The world is changing very quickly, leading not only to unprecedented environmental challenges but also to many people feeling afraid, disenfranchised and angry – fertile ground for populist politics. Whether it’s ‘America First’, a significant vote for the far right in many European countries, or Brexit – we see people torn between the imagined security of popular conservatism – ‘roll back the clock’, ‘build a wall’, ‘pull up the drawbridge’ – or the courage of pushing forward into a new and uncertain world. There has never been a greater need for the voice of radical, hopeful, progressive politics.
The 2019 European elections, if they go ahead, will be dominated by uncertainty and by strong feelings from both progressives and conservatives.
Nevertheless the campaign affords us an opportunity to promote vital and radical Green Party messages of building sustainability and equity into the heart of a new politics, and to highlight the urgent need for transformative policies to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
If Brexit is delayed and British MEPs take their seats, we will have an opportunity to ensure that a post-Brexit UK maintains the greatest possible cohesion with the EU on issues of environmental protection, sustainability and equity. We can also use our influence in the UK to campaign for a People’s Vote and for our continued membership of the EU.
The challenges we face are now global; our solutions must also be global.
I have spent my life working for sustainable development and the protection of our natural world. I’ve lived in Africa and Asia, working on development and conservation projects. I’ve worked on climate change for WWF, on tiger conservation for the Zoological Society of London, and perhaps most pertinently on European wildlife conservation for the European Union. I’ve been a schoolteacher and, a long time ago, a lion keeper at London Zoo.
Through all of this time I’ve been an expert observer and advocate of UK and European political policy, particularly on environment and sustainability issues. But just over two years ago the twin shocks of the Brexit referendum and the US presidential election convinced me to switch from engaged observer to activist, and I joined the Green Party.
In 2017 I stood for the Green Party in the County elections, and I then ran part of the general election campaign to elect Dr Louise Irvine as a ‘progressive alliance’ candidate in South West Surrey. I’m an active member of the Green Party, and last year I was one of the authors of a book (‘A New Way Of Doing Politics’) that set out a new and positive path for progressive politics.
I hope very much to be a candidate for the Green Party in the forthcoming elections; I believe my skills and experience make me a good representative for our Party.