Jess Mayo is a businesswoman and local political activist. She is a member of the Green Party of England and Wales and is the party’s candidate for the parliamentary seat of Manchester Gorton. The UK general election will be held on 8th June 2017. We sat down with Ms Mayo at the Green Party’s headquarters in Chorlton for the first of a series of interviews with left-wing general election candidates in this constituency. Here is what she had to say.
After Theresa May’s announcement on the steps of Downing Street yesterday, the UK is going back to the polls. The snap general election will take place on 8th June, thus giving the parties a month and a half to put their case to the country. To be honest this took me by surprise because, having come out against a general election a few months ago, I believed that it would be too politically risky for May to blatantly go against her own word. Nevertheless we are where we are, and now the press needs to step up.
Before the election lots of people who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary said that they would vote for Jill Stein because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for an establishment corporatist like Hillary Clinton. In response to the election of Donald Trump a number of former Clinton surrogates and campaign workers have tried to blame the election result on third party candidates, particularly Jill Stein. Not only do these right-wing Democrats show an inability to count, this explanation does not address who or what is actually to blame. There are many reasons why Trump won the election, but Jill Stein’s candidacy is not one of them.
Since 2008 New Zealand has been ruled by the centre-right National Party and its leader John Key has successfully guided the party to three general election victories. In 2017 there shall be another election and the New Zealand Left is uniting in order to overcome the National Party. Based on current polling it looks unlikely that the National Party will lose in 2017 however the move is still the right one and work should begin to carve out an energised and united left-wing movement.
Because of the devolution of powers to City Hall, London also held local elections, one for the city’s mayor and one for representatives in the London Assembly. There was an expected swing to Labour due to the unpopularity of Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith, especially in comparison with outgoing mayor Boris Johnson, as well as the widely known fact that London is traditionally more left-wing than most of the rest of England. Out of all the elections that took place, the results in London were Labour’s strongest and because of this London will see more left-wing policies implemented in areas like housing, transport, and policing.
The issue of Trident renewal has been in the headlines and one of the main criticisms of the British government’s position has been the exorbitant cost of the missiles. However this piece isn’t about Trident. In the wake of the vote on Syria, critics of Britain’s intervention pointed to, among other things, the unmentioned financial cost of bombing the livings shit out of Middle Eastern country. But this piece isn’t about foreign policy. In 2008 £500 billion was spent on bailing out the British banking system due to their reckless and under-regulated behaviour. But this piece isn’t about financial policy either.
This article is about priorities. Whenever there is a threat to the country that is tangible, like the threat of economic collapse or a nuclear holocaust, fiscal prudence goes out the window. On the issue of climate change however the same rhetoric around ‘belt-tightening’ is deployed by the government and the right-wing elements of the media. Not only should renewable energy be seen as a necessity to prevent us all from dying, which to be honest should be motivation enough, it would be economically beneficial. The government should do some Keynesian-style capital investment in green technology.
The Labour Party of old is gone, the political dynamics have changed and the Left needs to unite behind a movement based on ideas rather than the rosettes worn by MPs on election day. The UK, in its current form, will not last the next twenty years so it is best for Labour to work with other progressive forces, especially at Westminster, to bring about better societies in Scotland, Wales and England. By establishing electoral pacts with other parties a left-wing government will be much easier to elect, but it is up to Labour to make such a move.