I'm very happy that David Doherty, the Green candidate in the Glasgow North East by-election, has agreed to do a quick interview with The Daily (Maybe).
You mentioned in your opening statement that housing is one of the key issues in Glasgow and you're on the board of a building renovation charity. What are your top priorities when it comes to this issue that's clearly close to your heart?Having seen many of the types of housing in Glasgow North East, I think the Green New Deal is an example of how the Government could be using public money in the time of a recession to assist those on low incomes living in sub-standard accommodation.
There are parts of Milton, Possilpark and Springburn where over 40% of households are in fuel poverty. This means almost half of residents are spending more than 10% of their income on heating their homes, and I think spending Government money on increasing energy efficiency should be a priority.
In addition, a Green New deal will support jobs in construction, and the Government should be doing a lot more to have renewable energy and building renovation at the top of energy policy. Everything from solar heating to sustainable transport will help the constituents in the area, and it is an issue which is close to my heart!
As a supporter of the Green New Deal how do you think that this kind of socially and environmentally conscious Keynesianism fits with a longer term vision for fundamentally transforming the way our economy works?The Green New Deal is not the most radical policy in terms of what the Government could be achieving. All that is being asked for is a universal home insulation programme to retrofit Scotland's homes over the next 10 years, as well as investment in renewable energy, sustainable transport and investing in local scale projects to give long term employment to those without jobs at the moment.
We have not seen this happen with the Westminster parties, and that is one reason I am standing in the Glasgow North East by-election. Investing in renewable technology research and commercial development should be a priority for the Government rather than financing nuclear power, a next generation of nuclear weapons, constructing new motorways or subsidising the aviation industry. If we want to fundamentally transform the way our economy works, we should be planning for climate change in the future and a future where oil will be severely depleted.
That means planning the economy for 50 years rather than 50 days, and transforming our economy to be sustainable for people and the environment. The Green Party wants long-term planning for the economy, and the Westminster parties are offering nothing more than business as usual. They have failed to take up the proposed Green New Deal, and they will fail on meeting any targets for taking measures to change our economic system to be truly low carbon, or even adapt to a future of climate change and depleted natural resources.
I've just read that Glasgow City Council's Director of Childrens' Services, Margaret Doran, has been given a pay off of £278,000 when the council decided to break up her department. How do you feel about this?Certainly I would prefer Children's services was not broken up and a Director could continue working to protect children in Glasgow, rather than children's services suffering under another departmental re-organisation. I would hope the pay-off is in accordance with protocols linking years of service and performance to such a large payment at a time when public services are facing massive cuts over the next few years.
I was interested to see you're part of the eco-congregation and I'm interested in the interaction between faith and politics. What role do you think religious belief has to play in politics today?I have found there is a lot of overlap with religion and politics today in areas such as social justice, the environment, international aid, and the treatment of the most vulnerable in society. Politicians should have a good knowledge of the ethical and moral issues which some policies may encompass, and religious groups have a part to play in educating the decision makers.
The eco-congregation network, for example, is a network of Christian churches who have an interest in the environment. They have been very active in campaigning for a strong Climate Change Bill for Scotland, and they are now one of the largest environmental campaigning groups in Scotland.
It was great news to see that the community garden North Kelvin Meadow was recognised with a certificate of merit in the Beautiful Scotland awards, especially after all the problems they've had with Glasgow council. How do you think one Green MP could help deliver support for small, local projects like this?Community consultation has been deteriorating in recent years, and in cases such as the North Kelvin Meadow, a Green MP could make the difference at Westminster when legislation is being drafted and implemented on planning and development.
Certainly our existing MSP and Green councillors in Glasgow are working hard to deliver support for small local projects, and the more Green MPs we have at Westminster, that means more voices to make sure Government policy supports local projects which are bringing communities together.
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