Christmas Interview with Natalie Bennett (Leader of The Green Party)

Delighted to add the leader of The Green Party, Natalie Bennett, to my collection of festive interviews!

  • What is your favourite Christmas food?

“Christmas pudding – nicely soaked in brandy.”

christmaspudding_87598_16x9

  • What is your favourite Christmas film?

“Spartacus – saw it every year when I was a child.”

spartacus

  • What is your favourite Christmas song?

“A Bridge Over You by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir – it really has to be No 1 this year!” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34961773

nhs choir

  • What was the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

“A book on identifying mushrooms – satisfyingly tasty results!”

shitake-mushrooms-small

  • What present would you buy for David Cameron?

“A husky soft toy, to remind him of the green promises on which he was first elected: http://www.hamleys.com/hamleys-husky-soft-toy.ir ”

hamleys-husky-soft-toy-9365-0-1415972128000

 

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Interview with Natalie Bennett (Leader of The Green Party)

It is always really interesting to hear from politicians who are currently leading a party. That’s why I was excited when Natalie Bennett, the leader of The Green Party, was keen to answer some questions for me. Natalie Bennett has been the leader of the Greens since 2012, taking over from Caroline Lucas, and recently took part in two of the live TV debates for the General Election. Natalie also wished me good luck with my blog which was very flattering!

  • How important is it that young people take an interest in politics?

“Crucial: we need a politics that looks to the needs of the future, not just the present, and that understands the need for real change. It’s not only young people who can do both of those things, but they are more likely on average to do that.

It is no accident that government policies have been focused on the needs of older people while the young have been made – with the poor and disadvantaged  – to pay for the fraud and greed of the bankers, when older voters have been going to the polls in far higher numbers than the young. And that our last and current governments have, while talking about the need to tackle climate change, failed to take essential actions, which have seen us left behind while much of the rest of the world powers ahead.”

  • What persuaded you to join The Green Party?

 “I joined on the 1st of January 2006 – it was the result of a new year’s resolution to ‘do something’ about the state of the world. I’d never have predicted that it would lead me where it has! I chose to join the party because I believe that we need Greens elected in local councils, in assemblies and parliaments, because that’s where the decisions are made. Other forms of politics, lobbying, petitions, marches and demonstrations, are crucial, but without people who understand the need for real change at the centres of power, we’re not going to get the speed and scale of action we need.”

  • What have you learned from your time as leader of The Green Party?

 “Well I learnt before I became leader that there’s not such thing as “just deserts” in politics – results don’t necessary reflect the quality or quantity of effort. Since becoming leader, I’ve learnt that resilience is an essential quality!”

  • What are your proudest achievements from your time in politics?

 “Seeing Molly Scott Cato elected as MEP for the South West, in 2014, the “green surge” that has seen membership increase from under 20,000 years ago to around 67,000 now.”

  • Do you think that the TV debates benefited your own party and the other smaller parties?

 “Certainly. Voters got to know a lot more about what we stand for, our full range of policies, and the way in which we offer something very different from the business-as-usual politics of the traditional parties.”

  • How can The Green Party be more successful in the future?

 “We now have 67,000 members, five times the number we had a year ago – significant more than Ukip and the Lib Dems. The key is to ensure they can contribute in a wide range of ways, and work with grassroots community campaigners, unions and other groups to present a positive image of a Britain that works for the common good within environmental limits.”

Natalie Bennett

Interview with Pippa Bartolotti (Leader of the Welsh Green Party)

I have been fascinated by many of The Green Party’s policies over the years and I feel that if they had more seats in Parliament then they could be very influential. Here, I spoke to the leader of the Welsh Green Party, Pippa Bartolotti.

  • How important is it that young people take an interest in politics?

“The Young Greens are now the largest youth political party in England and Wales, with more than 25,000 members already it seems clear to me that young people are very interested in politics. Probably this is not surprising because the Greens are very interested in young people! They are our future after all.

Clearly from a Green perspective, politics is about the way we move towards sustainability and fairness. The future belongs to the young, and they are very, very concerned about their prospects, their environment, and the way politicians are dealing with it. It has been remarkable to me that so many young people are wanting to know more about politics, and their questions are honest and intelligent. I visit quite a lot of schools and colleges, and it seems to me that lowering the voting age to 16 is an eminently sensible thing to do. As climate change bites, young people are getting more and more concerned that their governments are facing the wrong way and caving in to fossil fuel lobbies. This why they should be able to vote at 16, to have a say in the depleted world in which they will have to survive.”

  • What can The Green Party offer young people?

“As a flat structured grassroots democracy organisation we offer members young and old a voice in every part of our decision making. More widely we offer a window into a political party which has never compromised principle for power. As I write, politics has become an uneasy pastime. With
scapegoating, scandal and greed taking the headlines in other parties, the Green Party offers something deeper and more meaningful. Our policies have been drafted to enable the transition to a truly sustainable society, and the rebalancing of a polluting culture into one which can live within its carbon and production limits. In other words we offer a future for young people which will enable them to live happily, comfortably and prosperously on the one planet we have. A simple example to illustrate this would be if we built all our new houses to a carbon neutral standard (passivhaus),they would cost about 3% more to construct, but our fuel bills would be reduced to something like £12 a year – much reduced pollution, much reduced bills. A Green economy is a win-win.”

  • What are The Green Party’s views on the Monarchy?

“The Green Party is loosely republican by nature, but not actively anti royalist. Let’s face it, there are much bigger problems to be worrying about.”

  • What do The Green Party need to do to win seats in Wales at the next election?

“We are on course to win up to 3 Regional list seats in the forthcoming Assembly elections, and to do that we need to fully mobilise all of our members. There are 10 times more members in Wales now than there were last year, and we are really looking forward to the campaign. We will certainly need to keep a high media profile, and do a serious amount of fundraising, but in the final analysis, there is no substitute for having face to face meetings with our voters and would-be voters.”

  • Do you have any funny stories from your time in politics?

“Well there was the time – in all the flurry of pre-election hustings and speaking engagements – when I delivered the wrong speech to the wrong audience. I gave the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) speech to the energy conference. Pretty funny because it wasn’t until about half way through I noticed the bemused faces. It was quite a task to recover the situation. Lovely audience by the way!

Although I am light hearted enough as a person, I take Green politics extremely seriously. There is simply too much at stake to relax into merriment. However, when a journalist filmed me answering the question ‘what are your guilty pleasures?’ I replied ‘ I’m not guilty about any of my pleasures!’ It was one of the best watched videos of the election.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-wales-32308130

Pippa Bartolotti