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Ten Questions For Election Candidates

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Dear candidates we are impressed that you are standing in the general election but need convincing that you have answers for some of the big issues facing us. Ten of our volunteer Citizen TV makers have posed key questions in this short video. We would be thrilled to read your answers below this video and the thousands who watch our videos across the web may then take voting for you seriously.

Related topics: Debates

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Joe Cooke said:

What a brilliant set of questions. I will be using them for political conversation locally and wish you well with this process.

Joe Cooke
Labour Parliamentary Candidate

Angela Mawle said:

Economy: Holly, We see a great future for this country in a number of sectors focused on providing necessary goods and services for the people of this country. We as Green’s believe passionately in “sustainable economics i.e. Balancing the economy to meet the needs of people whilst not irrevocably damaging the planet and its precious resources for generations to come. Key to achieving this is full exploitation of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal. There is a real opportunity for the UK to lead the way in this field drawing upon world class expertise in business and academia. This will both reduce dependency on expensive fossil fuels at home and also generate significant export revenue as we centre ourselves in the “green revolution”. We would also look to raise GDP depend on science up from 0.5% to 1% to put the UK at the forefront of safe and effective advances in science that help the people.
The Green Party remembers all too well the root cause of our ongoing financial predicament in the form of lax regulation of the banking sector leading to “casino banking” and the credit crunch. Whilst we accept, to protect peoples livelihoods, the need to bail out the banks; we are determined never again ! We also reject the current austerity regime which as you say is paying the bills of the rich and powerful of the backs of the poor and vulnerable. In order to prevent this happening again we would act to separate retail and investment banking an important reform removing the need to bail out regular savers if an investment bank loses out in the financial markets. In the longer term we propose to take the control of the money supply away from private banks and put it directly under the control of the people through a economic model called “positive money”. This is a necessary reform for a sustainable economy based on tangible economic assets rather than the accumulation of debt.

Immigration: Eunice, We live I am afraid in troublesome times. There are very real concerns faced by people up and down the land. People worry legitimately about jobs and homes from them and their families and we understand those concerns. There are those in our society who would tell us if we lock the door to our country, look to service the needs of our own and ignore those who reach out to us for help and opportunity all will be well. We in the Green Party believe differently; We believe we are enriched both economically (There is plenty of evidence that immigrants add more to the economy than they take in benefits) but also culturally creating a diverse and vibrant community to the benefit of us all.
This is particularly true in a maritime city like Southampton which has benefited from strong Sikh and Eastern European communities both of whom have added considerably to life in the city over recent years. Fundamentally I believe in judging a person not by the colour of their skin or their country of birth but rather by their strength of character and the contribution they make to society.

Immigration: Michael, First may I congratulate you on your great choice of coming to join our community from across the Atlantic. We as Green’s reject utterly the philosophy you highlight as sadly adopted to various degrees by the other parties.
It is a century’s old-tactic to label the outsider, the “other” as the cause of the problems that affect nations. We in The Green Party do not support this type-of thinking. We understand the economic problems in this country were caused by an out-of-control banking system and the complicit political class, not those in our local communities who are now being asked to bear the burden of austerity in a failed attempt to address it. The only way we will progress as a country is to embrace the talents and skills of all within our community to work hard for fair wages and build a sustainable economy delivering for the common good.

Ukraine: Merja, It is quite clear there has been an obscene amount of meddling in Ukraine, by all sides, stretching back further than the events this past year. This constant use of smaller nations to conduct proxy foreign policy and now wars, based upon the geo-political aims of the leaders of the large nations, has to stop. I’ll challenge the moral grandstanding by holding all sides to account that are promoting and supporting this violent situation that is hurting the people of Ukraine.

ISIS: Mahdi, The causes of the rise of ISIS in the middle east are complex and relate both to failed interventions by the west over a number of generations into the complex and tribal politics of region. The atrocities conducted in the name of the Prophet have been rightfully and forcefully condemned by Islamic scholars and religious leaders across the world. The sight on our screen’s of young men burnt alive, of men thrown from rooftops for simply being true to their sexual orientation rightly shock all right thinking people.
The people who chose to go off and fight for this cause weren’t born this way. There is nothing inherent in a religion followed by over 2 billion people across the world that leads to this state of affairs. In order to combat the allure of traveling to fight alongside ISIS I would suggest three things are necessary.
First, I think it incredibly unhelpful that all too often the entire Muslim community is marginalized and demonized in the media and by certain elements of our political leadership. We need to pull together as a community Christian or Muslim, of any faith or of none. We need all of our community but especially our young people to feel they have a a genuine stake in our society and a place to feel comfortable within it. We need everyone to feel they have a chance at a job and a home and to raise a family in the way chose and in accordance with their beliefs and values.
Second we need I feel to look to our foreign policy. All too often we neglect to consider the very real hurt and horror felt by many at the impact of our foreign policy and military activity on those with whom many feel cultural and religious bonds of solidarity,
Lastly I think we need to take on the hate preachers head on. We have tried to ban them and suppress their message. In the age of digital media and ready access to content on the internet I don’t believe this approach will work. Freedom of speech is an incredibly precious right and powerful tool. We need to be big and bold and tackle head on the messages being preached and tackle the concerns raised with positive messages of our own.
More Homes: Toby, We would look to work with local communities to improve the housing stock throughout the country. The Green Party has committed to a policy of building 500,000 more homes to be used by local councils for social housing by 2020. No other party has committed to this amount that we need to see that people have a place they can call home, whether they own the property or not.

Scotland: Vicky, I also do not believe there are major differences between the peoples of our United Kingdom. There are however differences at the political level as highlighted in the leaders debates. We in The Green Party supported the Yes campaign in Scotland as we believed independence in Scotland would have a positive effect on the people of Scotland as well as opening up a future devolution of power in England and Wales so that people have more of a say on issues that affect them at a local level. We do not believe these devolution of powers would break-up the relationship between the peoples of the Isles, but in fact strengthen them through enhanced democratic values. We as a party believe power should reside as close to the people as possible given the need on occasion to act collectively.

Faith schools: Jessica, We are all in many ways the product I believe of our parents but retain the ability to rise beyond that which we gain from our upbringing to become unique individuals and to flourish independent in thought and in action. We as a Green Party believe that schools must have independence from any specific religious doctrine and hence free to teach about all religions in an even handed and objective manner. It is for this reason we will seek to remove funding for faith schools as part of the state school system.

Free Speech: Anthony, Freedom of speech and expression is a precious privilege that we enjoy in this country whilst all too often it is unavailable to those who live in less liberal societies. We sacrifice this liberty at our peril hard earned as it has been over the centuries. We face real challenges to these freedoms from our own government who often with the best of motives have been restricting these rights in the name of national security. We in the Green Party believe those who preach terror and intolerance are best dealt with not by gagging them but by exposing their ideas to the harsh light of criticism and debate. There is a more troublesome element to the “fetters” to which you referred however. The law is increasingly being used to prevent legitimate protest and to restrict legitimate criticism of the powerful people and corporations with money and influence. This is unacceptable in a democratic society and the Green Party is pledged to ensure that the police and other law enforcement agencies are tasked to facilitate protests and not to shut them down.

Western Intervention: Becky, Western intervention in the Middle East has been a disaster, for the people of the region. The invasion Of Iraq was an utter disgrace and the subsequent savage occupation opened up the country to extremists from all sides. Those who try and claim this intervention did not help fuel the growth of terrorism in the region and in the west should be laughed out of the room. As a country we need to work within the auspices of the UN, to help bring about a peaceful solution to a wide array of complicated conflicts. This means also using our armed forces to help with UN peacekeeping missions.

Angela Mawle
PPC, Green Party, Southampton Test Constituency

Adrian Windisch said:

Economy: Hi Holly I would grow the Green sector, renewable energy, insulating millions of homes, building lots of good quality social homes. I would redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor for a fairer society, as the book “spirit level” recommends.

Immigration: Hi Eunice, immigrants are people, not just numbers. Other parties have raced to the gutter on this issue, the Green Party is different. I wouldn’t say we should have an open door though, we have managed over decades control of our borders. I doubt anyone would want too many people with criminal records for example. This country is full of good examples of immigrants contributing to society, I work in the construction sector which has plenty.

Immigration: Hi Michael the Greens are the only party that welcome immigrants, the others have raced to the gutter. I think you are referring to immigrants not here legally being put in prison. That is excessive, and harmful for their children. We would have an amnesty after they have been here 5 years. In the USA they call such immigrants aliens for some reason and they have a bigger problem with this than we do I think.

Ukraine: Hi Merja, Putin has behaved very aggressively over this and other issues, closing his gas pipeline, putting his troops in the Ukraine in disguise and lying about it. I believe in democracy, people’s right to self determination.
ISIS: Engaging with people can create peace, look at Northern Ireland or South Africa. Aggressive stances might look good to some but they rarely solve a problem. An investigation into the underlying issues might help us all understand the reasons behind the conflict and do something constructive.

