6 December 2019
Despite being a busy headteacher, Rick has been very active campaigning in and around Salisbury. In hustings and radio interviews he has consistently put across our central theme, the urgency of the Climate Emergency.
He has also been out leafleting and meeting the public at the Salisbury Green Party Cheese Market stall on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and attended the latest students climate strike.
The Salisbury Journal asked all the local party candidates six questions and published the answers. If you have not already seen it, here are the questions and Rick’s answers.
SJ: If you’re elected, what would be the first thing you’d do for Salisbury and its constituents?
RP: I would put people back into the heart of our city by demanding a ‘Peoples Hub’ in the old BHS store in the Old George Mall, accessible from the adjacent car parking and bus stops. A central space for essential community services such as a new Post Office, Library, Citizens Advice Bureau, Community Health Education office, creche, the Tourist Information Office, as well as an information point for Local Authority services and maybe charities such as the Trussell Trust. Currently, all these vital but hard pressed services are spread widely across our City, inaccessible to many and particularly to the more vulnerable members of our society. A space in the heart of our City that says we value people as much as business.
SJ: What has driven you to stand in this election?
RP: Put simply, the Climate Emergency. I have never stood for public election before but as a Head teacher and father I felt I had to stand up to speak out on behalf of all our children and grandchildren who will be impacted by a world devastated by climate change. Already the signs are there, dramatic wildfires in California, Australia, the Arctic and manmade fires in the Amazon; melting glaciers and receding sea-ice with more extreme weather events around the globe. This year from the steps of the Guildhall in Salisbury I have twice addressed the student strikes, young people with the vision and courage to stand up for urgent system change but who currently can’t vote! I applaud their actions. Who could argue against an occasional day out of school to fight for global change? This global emergency needs an urgent plan. In this election the Green Party is putting forward a transformative Green New Deal that offers urgency and hope. Like me, I ask you to vote for our children’s future. Vote Green. If not now, when?
SJ: You have a day off in Salisbury. What would you do and why?
RP: Living in the city centre I love our vibrant market and chatting my way around my favourite stalls. This can take some time! It really is possible to buy much of your weekly shopping in the market for a cost and a quality that can beat supermarkets hands down . . . plug over! Lunch in a market café or down Fisherton St at The Mill, followed by a browse around some of our great independent retailers. Last Christmas we made a conscious decision to do all our shopping in Salisbury and it was an absolute delight, no travelling stress, but time spent discovering new shops in such a beautiful environment. Evenings? Well, a local pub or restaurant with friends or family and occasionally a trip to the Playhouse, Breaking the Code was an incredible recent production.
SJ: If there was one thing you’d change about Salisbury, what would it be?
RP: We have such a beautiful city but it is now completely dominated by traffic congestion and pollution. I would immediately pedestrianise the majority of the city centre, introducing frequent cheap electric shuttle buses to our city suburbs and villages and with free buses to Salisbury District Hospital from the city. With city centre parking initially priced in favour of electric and hybrid vehicles over old diesel cars and encouraging all car users to use Park and Ride by making them free to use. As a community I do not believe we should tolerate parts of our city having air pollution levels more than 50% over the legal maximum. Reclaim the streets for all our residents and visitors to enjoy!
SJ: Climate change and global warming is a major worldwide epidemic. What are your views on this?
RP: We have a Climate Emergency, the United Nations issued further stark warnings recently. This requires an urgent global response, yet our government refuses to tell the truth and to enact an emergency plan. To the contrary, the last Conservative government pursued fracking, mining and subsidising fossil fuel use whilst cutting investment in solar, on-shore wind and home insulation. The Green Party proposes a radical New Green Deal that invokes the spirit and ambition of Churchill or Roosevelt’s new deal! An ambitious but exciting Green industrial revolution to completely transform our energy, transport, housing, industrial and farming sectors through decarbonising by 2030. Government led investment of £100 billion every year, matched by private sector funding and a new Government Green high rate cash ISA. Investing in a raft of new technologies, creating large numbers of skilled jobs by harnessing our nation’s talent for creativity and innovation. Excitingly, this can lead to global leadership in combating climate change with our technology exported globally. At last a national plan we can all unite around! Every Green vote exerts pressure on other parties to adopt our plan.
SJ: What are your views on Brexit?
RP: The whole Brexit process has been a disaster. I believe we should Remain in the EU but I also passionately believe in democracy, so a final decision should be made only after an agreed deal and remain have been put back to a People's vote. The biggest issue we face is the Climate Emergency, and this needs a collective approach across Europe and globally.
The EU has faults, but there are many other good reasons to remain notably the preservation of peace in Europe for 75 years. Alongside free trade, it safeguards our human rights, has improved workers' rights and environmental standards along with the right to travel, live, work and study anywhere in Europe. It enables police and security forces to work together to combat terrorism and tax evasion. It has the economic muscle and clout to control multinational companies and combat threats from around the world. Unity and collaboration, not fragmentation, will deliver the global vision and leadership the future demands.