Four legs good, two legs better… The tragedy of unopposed “revolutionaries”

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 07.23.06This afternoon I got a call from Isabelle, our candidate for Stratford and New Town. It’s unusual for her to call in the middle of the day. I put down my work and answered immediately, fearing the worst.

“Rachel we need some help urgently. The police have arrived and they are breaking in.”

My heart sank.

Isabelle was just a short walk away from where we both live, helping the Focus E15 mums protect the home of one of their friends, Jane, and her 14-year-old daughter. The council had evicted her last month because she had fallen behind on her rent payments. She had lived there for 20 years, but only recently had been sanctioned on her benefits and had her housing benefit cut. She chose to eat rather than pay the rent. So the Labour-run council decided to evict her. Even when her family offered to pay the full amount owing, they refused to let her back in.

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Green Party members helping FocusE15 mums to renovate Jane’s home

Focus E15 stepped in and let her back into the flat, gave it a much-needed redecoration and had a welcome home party. Two of our members went down to help over the weekend and pitched in with stripping the wallpaper and buying a heater.

The council had invited Jane to a meeting today at 3.30pm. That sounds great, you might think, until the cynic in you wonders what the council might do while she’s out. And behold, as soon as she left, the council were straight in to board everything up. Fortunately Focus E15 were wise to this plan and had decided to house-sit. Jasmin, their courageous leader, was there.

“They have told her that if she won’t give them her name, they will take her children into care.”

Isabelle’s next words were a bombshell. Lost for words, I fumbled a bit.

“Oh, um, OK,” I said, though, ashamedly, I was scared. “I’m coming over.”

I called others in the area, left my husband ill in bed and got there as fast as I could.

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Rachel Collinson, Green Party candidate for West Ham witnessed the illegal eviction of Jane and arrest of FocusE15 mum Jasmin

Inside, the police were blocking access to the building. We peered in through the window, tapped on the door and politely asked what was going on. They pretended that we weren’t there. There was no warrant for arrest, no court order.

When I announced that I was the parliamentary candidate for West Ham (not a card I really like to play) suddenly the police started talking. They promised me that they would bring down a ‘representative from the council’ to answer my questions. Eventually they came out and bundled Jasmin into their van ‘for questioning’. They refused to say under what grounds she was being detained (I’m not sure they themselves knew, apart from it being something to do with squatting) and drove off.

Al Thomas, the council’s enforcement manager, said that I should contact Newham’s communications team rather than talk to him. Why, I wonder? Could it be that he might get himself in trouble again?

It’s sad to see George Orwell’s tale Animal Farm played out once again in the theatrics of Newham’s Labour Council. The reds have learned how to walk on their hind legs, and us quadrupeds are being left out in the cold.

You have a chance to bring them back down to earth, if you vote Green this May.

Update: Jasmin Stone has been released without charge. However the fight for Jane’s home and the struggle for social housing for Newham residents continues.

Help save Newham by getting Greens elected!

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Tamsin and Rachel need your help!

Newham, where we all live, is in crisis. The council is evicting single mums from their homes for no good reason. They are locking thousands of people out of their community centres without warning. Hundreds of people are dying too soon because they live in the most polluted part of London.

Despite all this, our councillors and our MPs refuse to stand up to the mayor who is the mastermind of this social cleansing.

Something different is happening this election. It hasn’t been this close in a lifetime. This is a rare opportunity to stop our leaders in their tracks. We can’t do that without you.

The truth is that if everybody in Newham votes for what they believe in, the Green Party can win. But we have no big corporate backers, no billionaire donors, no giant unions behind us. All we have is people like you who want politics to change for good. For the good of all of us.

There are less than 34 days left before the election. We urgently need the funds to pay for our deposits to stand here. Only you can help us do this.

Time is very short, so please give today and help us to make Newham great again.

Click here to visit our crowdfunder page today – don’t delay!

Green solution to the housing crisis in Newham

Tamsin Omond, Green Party candidate for East Ham, highlights the current housing crisis in Newham, and how a Green win would help things change for the better.

There is no easy solution to the housing crisis in London. The banks and the politicians told us that a house is an asset rather than a safe place where can go as we are and not be questioned – and we took their word for it.  Housing crisis followed housing crisis and we are all now held hostage to the market, struggling to get a place on the ladder, fixated by an idea that owning a house is a symbol of success in the competition of life which is less and less a game.