More Homes: We do need to build many more homes, I like the idea of those who can doing it for themselves. So I would stop the big house builders hogging all the available land to maximise their profits. We can use empty homes, why not convert offices that have been empty for years. Charge people more for having a second home to discourage it. But don’t build on green belt of flood prone areas.

Scotland: All people around the world have the same basic needs and concerns, but if they vote to be separate that is their right. We can and should all still be close allies. Look at other countries that have separated from us in the past.

Faith schools: Hi Jessica, Some faith schools use teachers that aren’t trained properly. I don’t expect parents or children to check qualifications. I want the local authority to ensure every school is a good school and teaches to a good standard.

Free Speech: Hi Anthony. I think we can say what we like as long as it’s not really offensive. I’ve been blogging and on on social media for many years, no one has stopped me saying what I think. But there are extremists calling for harm to people eg homophobia or racism.

Western Intervention: Hi Becky. I think we are all still aware of the many mistakes that were made, the shadow cast by Iraq is still with us. Sadly some governments use their military to make them more popular at home. Talking is better at achieving a peaceful outcome.

Adrian Windisch
Green Party Candidate Wokingham

Jonathan Tyler said:

Economy: We have to end conventional consumerist growth on a finite planet, so we need to promote investment in local production for real needs (especially food, good housing, short-distance transport and repair and re-use), using less energy and fewer resources. On the second point the Green Party would not implement QI – if money has to be created it should be given (on a graduated basis) straight to people to spend.

Immigration: I broadly agree with you, although I think there are some circumstances where some controls have to be exercised. We must start to address the fact that a human population that is living beyond the limits of the planet must either cut back its numbers or its consumption or both – and tackle the gross inequalities in our world.

Immigration 2: I agree with your criticisms of what some are saying. The Green Party distances itself from these views. See also above.
Ukraine: Everything I can. I agree with your analysis, and in particular about western ignorance of Russian attitudes.

ISIS: Everything I can, including ending the demonisation of Muslims by rabidly biassed newspapers. We have to rebuild our democracy and achieve a much stronger sense of involvement in its everyday working.

More Homes: I agree with the need for more homes, but I would oppose unrestricted building. We must return to a planning system that protects the environment, respects everyone’s interests and makes sure that there is a proper balance between homes and infrastructure. We must not, for example, inadvertently encourage car-commuting. We must instead build to higher densities in our towns and cities, because that is the way to ensure good communal services and efficient public transport (on which the vital reduction of carbon emissions depends).

Scotland: Work to prevent it – though ultimately if enough people want it they must be allowed it. One thing we must do immediately is to hold a Constitutional Convention (with wide democratic participation) to work out a comprehensive modernisation of our governance, including electoral reform and perhaps a new federal scheme for the British Isles.

Faith schools: This is a difficult issue. I do worry about indoctrination and separatism, but then a good faith school will encourage children to think for themselves as they grow up and thus enable them to make their own choices as adults (that’s what happened to me).

Free Speech: In principle I am in favour of an unfettered press, but that privilege has to be used responsibly – and that includes not causing gratuitous offence. I am actually more worried by foreign and near-monopolistic ownership and the way in which it is used to distort evidence and manipulate opinion. I want action taken to promote a more honest, more varied press in Britain. Democracy deserves something better than Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere.

Western Intervention: I agree with your critique and am among those who do try to speak out.

Jonathan Tyler
Green Party candidate for the York Central constituency

Peter Wood said:

Economy: Holly, Despite Quantitive Easing (QE), being such a major issue and a time-bomb waiting to go off for people with pensions in the future, I am surprised it has barely been touched upon in this election. I also agree it is a re-distribution of wealth by default if not by design.
My big concern with this kind of subject is the failure of media, (who know all about it) and other politicians raising it, (either as they don’t understand it or), more likely because of the short-term fix mentality that purveys our political (and businesses), these days. The fast buck, think here and now culture.
In my local area, (Blackpool South), we have an economy in tatters, for a number of reasons, (sadly local politics is part of this). We have an opportunity of Enterprise Zones, (It allows us to reduce the burdens on business, particularly planning and tax incentives. The ripple effect of over 6000 high-skilled and high-paid jobs creation should benefit the whole area, it has the potential of over £1bn per annum boost to the economy). But something’s wrong, its already in crisis and branded ‘the worst in the country’ by government ministers, who said it was the only one of 24 in England to have attracted no new businesses or produced any new jobs. The failure was put down to ‘politics’. A good MP should drive, drag and cojole people to the table to make this happen.
In Blackpool, there are other examples of failure of local politicians directly impacting Blackpool, such as 14 Lancashire authorities pushing ahead to create a COMBINED AUTHORITY, which would effectively give a ‘devolution deal’ to Lancashire ensuring more powers over how money is shared, invested and spent. Rather like the investment in Manchester. Yet it seems that Blackpool is one of the areas procrastinating.
I know that in this area we have excellent education with schools, and Blackpool and Fylde College; We have businesses that seem disparate, HP, BAE, Westinghouse and AXA but we have the highly qualified skilled people that bring crossover. Every day time is letting this opportunity to slip away. Again I believe a decent MP should be driving this.
Finally we have been unfortunately penalised by the austerity cuts and the lack of access to site for development, which excludes us from the New Homes Bonus, (due to off-set austerity). A good MP should be taking the case for an alternative to the dramatic cuts to Westminster.

Immigration: Eunice, In an ideal world what you say is correct, sadly economics and the ability to feed, medicate, purchase, sell and create that potential for people, involves money. We cannot get away from that, (just as it is with a household budget). Without controlling, we have no understanding what we want, what we need and how we are performing with regards to our welfare of the people living here.
Your concept of open borders is not what we have anyway, we have an open border with some countries, namely in Europe, so technically we discriminate against people from India, Australia, Zambia, China etc.
I believe, (as does my party), that the discrimination needs to end, in that we should have immigration open to any nationality in the world and the ‘discrimination’ is based upon our needs as a nation, so we need more doctors, electrician, welders, then we would focus on allowing those people in until such time as the need is addressed. Another aspect of attempting to achieve the potential of all people is to open up borders for trade. At the moment, we have a system that means a country such as Tanzania or somewhere in the Caribbean for example are unfairly penalised when trying to import into Britain, because of EU regulation.
It does not and should not be this way. The answers are there for us to answer many of these issues, as a nation, special interest groups are stopping this.

Immigration: Michael, In regards to your first point, yes you have a right if you are contributing. As my previous answer states sadly economics and the ability to feed, medicate, purchase, sell and create that potential for people, involves money. We cannot get away from that, (just as it is with a household budget). Without controlling, we have no understanding what we want, what we need and how we are performing with regards to our welfare of the people living here.
Your concept of open borders is not what we have anyway, we have an open border with some countries, namely in Europe, so technically we discriminate against people from India, Australia, Zambia, China etc.
I believe, (as does my party), that the discrimination needs to end, in that we should have immigration open to any nationality in the world and the ‘discrimination’ is based upon our needs as a nation, so we need more doctors, electrician, welders, then we would focus on allowing those people in until such time as the need is addressed. Another aspect of attempting to achieve the potential of all people is to open up borders for trade. At the moment, we have a system that means a country such as Tanzania or somewhere in the Caribbean for example are unfairly penalised when trying to import into Britain, because of EU regulation.
It does not and should not be this way. The answers are there for us to answer many of these issues, as a nation, special interest groups are stopping this.

Ukraine: Hi Merja, I agree with your position. At the moment and for the last 20 years or so, the British Government, (often with US support), has seen fit to impose its will and ‘right’ on a number of nations including the Ukraine. Aside from Sierra Leone, (UK), it has all been a failure and ill-judged, (I exclude intervention in Afghanistan in the ill-judged, although it was ill-planned and considered). I do not believe our political elite have the grasp of scope, history, detail or knowledge of the people to start interfering as they do. This style of ‘diplomacy’ rarely wins the argument.
We have the history of the Soviet Union and the aftermath of its collapse, where we idly stood by and gloated. We should have been magnanimous in respect to the collapse of the Soviet Union and perhaps we may not have a stubborn ‘opponent’ in Mr Putin to face this day.
We also need to consider the drivers behind EU expansionism and what it aims to achieve, as this is not clear.

ISIS: Mahdi, I like your thinking with this question because when the horror has gone, and as we become even more de-sensitised, we will need to start looking for answers. I believe we can do this now.
I also find it frustrating that whilst ISIS is new, the ‘problem’ behind people joining groups like this and then being turned around isn’t. In other words, this is not a lesson we need to learn, the answers are out there. I read a BBC article a few month ago about a formal Al Qaida member who realised his ideas and ideology was corrupt and had been corrupted. The same has happened with neo-Nazi, racists, nationalists, sectarianists. Without sounding like a daydreamer, we have a lot in common with anyone we oppose. When we sit down and start to talk, rather than continually look solely for our own ends, then we start to marginalise the evil root and it will begin to wither.
This needs bigger picture thinkers and bigger picture do-ers. I don’t suggest it will be easy but it does need to start now and it needs to be a collective.

