I moved to Keynsham in 1997 on getting a job in the Economics department at the University of Bristol. After quarter a century of commuting by train and folding bicycle, doing lots of interesting research and teaching lots of clever students, I am still working there and am now a full professor. I have loved living in Keynsham, because it is a fabulous town and has amazing people. Now that my children have left home, I have more time and want to give something back to my local community. Although my research speciality in economics is pensions, I am convinced that the most important question of our time is saving the environment and this led me to join the Green Party and to start getting involved in party politics, which I had never done before. When I say “saving the environment” I mean both local and international: how do we make our local area an even better place to live and how do we ensure that the planet as a whole remains habitable for our children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren, and so on)?
I really enjoy being a town councillor and it would be a great privilege to serve as MP for the new constituency of NE Somerset and Hanham. I know the area well, both sides of the River Avon (my mother lives in Warmley). The two parts of the constituency are quite unlike each other: the part in South Gloucestershire is mainly suburban, with some countryside around Bitton; the part in BANES is mainly rural, except for the town of Keynsham. Being so close to Bristol and Bath places puts a lot of pressure on housing and transport, although the challenges are different in built-up and rural areas.
In NE Somerset, both our current Member of Parliament, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and his predecessor, Dan Norris, were rather ineffective constituency MPs and neither seems to have made a success in holding the government to account. The local area deserves better than this. If I were to become your MP you could rely upon me to devote myself full time to the job. I should be careful to balance time across my duties to the local area and also to utilise my specialist skills to scrutinise legislation (particularly economic policy).
My desire is for the local area and the UK more widely to fulfil its potential. The last thirteen years have seen stagnation in living standards, continued degradation of the environment, a housing crisis and the collapse of public services such as health and education. The UK is still one of the richest countries in the world and there is no need for ordinary people to have to put up with this. We need to stop the super wealthy from enriching themselves by pillaging the British state and create a fairer and better society in which to live. The Green Party has a clear objective and sensible ideas for how to achieve that objective and I encourage you to support me in fulfilling that vision.