Finally, tomorrow is election day.
I’ve said throughout this election campaign and I’ll say it again, this election is so important for a number for a reasons.
Firstly, the next parliament will be the one entrusted to make decisions about our withdrawal from the EU. Brexit is not the only issue at stake in this election but how we handle it will have so much bearing on the future of the country, of our economy, our public services and our society.
Secondly, our public services are on the brink. I’ve been totally honest with people throughout this campaign. I don’t want to scaremonger but I know the NHS will not make it through another 5 years of underfunding and privatisation in the same form, nurses and doctors around the country have joined me in telling you this. We’re hearing the same from teachers and workers in our other public services.
Lastly, we need the next parliament to undertake a serious and dramatic shift in dealing with the threat of climate change. Research shows we have 4 years before we blow the carbon budget for keeping us to 1.5 degrees of global warming, the point at which climate change becomes rapidly uncontrollable. A high proportion of known fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if we are to keep within that budget.
In Cambridge I understand you face a difficult choice. Both Julian Huppert and Daniel Zeichner are fairly popular, progressively minded candidates. But they both represent political parties which are unable to rise to the above challenges.
Labour are split down the middle on how to handle Brexit, promising controls on immigration and a pro-Brexit line in certain places and a very different line here. They remain committed to faster economic growth and more support for the oil and gas industry that threatens our future. They do not support the electoral reform that would allow you gain proper representation.
The Liberal Democrats cannot be trusted to provide the serious challenge to a Conservative Party they spent 5 of the last 7 years working with. Their legacy from their time in government is a shattered welfare system, more debt for young people and an NHS breaking apart.
In contrast, more Green MP’s at Westminster could be transformative.
I would wholeheartedly campaign for the changes to Westminster and our voting system that would give you real choice in the future.
On Brexit we would provide a tough challenge to whatever government we have. Caroline Lucas stood up for the rights of EU migrants and scrutinised the government closely on Article 50.
Other Green MP’s such as myself would focus on protecting what’s important, standing up for the free movement of people and the environmental and workplace protections we need. Green politicians like Molly Scott Cato, an economist, MEP and campaigner on international tax justice, are just what parliament needs now. We will fight for the public to have their say on the final deal, the best way of ensuring we get a future we genuinely want.
I would be a passionate and intelligent advocate for our public services. Greens understand that our NHS must be publicly owned and are the only party committed to the BMA backed ‘NHS Reinstatement Bill’ which would restore the public nature of the health service and ensure it remains comprehensive.
Unlike Daniel and Julian I have direct, everyday experience of the NHS frontline. I have led thousands strong campaigns to protect treatments and as a UNISON steward have experience of fighting to protect services.
Locally I would stand against the plans to remove £540 million from the regional NHS. These plans will harm people and I will do everything in my power to stop them happening. You can trust my experience and commitment in this.
And whilst Brexit affects everything, the failure to prevent runaway climate change will undermine everything. Man made climate change is already having devastating effects, driving great migrations and costing hundreds of thousands of lives every year.
The environment has barely been talked about at this election, both locally and nationally. With Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement we must take serious action in the next parliament. Only the Green Party has the evidenced based policies to make the changes we need.
I fully understand people’s frustration with our voting system and the desire to vote tactically. I hear people’s concerns that a vote for me would be a ‘wasted’ vote.
I believe the only wasted vote is one for a party that won’t address these great challenges of our times. Voting tactically this time puts the Greens a further five years away from achieving the parliamentary representation the country badly needs.
At all the debates and hustings I have attended, people have heard my message and decided to vote Green. Floating voters interviewed after our recent BBC Cambridge debate decided to back me. Our backing surged and others dropped when we debated infront of university students. Green Party policies this time around have proven to be the most popular amongst the Cambridge public in an online survey yet again.
You can trust I would never support a Tory government and would work with others when needed to achieve what we believe in.
If you vote Green tomorrow you send a message that you want real solutions to our problems. You send a message that you want real change. You send a message that you want a better, fairer, sustainable country.
Vote for the future you believe in. Thankyou.