More Homes: Hi Toby, No I don’t believe in unfettered planning. Whilst you use the example of Britain after the wars, I can think of places like India, Brazil and Africa, where we have slums outside of the big cities. We need to change our thinking about homes, possibly home ownership as we consider the bigger picture.
People can work at home more these days, we don’t have to have hubs in the main cities. Let us work with business and look at how we can attract businesses and people to other parts of the country where there are homes but no work. To me that is the seeds of a bigger picture plan.

Scotland: Hi Vicky, I agree with your points, my party is supportive of the Union, as am I but then again, if a break-up occurs, as long as it is peaceful that is fine too. I may be a little idealist but I believe in this United Kingdom we really do have a case of if you value something let it free and in our situation it will stay with us, just in a different form with bonds that could be potentially stronger for it.
A good government would govern for all of the people and if effective the questions would not rise to the fore. Scotland and Wales were neglected for too long by successive governments. This rumbling questions is a result of that.

Faith schools: Jessica, I think people should have the right to use faith schools as faith is often the cornerstone of a person existence but it is important the nation understands it’s responsibility and obligation to students and all that entails, does not stop at the door.
We need inspector and real checks and balances to ensure the schools have a balanced curriculum and are ensuring an awareness and respect for other religions, faiths, race and sexuality. (I don’t suggest promotion, just education). School is the educate and prepare an individual for the world. The world has many facets and it is fine that we don’t have to agree with them but we should be able to consider and make informed decisions.

Free Speech: Hi Anthony, In answer to your point, I completely agree with you with regards to the non-existence of a totally unfettered press. At the moment, in this country I am concerned and I oppose to undue influence over our democracy of media owners like Rupert Murdoch. We are not so far from the scandals of the press, where the stories were so shocking, audacious as to be almost incredible.
If you have a situation where senior police officers are even frightened of the implications or careers are dictated by any group or individual, outside of the democratic process, it is wrong and needs to be addressed. I do fear that all the heel-dragging by government bodies and people in power positions mean that this matter will be forgotten until the next scandal.
It is ironic that the pursuit of celebrity tittle-tattle is the one area where the press appear to be un-fettered.
I do feel ‘Joe-Public’ is capable of critical, independent engagement but at the moment, we are only able to do that based upon the information available. It needs to change. In part this is why I am keen on the social media and campaign groups such as 33 Degrees and Change.org.
People need to question those making decisions and that includes those feeding us the information.

Western Intervention: Becky, I completely agree with your point and I do not understand why we continue to do so, aside from the suspicion of self-interest for a selected few. At the moment and for the last 20 years or so, the British Government, (often with US support or vice-versa), has seen fit to impose its will and ‘right’ on a number of nations. Aside from Sierra Leone, (UK), it has all been a failure and ill-judged, (I exclude intervention in Afghanistan in the ill-judged, although it was ill-planned and considered). I do not believe our political elite have the grasp of scope, history, detail or knowledge of the people to start interfering as they do. This style of ‘diplomacy’ rarely wins the argument.
As always the real tragedy is the people involved locally, who are left with the aftermath when western interest has waned. I believe we need to re-consider our role and use our influence for another approach. By doing so, if force is ever used, it is as a last resort, effective and supported by the majority of people.

Peter Wood | UKIP
Parliamentary Candidate for Blackpool South

Andrea Cantrill said:

Economy: We would promote investment in the green economy, an already growing economy that has been largely unreported (even buried). A strong national economy requires a network of local economies built around small businesses. Economy should be at the service of people and the planet, not the other way around, everything we make and buy comes from the Earth.
The Green Party will remove the ability of banks to create money and lodge the power and responsibility of creating new money solely with the state. New money will be created when necessary by the Bank of England, as determined by the politically-independent Monetary Policy Committee, and credited to the nation for use as the Government sees fit. Removing from banks the power to create new money via lending will remove the undesirable instability of too much money being created as the economy expands and too much money being withdrawn when the economy contracts, which magnifies each boom and bust rather than smoothing the economic cycle.
Not everything that is valuable has a price tag.

Immigration: We are all people of the Earth, where we are born is a random act. People divided the planet. Government and media tell us that immigrants and benefit claimants have caused our problems. This is a lie. Banks and big business have and getting rid of immigrants won’t solve them. Immigrants have a positive impact on UK finances, the NHS relies heavily on them. If controls are needed we reject an arbitrary numerical cap on net migration.

Immigration 2: Please see my answer above. My brother left this country to work abroad and contributed to another economy, he was then made redundant and had to claim benefits in that country for a short while. Imprisonment is not the answer especially in cases where people have fled their country and abuse, only to then be abused in our system.

Ukraine: I’m afraid I don’t know the full details of this situation but I do believe in letting people sort out their own problems, we had that right, we should only intervene if absolutely necessary, by reaching out to citizens if they no longer have a voice. Sadly the media has a very loud voice and seems incapable of reporting anything positive, it loves to “bash” everything. We believe the world can be a better place, it requires us all to be given the skills to think for ourselves and work together to create real change.

ISIS: There are many people already working on this through education programmes. We believe in working with the people who are most skilled in their field and sharing good practice.

More Homes: We don’t believe in building on precious green belt any more than absolutely necessary. We believe in working with individuals and skilled people to regenerate existing stock. We have many suitable buildings lying empty and a lot of land that can be decontaminated and built on. There are many examples of communities building their own homes.

Scotland: We believe in self determination. It should be the democratic right of people to choose their own future.

Faith schools: the Green Party believes all education should be under the local authority system. Personally I think religious education should be taught at home or Sunday schools at an age when children can think for themselves, as a mother of a child in a church school (it is our closest school) I have seen how easily a young mind can be influenced, I also went to a church school myself, which put me off religion and it took a long time for me to find my own belief system.

Free Speech: I think everybody has a right to say what they want. Everyday we are fed messages from advertising, for example, telling us how we should live but what we really need is the skills to think clearly and calmly and for ourselves.

Western Intervention: I agree, my grandad fought over there and it was going on well before then. We know there is often an ulterior reason for attacking another country, be it oil or minerals, this is what needs to be addressed, giving countries a chance to trade fairly and freely, creating more equality.

Andrea Cantrill, Green Party PPC for Wolverhampton South West

Stephen Worrall said:

Stephen Worrall
Liberal Democrat PPC – High Peak
1) We need to focus on promoting productivity and growth in sectors that the UK has an opportunity to lead the world in and at the same will benefit not only us here in the UK but the world as a whole. Liberal Democrats are committed to prioritising Green Industry and jobs. We would incentivise development in this sector by targeting zero net carbon emission in the UK by 2050, realise the full potential of the Green Investment Bank and the Natural Capital Committee, increasing the proportion of tax revenue from green taxes as well as the level of green criteria in public procurement. We would specifically target research and development into four specific low carbon technologies; tidal power, carbon capture and storage, energy storage and ultra-low emission vehicles.
With regards to Quantitative Easing, I was not aware that it amounted to wealth redistribution to the those at the top. If that is the case then it needs to be looked at again.
2) I absolutely feel that immigrants should be allowed to be here and that they are not the reason for recession or unemployment. I feel a country has a right to control movement of people in and out of its borders, but imprisoning people trying to enter the country is not the way to enact that control and it is not acceptable for political parties to blame immigrants for problems with other causes.

3) I am ok with the presence of UK military advisers in Ukraine but would not want to see any “mission creep”. Ideally I would like the UK not to be intervening at all but it would be unfair in my mind to many Ukrainians if we were to sit by and just let Russia interfere unopposed in another country as they have been doing. I absolutely believe in the right of Ukrainians to decide their own political fate in a democratic way, if we simply let Russia intervene unopposed then I doubt very much that Ukrainians will be allowed that democratic right. Finally I don’t feel we are engaged in grandstanding or “bashing” against Russia but specifically against Putin’s regime, I oppose targeting Russia like this but I do not oppose targeting the Putin regime.

4) I absolutely believe that everyone is equal and that there should be freedom of movement, but at the same time countries must have some right to control their borders. Balancing these two issues is a challenge.

5) As an atheist I am a uncomfortable with children being taught solely on the basis of their parents religious beliefs, or indeed their beliefs on any issue. Whether this prevents them from making their own minds up I am not sure…but I feel that all children should receive those most balanced and impartial education possible.

6) I believe that the UK should remain together but with devolution of power to all regions to give local people in all areas more say and control over what happens in their areas.

