Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Canvassing conversations

During canvassing I'm regularly using three examples when asked by Bedminster voters what makes Green councillors different from Labour ones. These are: Green opposition to cuts budgets; our efforts to get a clean air zone implemented to tackle air pollution; and our proposal to switch funding for an aerospace museum into funding for child safety.

Many voters in the areas of Ashton, Ashton Vale, Bower Ashton and Bedminster I have surveyed and canvassed with my fellow candidate Will Quick and the local Green Team have tuned in to the fact that its a very close Green vs Labour contest this time (Greens 30% in second vs Labour 34% in first last yr) and thus ask for a direct comparison. 
  • Green councillors opposed the £30 million cuts budget set this year by the Mayor/Council (9 Green councillors voted against it and 5 abstained, whilst all Labour councillors voted for it). In their local newsletter Labour describe the Greens opposition to cuts budgets as "utterly irresponsible". My co-candidate Will Quick and I are totally opposed to the cuts, austerity economics and austerity ideology. Cuts are unfair, unjust, are not working, are counter-productive, are building up year on year and biting into essential local services - and are certainly not the way to invest in and build the fairer, healthier more lively and sustainable city we advocate. As Green councillors our perspective and our priorities are therefore very different (more here).
  • Labour councillors voted against the Green motion tabled at the recent Mayor/Council budget meeting focused on implementing a Clean Air Zone to tackle air pollution (Tories councillors voted the same way as Labour; see here). Since then Labour councillors have amended a Lib Dem motion, and say they are in favour of a low emission zone. However they have voted against the budget needed to take action and removed the deadline in the original motion! Meanwhile we have checked on and publicised the Bedminster air pollution data - and it shows we need action for the sake of our health now! As Green councillors our perspective and our priorities are very different.
  • Green councillors tabled an amendment at the Feb Mayor/Council budget meeting calling for half a million pounds allocated for contributing to a new aerospace museum in South Gloucestershire to be spent on child safety in Bristol instead (putting in place more infrastructure to improve road safety for children on routes to school across the city; more here). Across the city, there are near misses on the roads every day, as schools and local communities know. Money for the necessary infrastructure changes is badly needed. Greens are not against museums but when cuts to local authorities mean choices between child safety vs aerospace museum funding then we choose child safety. Not only did Labour councillors not support our view (neither did the Tories) they have written to the local press about how we opposed the aerospace museum funding whilst making no mention at all of what we wanted the money switched to. As Green councillors our perspective and our priorities - and our campaign ethics - are very different.

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