There are 1.3million people on the housing list in the UK.

24,000 of these people live in Newham. 

Focus E15 mums

And yet Sir Robin Wales (the Labour mayor who leads the current one-party state of Newham Borough Council) has the cheek to tell mums fighting for their right to live and stay in the city they grew up: ‘If you can’t afford to live in Newham, you can’t afford to live in Newham.’  Robin’s words reminded me of something a rightwing US millionaire, Glenn Beck, said: “What we don’t have a right to is housing, healthcare and handouts – we don’t have a right to those things”.

One of the main causes of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing.  The reason we don’t have affordable housing is the council selling off its stock to private landlords (who are given tax breaks to profit from the housing crisis) and to large scale property developers. Although Newham – in its own ‘local plan’ – promises to “seek a tenure mix of 65% market housing and 35% affordable housing” (p.130), in practise they are more likely to rubber stamp developments that offer no truly affordable housing.

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Boleyn Development 100 campaign

Newham Council’s relationship with Galliard Homes is just one example of our Labour council prioritising the profit of luxury property developers over and above the people of Newham’s need for homes.  Already Galliard have benefited from the public-funded connectivity of the Olympic Borough.  At Stratford and at Canning Town they have built luxury homes that they proudly publicise has no social housing.

Now Newham Council are on the cusp of giving Galliard another profit boost.  The legacy of the Boleyn development (the redevelopment of West Ham stadium) hangs in the balance.  Galliard are proposing 94% private apartments, the community are demanding 100% social housing and Newham Council are yet to make a decision.  If we don’t join with the Boleyn Development 100 campaign to collect objection letters and fight back then it seems Galliard will be granted yet another jewel our Olympic legacy by this Labour council.

So what would a Green elected voice in Newham do differently?

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Tamsin and Rachel campaigning against the Boleyn development plans

Our housing policies would begin to rebalance the system – prioritising people’s need for a home over the market’s need to monetise everything that we value and turn these things of value into potential profit of the 1%.   But more urgently we would continue as elected members or as community activists to hold Labour to account, to voice opposition to their manipulation of the housing market as a tool for social cleansing, and to fight alongside community campaigns to gain ground against the relentless drive of a flawed argument that tries to convince us that there is no place like home.

Nationally we have pledged the following:

  • We will build 500,000 new socially rented homes by 2020.
  • We will pay for this by reforming landlord tax allowances to incentivise good practice rather than profit, starting with scrapping the mortgage interest tax allowance.
  • Building new homes is not the only answer. We will also bring empty homes back into use, end the right to buy, provide better support for tenants in privately rented accommodation and take action on soaring rents.

What has the Green Party got to offer young people?

Rachel Collinson, Green Party candidate for West Ham, explains what we have to offer young people.

This evening I was the only Party representative at an event about engaging young people in politics. To a lot of those aged 18-24 (or even under 40) this would be no surprise.

So many parties claim to be interested in young people, but actions speak louder than words. Only the Green Party actually demonstrate they care.

In a recent poll, young people said their main concerns are:

  • Lowering the voting age to 16
  • Youth centres reopening
  • Free education
  • A living wage for everybody

All those are Green Party manifesto commitments.

Jobs!

They are probably trying not to think about it, but a huge proportion of those under 24 will probably be unemployed when they leave education. The Green Party have found ways to create over a million new jobs, so there would actually be hope for them.

We’d put financial education and politics back on the curriculum for schools so that every child will have a chance to learn things that will actually affect them for the rest of their lives, as opposed to doing quadratic equations. (Sorry maths fans, but I have never needed to do a quadratic equation since I left school.)

Danger in the air

Importantly, it’s young people that will be most affected by the millions of tons of polluting gases that we pump into the air – gases that are changing the weather and the composition of the air we breathe.

So many people who vote reliably and regularly – those over sixty – are in denial that they will affected by this. But our young people recognise the danger. So, for them, the Green Party will do everything we can to limit and reverse the damage.

Warning: cynicism alert

Finally, I think I understand why politicians have a tendency to ignore young people, and give their attention to big business and older people instead.

I’m going to be blunt: young people have no money.