7) To show the superiority of pro human and pro-democratic ideals, to those championed by IS, we need to intervene from an early age. Schools I think have an incredibly important role to play in teaching children tolerance and understanding of others and their views and beliefs. Children educated in such a way will grow up to be adults who believe in such things.

8) I am very torn on issues of humanitarian interventions. We have many examples of where intervening has caused problems i.e Iraq, but we also have many examples of where not intervening caused problems i.e. Rwanda. I believe that intervention on humanitarian grounds is something we should do, but we need to figure out how to do it in such a way so as to minimise the risk of negative outcomes.

9) Devolution of power to local areas is something that I and my party absolutely believe in and this includes devolution of planning and development decisions.

10) I absolutely believe that our press should be free, a true democracy cannot exist without it. The behaviour of some elements of our press is however also a cause for great concern, many are the cases where a person is named and shamed in the press and basically “confirmed as guilty” only to be shown to be completely innocent. The press in those scenarios if they publish an apology at all do not do so with anywhere near the fan fair that they ran the initial stories with. We need a free press, but that press has to be more responsible than it is now.

Jonathan Clatworthy said:

Economic productivity and quantitative easing
The UK is already producing and consuming far more than anybody needs, and destroying the environment in the process. Why? Because of a widespread superstition that economic growth improves quality of life. In fact it only increases profits for the ultra-rich and recently it has been driving ever larger numbers to depending on food banks. Instead we need to concentrate on making sure everybody’s needs are met. Redistributing wealth from rich to poor is essential. Quantitative easing can be used to do this, but there are other ways.
Immigration and blaming immigrants
Many British people have been misled into thinking their poor quality of life is caused by immigrants either taking their jobs or coming here to receive benefits. This deceit is deliberate scapegoating: governments distract attention from their own failings by blaming powerless people who cannot defend themselves effectively.
Intervention in Ukraine
What is happening in Ukraine (and also Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan) is superpower geopolitics. That part of the world used to be in the USSR’s sphere of influence. Russia is no longer able to maintain its influence. It would be good to let the people choose their own lifestyles and governments, but sadly the USA is determined to move in and the UK supports it.
Unlike the UK, which has (mostly) a sea defining its borders, Ukraine has borders established by one war after another, and there is no internationally agreed system for deciding where, say, the eastern border of Ukraine should be. If eastern Ukrainians would rather be in Russia it is not self-evident that this is just expansionism by Putin.
Judging from the British media, the only country where there is popular enthusiasm for being in the EU seems to be Ukraine. I smell a rat.
Freedom of movement or discrimination on place of birth
Everybody needs somewhere to live and something to eat and drink. Increasing numbers do not have this. Why? There are two main reasons: climate change and wars. In both cases Britain is one of the worst countries in the world for making the situation worse. So my top priority would be to ensure that everybody’s needs are met without damaging the environment.
It would be good to eliminate discrimination based on place of birth, but we’d need international agreement. Sadly the trend has been the other way, towards nation states defined by ethnic identity.
Faith schools
Children, like adults, have a wide variety of personalities. Some tend to accept the ideas given to them by adults. Others have greater critical skills.
Some people oppose faith schools on the ground that religious faith is essentially uncritical and dogma-based. As a Church of England priest I have much experience of faith schools offering constructive and critical education about different spiritual traditions.
The unity of the UK
I think small countries are usually better governed but larger countries win wars. Whenever there is a prospect of a smaller entity breaking away from a larger one, the government of the larger one nearly always resists it. This is usually because politicians are too fond of power. I think Scotland should decide for itself whether to be independent. I hope it does because I would also like independence for North England, which has very different needs from South-East England but is governed by people with a South-East mindset.
Young people fighting for ISIS
How to convince them of the superior values of Britain? By having superior values. I think IS are utterly barbaric, I am appalled by what they do, but I also think the desire of some young British people to fight for them is partly caused by British military interventions and a British culture that looks down on the Middle East.
I am half Welsh and half Greek. The more I hear the Greeks unjustly demonised by the British press, the more I want to defend Greece. In the same way, when the British press and the Government talk as though we are inherently superior to Syria and Iraq and we know how to solve their problems, people who live in Britain but have a background in Syria or Iraq are going to feel sympathetic to the forces resisting western values.
International humanitarian interventions
They do indeed sometimes prove disastrous, and it is the disastrous ones that make the news.
I think a rich country like ours should be prepared to help other countries. Unfortunately the kind of help given is usually calculated to help the UK, or its government, rather than being just about offering help.
Planning laws and the need for homes
Planning laws are essential. Abolishing them would mean the biggest developers making fat profits by building poor standard housing wherever they wanted. Green space needs protecting.
We need lots more homes, but many houses are currently empty. A land tax could discourage people from owning empty houses which could be somebody else’s home. Builders find it cheaper to build on green spaces than on brownfield sites, but brownfield sites should be preferred.
The press and restrictions on causing offence
Is the public capable of critical engagement with offensive published statements? We vary in our critical skills. Some people can cope with being called rats or cockroaches because of their ethnic origin or disability. Others cannot. Others again are easily led by hate rhetoric to despise, and perhaps attack, innocent people. As long as this is the case we need restrictions, to avoid greater harm.
What disappoints me most is how the overwhelming majority of the press is owned by a tiny number of people who are determined to influence public opinion in favour of policies to suit the ultra-rich. They in turn set the agenda, and the position of political ‘balance’, in television and radio. Democracy does not work unless the voters have easy access to reliable information about the whole range of policies, and can easily distinguish it from unreliable or misleading information. At present this is not available in the UK.

Jonathan Clatworthy, Green Party candidate for Liverpool Walton

Paula Keaveney said:

Hello. I am Paula Keaveney the Lib Dem Candidate in Sefton Central It’s good to have such a range of questions. Do feel free to contact me directly with other queries.

1. Holly’s question (s)
Key for me is investment in “green business”. There’s considerable scope here both in terms of energy generation and things like making sure our buildings use less energy. We have a Green Investment Bank now, which was a Lib Dem achievement and we want to see that expanded. I also think we need to do more to support creative industries as these have the potential to provide more skilled jobs and also to do well in the export market.

QE is a mechanism to boost the economy rather than a distribution attempt. I wouldn’t expect to see it needed much more as the economy becomes more healthy.

Michael’s question

I don’t have a problem with people from other countries coming here. In fact we should welcome them. Many Universities now depend on overseas students who bring welcome diversity. Some people flee persecution to come here and seek asylum. I am appalled at the way they are often demonised in the press. (I have worked for a Refugee charity in the past). Lib Dems have worked to end detention for children and are determined to go further to make things fairer for those seeking asylum.

Merja’s question

I’m afraid I don’t feel I know enough about this subject to answer well.

Eunice’s question

Open borders would cause too much of a problem. However that doesn’t mean we shouldnt welcome people who can bring their skills and enthusiasm to our country. It also doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t offer a haven to asylum seekers.

Jessica’s question

Education fails when it does not develop children’s capacity to think independently. One of my teachers used to say that the only two things you needed to learn were how to think for yourself and how to find things out. I don’t think faith based schools prevent independent thought but I do think that all schools need to make sure they are promoting this and not just becoming exam factories.

Vicky’s question

I hope the UK does not break up but if the Scottish people demonstrate that that really is their wish then I think they should be allowed to become independent. To date this has not been demonstrated.

Mahdi’s question

I suspect a lot of this is because we all have times in our lives when we are looking for clear cut answers to things and the ISIS message is sadly a clear cut message. We can make values like democracy clear cut too and its time we were more robust about this.

Rebecca’s question

Some intervention can help but I think the West has been too quick to intervene in many cases and that the UN needs to always have an involvement. Iraq was clearly a massive disaster.

Toby’s question

The problem with planning at the moment is that often local communities feel they don’t have enough power to determine what goes on in their area. Sadly relaxing the rules would remove even that power they have and would hand more power to massive commercial concerns. That’s not to say that we don’t need to build more houses but there are ways of doing this that don’t disempower communities.

Anthony’s question

Well I used to be a journalist so I would like to see a more free press (as long as various rights were respected like my right not to have my phone hacked). However this would mean we would all need to be prepared to be offended and frankly looking at Twitter (for example) it seems to me people react pretty badly to any comment they may disagree with. The media market at the moment does not really represent a wide range of views. If we want to see more variety we need to be prepared to give newer publications (for example) a try.

Clive K Semmens said:

Hi Holly. We want to invest in renewable energy infrastructure, public transport, and social housing especially. And it’s not quite all parties who’ve failed to oppose quantitative easing – the Green Party opposed it. I agree absolutely that it’s a wealth redistribution measure in the wrong direction, and we’ll continue to oppose it, however many or few Green MPs there are.

Hi Eunice. I believe exactly those same things, and I am indeed prepared to stand up for freedom of movement for all.

Hi Michael. Yes, I do believe you should have the right to be here. I agree with you that the problems are caused by the government (and their corporate puppet masters).

