The Blog has received the following comment from Oliver Dowding, the Green Party Candidate in the election. We are delighted to publish it as part of our commitment to more and better communication about local politics.
That’s a very interesting blog. This might be last-minute, but it’s worth placing nonetheless.
The Green Party, and I echo this stance, are all about people and where they live. We only have one planet but we are consuming as though we had three. We have to deal with this as an imperative.
We’ve got to make sure that everybody in our area is cared for properly and with dignity. That this will mean rearranging budgets and priorities is inevitable. If we don’t put people first, and instead favour huge glossy capital projects, our society will be poorer overall. Hence, we are against Hinkley C, which is gobbling up enormous amounts of both national and Somerset financial resources. It’s bleeding the east of the county to feed the west of the county. We can perfectly easily power the South West without the need for Hinckley. With the financial resources better apportioned we can care for all our people equitably.
This same misappropriation is part of the reason we are seeing business rates unmanageable a high for many businesses. We have to tackle this problem, and the disproportionate level of rates between often similar businesses. This is vital if we are to see our rural towns and villages retain the businesses that are often the lifeblood of both the people who live there and work there.
Social care is going to be the big issue within the next 20 years as the population of retired people becomes ever greater and the pool of those working and generating funds to care for the elderly diminishes. The evidence is there all of us if we look, and the problems will only get bigger. If you haven’t seen the film I, Daniel Blake, I recommend it. It’s a chilling example of how we’ve been let down the wrong paths.
Amongst other issues that need a firmer grip than either of the two previous party administrations have delivered our waste and recycling. Why is it that Somerset recycling centres are only open for half the week, whilst Dorset sees them open every day? This has to change. Equally, Dorset allows people to buy the more saleable and reusable things instead of chucking them in a skip to be “recycled”. Somerset should be doing the same. It’s amazing that the authorities who are supposed to work for us so implacably opposed to what we need.
Something else the concerns many people and needs clamping down on is fly tipping. I suffer it myself on my farm, and once somebody dumped something or somebody else’s land it becomes the landowner’s problem not the dumper! It shouldn’t be thus. We have to make it as easy as possible for people to take their unwanted waste to municipal centres and dispose of them properly.
Another thing which I will be making strenuous efforts to deal with is our roads. The Green Party would like to see an increase in non-vehicular mobility, together with more public funded mobility (be that taxis, buses, community transport etc). We need to better maintain the highways we have, and this includes the local roads which enable cyclists to get off the main roads. Having had one fatality in the last five years in the village I live in being caused entirely by a big pothole, which was unmarked, is perfectly clear to me that proper and durable road mending is a vital service being starved of proper levels of investment. If we don’t look after the basic fabric of where we live, it won’t matter how many fancy projects we have elsewhere, a society itself will develop another fracture line.
Finally, as a sufferer of a shockingly poor internet service, something with which none of us can adequately survive these days, particularly if running any kind of business or service, agency or support network etc, I’ll be doing all I can (as I do already) to fight for a much better and more user acceptable service. Amongst other targets will be to lobby and persuade the telecoms companies to share their distribution apparatus. It’s a nonsense that people can receive a good signal from one supplier but not another.
None of these things aren’t rocket science, but why have we had to suffer successive administrations who have failed to get to grips with them insufficient time, sensitively and for the people? This can all change! However, that only happens if you make sure that the right people end up in the jobs and roles and who can then enable the right outcomes. It’s your choice!
Finally, not voting should not be an option!
With best wishes to all who make the effort to vote!!