When you look at the state of party politics, you begin to realise that financial interests drive the parties. UKIP, Labour, the LibDems and the Tories all have billionaire donors, support from multinational corporations or giant unions and the media. And when you look at the targets of their manifestos, you can see that they reflect the concerns of their donors, rather than those who have less money. That means women, the young, ethnic minorities and the working class.

The Green Party just don’t have that kind of money or powerful support. But when people actually read our policies, they decide to vote for us.

So we need a big change to the way the system works – an end to private donations to political parties, and public funding for politics instead. That would level the playing field and be fairer for everybody.

Interestingly, it is also a Green Party policy.

What to do about this?

There are two simple things you can do:

  1. Register to vote.
  2. Join the campaign for a fairer political system.

There are also some great quizes to help you work out which political party is closest to your views, such as Vote Match and Vote For Policies. Give it a go!

You can also find out more about Generation Vote Green, our General Election campaign to get young people engaged, empowered – and voting.

Y Vote from UK Young Ambassadors on Vimeo.

The problem with tax-dodging

taxevasionYou pay your taxes on time, so how come many big companies are able to avoid paying taxes, and get away with it?

Did you know the UK loses more than £3.6 billion to tax avoidance each year?

We believe a Tax Dodging Bill is needed to make tax fair.

 

If elected, both Tamsin and Rachel have pledged to introduce a Tax Dodging Bill in the first 100 days after the election. Such a law will:

  • Make it harder for big companies to dodge UK taxes and ensure they’re not getting unfair tax breaks
  • Ensure UK tax rules don’t encourage big companies to avoid tax in developing countries
  • Make the UK tax regime more transparent and tougher on tax dodging.
  • We are also calling for political parties to commit to using the funds raised in the UK to tackle poverty here.

Caroline Lucas MP has been a long-term advocate of making taxes fair. She launched a Tax and Financial Transparency Bill in the House of Commons and has exposed the fact that HMRC was failing to prevent serious tax evasion, amounting to as much as £16 billion of lost tax each year. Despite two attempt at getting the Bill passed, it failed to gain enough Parliamentary support.

We need more Greens in the Houses of Parliament.

People who understand that tax dodging in unacceptable and are willing to fight for a fairer society.

 

Further information:

The Tax Dodging Bill campaign – you can support the campaign on the website, too!

Towns against Tax Dodging – you can also push your Newham Councillors to take action!

Greens throw support behind Tax Dodging Bill 

FAQ about the Tax Dodging Bill

In recovery from tactical voting

Rachel Collinson, Green Party candidate for West Ham, explains why a Green vote is never a wasted vote

Hello. My name is Rachel Collinson and I’m a recovering tacti-holic.

Four years I skidded along in the surface of politics. I used to vote Labour to keep the Tories out. I dabbled a bit with donating. I did every petition around. Then when that didn’t work, I looked around for some harder stuff. I spoiled my ballot. I voted Lib Dem to get the Greens in.

That was when I hit rock bottom. I thought things were never going to change and sank into deep political apathy.

Then one day a friend told me about tacti-holics anonymous. I finally looked up and saw the vote for policies site. The scales fell from my eyes. I realised I could no longer live that lifestyle, and decided to vote for what I actually believed in.

It’s like a new lease of life. No more holding my nose. I know that I’m building a new movement, that things can change. And Greece is proof of just how quickly they can change!

Here’s what they don’t tell you about this. There’s an interesting secret the establishment don’t want you to know about. They’d rather you stay a slave to tacti-holism, going to more extreme lengths to prop up a broken system.

The secret is: Short Money. What’s that? Well, exactly.

Provided a party has one MP (which the Green Party does) and over 150,000 votes overall (which we got last time) then that party is eligible for Short Money. More votes mean more money.

Over the last five years, this has provided Caroline Lucas MP with the assistance to introduce a stream of brilliant private members bills and amendments on the things we all want: an end to exploitation of slaves, railways back in public ownership, reinstating the NHS, closing tax loopholes and more.

My name is Rachel Collinson, and I am a recovering tacti-holic. A green vote is never a wasted vote.

Jesus and the Greens

“…for those who are disillusioned with the mainstream parties and looking for a fresh political vision, going Green on May 7th would be a profound delusion.”

So Gillan Scott writes in his Archbishop Cranmer blog.

When I read through the post, with its undertone that no true Christians would vote for the Green Party, never mind join, I wondered if I had indigestion. No – actually, it was a bowel-ward fire of indignation. Reading certain comments only added to the acid reflux.

