My Daily Post Piece

The Daily Post asked me to write a message to voters- the original is available here. I decided to say why it is I’ve decided to stand for election- read on to see the piece.

Head&Shoulders

Ask yourself a question – is this country working for you?

Look around our area. We still have unacceptably high rates of child poverty – in Alyn & Deeside it’s 15%. Is this fair?

Ask yourself why we’re told that we can’t afford to fix this, why we can’t afford our NHS and so it must be privatised, why the minimum wage can’t be made enough to live on- which means £10 per hour by 2020 to keep up with inflation.

Ask yourself why it is that we’re told this, yet big business get away without paying tax, why we still have nuclear weapons, why fracking is a real possibility locally.

I asked myself these things, and realised that Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories have been in power for years, and they’ve never answered.

So I joined the Greens, and now I’m asking for your vote.

This area is my home, I went to school at Castell Alun and have lived in Penymynydd all my life. I want to see an MP who will fight for it. I want to see Greens threaten Labour so they have to take these issues seriously.

I believe we can do politics differently. Join me.

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Thanks To All Our Crowdfunder Backers!

Thanks to Everyone who backed us on Crowdfunder- it’s made a huge difference to our campaign. Your support is very much appreciated!

David Roney

Daniel Sahlstrom

Myra Ryan

Eoin Palmer

Karen-Marie Andersen

Alan Butterworth

Martin Bennewith

Paula Bardell-Hedley

Caroleann McCallion

Ross Taylor

Liz Carding

Anna Somerset

Kevin Griffiths

Ian Pantling

H. Munnerley

Ioan Prydderch

Antony Jones

Flintshire Green: Why I’m Marching Today.

Alasdair with the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the last Scrap Trident demonstration in 2014
Alasdair with the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the last Scrap Trident demonstration in 2014

Today I’m marching in Glasgow against nuclear weapons. Just half an hour from the UK’s third largest city sit enough nuclear weapons to indiscriminately kill millions. Their advocates claim that they stop us ever being threatened with similar weapons, but look at Putin’s threats in the last week and you can see that this is rubbish. These weapons currently cost us £3bn per year in running costs, and replacing them will set us back £100bn more.

At the same time as these sit in Scotland, we have children in Alyn and Deeside sat in homes that their parents can’t afford to heat. We have a housing shortage and rip off rents. We have an NHS which only a few weeks ago was in ‘crisis’ according to its own staff, and North East Wales is still threatened with unit closures.

We have a simple choice- build a society that cares or a society that bombs.

I believe that we can do better than this. I also believe in standing up for my beliefs. That’s why I’m marching today, that’s why I will also be at the blockade of Faslane Naval Base, where the nuclear attack fleet is based, next Monday. I am running for parliament because I believe that we can do this, that we can do better, and I am determined to see that we do.

Join me and we can make this happen- vote Green on May the 7th and we can make a real difference to the lives of the people in this constituency who need it most.

Some Cuts Must Be Made…

…Any Green knows that money is limited.

But when it comes to government, there’s a lot of things we don’t need that most parties want to spend more on, and the first among them is Trident.

Trident is Britain’s nuclear weapons programme. It’s based in Scotland and could kill 320 million people. But the Scots don’t want it.

In fact, very few people want it. The military doesn’t. George Osborne does, but he doesn’t want to pay for it, which is why it will no longer be paid for by the Treasury but the Defence budget. In fact, In 2007 one of the biggest ever backbench rebellions against a government was on replacing Trident. Labour only managed to pass it because the Tories did as well, whilst every other party voted against, along with 88 Labour MPs. Mark Tami voted in favour.

Replacing Trident will cost £100bn. That would pay for all tuition fees for 30 years, or to run all A&E departments for 40. We could build 30,000 new houses per year for 20 years. We could eradicate a lot of poverty.

One of the first decisions the new government is going to have to make is whether to replace trident. I believe that that money is best spent funding human needs, rather than weapons of mass destruction that we don’t need. Germany does without them, as does every country in the world except nine- we can as well.

We don’t need to make cuts to public services- we can cut Trident. Some parties would prefer to see queues outside A&E if it allows us to retain this useless weapons system, however.

If you agree, vote Green in May, and consider joining the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) at http://www.cnduk.org/join

I am a member of CND’s National Council, but am writing in a personal capacity.

Vote Green, get Tory?

Will supporting the Greens hand Alyn and Deeside to the Tories?

The Labour Party has been keen to portray any vote for the Greens as helping the Tories, and with good reason- Green voters, on the whole, would much rather a Labour government than a Tory one, and so it makes sense for them to raise this as a spectre.

