Leaflets, Hustings, Policy, and the ‘Media’

My, it has been a busy week. All 1000 leaflets (as insignificant a number as that is, but again, it is all we could afford on short notice) have been delivered across the constituency to residences in Crick, West Haddon, Long Buckby, Daventry, Old, Moulton, Brixworth, and Scaldwell. If you were looking forward to receiving a leaflet and have not had one drop through your letterbox, I can only apologise! Before distribution began on Sunday, I photographed one leaflet and its contents, and posted the images on Twitter. So, as something of a consolation prize, Daventry residents whose doormats were not graced with the presence of a leaflet, yet still desire to witness one in all its glory, can do so here.

I must thank Harry Mellor, Liam Duncan, Natalie Gorton, and Christopher Hodnett for their invaluable contributions to the leafleting drive in the constituency.

I appeared on BBC Radio Northampton’s debate on Saturday morning, which took place at Overstone Grange Farm, just north of Moulton village. This transpired to be less of a debate and more of a mechanical Q&A session which was easily disguised, thanks to the audio-only format, as a roundtable discussion. Five candidates crammed into a half-hour segment does not a comprehensive feature make. I must apologise for mocking the masquerade as, when quizzed on the Green Party’s solution to shortages in police officers in the constituency (our manifesto does not offer any costed preventative strategies regarding crime and how we would go about tackling dwindling officer numbers, much to my chagrin), I decided to enjoy myself. After highlighting the desperate state of affairs in our country, I answered wryly and knowingly, in the evasive, slippery manner of a thoroughbred politician:

We have fully costed how we would do this, but it’s very confidential and we can’t release the intricacies.”

To have the opportunity to parody the political gamut on local radio was a rare treat I could not pass up, given the alternative response was a dour ‘I don’t know’. Blame the manifesto, not the messenger! It is one of the very few holes in our agenda. I promise I have been taking the rest of my campaign a great deal more seriously. I do not make a habit of trivialising my campaign obligations, considering this radio appearance was one of the few opportunities Daventry constituents had to familiarise themselves with their Green Party candidate.

To label the segment a debate was to misrepresent it, and I look forward to the hustings in Moulton tomorrow evening, which, I hope, will provide an opportunity for more organic cross-party discussion. I do not wish for it to be a vitriolic affair, as I have now met all of my fellow Parliamentary candidates–each of whom are upstanding gentlemen–and I believe that we can treat each other fairly and with good grace, regardless of our political persuasions, as we are all, ultimately, people. I am not fond of personal attacks in politics, and shall not indulge in them, as I have the upmost respect the four gentlemen who fight for their respective parties alongside me on the ballot paper.

I was afforded a few minutes on the phone with a reporter from the Daventry Express on Tuesday, as, seemingly, were the other Daventry candidates. The outcome of these conversations (which were evidently not proofread prior to the article’s publication) can be found here. Essentially, that–and the aforementioned ‘debate’–is the sum total of media intervention in Daventry in the run-up to the General Election. Despite the indisputable power of the modern media, I was asked a total of seven quick-fire questions (one of whom by a schoolchild, who was the only person to mention an actual figure in his query) over the course of three weeks. Given the few resources I have at my disposal, I was anticipating a greater platform to circulate party policy to a wider audience than I have, in reality, been afforded. It seems I will have the greatest opportunity to engage with supporters and detractors alike in Moulton tomorrow evening, so do come along if you have a grievance to air. The hustings will be held at Moulton Club, 15 High Street, NN3 7SR.

Before I move on to parsing issues not explicitly outlined in the Green Party’s manifesto for this General Election, I would like to draw your attention to said manifesto, which can be accessed here, in addition to our new animal welfare manifesto, updated for 2017, here.

I have received petition and pledge emails from hundreds of constituents and dozens of organisations voicing their concerns on a range of issues that are deeply important to them, and have endeavoured to reply to each and every one. I will continue to do so as voting day draws ever nearer, so, if you would like to contact me, feel free to do so at jamie.wildman@greenparty.org.uk, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. The above animal manifesto outlines the Green Party’s stance on fox hunting (spoiler: the Greens are anti-hunting), but, rather than discuss the most publicised issues here, I want to spend some time discussing societal concerns that are not afforded the same amount of visibility.

I have towed the party line throughout my campaign, and do not intent to derail my chance at the polls by speaking less robotically, but nonetheless, I wish to talk candidly about LGBTIQA+ issues, amongst others. The Green Party is keen on providing refuge for LGBTIQA+ migrants, and the recent atrocities in Chechnya demonstrate just how important it is that we offer a sanctuary for victims of persecution the world over. Furthermore, closer to home, as Pride Month begins we must continue to work to stamp out discrimination and make tolerance a universal truth, and empower people regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, or intersex status. I am delighted and proud that the LGBTIQA+ community is represented by the Green Party in Coventry South by Aimee Challenor. You can read our LGBTIQA+ manifesto here.

My beliefs do not dissolve after polling day on June 8th: I will continue to fight for equality, irrespective of gender, sex, or ethnicity, as I desire for all unjustly oppressed people to live liberated existences, free of discrimination, bias, or mutilation. We are witness to ongoing humanitarian crimes and crises the world over, and they will not simply become an irrelevance once a new Parliament is formed.

Our social care system is not fit for purpose and needs an immediate overhaul. We live in a society that does not presently accord disabled people the same opportunities or level of care as able-bodied individuals. The Green Party would ensure that disabled young people are given every chance to succeed later in life by guaranteeing that every child with Special Educational Needs or Disability has access to a mainstream education, in accordance with the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities. We would redress benefits injustice with a social security system that gives everyone confidence they will get support when they need it—including disabled people. Furthermore, we would significantly improve housing choice for deaf, disabled and older people by requiring all councils to appropriately plan for their housing needs and significantly increase the numbers of homes built to lifetime home and mobility standards over the next five years. To improve mobility of disabled people, a Green Party government would invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling, including safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter. To fund these plans, we would cancel the Conservative’s new roads programme and instead invest £2bn in cycling and pedestrian routes.

Lastly, in regard to the sale of arms, on the BBC debate, Caroline Lucas rightly stated that, ‘selling arms to Saudi Arabia can’t be justified on the grounds of being good to industry’. It raises an important point: just because something is good for our economy, does not mean its continued existence can be justified–especially if it is immoral, and, as in this case, contributes to conflict, death, and the displacement of people in foreign countries. By extension, we must take responsibility for our role in migration to the UK.

That’s all for now,

JPW

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