The kind of thinking that informs this post and subsequent comments reduces Christianity to a tiny corner of life. A sort of holy box wherein only certain things must go and dissent must be checked at the lid.

Inside the box we have sexuality, right to life, and criticism of the nation state of Israel. Any other subject is an ideological free-for-all.

Any non-Christian observer inspecting this box might well assume that sex is the root of all kinds of evil and money is the root of all kinds of good.

I would like to set the record straight.

My dangerous journey in mixing faith and politics began with a book on theological economics; a dazzling work called ‘Root of All Evil?’ by Antonia Swinson. (A book strongly endorsed, I might add, by Keith Tondeur and Kevin Cahill.) The question the author asked was: “What has the Bible got to say about economics?”

I was expecting a treatise on personal spending, but what I read went so much further than that. The author examined the rules on finance and ownership in the Torah and asked – if we applied those same principles today; what would our economic policy look like?

Her conclusions stayed with me ever since.

The more I discovered about the Green Party, the more I realised that I might finally have found a political home for my theological conclusions. A party that has dared to paint a picture of world where our economy isn’t based on crippling personal debt; where the creation of money is democratised; where true economic equality is feasible; where the playing field for all people is level. I think I’d call it – not the American Dream, but the Mosaic Dream.

I believe that the love of money is indeed the root of all kinds of evil. As it’s a subject that’s one of the most important to Jesus, it’s one of the most important to me. And one of the key subjects that has informed my choice of party. This, alongside such wonderful ideas as:

  • Devolving and spreading out power as much as possible to the people, so that it corrupts as little as possible;
  • Prioritising creation care and preventing animal cruelty;
  • Reuniting families torn apart by visa rules that prevent spouses from joining their children;
  • A refreshing focus on what is best for people rather than best for GDP, which would – for example – allow parents to spend more time with their kids instead of being pushed out to work;
  • Having the teaching curriculum set by teachers rather than by government, giving educators the freedom to teach in the way they see fit, treating children as whole individuals rather than units of economic production.

Those are all things – along with prayer, advice and careful thought – that prompted me to stand as the Green Party’s candidate for the wonderful constituency of West Ham.

So, I encourage any Christian to decide who to vote for based on that party’s policies, and not on the demographics of their candidates.

 Rachel Collinson is the Green Party candidate for West Ham. FInd out more about her here.

Greens supporting campaign against Boleyn Development

Tonight there was a meeting at the Harold Centre about the Boleyn Development. Over 50 people attended, many speaking passionately and with a real sense that the housing crisis in Newham needs to be challenged urgently. Newham Green Party members were there to support the campaign, including Tamsin Omond, our Green Party candidates for East Ham.

Notably, despite wide promotion there were no councillors or Newham Council representatives present…

Below is our @NewhamGreens Twitter record of the meeting:

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Tamsin Omond, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for East Ham, was there to listen and support the campaign.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 22.55.04We call on all Newham residents to get involved:

Don’t let developers price local people out of Newham
Don’t let developers price local people out of Newham
  1. Follow @BoleynDev100 on Twitter
  2. Sign the petition to demand 100% social housing on the Boleyn Ground to serve the needs of local residents
  3. Lend a hand on Saturday 28th March – there will be a stall at the entrance to Queens Market from noon – 2pm to raise awareness and collect signatures of support

Meet the candidates: Tamsin Omond

Tamsin Omond is standing as our Parliamentary Candidate for East Ham. Always smiling and ready for action, I caught up with her to find out about her love of Newham and why residents should vote for her.

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All about Tamsin…

What is your name and where do you come from?

My name is Tamsin Omond and I grew up in Kilburn – in North West London.

Why did you decide to join the Green Party?

I joined the day after the 2010 General Election, the best moment of which was watching Caroline Lucas win Brighton Pavilion and become the UK’s first Green MP. Before I joined the Greens I had spent my life campaigning against the symptoms of the system we live within – against inequality, against climate changing infrastructure, against government policy.  I joined the Green Party because we say yes – because we have a long term vision that we are working towards that is a true alternative to the way the world works today – that shows us a road map to a society where the rights of all people and the planet that we share are balanced and respected.

What is the best thing about living in East Ham?

