Alison Craig

Our Parliamentary Candidate for 2015

Alison Craig

We are delighted to announce that Alison Craig has been selected as our Parliamentary Candidate for the Salisbury constituency.

Alison has over twenty years' experience of working on environmental and health issues, and has most recently been employed in a campaign to stop the over-use of antibiotics in animal farming.

In Salisbury, Alison has focused particularly on waste management and the health impacts of air pollution. She would like to see the South West region taking a leading role in developing and supporting clean energy technologies, and creating new jobs - our region is behind on a number of key issues, due to policies which entrench a fossil fuel economy. She believes that greater social equity and stronger communities can and should be achieved.

You can contact Alison at alison@salisbury.greenparty.org.uk

If you would like to make a donation towards Alison's campaign please go to Donate Locally

Video: Alison introduces herself

Alison interviewed on BBC Radio Wiltshire

Alison Craig calls for investment in health and an end to NHS privatisation. Listen to her interview on BBC Radio Wiltshire, Friday 17th April 2015, 8.35am - Lee Stone programme. The item is at 1:52:26 to 1:59:26

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nnyg5

Keep it in the ground

Alison Craig writes in Valley News, April 2015

The recent news about the oil find in West Sussex was astonishing for two things. Firstly, the potential size of it: the site could hold over 8.6 billion barrels of oil - just under a fifth of the amount that has been pumped out of the North Sea in the past 40 years. Secondly, that anyone could seriously consider extracting it.

With typical inconsistency, the Liberal Democrats are all for it, including ‘big beast’ Lord Paddy Ashdown. Rhetoric about the need for an ‘energy mix’ to keep the lights on is beguiling. But there is an express train bearing down on us fast – climate change.

International scientific authorities – and the oil industry itself – have told us that proven fossil fuel reserves are more than three times higher than we can afford to burn in order to stay below the agreed threshold for dangerous climate change.  Every pound raked in now on oil and gas extraction is made at the expense of all our futures. The World Health Organisation has predicted that climate change will kill a quarter of a million people a year between 2030 and 2050 – due to starvation, heat exposure, diarrhoeal disease and malaria.

Luckily sanity is gaining momentum – fossil fuel divestment.  Started as a student movement in the US, it is sweeping the world rapidly: 800 global investors including major foundations such as Rockefeller, religious groups including the Quakers, healthcare organisations, cities and universities have now made the commitment to divest.

Here in Salisbury, our Bishop Nicholas Holtam has been one of the signatories to a Good Friday Declaration, calling for a review of the Anglican churches investment practices and for divesting from the fossil fuel industries. The Guardian newspaper is challenging the two largest health-related charitable trust funds in the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust, to divest ‘from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years, and to immediately freeze any new investments in those companies.’ The British Medical Association has been the first national medical organisation to agree, acknowledging the Lancet Commission’s description of climate change as the greatest threat to human health in the twenty-first century.

Wiltshire Council should be the UK’s first county authority to lead the fossil fuel divestment movement, and Salisbury City Council should emulate Oxford City in doing so. We call on both of them to take up that challenge and Greens will work tirelessly to ensure they do. Whatever your politics, it’s time to pull the financial rug away from under an industry which is set to destroy us all.

http://gofossilfree.org/uk
http://moveyourmoney.org.uk/campaigns/divest

Labour would continue austerity

Alison Craig's letter to Salisbury Journal, April 2015

Tom Bromley ('If Sting was still in The Police he’d be moved to Amesbury', Journal Postbag, 26 March) makes a pretty compelling case against voting Lib Dem in the forthcoming election. But his conclusion that we should vote Labour instead misses the point. If everyone keeps voting Tweedledee or Tweedledum nothing will ever change.

Labour policies are almost indistinguishable from what we've had for years. They would largely continue the austerity programme causing havoc to the fabric of our society, and suffering to the most vulnerable. They would perpetuate the myth that our national debt crisis is due to welfare excesses when in fact it was caused by the bank bailout in 2008. In their scrabble for votes Labour has moved to the right of Thatcher in terms of policies.

People should be free to vote for what they believe in and here in Salisbury they can. Green Party thinking gets to the root of the austerity programme and rejects it wholesale. We stand for a more equal society - which Labour once aspired to but has never achieved.

Election Debate on BBC Radio Wiltshire

Alison Craig puts her case for Green Policies - broadcast on 14 April 2015

Listen again at  www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nny6b

Development of a nine-acre greenfield site on Britford Lane

Alison Craig's letter to The Salisbury Journal (unpublished), March 2015

The decision by Wiltshire County Council to consider allowing the building of 100 new homes on the water meadows is simply nonsensical (Journal front page 19/3/15).

The recent violent cyclone hitting Vanuatu in the South Pacific provided yet another reminder that climate change is a reality, and that extreme weather events are set to occur with increasing regularity. Residents of Salisbury will need no reminders of last year's floods, when half of Somerset was underwater, and it was only the existence of our water meadows which spared much of Salisbury from a similar fate. Even with the meadows there to take most of the water, the floods were lapping at the back doorsteps of many homes on the Harnham side.

Allowing more building on the flood plain would be sheer madness, and could only increase the likelihood of flooding - not just for the new buildings themselves, but for all other homes bordering the meadows, as future flood waters would have fewer places to go.

People need homes which is why the Green Party is promising to build half a million of them if it is elected to government on May 7th. But what we need are low cost homes to rent, to replace the council houses sold off in the past 30 years - not top-of-the-range homes built for the profit of speculators, and certainly not on our vital water meadows.