Hi Merja. I do not support this intervention and agree with you on all points. The idea of “Western” powers moral grandstanding is vomit-inducing and I’ll do all in my power to challenge it.

Hi Mahdi. Fortunately the number, while not trivial, is not really large – just as terrorism is more a media construct than a really significant threat to anyone. The only effective thing we can do without doing more harm than good is to put our own house in order: stop engaging in military adventures, oppose the military adventurism of the USA, oppose the appalling behaviour of Israel, provide sanctuary for refugees instead of demonizing them, and work towards giving everybody in this country the respect they deserve.

Rethink planning laws? Yes, but not abandon completely the principle of planning control and regulation of building quality standards. I’m particularly in favour of giving local authorities more financial autonomy in construction of social housing, and giving self-builders and self-build co-operatives more support – but we need tight control on the construction of estates of large privately owned properties sprawling over former farmland, and we need to ensure that new construction provides safe, convenient routes for cyclists, walkers, public transport and emergency vehicles.

Hi Vicky. I think that we need more devolution of powers from central government to regional and local authorities – decisions should be taken at an appropriate level according to the area affected by the particular issue in question. That still leaves many issues that are relevant to the whole UK, so I’m opposed to the break-up of the UK, and will argue that case in the event of any referendum. But of course I respect the democratic rights of people should they decide on secession from the UK.

Hi Jessica. I wouldn’t put it in quite such black-and-white terms. Some children will make up their own minds regardless; others are very easily led. Some faith schools bend over backwards to allow children the freedom to think their own thoughts; others are very doctrinarian. It’s a fine line indeed to tread between interfering with parental rights and a duty to protect society from extremism – it needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis, which of course inevitably means there will be errors of judgement, potentially in either or both directions. Such is life.

Hi Anthony. We do indeed not enjoy a totally unfettered press. In some respects it’s too fettered, but in others it’s insufficiently fettered. I’ll challenge the fetters that I think are unjust and unnecessary, but I feel strongly about the right to privacy of ordinary citizens, and I’d like to do more to prevent the propagation of deliberate untruths. Again, this is a fine line to tread, and there will always be a few errors of judgement in either direction.

Hi Becky. I agree. Why indeed? But it’s not quite true that no-one addresses this: our one Green MP, Caroline Lucas, has consistently opposed interventionism – and there have been an honourable few individual MPs of other parties doing so too. Not enough of them, unfortunately.

Clive K Semmens
Green Party parliamentary candidate for S.E. Cambridgeshire

Vicky Duckworth said:

Hi, I’m Vicky Duckworth, Dudley South’s Green Party candidate.

Holly
I would like to see investment in energy efficient, social housing and in making older houses more energy efficient. I’d like to see investment in technology that can reduce our carbon emissions such as smart meters and electric vehicles. I’d like to see investment in renewable energy production, especially that owned by individuals, community groups and cooperatives. However, I don’t want to see a continuation of the pursuit towards ever more growth, which I don’t believe is sustainable with our finite resources.
The quantitative easing we have seen take place has put money into the hands of the people that caused the financial crisis. I’m not against quantitative easing but think the money should be given directly to people to spend in the local economy.

Michael
I believe you have the right to be here. I believe in the freedom of movement and am sickened by the poisonous rhetoric against people who have come to this country. It divides communities and distracts attention away from the people whose decisions have lead to the banking crisis and lack of decent affordable housing, school places and the driving down of wages.

Merja
I would like to see an investment in our Foreign Office and an increase in real diplomacy and support over intervention. I’m ashamed that many of the weapons, or parts for weapons used in atrocities around the world are manufactured for profit in the UK. Through an investment in diplomacy and international relations I want to see a focus on peace which would lessen the need for defence. I’m in favour of people in countries deciding their own fate.

Eunice; I believe in freedom of movement. In the long term, the Green Party want to mitigate against factors that push people to leave their homes, family, language and culture to travel to another country. As these factors are dealt with, we would relax our border controls so that those who want to travel to the UK can do so. I want to move away from our society talking about people as immigrants, homes as financial investments and children as levels in tests. We need to reconnect as communities and human beings.

Jessica
I am in favour of religious education covering all major religions in schools. I’m also happy for children to be taught more about any one religion outside of school. I think good quality community schools should be available to all children and would want to see state funding for faith schools gradually phased out, and academies and free schools brought back into local authority control.

Vicky
As I said in my answer to Merja, I’m in favour of people deciding their own fate. This is more achievable with decisions that affect local areas and regions being made at local and regional level so I would like to see greater democracy through more localised government. People will still have neighbouring localities, regions and countries that they have things in common with, but they will also have a say on issues they do not have in common with their neighbours.

Mahdi
There are a great many complex factors that have driven people to fight for IS. However, I’d like to see a promotion of greater inclusiveness and community cohesion here in the UK. I’d like to see people engaging with democracy so they make a difference and feel their opinion and actions count and are valued. I’d do this through introducing local referenda, greater accountability of elected representatives through a recall mechanism and greater education about politics and life skills in schools.

Becky
I’d like to see an investment in our Foreign Office and diplomacy with a focus on peace so that ‘proactive defence’ wasn’t necessary. I’d also like to see an investment in our renewable energy capability here in the UK so that reliance on foreign energy was taken out of the equation.

Toby
A Green Party government would create 500,000 new social homes by 2020. We would want small and medium sized firms to play a major part in this and use brownfield sites wherever possible. With so many long term empty homes, I’d like to see the process of compulsory purchase simplified so these houses could be used as homes.

Anthony
The Green Party is in favour of a greater range of media outlets and supports more small and medium sized outlets as opposed to a few very large media bodies owned by a few very powerful people. I also think we need to ensure that reporting is based on facts.

Cllr Ricky Knight said:

Hi – I am the Green Party candidate for North Devon.

1. Holly: the main point I would make about GP policies on economic development is that we need to re-set our focus on the concept of growth and embrace instead the concept of zero-growth – our planet is finite and we are using up our irreplaceable resources fast. Our investments should be into ensuring secure job opportunities with a guaranteed minimum wage and high standards in the work environment. Our main thrust initially would be in the field of renewable energy, home insulation and high BREEAM standards of environmentally friendly construction; also in the field of transport, taking the emphasis off road building and placing it instead upon public transport (incl trams) and the electrification of railways (and cars) etc. As for QE, it is not true to say all parties went for it – the Green party was flabbergasted that this Government so willingly entered into a deal with the Banks to print electronic money, which just underwrote their casino activities – leaving every UK citizen £25,000 (more) in debt. This disgraceful move is an i.o.u. to future generations, just as student loans are. Shameful. And economically illiterate.

2. Michael: well said – to me, every individual, every community, every nation benefits from the interchange of its citizens. What hypocrisy for the UK to pull up the drawbridge to protect its perception of national identity, when the British Empire hardly waited for an invitation or a language test before bulldozing its way into other lands, decimating the native population in the process. Our society would probably collapse without the energetic, youthful vigour of migrants into this country; the NHS, care facilities, hospitality and coffee culture (!) certainly would. You (Michael!) are MORE than welcome into the UK, from the Green Party’s point of view. This whole ‘immigration’ debate sickens me. It’s more like a ‘Dialogue of the Deaf’ than a debate, of course.

3. Miriam: the EU (& UK) response to the awful situation in Ukraine and the Maidan massacre has been extremely irresponsible, short sighted and strategically flawed. Much the same as with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. We reap what we sewed all those years ago, when those arbitrary ‘lines in the sand’ were drawn. It is only logical that Putin would have wanted to a) secure his Crimean fleet and b) represent the (perceived) preferences of the Russian-speaking inhabitants in Ukraine. The US has always done the same in its ‘back-yard’ and the British as well, as with the Malvinas (but not Hong Kong, unsurprisingly!). No, the Green Party and the EGP in the European Parliament did not and do not support the EU actions towards the situation in Ukraine, nor is it at all surprised that the attempts to marginalize and demonize Putin (‘Russia-bashing’ as you term it, Miriam) has back-fired.

4. Yunis – please see part of my response to Michael (2 above). To me, to the Green Party and to the EU I’m glad to say, ‘freedom of movement’ of its citizens across its borders is sacrosanct. I wish it were easier for other nationalities to come over here, just as British citizens exercise their right to roam the planet freely. Of course there are problems with integration, with the provision of services , with employment and housing etc but the only future worth envisaging has to be a Global Village of interacting, ethnically diverse citizens united in the Common Good of Humanity.

5. Jessica: as a retired teacher, I do not support the concept of Faith Schools (or Free Schools, or the ‘academisation’ and increasing privatization of schools for that matter, either) and consider that organised religion should play no part in the formal school curriculum. However I most certainly concur that young people are completely able to make their own minds up with regard their own faith (or lack of). The very idea that parents can indoctrinate their children nowadays is so rare as to be almost irrelevant. Influence and guide yes, but not brainwash.

