Why I’m Voting Green

Unknown-1My kids love to know who my wife and I are voting for and we want to be a family that talks about this kind of stuff around our dinner table. So we told them “this year, we’re firmly nailing our green colours to the mast”. They didn’t know what that meant, so we told them – “we’re voting GREEN”!

I’ve read a surprising amount of the manifestos of each of the parties this year. Before doing so, I was highly inclined not to vote at all as I feel the political class/system is so out of touch with real life and there seems to be little radical voice in the arena. However, I have become hopeful that the Green party really are standing for some hugely important issues and offering a real alternative.

Here is my summary of why I am voting green:

Unknown-2A New Politics – Caroline Lucas has not been afraid to challenge the status quo. I believe we must find an inclusive, love based politics if we are going to find a new and reimagined future together. I believe the Green party are truest to this hope. I also love the gentle, gracious, intelligent and firm leadership of Natalie Bennett – for me, she was outstanding in the leaders’ debate and held her nerve in the face of the ‘old boys club’. As a feminist, I am passionate about seeing women fully instated in leadership, not just ‘talked-up’. The leadership we are seeing from Natalie and Caroline is of a different order from the brash, bullying, testosterone-fuelled alternatives. Unknown-1

Healthcare – It might surprise some, as a GP that I say this, but for me the Greens have a serious and well thought through health policy. Their health policy is more holistic and more just (for those who need health care the most) than any of the other parties. I have to say, both Labour and the Lib Dems are also saying some great stuff, but overall, the Greens are willing to shift the conversation to where we need it to go – from an illness model towards promoting health and wellbeing.

Education – Our children have become commodities of the economic state. I love that the Greens are talking far more holistically and compassionately about the future of our children. Unknown

Environment – It needs hardly be said, but this issue is actually going to kill us and we need some people in government who are going to help us make some massive changes to our energy supplies and the ways we are choosing to live. Their view is comprehensive and holistic. The raping of the earth’s resources and high CO2 levels are far more dangerous than the threat of terrorism. We must face this hard truth and act now.

Defence and International Development – Here we have a dual policy that makes sense. Stop our own hypocritical nuclear arsenal and make for positive peace by tackling poverty in the developing world.

UnknownEconomy – Huge fresh creation of new jobs in making the world more beautiful through green technologies, massive investment back into the public sector and encouraging those of us more able to be less self-protective and share the greater burden of taxation, rather than crushing the poor whilst the rich get ever richer. I also like that they will hold banks and big business to better account.

Immigration – There are too many awful lies being peddled about asylum seekers and refugees. I believe in open borders and intercultural rich diversity. I believe in interdependence and love, not fear, independence and hate.

Justice – A fresh look at the criminal justice system, with a move towards restorative justice is from my perspective the only way to go.

Voting – I refuse to be told that my vote will be a wasted vote. I am fed up of the arrogance of the system that tells me there are only two alternatives. The old politics is over. We are entering the day of coalitions and finding our way to a wholly different kind of political system. I am voting Green, not to be tactical, not to be pig-headed, not out of fear, but because I believe they genuinely hold the brightest torch for the things that matter the most not for me, but for everyone. We cannot vote out of selfish self-protectionism. We must position ourselves for the future generations and the future of this planet. That is why I am voting GREEN!images

Healthcare Politics 2a

2) I do believe “all knowledge is relational”. I wrote to the secretary of state for health in the last government and suggested that we coud join up some thinking between the dept of health and the dept for international development. How often do we hear that the money given through aid has been squandered, wasted or siphoned off into some terrible and corrupt dictator’s pocket? And this then gives UKIP or the Tories scope to try and slash our aid budgets to the developing world. But, we also have a surplus of trainee doctors…..

My idea was this – instead of giving money into situations to help with health, we could give our doctors, nurses and midwives to work on an optional (rolling) basis as part of their training. We have loads of GP, surgical, medical, paediatric, anaethetistic, emergency, nursing and midwifery specialist trainees (to name but a few), who finish their training, or who get to a certain level and then cannot progress further due to a bottle neck in the system. We have some the best trained medical professionals in the world waiting for jobs. We also have, for example, the same population as South Africa, and ten times the number of doctors…….

What about piloting some schemes, where we allow relationships toimgres develop between partner hospitals and communities? We can send some of our best trained people into the developing world, paid for by a joint arrangement between the DoH and DfID. Our trainees would get some of the best experience, with on the job training available and return with richer and more diverse skills. They would build friendships and receive as much as they would give, learning about communication skills in difficult circumstances, reaching through cultural barriers and expanding their knowledge base. The host hospitals/clinics would also benefit from the sharing of knowledge and skills and therefore an increased level of expertise with which to help their communities. There would also be fresh supplies and medicines, homeprovided, for example, by the incredible work of the International Healthcare Partners or the Health Impact Fund. It is vital that such partnerships include community medicine as well as hospitals, because we need a sustainable model for the future. Plus we need to breakdown traditional views of who is ‘qualified’ to be a healthcare professional! Basic signs of illness could be taught to community members, so that the right treatment is given for the right condition. There has been some fascinating work, of late, in helping communities recognise when something is malaria and when it is not – the results have been staggering. It’s a scheme which involves partnership, honesty, sharing resources, using aid budgets in a relational and focussed way and could, I think, be really transformational! Aid that is relational and reciprocal – breaks down some of the power dynamics and utilises resource as gift. Sounds like good stewardship. The british government didn’t think so and were rude and dismissive in their reply!!