Phélim Mac Cafferty : Why I have taken the decision to stand in Hove

19 May 2017

Why I have taken the decision to stand in Hove

This year has been the hottest on record, Brighton and Hove is now one of 40 UK cities breaching safe air pollution limits and there is the very real threat of runaway climate change. I will push the next government to urgently address what is happening to our environment.  

Conservative government cuts to our public services mean life chances for our kids are being damaged and our most vulnerable left behind. Damaging cuts to our NHS have left it vulnerable as the recent cyber-attack has shown. The biggest privatisation of the NHS through the Sustainable Transformation Plan looms for our health care which could spell an end to a public and free NHS. I will fight to protect our precious National Health Service and to put an end to Tory cuts.

I recognise that things are too serious not to cooperate to beat the Tories. However I also recognise that we have to seriously challenge the failures of the Conservative government which has the power for endless austerity with no mandate - gaining the support of only 24% of those eligible to vote. That’s only possible because of the broken first past the post system voting system.

After the general election in 2015, the first thing I did along with the chair of our party and Caroline Lucas was to write an open letter to the Brighton and Hove Labour Party. We used that letter to ask that Greens and Labour work together to curb the fresh mandate for Conservative turbo-powered austerity. We warned of the political tsunami we faced from more years of Tory government. That call has been repeated now on several occasions. I'm afraid that there has been no response at all from the national Labour leadership who even went as far as rejecting the notion of an alliance altogether in August last year. [1]

Greens have gone out of our way to do everything in our power to offer an electoral alliance. We stood aside in Brighton Kemptown to leave the door open for the Labour candidate to beat Treasury minister Simon Kirby. We hoped that by offering this olive branch we would show through practice that we are serious about trying to crack open our broken voting system.

Nationally Greens have stood down in 31 constituencies but sadly Labour has offered to stand down nowhere. Labour is behaving as if it is the only opposition party and should be given every opportunity to stand yet readily demands that other parties stand down.

I met with Peter Kyle and his campaign team a few weeks ago. I believed it was a positive meeting. Peter surprised me in stating that he wanted me to stand. Peter has, on several occasions made public his thoughts on formally working with other political parties. The latest occasion was Nick Cohen's column in The Observer on May 7th: "Kyle goes further. He does not believe that voters in the 21st century will respond well to top-down politicians cutting deals on who should be on their ballot papers. He should persuade Greens to vote for him, he says, not restrict their choice." [2]

Peter tweeted in December 2015 "An electoral pact is not what voters want or deserve"

Yet polling by ICM in neighbouring Brighton Pavilion indicates 57% of voters are in favour of an alliance. As things stand, polls, experts and commentators alike suggest that Labour won't win this general election outright. What has been incredibly frustrating is that Labour has refused to do the one thing that could have averted a Tory government and refused to reciprocate in an alliance, based on open transparent dialogue between parties and voters.[3] It's sad and bad that tribalism will halt the political progress that we so desperately need at this election.

I want to talk to many of you over the course of this campaign about how the majority in our city fight the Tory government together. Join me.

Don’t just hope for a better future, vote for one. Vote Green on 8th June.

 

 

Phélim Mac Cafferty

 

You can help my campaign

info@brightonandhovegreenparty.org.uk 01273 766 670 Facebook: Pheim4Hove Twitter: @phelimmac

In person 39 - 41 Surrey Street, Brighton, BN1 3PB

[1] http://bright-green.org/2016/08/03/corbyn-rejects-electoral-pact-with-greens/

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/06/a-progressive-alliance-misbegotten-and-doomed

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/02/labour-block-on-tory-limiting-alliance-a-betrayal-says-lucas-green?CMP=share_btn_tw  






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