6. Vicky – interesting! The Green Party’s basic tenet is the devolution of power to the locality. As such, we support devolution itself, not just for Scotland, Ireland and Wales but for Cornwall as well! However, we do not consider that this would mean the ‘break up’ of the homogeneity of the UK and of the historic ties that have bound us together for centuries. On the contrary, this could be one example of how we could become stronger separately. The ‘Midlothian Question’ however remains unanswered!

7. Michael: ISIS is the proof of the Green Party assertion from over a decade ago that the so-called War on Terror would have the opposite effect. Far from lessening the fear and the threat of extremism and acts of violence, the result has been an increase in identification with violet jihad against the perpetrators of violence against Islam. We have fanned the flames of internecine rivalry in the Middle East and have armed the different factions to the teeth at vast expense (and profit) to ensure the cycle of horror is perpetuated. The Arab Spring was a flowering of common humanitarian aspirations amongst people desperate to be ‘free’ (in all its senses). It has stalled – but it will not go away – the liberation of the spirit is a fundamental inevitability in human consciousness.

8. Becky: as intimated in a couple of answers above, humanitarian intervention can be a positive expression of well-meaning concern but as with so many imperialistic adventures over the centuries, particularly recently in Iraq, the unintended consequences have been disastrous, simply because no thought seems to ever be given to the aftermath, other than which corporations can benefit the most from the allocation of funding for the re-building of shattered infrastructure. The most obvious missing ingredient is always: what to do about shattered lives.

9. Toby: how to square the dilemma of the need for millions of new homes when so many communities are so opposed to ever-increasing planning applications in their back-yard. Meanwhile there are nearly a million empty homes and as many 2nd homes. The price of land is a disgrace – the Green Party’s answer to this gross inequality is to impose a wealth tax and a land-tax. We also need to ensure that local authorities can raise the cash needed to invest in and build new Council Houses and that people should not just have the ‘right to buy’ but the right to rent at affordable and fair rents. At the moment, landlords are minting it whereas renters are spending up to 40% of their earnings just on rent. However, I infer that you (Toby) consider that planning laws should be changed to enable new build to happen on green-field sites – I may be wrong; but the Green party is opposed to that – there are more than enough brown field sites awaiting development.

10. Anthony: ‘I am Spartacus’! Well, every thinking person will have been decimated by the senseless murders of the cartoonists associated with denigrating Islam. An own goal by the terrorists, despite all the crocodile tears of the dignitaries that muscled in on the photos, to display their grief (not to mention the Right making the best of it). You allude to media monopolies – I am seriously concerned about the power of the media to manipulate, cherry-pick and to coerce. However, in this instance I stand fast to the concept of free speech – I think the Pope got it wrong on this one. The Koran and Islam are easily strong enough to rebut the intellectual criticism of people like Rushdie or the satire from Charlie Hebdo. The christian faith has survived the internal dissent from Luther and the irreverence of Monty Python.

Magnus Nielsen said:

On the Economy: I believe we should cherish the business start ups in Information Technology, the technology which has done so much to add value to the world economy over the past 60 years.

On ‘Open Borders': No, I do not believe that we should open our doors to indiscriminate immigration (and certainly not on the mass scale that we have now). It would be better to invest in the countries which are sending immigrants so that they do not have to come here in the first place.

On Immigration (2): I do not know all the personal circumstances of the questioner so I can’t find any reason to say that they should not be in the UK. I just hope they are obeying our law and not acting as a drain on our economy. I would not visit the US to break their law or act as a drain on the US economy.

On the Ukraine: I do not think the EU should be meddling in the affairs of the Ukraine. This is insanity; they might drag us into another war!

On ISIS: Those who have joined ISIS have effectively repudiated their British citizenship and should not be allowed to return to Britain.

On Homes: It is obvious we need more homes. Reduce the demand for housing by restricting immigration and increase the supply by building more houses (on brownfield sites; we do not want to build on the Green Belt!).

On Scotland: It will be a very sad day if the Scots decide to leave the UK. If they do, I shall endeavour to protect the interests of the English and ensure that the Scots do not continue to receive any subsidy or financial support from England.

Faith Schools: I am not in favour of any form of faith school. Children from different faiths should mix together on a social basis. That is best for social cohesion.

Free Speech: I believe that everyone should have the right to speak the truth (but not lies!).

Western Intervention: The British Empire was dead before I was born. We should not be sending our armies abroad without the express approval of the United Nations.

Magnus Nielsen
UKIP Candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn in 2015

Neil Hughes said:

1. Mostly green energy investment and transport, which are both vital. Quantitative easing should never continue for longer than is necessary e.g. as it was immediately post-2008.
2. Lib Dems thoroughly recognise the value of skilled immigration & its history of improving both productivity and quality of life here for all. However we do not believe in ‘open borders’. Britain should know how many people are entering and leaving the country in any one year.
3. Yes, of course.
4. I don’t believe most Ukrainian people do want to be governed by Russia. The country appears to wish to have better links with the West and Putin’s military intervention is severely hampering this. I do not accept that the Crimean referendum was a valid one, nor that Ukraine as it is at present could fully resist unwanted Russian attentions without at least some western help.
5. A very good question, Mahdi. More liberal, citizen-shaped education in all British schools would be a good start; and we also need to encourage all communities to be more tolerant one of another. Personally I believe religion is an enormous gift to the world & its people but needs to be pursued with the heart and with love for others, not hate.
6. .An excellent idea, Toby. Lib Dems would build 300 000 new homes a year here in the UK, with much of this potentially being self-build as you describe. However we wouldn’t entirely abrogate the planning system which has a very important purpose too e.g. in protecting open spaces.
7. Although I am English I lived in Scotland for nine years and made many friends there; it should certainly remain part of the UK.
8. I think the latter, Jessica. All schools, faith-led or otherwise, play a crucial role in shaping pupils’ destinies but young people should be encouraged to think for themselves also.
9. The press should be as unfettered as possible without, naturally, being permitted to libel. However it is a tragedy that poor levels of education for many are leading to more uncritical reading of the biased right-wing press.
10. Each discrete issue needs to be addressed on its own merits, Becky. Britain should never have gone to war with Iraq in 2002, for example. However perhaps our country should have done far more than it has to help Syria’s wretched population – though this should be humanitarian, not principally military, intervention.

Neil Hughes

John HOWSON said:

1. Economic investment and growth. We need more apprenticeships,and regional investment funds managed regionally, better transport, green investment bank with emaphasis on renewables for energy generation.
Productivity needs to improve in almost all sectors. In doing so it will reduce the need for more labour by substituting technical solutions. The public sector is often dominated by labour unions that sometimes seem to oppose productivity improvements.
2. Quantitive easing. Taxation needs to be more progressive but governments need to recognise the balance between wealth creation and consumption. Keeping interest rates so low makes repayment of loans cheaper.There is a big fear about when interests rise and what that will cause. Credit card debt is alos on the rise and that is worrying.
3.Migration. Having totally open borders is no longer really practical. We have to be careful that we don’t suck talent from other countries, especially less developed countries, causing a ‘brain’ drain’. Detaining people isn’t a smart way of controlling things. Recording everyone leaving the country means we can know the numbers coming and going. So if we agree we need to control migration it follows we need the fairest system possible and one that doesn’t deprive other countries of their talent or allow excessive competition for jobs in the UK. Greater productivity can reduce need for yewt more workers but economic expansion brings more taxes and can pay for more public services. Workers mostly contribute more than they consume from the State.
And as an EU member we must retain right to free meovement within the EU. ~It works both ways.
4. I support UK military advisors helping Ukraine resist the territorial aggression of the separatists but recognise the issue is comp-licated locally by the effects of local tensions within the boundary of the territory created as Ukraine. If you recall the Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in a treaty where both the Russian and US government guaranteed their borders. I hope Russia will feel the impact of sanctions and withdraw and not escalate the war in to a regional conflict. Russia supported Crimea and I am sceptical that there is no Russian support for the fighters in Eastern Ukraine.
5. Morral grand standing. Russia under Putin has started to turn towards less democratict style government. I hope this decent to despotism stops. so while Russia becomes so undemocratic the west must point this out and some supporters of Russia will call that grand standing but why are record numbers of Russian heavy bombers flying so close to UK airspace if Russia doesn’t want to antagonise Western Eurpoe?.
6. I also believe we must invest 0.7% of GDP in helping other countries develop as well as supporting free trade with less developed nations to help them succeed economically.
7. Faith schools. Yes, I think children can decide their own religion even if they attend a faith school their parents choose. I am concerned that faith schools must support the moral values of the UK.
however, teaching an understanding of religions and those that do not accept religions by schools is important and can help develop a more tolerant society. As we allow citizens the right to educate children as they see fit there is an issue with private schools and the need to conform to the wider norms of UK society.
8. Uk breakup. I believe a much more federalist UK with English regions will ensure each area has the freedoms their citizens clearly want but i support the Union.
9. ISIS/pro democracy values. I clearly support pro-democracy views and intervening in other countries is normally not a good idea especially as longer-term strategies never seem to be considered. The balance of power in the world is shifting and that is uncomfortable
10. internventionism. Yes, we need to be much clearer on the end game for such intervention. Britian should recognise it is no longer a world-class power and must work to resolve problems with others.
11. free for all planning. I would be very concerned if developers felt they could have a free for all. This a real issue where there is no local plan and developers can have freedom to pick sites
12. Press Freedom. Lib Dems in government would introduce a public interest defence allowing media to push exposes more.However, the ownership of the press is an issue. The Daily Express owner give £1mn to UKIP and the paper supports the UKIP line. The internet and social media allow much greater freedom ot express view, but with freedom come a degree of responsibility.freedom, but with freedom must come a degree of responsibility.

