Wednesday, January 26, 2011

London Mayoral Selection: Farid Bakht

I first met Farid a fair few years ago and he's always struck me as a level-headed, principled Green. Likable, thoughtful and engaging he's a talented and strong minded left-winger, without some of the bile or dogma that you sometime find on the left.

Anyway, I was delighted when I heard he was standing for selection to be London's Green Mayoral candidate. So far that means we have two excellent choices before us with Farid and Jenny. I wonder if we'll get any more?
Here Farid talks about his vision for London.

The next Mayoral candidate must offer Londoners an inspiring vision for the capital. We can do this in London the way our leader did in Brighton – by offering a radical, coherent alternative to the three main parties.

We must be part of the anti-cuts movement. Many Londoners will be hit particularly hard by coalition policies - young people and students, women, and people from ethnic minorities.

Investment in free education and affordable public transport are vital for this city’s development and as candidate I would defend both.

Bringing back the Congestion Charge to the Western Extension Zone is one way we can reverse the recent fare rises.

First-time buyers are priced out of the market. Meanwhile, one in ten households are stuck on housing waiting lists.

We have to pressure local authorities to use their powers to bring empty homes back into use.

We have to set out a programme to refit homes to reduce carbon emissions, reduce heating bills and reduce unemployment.

With 15 years experience running small businesses, I want to take our message to this vital sector, talk their language and explain why our party is their natural choice.

I was recently an International Coordinator for the Party, serving on the National Executive. I am a communicator on behalf of the party at rallies, meetings and in the media.

I am currently leading a working group on ethnic minorities. We can no longer ignore the one in three Londoners who are of foreign origin.

I stood as Parliamentary candidate in Tower Hamlets and took the party into communities where we had been largely absent. This was done via ethnic TV, radio, newspapers, social media, stalls, meetings, networking and door-to-door conversations

We must engage with ethnic minorities who find our beliefs, ideas and policies are most in line with them – if only we would talk to them.

This is the strategic objective we must set ourselves.

By recruiting more ethnic minorities we will boost our electoral chances.

The Greens must reflect the city in gender, ethnicity and sexuality if its people are going to vote for us.

Regularly voting Green, I joined the Party after spending a few years in Bangladesh. There, I saw the devastating impact of floods and climate change and its connection to poverty and social injustice. I campaigned against India and China's mega-dam building projects, for the economic rights of female garments workers and for rickshaw pullers. I set up a Renewable Energy Association to promote solar power, a sector which has now taken off.

On my return, I joined the Green Party because for me it is the only one which has a coherent ideology to transform society in both rich and poor countries, for men & women, for young & the elderly.

Half-Basque, half-Bengali, born in Hackney, I was brought up in London. Married, I have a 9 year old daughter & live in West London.

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