Ralph Hierons – Erewash Constituency

Personal Candidate Statement for the General Election 2015

Ralph HieronsI joined the Green Party following the last general election as I saw them as the only party with any remaining integrity. With election policies and promises being rapidly discarded by the three ‘mainstream’ parties in the grab for power.

I am inspired by the lack of a real alternative to the right wing bias as we approach this General Election. I want to increase my involvement with the only party that I trust to deliver on their pledges in an open democracy.

What appeals most to me about the Green Party is their holistic approach to government and to society. Whilst the other parties promote their sticking-plaster remedies to whatever populist problems will garner the most votes, the Green Party, whilst fluid enough to respond to new challenges (TTIP, Fracking) as they arise, is constant in ethos, and propose changes across the board that can only improve society, environment and equality.

As we approach the General Election, I see communication as the Green Party’s biggest challenge. There are many disparate, disaffected groups of potential Green voters in the UK, who may be unaware that there is a party that shares their ideals: those campaigning against TTIP who do not know we are the only party that are totally opposed to it; those fighting to save our NHS who are unaware of our policies regarding a fully funded, free at point of service, un-privatised NHS; those who do not want the land under our homes stolen, and poisoned, who need to be made aware that we are the only party who are totally against fracking.

Without the vast budget and huge corporate donors of the other parties, our challenge is to take this message to these people and build upon the Green surge.

I have worked as an internet designer and developer since 1997 and, along the way, have worked in film, print and on-line media. I consider myself an able communicator and am looking forward to dedicating all of my skills and experience in this field, to spreading the Green Party message throughout Erewash.

I view Erewash as a mass of abandoned potential, which like so many areas has been brutalised by austerity cuts. The constituency is distanced from Westminster and consequently disaffected. Combatting voter apathy in an area that has been penalised by the current coalition is definitely an uphill struggle, but one I would rise to. I am truly inspired by the ‘Transition Towns’ movement and believe this is a model we could apply to Long Eaton and Ilkeston – developing our micro-economy and building a stronger community.

Green Party candidate contact details

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6 responses to “Ralph Hierons – Erewash Constituency

  1. James Wilby Hardwick

    Hi, Ralph. I’ve read your Personal Candidate Statement and have had my spirits raised by it. I’m against TTIP and Fracking, and you are too. Likewise I want a publicly owned NHS, and you seem to be backing that too.
    Do you think Cabinet Ministers are overpaid? I think the Parliamentary system of Expenses should be abolished, and Ministers made to live on their salaries alone. Would you back that?
    Regards,
    Jim Hardwick

    • Hello Jim, thanks for your comments. I do have to agree with you that MP’s salaries are more than generous and entirely adequate to live on without turning to external sources of revenue. As a representative of the constituency in parliament my duty would be entirely to my constituents interests and never those of corporations, lobbyists and media barons!

      I also agree that the issue of MPs expenses does require serious scrutiny in parliament. There is no sense in closing tax loopholes, increasing taxes on the wealthiest and introducing a financial transaction tax on banks, if (even a tiny percentage of) this revenue is squandered on second and third homes for MPs and moat cleaning!

      Obviously, there are some expenses that will still be required to be paid by the state. An MP acting as an international trade envoy can not, realistically, be expected to foot the bill for all foreign travel that role would entail. (Although even in that situation there is a duty to travel by the least expensive mode available!).

      As I see it, there is no point in introducing measures to raise the minimum wage (initially to £8 increasing to £10 by 2020) and to close the corporate wealth gap (at a director to employer ratio of 10:1 max) without addressing the money that MPs take from the state.

      I have much more to say on the subject since it is something that I feel very strongly about, but for now I hope my response is adequate.

      Above all things, MPs should keep constant in their minds the fact that they are public servants in a position of responsibility – an abuse of that position is an abuse of the public, unacceptable in office.

      Thanks

      Ralph Hierons

  2. Hi Jim,

    It’s good to know that you feel encouraged by Ralph’s statement. I felt the same way when I read Green Party policies – and so I joined.

    As for your question, I think that MPs should consider their office to be a full time job. I know that Green MP Caroline Lucas thinks so, and I’m sure all our candidates do too. No MP should be supplementing her or his income with payments for lobbying or positions on company boards.

    That said, I think that expenses are OK within reasonable limits. Both salaries and expenses for MPs were introduced to allow people without personal wealth to even consider being MPs. Without expenses it wouldn’t be possible for some MPs, whose homes are not in London, to go regularly to parliament. But, I do remember how shocked I was, during the expenses scandal, at the extent of expenses that could be legally claimed. It almost seemed as though the MPs wouldn’t need their salaries, since expenses paid more or less everything. I think they should be completely scaled back. I’ve never heard of a private company that paid that level of expenses.

  3. Lyn Atterbury

    You have a difficult constituency: down to earth people, but apathetic and very conservative (with small “c”). I stood as a Green Party candidate in local elections in Ilkeston 20 years ago or more. It is a place whhere things happen slowly – more than 30 years to reopen the station in Ilkeston! I now live in Poland and have just sent off my postal vote in your favour. This is the last time I shall vote because expats are automatically disenfranchised 15 years after last being registered to vote in the UK; we are still British citizens but our democratic rights are taken from us. I call that a scandal.

    • Hi Lyn, thank you for your comments, and thank you for your support. That’s two of us voting for me!

      Things haven’t changed much in Erewash since you stood but the ‘Green surge’ is reaching the borough. Party membership has gone up in Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Sandiacre and throughout the constituency. There have been two new members joined in the last week.

      Apathy and (small “c”) conservatism are a struggle to overcome but we have a small core of really dedicated members who are already campaigning and leading in community projects, who help us reach a wider audience than we could have expected. I applaud them. It’s my name on the ballot paper but, as you know, the Green Party is a team.

      I had no idea that British expats are disenfranchised as you describe. I agree, it is a scandal and one I will happily raise if I am elected on Thursday. I’ve got two votes, small acorns!

      Thanks again.

      Ralph Hierons

  4. Simon Hinchley

    Hi Ralph

    How do you view your role in the Green Party in attracting voters other than the Guardian reading middle class? How do you reach out to those who experience daily evironmental, income and economic area level deprivation? How many people in Erewash do you realistically think have heard of a Transition Town along the Totness Model?

    The Green Party needs to shrug off it’s stigma by capitalising on local community assetts and promoting a shared sense of social capital in order to show to ordinary folk that voting Green can work for them.

    I’ve had this conversation with Green Party activists down here in Cornwall and I feel that it is something that the party really needs to address.

    Because the Green Party does have some brilliant policies and deserves a bigger slice of the cake than it’s currently getting!

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