John Howson
Lib Dem candidate for Banbury

Ashley Wakeling said:

I am the Green Party general election candidate for Swansea West and chair of Wales Young Greens.

HOLLY
1. Invest heavily in reducing energy needs and make 1,000,000 climate jobs by 2020. Resulting in a society less reliant on energy production. Furthermore, increase localised business to ensure finance is kept in the locality rather than shooting off to tax havens or gravitating back to London.
2. Quantitative Easing has been an enormous failure, as Nick Robertson-Brown states, it gives just 8p per £1 back into the people of the country. We would scrap all quantitative easing and switch the focus of the economy to local business where proof has been shown that £1 returns more like £4.50.

MICHAEL
Yes, Michael, you have the right to be here. The Greens actively encourage you to come and share in our diverse society, we’re not all nasty, I promise!

MERJA
1. No I do not agree with sending military advisors to Ukraine, they are perfectly capable to decide their own path forwards.
2. Western Grandstanding regarding foreign policy has resulted in unknown numbers of wars and conflicts over the years. I believe that it is time for the UK to stop trying to act like one of the “big boys” and stop following the USA into every conflict.

EUNICE (I hope I have spelt that correctly!?)
I too believe in open borders and agree with you completely. We are residents of one earth!

JESSICA
I believe the crux of this issue falls to our education system. Parents of course, have the right to explain to their children the way in which they think they should live their lives. However, this can be balanced by an equal teaching of all religions in schools. As a result, we do not end up with clashing religious beliefs as children have been exposed to the possibility of other faiths since being very young. Parents cannot then also state that the school takes one stance or another.

VICKY
The gradual break up of the UK has been caused by political big-wigs ensuring that all the money is kept in the south east corner and for the privaledged few. (we don’t see Kent trying to become independent now do we). If we had a more equality centric government, we would not be seeing these issues.

MAHDI
We need to ensure that our population are told that IS are a minute portion of the Islamic Faith, and that the vast majority of those who follow the faith are appalled by what IS are doing. I believe through the policy of teaching religions equally (detailed above) will stop this radicalisation. I also believe that the subject of “citizenship” should be taught more readily in schools.

BECKY
The Green Party will NOT continue to fight foreign wars, but provide aid to NGOs to be distributed to help save the innocent people caught up in the conflicts.

TOBY
Yes, development should be handed back to local people.However, greenbelt land should always be protected and we should start to quench our need for more homes through renovating empty buildings.

ANTHONY
The internet age has brought with it increasing quantities of unbiased media, but also, increased biased media. Therefore we are still reliant on our mainstream press. Unfortunately, many people are now affected by a partisan screen which operated to shield bad news from the reader regarding their preferred party. I believe we do need to take steps to ensuring that all news is FACTUAL, but freedom of speech denotes that we cannot control the press any further.

Thanks for this guys! Good initiative!

Nick Robertson-Brown said:

3.Like the Green party, I believe that freedom of movement is a good thing. There are almost as many British people working abroad as there are immigrants in the United Kingdom. Their contribution is positive and I am really opposed to this anti immigration rhetoric that infests our gutter press.
4.On this issue I entirely agree with Laura’s comments that we should be using diplomacy for peaceful discussions with all nations. We do not seem to be learning on the damage we have done to so many other countries by interfering in their affairs.

Nick Robertson-Brown said:

1. By name is Nick Robertson Brown, I am the Parliamentary candidate for Altrincham and Sale West. In the green party, our aim is to invest heavily in the creation of renewable energy. This means the production of solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower generators, wave power generators and several other renewable generators. Not only will this move us away from the need for fossil fuels, but it will provide over 1 million jobs, both in the production and infrastructure of this industry.
2.Quantitative easing is purely a simply a means of generating more money. The bankers and their bonuses, I believe that for every pound it into the system only 8p comes back to the people of this country.

Laura Vesty said:

1. The Green Party aims to re-balance the economy reducing the gap between rich and poor and investing in the public services we all require. We wish to create a million fairly paid green jobs. We would increase the minimum wage to a living wage and to £10 by 2020.

2. Quantative easing should never be used to give money to the banks. Instead, money should be used to provide good public services like schools and hospitals or given to people as a citizens income which people will then spend locally and support the local economy rather than rich bankers taking their money off shore.

3. I oppose keeping migrants in camps for more than 28 days and agree that freedom of movement is a good thing for jobs and our economy.

4. The UK should use diplomacy for peaceful discussions with all nations. We should not get involved militarily and I agree it is up to the people of Ukraine to decide what should happen in their country.

5. I agree with freedom of movement and am against discriminating against people because of where they were born.

6. Faith schools are fine, but they should not be publicly funded. Children should be taught about all faiths and discuss within citizenship about values so they have an open mind about religion and have the freedom to choose.

7. I believe it is up to the people to choose if they wish to be independent or not.

8. We need to value all people and all faiths. We need toteach children to have the confidence to challenge the messages they here and to embrace diversity and support each other.

9. I agree, Britain needs to stop intervening in conflicts we do not understand and use peaceful diplomacy to support other countries internationally.

10. The Green Party pledges to create 500,000 social homes from existing empty properties and building on brownfield sites. Councils should have greater powers to compulsory purchase unused homes and we would reduce tax on home improvements.

11. Press freedom is important but we need to prevent large companies owning most of our media and have a diverse range of media opinions and local press. The press should be prosecuted where they brake the law for example by illegally hacking people’s phones.

All the best
Laura

Chris Took said:

Hi, my name is Chris Took, parliamentary candidate for Woking Lib Dems. There are some great, major questions here. I’ll try to be short in my responses and would be happy to elaborate if folks wanted to contact me directly/

Holly Q1a. In what sectors do you intend to promote the investment needed for serious productivity increases and growth in the UK?

The Lib Dems have instituted a business bank in government to allow small and medium firms to access capital. These are the businesses we need to grow and support.

Q1b. All parties have supported or failed to oppose quantitative easing, which is effectively the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. What would you do about this in the future?

A1b. QE is to be wound down as the economy grows. It’s a vehicle for economic manipulation rather than exclusively designed to benefit the better off. Countries globally have used it for stimulation purposes. The Lib Dems would double innovation investment.

Michael
Q2. I’m from the United States. Do you think I should have the right to be here? People like me haven’t caused the recession or made people unemployed; we can work and pay taxes like everyone else. So why do you believe in controlling us? Putting people in prison as criminals for being here? Deporting them and letting the public think they’re to blame for problems caused by the Government?

A2. I do not blame migrants for the economic woes of the country – numbers need to be managed but migrants generally make a far greater contribution economically than our emigrants.

Merja
Q3. Britain has sent military advisers to Ukraine. Do you support this intervention, and hasn’t Britain and the EU meddled there enough, backing the May 10 protesters against other Ukrainians? Why shouldn’t people in Ukraine decide their fate? Do you think they are less capable than you? Lastly I’m not Putin fan, but I’m worried about the amount of Russia-bashing we’ve seen. What will you do to challenge the moral grandstanding of Western foreign policy?

A3. The people of Ukraine should be offered protection from the annexation of their territory and Britain and the EU should assist where possible if their help is requested. ‘Russian bashing’ in the form of criticism of the Putin government is entirely justifiable.

Eunice
Q4. My question is on immigration. I believe in open borders. I believe people have creative potential, and are human beings; not just consumers, mouths to feed, or numbers. Are you prepared to stand for freedom of movement for all? Or do you believe in discriminating against people according to where they were born?

A4. I accept that we all of course have potential to succeed but I do not believe this would be achieved by open borders. We should welcome the brightest and best who wish live here as dictated by our economic reality.

Jessica
Q5. Do you think children who are educated according to the religious values of their parents are being helplessly indoctrinated, or are they capable of making their own minds up about the ideas they are taught in school?

A5. No. I was taught in faith school and have made up my own mind. Faith schools do not tend to operate on the linear level that you imagine – the curriculum is still broad with the same secondary and upper level education choices as presented in secular schooling.