The problem is, it’s bollocks. Firstly, it’s difficult to see the difference between Labour and the Tories anyway, so if we’re going to have a Thatcherite government, do we really care what colour their election leaflets are? On Trident replacement, fracking in the Dee estuary, zero hours contracts and so many other important issues there’s very little difference between the two. If that’s not enough, there are many councils where Labour have actually put the Tories into government, such as Stirling, East Lothian and Aberdeen which are all run by Labour-Tory coalitions.

If Labour want us to take that argument seriously, they have to show they’re worthy of our votes, and at the moment they’re not. Instead of listening to the things Green voters want, they’re in a race with the Tories to out-Ukip Ukip, which is fine if you want a society based of fear, resentment, envy and, frankly, racism. That’s not what Green voters want, and until Labour stop playing it, there’s no way I’ll vote for them.

The other thing is that the electoral arithmetic doesn’t add up either. If that were true, you’d expect the Greens to do best in seats that the Tories previously held, and when the Greens win, for Labour to come third. That is, if the Tories poll 35% in a seat, Labour 50% and the Greens 10%, then as the Green vote grows you’d expect the Tories’ to stay the same and Labour’s to shrink. That would mean that at the next election, the constituency might poll Tories 35%, Labour 30%, Greens 30% and validate Labour’s argument. However, in Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas took the seat directly from Labour with no period of Tory control, and the Greens do well in Labour areas like Liverpool, where we’re the official opposition on the Council- Labour hold 78 of the 90 seats and the Tories have none (there’s 4 Greens, the second largest party). Green voters clearly haven’t helped the Tories there.

Finally, consider Alyn and Deeside. Even in 2010, Labour’s worst general election in years, the seat was held with a 7.3% majority, or nearly 3,000 votes. This seat isn’t going to the Tories, especially with the rise of Ukip locally.

If you support Green politics, vote Green, and the only party you’re helping is the Green Party. It’s as simple as that.

Child Poverty Won’t be Beaten by Punishing the Poor.

According to this 2013 Guardian article, 15% of children in Alyn and Deeside live in poverty. That means children going to bed hungry, and in no small numbers either. Whoever wins the election, this needs to be addressed; the question is how we do it.

We know that many people in poverty are in work. We also know that the vast majority of people claiming social security benefits, such as jobseekers allowance or universal credit, are desperate to get into work again, or in the case of many young people, for the first time. The Tory solution is to cut benefits to incentivise people to go to work, but this is rubbish- more benefits are claimed by people who are in work but on poverty pay than are unemployed. Also, whilst there’s not enough jobs to go around, how can taking money away from those without do anything except plunge them into deeper poverty?

For years people have turned to Labour for a different vision of social security. A vision that doesn’t seek to punish the poor for the failures of the rich, a vision which acknowledges that when working class people are hit by misfortune, they need to be able to access the financial help they have contributed to, not threatened and bullied with sanctions. Nevertheless, Labour’s shadow work and pension secretary, Rachel Reeves, has been clear: Labour will be “Tougher than the Tories” (her words) on welfare.

The main parties have both joined in with the Ukip-like rhetoric that people on poverty pay and out of work are “scroungers”. This is not true.

The Green Party believes that we can do things differently. We believe that the minimum wage should be a living wage, that is, if you’re working full time your wages should be enough to live on. That means that if elected, I will do everything I can to make the minimum wage £10 an hour by 2015.

I believe that people who are out of work should still have enough to survive on. I believe that people who are out of work shouldn’t be worse off if they go back into work. But the way to achieve that is not by cutting benefits back further- doing so will only increase that child poverty statistic. Instead, I will campaign for a citizen’s income. That’s an amount paid to everyone over the age of 16, regardless of how wealthy they are, regardless of how much they earn, regardless of whether they’re in work or not, every week.

Can we afford it? Yes. Britain has one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in the developed world, but even then many big companies don’t pay it- see Starbucks, Amazon and Vodafone. The Green Party will make these companies pay their taxes, and we will increase the tax rate for big companies, so that the more money they make, the higher tax rate they pay. In other words, companies will e subject to tax in the same way people are through income tax. Small businesses will therefore be able to gain an advantage against the likes of Tesco, which will help create more local, well-paid and long-term jobs.

The Greens are the only party who refuse to take donations from big companies and don’t accept fat cheques from rich individuals, unlike the other parties. That means we won’t be pressured to drop these commitments as soon as we’re elected. If you want to vote for the interests of the rich, there’s a load of parties you can choose from. But if you want to vote for the interests of the people of Alyn and Deeside, vote Green.