The people! From the campaign to replace London City Airport (a community initiative that I work with – and that brought me to the Borough) to a campaign that is just beginning that demands 100% social housing to replace West Ham stadium – the people in Newham want to organise and fight against elites to protect their communities. It is inspiring especially when you remember that the all-Labour council will court international developers rather than support East Ham communities: the electorate. Examples like the Focus E15 mums who were evicted but fought against their eviction and won, and continue to fight for others at risk of losing a home – we’re a borough full of people who support each other and fight and win and continue to fight against all odds.

What 3 facts might people not know about you?

  1. I speak fluent Italian (not very useful).
  2. I am a fair weather and a foul weather cyclist.
  3. When I left university I spent a year working in a church because I thought I wanted to become a priest!

 Voting Green in East Ham

Why should East Ham residents vote for you?

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 07.54.22Because we need MPs who work hard for the communities they serve rather than yes men who dish out Tory-lite cuts that will hurt so many people living in Newham – one of the youngest and poorest (and most polluted) of London’s borough. Because we need an NHS that is a public service, we need air that is safe for our children to breathe and we need to fight against (not court) the 1% who – with London City Airport’s expansion and West Ham’s 96% private housing development – are looting Newham. We also need an MP who believes that all people are equal and should have equal rights – which sadly, with Stephen Timms’s voting record on LGBT equality policy – is not currently the case.

What do you think are the important issues for East Ham?

Housing and 1% developments – in particular, London City airport and West Ham stadium. I would not allow LCA to expand and would invite proposers from investors who desire to replace the airport with housing and other much needed developments. I would require Galliards to build 100% social housing at West Ham stadium.

Air quality – I would campaign for investment in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and for the introduction of more hybrid buses in East Ham. I would campaign against the Silvertown tunnel and for greater public transport provision for the Royal Docks.

 For people who are reluctant to vote, for whatever reason, why should they take part in the General Election?

The only people who benefit from you not voting are the elite. The 1% pay lobbyists millions of pounds to make sure their interests are heard in Parliament. This General Election is your opportunity to make sure your voice is heard too.

Just for fun

Summer or winter?

Summer

Early bird or night owl?

Both, but not during the same 24 hours.

Tea or coffee?

Tea.

Dogs or cats?

Cats.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Chocolate.

Tamsin is pumped and ready to spread the word about the alternative vote that is Green in Newham. We wish her the best of luck in the coming weeks! Do leave any additional questions for Tamsin in the comment box and she will get back to you shortly.

Tamsin campaigning alongside Baroness Jenny Jones AM for cleaner air in London
Tamsin campaigning alongside Baroness Jenny Jones AM for cleaner air in London

Meet the candidates: Rachel Collinson

Rachel Collinson is standing as our Parliamentary Candidate for West Ham. I caught up with her recently to find out more about her, her commitment to Green politics and what local issues she cares about.2012-12-09 12.48.38

All about Rachel…

What is your name and where do you come from?

My name is Rachel Collinson. I never know what to say when people ask me where I come from. I’m a reet Northern lass (I’ve lived in both Yorkshire and the very North-East of Scotland) but have made London my permanent home since 1998.

Why did you decide to join the Green Party?

I became disillusioned with politics after voting Lib Dem at the last election, hoping that they would reform our unfair electoral system. When they joined up with the Tories I was absolutely gutted, and after I recovered from this let down, decided to see what Labour had to offer. But gradually I realised that Labour aren’t capable of speaking up for ordinary people any more. Ed Balls wanted to match the coalition’s cuts and would have raised tuition fees as well. They didn’t even take a stand against fracking!

That was the moment I joined a political party for the first time. The more I learnt about the Green Party, the more I realised that they speak for people like me. More and better social housing, energy security, a million new jobs, cheaper heating bills, no more pointless wars… what’s not to like?

What is the best thing about living in West Ham?

Living in West Ham is brilliant for hundreds of reasons. There are so many different races and cultures living peacefully together here. I love the Queen Elizabeth Park and how it’s been cleverly reclaimed from industrial wasteland. The sense of community you get when walking around places like Forest Gate is wonderful. I particularly like the creativity and hard work you see here all around you.

What 3 facts might people not know about you?

  1. One of the proudest moments in my life was being one of the million people on the streets of London in 2002 who were protesting the Iraq War.
  2. I was part of the campaign to free my hero, Aung San Suu Kyi, from house arrest in Burma. She was eventually freed by the cruel military dictatorship there, and I’m humbled to have been a part of making that happen.
  3. I love teaching young women how to code.

