I am the Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Bath. I have lived and worked in Bath for fifteen years since arriving here for work after university. I was lucky enough to be offered a number of jobs in different cities and chose Bath because I immediately loved it. I’ve changed jobs and homes a few times since but remain based in Bath.
I live in Odd Down, which is on the southern edge of Bath, with my partner, who works for the NHS, and my young daughter who was born at home in Odd Down in 2012.
I work in the technology sector. I studied computer science at university and came to Bath to work for a rapidly growing start-up. Since then I’ve worked in everything from Bath’s largest IT company to some of its smallest, and my work has taken me around the world and around the country. I’ve been very lucky, and I’ve also learned a lot about how the country works. I’ve worked directly with various organisations including national and local NHS bodies, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, Highways Agency, Environment Agency and police agencies. Working directly with these organisations means that I have actual experience of the various issues they face – something that is rare in many of today’s ‘professional politicians’ or single issue parties.
I have a long-standing interest in politics which has only grown over time. I believe that most political parties have forgotten about what really matters – the ordinary people, the world we live in, and the quality of our lives. I have been a member of various NGOs for years and attended many protests, but the voice of the people is largely ignored by most politicians today. One can simply complain about this or do something about it, so I decided that being elected was the best way to give people a voice and protect what we care about.
I am appalled at what the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are doing to our NHS. It has just been confirmed again that the NHS is the best healthcare system in the world, yet this government has spent billions privatising it and handing huge chunks of it to their donors in private healthcare. Since the Health and Social Care Act passed in 2012 more than 70% of NHS contracts have gone to the private sector, against the wishes of the electorate and despite David Cameron promising ‘no top down reorganisation’ before the last general election. If nothing changes there will be no NHS left by 2020, and this is deeply saddening.
However, I will not let it go without a fight. In November 2012 I was elected as a Governor of the Royal United Hospital in Bath, making the Greens the only party represented (the other governors are independents). I promised to fight any and all privatisation. I will do the same in the Commons. Universal, free healthcare, run as a service and not for profit, is not just fundamental to my beliefs but demonstrably the most efficient system. We must not let the profiteers take it from us.
As well as the NHS, other rights and institutions that have been fought for and hard-won by years of progressive politics are being eroded or destroyed. The poor and vulnerable are demonised, state help is being massively reduced, and millions are having to go to food banks simply to eat. At the same time, the wealthiest have seen that wealth vastly increase and their taxes reduced. Those losing out are then being set against those who have even less. This is entirely unjust, unfair and immoral.
The world starts at your front door. Fundamentally I believe that it is important that the people of Bath are represented by someone who lives and works in their city, understands their issues and concerns, and is in fact one of them. People are becoming disillusioned with politics and it’s not hard to see why – we see professional politicians flown-in to cities to fight elections as they work their way up some sort of politics career ladder. I can assure you that is the furthest thing from my mind. I am a conviction politician – I want to do what is best for you – not what a party whip tells me to, and not what a rich donor commands.
I am standing for the Green Party as it is the only main party that is fighting for ordinary people. We don’t take corporate donations and I believe any party that does has a massive conflict of interest when it comes to deciding policy. My politics, and that of the party, are based on evidence, not lobbying and an unsustainable economic model – a world based on cooperation and democracy that would prioritise the many, not the few, and would not risk the planet’s future with environmental destruction and unsustainable consumption.