Income inequality increasingly under the spotlight

Alison Craig writes in Valley News, February 2015

As Parliamentary Candidate I have had more emails about tax evasion and the latest financial scandal, HSBC, than on any other issue so far. There is outrage that the super-rich, the top one per cent, are not only getting wealthier, they are getting richer at our expense.

Income inequality is increasingly under the spotlight and a consensus is emerging among serious commentators that we are approaching the extremes of Dickensian times. Wealth is concentrating in the hands of a few thousand families at an accelerating rate. This is due to two factors – vastly unequal payrates and persistent unfairness created by the inheritance of land and property assets.

The Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company now earns around £3 million per annum, 120 times more than an employee on UK average earnings, when in 2000 it was 47 times. The value of land and property, especially in London, can give an owner a higher daily income than many people earn in a year. The work of the independent thinktank, the High Pay Centre, shows clearly how income inequality has widened over the past thirty years.

Recent explosive reactions to the HSBC tax avoidance scandal – in my inbox as well as in the media - suggest people have had enough. Although HMRC are being given controversial powers that will allow it to raid bank accounts directly in an effort to close Britain’s £35billion annual tax gap, evidence of cheating at the highest end is building momentum for change.

When resources are limited and we only have one planet – an insight at the heart of Green politics – it matters when one sector of society is ripping off another. Ever since the publication of an extraordinary book, The Spirit Level, in 2009, there has been an understanding that extremes of inequality have profound impacts on us all. In the most unequal countries in the world, such as the UK, US and Singapore, for example, there are higher rates of mental illness, crime, and teenage pregnancy. These rates decline when, and where, income is more even.

Greens are at the forefront of pushing for land value taxation to replace Council Tax. Land wealth ‘makes a minnow’ out of mansion tax concerns, and Winston Churchill – an earlier proponent of the policy - also grasped this.

Commentary on the super rich and their tax evasion has now reached fever pitch in the media. Perhaps we will – in May – see public outrage expressed in a big vote for change, a generational shift. Green thinking has led the debate for years. Across Wiltshire – where there is a full slate of Green Parliamentary Candidates for the first time ever – we stand ready and waiting to lead a radical change.

Scrap metal monstrosity is a powerful symbol of our fossil fuel addiction

Alison Craig writes in Valley News, October 2014

The view of Salisbury from the Old Sarum hillfort has to be one of the most beautiful on Earth. Majestic in any weather the cathedral, at the centre, is a masterpiece of early English architecture. With the tallest spire in the country, it inspires pride, admiration and a sense of permanence.

Just a little way to the right, however, the view is marred by another vast structure. This is the old Salisbury gasworks tower, a harsh skeleton of rust. It litters the horizon, an eyesore dating from a Victorian era, inexplicably left standing.

It should be an anachronism, but shockingly it isn’t. Although decommissioned, its owner Scotia Gas Networks has not yet decided whether or not to demolish it. They are playing a game of wait and see.

This scrap metal monstrosity which looms over the heart of our city stands to remind us that we haven’t yet woken up to the fact of climate change. It is a powerful symbol of the fossil fuel addiction we can’t seem to kick. Our economy is based on oil and gas, with an agriculture dependent on the oil-byproduct based inputs of the kind the gasworks used to produce. If we were serious about preventing ‘runaway climate change’ – when global warming will become irreversible - we need to make the change to clean technologies and renewable energy.

Instead, David Cameron’s government is promoting yet more extraction of fossil fuel – fracking, the extraction of shale gas using polluting processes. This is despite his own experts warning that our carbon emissions need to fall steadily by 80 per cent by 2050 to avert catrastrophic climate change. Analysts like the International Energy Agency warn that most of the gas we’ve already found should stay in the ground. The last thing we need is new discoveries of expensive, hard to extract gas.

Our strategic choice in this country is simple – we lead on the issue of climate change and save our own planet, or we follow the destructive example of the USA in the pursuit of further fossil fuel energy production. The government must follow the lead of France and other countries and ban fracking. Wiltshire should be kept clean, hi-tech, and frack-free. And if you agree the gasworks tower should be demolished, the site decontaminated, and housing built on this extensive central site, join us in calling for it.

Give people a chance to vote for what they really want

Alison Craig writes in Valley News, August 2014

Frances Howard lays claim, for UKIP, to being 'the minority brake here in Britain', preventing a form of democracy which 'only assists the powerful' (Valley News, August 2014, page 32). But the secret ballot system allows voters a far less toxic alternative to UKIP: the Green Party. For starters, Greens are not regularly exposed as racist or sexist as are leading lights within UKIP, for example Nigel Farage saying that if a woman in the City takes maternity leave 'she is worth far less to the employer'.

Asked why I am standing as the Greens' Parliamentary Candidate next year, my first impulse is to say - to give people a chance to vote for what they really want. Interestingly, if we voted for policies instead of personalities, most people in the south west of England would vote for the Green Party – more than any other party, according to an intriguing pro-democracy website, Vote for Policies. It invites you to compare policies from six UK political parties on a range of key issues. After you have chosen, it shows you which parties they belong to. Be ready to be surprised - you may have been a Green all along!

Formed in 1973, the Greens exist as a political force within over ninety countries around the world, unlike any other UK party. Our starting point is the survival of the planet on which we all live, but we are far from being just an environmental group. In the forty or so years of our global existence we have achieved remarkable electoral success, notably in Germany and Australia. In May this year the economist Professor Molly Scott Cato was elected in this region as our second MEP. Most dramatically of all, our membership has gone up by 75 per cent in the space of a year, from 13K to 17K.

So you don't have to hold your nose and support UKIP after all - there is a clean Green alternative which is not going away.