 Voting Green in West Ham

Why should West Ham residents vote for you?

The Green Party are the only party who really know what life is like for most people. We will fund public services properly, not cut them, with a strong plan to close tax loopholes. We won’t take this nation to war again, making life more peaceful and prosperous for everybody and not just the chosen few.

If you vote for me, you’re voting for honesty, for a stand against corruption and for real change. It’s a vote that says you want better things for the people of Newham. As somebody who runs a small business, I know what it means to work hard and I know how to create jobs. I will put that knowledge into practice in government. I will stand up for everybody who has been left out in the cold – literally – by our current, broken system.

What do you think are the important issues for West Ham?

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 15.46.54Housing. Firstly, we have a housing crisis, and nothing is being done to cut the waiting list. Look at the Focus E15 mums – being cruelly kicked out of their homes for no good reason. And while this is going on, nearly every grand new housing scheme proposed has no social housing. Why? Developers – and landlords – are being enabled to make giant profits at the expense of ordinary people.

The Green Party have plans to build 500,000 new council houses, paid for by social rents and by ending tax cuts for landlords. This would bring Newham far more housing at rents we can pay and still afford to raise a family.

Health. It’s so difficult to get an appointment on the same day in GP surgeries in Newham. On top of that, our A&E departments are having to bear the brunt of council cuts to social care and mental health services. We are currently paying billions of pounds to corporations through Private Finance Initiatives – profits which should be going directly on caring for patients.

This could be solved if the NHS was re-nationalised, we had free social care and proper funding. The Green Party would protect the NHS for good by making sure that profit has no place in it, and join up healthcare between councils and the NHS so Newham’s hospital chaos can be ended.

Transport. As anybody who’s travelled on the line between Stratford and Forest Gate knows, overcrowding on trains is past a joke. We need more frequent trains. We need new carriages that are more suitable for this line, and we need safer stations.

The Green Party would not renew the contract on this line. Then we can take it straight back into the hands of the public. Profits can then be reinvested into the system rather than going straight into the pockets of shareholders.

Energy. Our heating bills keep going up and up. So many people are living in damp, cold houses and are having to choose between eating or paying the bill. I get so cross about this!

The Green Party would put into place a massive program of insulation and energy efficiency measures. The value of your house will go up, and you’ll pay hundreds of pounds less in bills! Not only that, it will create hundreds of thousands of green jobs and reduce pollution which affects us all.

Pollution. Newham is known as London’s dirty borough. Unfortunately we are one of the most polluted areas of the UK. We are breathing in toxic chemicals every day, meaning a shorter life, lung and heart diseases.

As you’d expect, the Green Party take a tough line on pollution. The main cause here is industry and transport, particularly our buses and trains that still run on diesel! I’d campaign to get them changed to hybrid or fully electric vehicles, meaning that our children’s lungs will be full of clean air rather than poisonous gases.

 For people who are reluctant to vote, for whatever reason, why should they take part in the General Election?

It’s easy to think that all politicians don’t care, and they all take backhanders and are in it just for themselves. But have a look at our current Green MP, Caroline Lucas, who has won more than one award for most ethical politician. She claims next to nothing in personal expenses and declares all of her meetings, donations and interests. I look at her and think – yes, that is a lady I can trust, and I was inspired to follow in her footsteps.

The amount of people I’ve heard saying ‘I’ve never voted before, but I’ve just registered so that I can vote Green’ gives me hope that more and more people are seeing what I have. Seeing a party they can finally trust.

Just for fun

Summer or winter?

Although I’m so pasty that I could actually sunburn through cloud, I’ve got to say summer is best.

Early bird or night owl?

Anybody who’s observed the state of me in the morning knows that I’m a night owl through and through. Plus, owls are cool and totally strokable.

Tea or coffee?

Tea. I can do 60 mpg on tea.

Dogs or cats?

I love all animals, but cats just seem to be that little bit cuter than dogs.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Who exactly chooses vanilla in response to this question?! It’s got to be chocolate every time, unless you’re talking paint colours…

Rachel truly is an inspirational local lady. We wish her the best of luck in the coming weeks! Do leave any additional questions for Rachel in the comment box and she will get back to you shortly.