the implications for the future. Of course people must be housed. I find it really distasteful that a lot of the new housing in Cornwall that is being built for example is only afforded by second home owners – filling space but not solving the housing problem. I find it out of touch with the real issues when it’s reported on Radio Four’s Today programme that the advantage of Poldark has been the rise in house value and demand in that region!

    I have seen my local town of Newton Abbot and surrounding areas changing exponentially and volume of traffic increasing (serious cyclists find this a real barrier to their sport and a few cycle lanes here and there are irrelevant to them). My children have suffered at the hands of the rental market with huge deposits and fees to find upfront and eviction on the whim of landlords.

    The policy of European open borders seems to be impacting disproportionately on our English speaking country. Still plenty of space in Germany and France, yet Europe seems to make decisions about what’s right for the UK with no account taken of difference in size. Even the leaders of your party appear to be city dwellers who appreciate all the advantages of city life deciding policy with that as the norm it seems which seems to disregard the value of space and tranquillity. As well as this, it seems that in spite of the volume of houses town centres and communities die because people tend to commute to out of town shopping places or bigger centres, or indeed shop on line. There seems in people’s frantic 24/7 and internet lives little time for genuine sustainable community/environment. Therefore, the quality of life all round seems at risk.

    Bearing all this in mind, why should I vote Green?

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  3. Hi Jenny

    My apologies for taking so long to respond to this. There are so many different elements here – I’ll try and consider them all, though I may run out of time.

    The reasons I think you should vote green transcend all of the above, but I’ve set that out elsewhere on this site ( though not in enough detail – I seem to have left out my appreciation for the nature here in Devon, and a few people have written to let me know!)

    I share your disdain for the way that ‘increasing house prices’ is reported in the mainstream media, even Radio 4!, as a universal good thing. All that does is pander to the banks and their ever-increasing ‘loan to value’ which just artificially pumps new money into circulation and lets whoever’s in government claim that ‘growth is looking good’.

    I also share your appreciation for the open spaces, peace and tranquility that exists here in Devon, and in so many other parts of this country of ours. Last week, as part of this campaign, I spent two days cycling from Ashburton to Okehampton, and then from Okehampton to Kennford near Exeter. During those 70 miles, apart from when we were on main roads, or in the middle of towns, we hardly encountered a soul, either on foot, bike or car. So I don’t feel that our natural open spaces are in any danger just yet of losing their peace and tranquility anytime soon, despite the population growth that has happened in the UK in the last couple decades. There will always be some places that are very popular, and therefore crowded. But outside these there are always plenty of ‘off the beaten track’ places to explore in the UK.

    Congestion and development in towns and cities is a different matter. I know what you’re talking about around Newton Abbot from personal experience.

    The ‘Housing’ section of the Green Party manifesto is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/e079vfuhrnkhylr/GreenPartyManifesto-Ch8Housing.pdf

    But here’s part of the Transport section, which I hope shows our approach to the sort of issues you raise (although this I think does focus on urban areas more than the rural ones which make up most of this Central Devon constituency).

    Towns and cities for people
    We need to rescue our towns and cities from traffic and turn them back into places where we want to be. The Green Party will support an Active Travel Bill for England in order to achieve this.
    • Make streets healthy and safe places for people to cycle and walk and for children to play, while building physical activity into their daily journeys.
    • Help schools and workplaces to support active travel to and from work, and encourage local authorities to assist this by linking their public health and transport functions.
    • Ensure that all planning decisions have to take into account the active travel and public transport implications.
    • Make public transport more convenient by integrating ticketing with smart regional ticketing systems such as the London Oyster
    card.
    • Introduce road-pricing schemes such as the London congestion charge and road-user tolls for heavy lorries.
    • Begin consultation with a view to developing a framework for the progressive elimination of diesel exhaust emissions. A major cause of air pollution is emissions from diesel vehicles (cars, buses and trains). We recognise the latest scientific evidence of the harmful effect of diesel on human health.
    • Introduce Ultra Low Emission Zones to ensure air pollution reduces to comply with EU limits.
    • Reduce the need for car parking spaces by reducing car dependency and transferring trips, where appropriate, to walking, cycling and public transport. Car parking is expensive to provide, can obstruct pedestrians and people with disabilities if it takes place on pavements, and takes up valuable road space that could be reallocated to pedestrians and cyclists.
    • Reduce parking spaces in new developments and increase rates of walking, cycling and public transport by strengthening planning law to make best practice travel plans mandatory for workplaces, homes and other destinations.
    • Eliminate pavement parking and, in close cooperation with waste collection and emergency services, make sure that these essential services have unimpeded access to all addresses.
    • Ensure that parking policies in residential areas deliver a high-quality street environment and reduce the numbers of those who are clogging up residential streets as part of a commuter trip or other activities not related to a visit to an address in that street. Parking charges of all kinds in public car parks and streets will be proportionate to the full cost of providing that facility.
    • Provide cycle parking throughout towns and cities at locations where there is demand and invest in on-street secure cycle storage in residential streets.

    More Transport policy here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/k4ddbw5x8zccxhq/GreenPartyManifesto-Ch12Transport.pdf

    Andy

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