THE CANDIDATES fighting the Rugby & Bulkington seat are busy campaigning ahead of the General Election on June 8. Here, Green Party candidate Graham Bliss tells Observer readers in his own words why he deserves your vote.
Politics is something that has interested me since I was 18 at University in 2004.
At the time, I researched into the parties of the day and found them wanting. All except one. It took me a while before I decided to become involved – seven years in fact – and a lot of research.
I saw the damage the conservatives were doing and I felt I had to be involved, I took the leap and I joined the Green Party. I felt that their policies and ideas were the ones that could lead the country and world into a better placed position.
I am standing for this election for many reasons. But the biggest is because I believe in the Green Party and what they can do to change the conversation, and hopefully one day, to be able to enact change.
I was delighted when helping to lead our campaign and support our candidate in 2015 and we tripled our vote share in the town. To match this experience with my confidence, strong personal convictions and passion for politics, working in a secondary school, and singing in local band Wounded Cross, I am ready to embrace this election campaign and the possible future role and challenges of being MP.
There are a number of important things that I stand for that I felt should be highlighted. I have outlined these in the form of a mini-manifesto below.
· Stronger environmental protections, renewable energy projects, industries and climate change measures. I oppose fracking (including UCG)
· Proportional Representation in Parliament to make every vote count in future elections
· Any parliamentary discussion or implementation about basic income as a future policy, with a mind to future automation and the upcoming fourth industrial revolution
· Policies that make sure corporations pay their way, would eradicate zero hours’ contracts, and increase the minimum wage
· NUT and NASWUT with educational based policies, to ensure that teachers are involved in policy creation directly
· The public re-ownership of rail and bus services
· Stronger animal welfare measures and environmental protection measures
· The Green Party policy of a second referendum on the final EU deal. I would respect the decision
· Measures to oppose blatant bias in the media – such as stronger press regulation or campaigns like Sleeping Giants and Stop the Hate
· The disabled community in their struggle against Conservative cuts. I would attempt to introduce some funding to support these people locally
· Campaigns such as positive money, to help fight corruption and improve the way economics in this country works
· Upgrading St Cross. I will also passionately defend the NHS from cuts and further privatisation
· The rights of all religious communities to be free to be themselves without harm or intimidation, and this also goes for other minority groups such as LGBTIQA+
· The development of a national programme of 1million green jobs (as identified by Trade Unions and green groups) including building on the existing skills in Rugby to make our town the green jobs capital of the UK
· Fixing the school shortage problem in Rugby as a matter of urgency
· The council refunding the green bins charge, and ensuring every citizen gets their green bins back, emptied as they were before
· Measures to sort out the chronic air pollution in Rugby, be it possible pedestrianisation of the town centre to reduce traffic or other progressive ideas
· Lower rents in the town centre to ensure independent businesses can actually thrive rather than open and close within months due to lack of funds
· The funding of community-led projects to help the young people of Rugby, be it possible community centres, studios or live venues.
I will be a vote for change in Rugby. I am a Green Party member because I believe in the forward thinking that this party has. I believe in basic income. I believe in the fourth industrial revolution. I believe we live in the most explosive, exciting and frightening period of change in human history, and that we stand at a tipping point. I believe that Rugby can be better for all. I believe in myself, and in you. Vote Green on June 8.
Graham Bliss, Green Party candidate