Vicky
Q6. I don’t believe there are major differences between the Scottish, English, and Welsh people. We are all human beings with common needs, interests, and concerns. What would you do about the probable break up of the UK?

A6. As a Welshman I agree that there are not major differences between us and the rest of the UK. I do not wish to see the break up of the union (I like being British) but I’d of course respect the right of a country that wished to break away if the people voted that way in a referendum.

Mahdi
Q7. Given the number of people who have gone to fight with IS murderers, what do you intend to do to put pro-human, pro-democracy ideas centre stage, and to inspire young people that these are superior values?

A7. We need to do more to dispel the myths promoted by IS and promote our values of tolerance, respect and democracy. Governments of all stripes need to listen more and engage more with young people.

Rebecca
Q8. Time and again over the last fifteen years the UK has carried out poorly planned humanitarian interventions in the middle east. We have left behind severe internal disarray in many countries. Why do we carry on? Why is noone addressing our reckless dalliances in humanitarianism?

A8. Iraq and Afghanistan are of course clear examples where intervention has left those countries in disarray but I would point to Sierra Leone and Bosnia as examples where intervention has improved the lives of those threatened. I do not want the UK to be a global policeman but I do believe that there is a case for intervention, when backed by intergovernmental organisations (the UN, EU).

Toby
Q9. Its obvious we need more homes built, so are you prepared to rethink planning laws and give us the freedom to build them, just as thousands of people did on the plotlands between the first and second world war? Have you got the vision to hand development back to us, the people who live here?

A9. We can build more homes but I would be wary of liberalising the planning laws to enable freedom to build. Planned garden cities, higher density starter homes in town centres and a quicker planning process should have the desired effect.

Anthony
Q10. Many politicians claim to identify with “Je Suis Charlie”, yet in Britain we do not truly enjoy a totally unfettered press. What would you do to challenge those fetters, or do you feel that your public is incapable of critical independent engagement with content?

A10. I am sure that the public could ‘cope’ with an unfettered press and would support measures to allow other media outlets to publish.

Chris Nash said:

Hi all, I’m the Green Party candidate for Birmingham Hodge Hill. Here are my answers to your challenging questions:

Holly
Q1a. In what sectors do you intend to promote the investment needed for serious productivity increases and growth in the UK?

A1a. Manufacturing, specifically in the fields of renewable energy and other green industry. For a brief period at the end of the last decade the UK acquired global leader status in renewable energy manufacturing – status lost when the current government slashed subsidies. We need to regain that status, with high-tech, high-value industry.

Creative industries: Something like 50% of UK capital is now classed as “intangible assets” – that is things like creative capital, intellectual property, etc. Art and culture, while of course worth funding for their own sake, are also highly successful and lucrative sectors of our economy. Film, music, gaming and other digital arts should get the recognition they deserve.

In the UK we can become “productive” either by following a race to the bottom of low pay, drudgery, and exploitation; or we can take the high road by working smarter, not harder.

Q1b. All parties have supported or failed to oppose quantitative easing, which is effectively the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. What would you do about this in the future?

A1b. I’d dispute the premise that QE has exclusively redistributed wealth in this manner, though I would agree with the sentiment that it has predominately benefited the wealthy, bigger financial institutions who have used it to increase their own asset base rather than stimulate the wider economy. I think we should look towards more direct forms of economic stimulus – including tax rebates, grants to community organisations and small businesses, and gifting start-up capital to entrepreneurs. Longer term I feel that the best possible stimulus for a balanced economy can come through the Basic Income.

Michael
Q2. I’m from the United States. Do you think I should have the right to be here? People like me haven’t caused the recession or made people unemployed; we can work and pay taxes like everyone else. So why do you believe in controlling us? Putting people in prison as criminals for being here? Deporting them and letting the public think they’re to blame for problems caused by the Government?

A2. With respect, it is not people from the United States who attract the most hostile anti-immigrant sentiment. You are right that immigrants are a convenient scapegoat for those who would divert attention away from the real causes of recession and other social and economic problems. I believe in borders that are controlled, but also borders that are fair. The economic benefits of immigration are unquestionable, but personal wealth should not be a means to jump the queue. Rich oligarchs have inflated our housing market, especially in London, while many wealthier immigrants use non-domicile status to avoid paying fair taxes. I agree that we should end the imprisoning of child and pregnant female refugees. Immigration policy should be based on the needs of our country, not on arbitrary caps and scaremongering. I would reiterate that I think there is a clear middle ground between the extremes of “blame immigrants for everything” and “uncontrolled open borders”.

Merja
Q3. Britain has sent military advisers to Ukraine. Do you support this intervention, and hasn’t Britain and the EU meddled there enough, backing the May 10 protesters against other Ukrainians? Why shouldn’t people in Ukraine decide their fate? Do you think they are less capable than you? Lastly I’m not Putin fan, but I’m worried about the amount of Russia-bashing we’ve seen. What will you do to challenge the moral grandstanding of Western foreign policy?

A3. I’m afraid that I have to totally dispute the premise of your highly loaded question. British and EU intervention in Ukraine has been at the invitation of the legitimate Ukrainian government. It is frankly hypocritical to insist that European democracies hold back in non-interventionism, while Russian tanks roll in. Yes, the people of Ukraine should decide their own fate, but not at the barrel of a gun. I’ve always believed in unconditional self-determination; perhaps if the regime in Moscow respected that principle then many lives in Ukraine could have been saved. No, I do not believe that the people of Ukraine are less capable than me, and I resent the strawman accusation
.
“Russia-bashing” I take to be a reframing of criticism of Russia through a paranoid lens. While Russia engages in virulent homophobia and nationalism at home, and outright colonialism abroad, it is entirely deserving of criticism. Incidentally arguments of “tu quoque” shifting debate back to the historical flaws of other “Western” nations are as irrelevant as they are logically fallacious. Hypocrisy of western political leaders, of which there is much, doesn’t quite register as equivalent to annexing bits of other countries or shooting down civilian aeroplanes on my moral scales. Sorry.

Eunice
Q4. My question is on immigration. I believe in open borders. I believe people have creative potential, and are human beings; not just consumers, mouths to feed, or numbers. Are you prepared to stand for freedom of movement for all? Or do you believe in discriminating against people according to where they were born?

A4. I don’t believe in open borders. I believe that our current level of social and political organisation is based around the nation state. Likewise our much admired and precious welfare state is based within this form of organisation – and indeed is only sustainable and capable of being planned for so long as the nation state has controlled borders. I would refer back to Q2 for my answer to the specific nuances of immigration policy. “Open borders” is an extreme position and not one which I believe is viable at the current time. In a hypothetical future, perhaps, but global levels of wealth, education, health, and development are currently far too divergent for a completely “open” system to be workable.

Within the context of this question, yes I do believe in “discriminating against people according to where they were born”; with the caveat that their legal British citizenship, if and when acquired, would override “place of birth” as a discriminatory criterion.

Jessica
Q5. Do you think children who are educated according to the religious values of their parents are being helplessly indoctrinated, or are they capable of making their own minds up about the ideas they are taught in school?

A5. Yes to the former. All education should be secular. It is not the right of parents to impose their own views on their children. Further I see exclusively religious education as a tool of social exclusion and segregation. It is wrong to load an identity and an ideology on to an unconsenting child. Religious ideas can be “taught” and studied thought the objective and critical lens of philosophy.

Vicky
Q6. I don’t believe there are major differences between the Scottish, English, and Welsh people. We are all human beings with common needs, interests, and concerns. What would you do about the probable break up of the UK?

A6. I believe that the extent and validity of those differences are for the Scottish, English, and Welsh people respectively to decide. I am an internationalist in my political philosophy, but I respect and believe in the rights to self determination and self government. I do not contemplate the break up of the UK in an apocalyptic terms, indeed my vague vision of a democratic future is one of greater sub-national autonomy paired with greater pan-national cooperation.

Stepping back from the abstract to more pressing contemporary politics, I want to highlight the ongoing absurd political and media narrative surrounding potential SNP involvement in the next UK government. Last September the Westminster establishment was falling over itself, pleading with Scotland to stay in the union, telling them we were “better together”, offering an even greater say in the partnership of nations. Now their message to Scottish voters seems to that Scottish MPs are worth less than English MPs, if Scottish voters have the temerity to vote for the “wrong” party. Such rhetoric is hardly conducive to the survival of the union.

Mahdi
Q7. Given the number of people who have gone to fight with IS murderers, what do you intend to do to put pro-human, pro-democracy ideas centre stage, and to inspire young people that these are superior values?

A7. I agree. We need to robustly assert the superiority of our values. Pluralism, tolerance, democracy, and equality need to be celebrated and defended. We also need to tackle, at root cause, the alienation which drives young people into the arms of what is essentially a glorified gang. That means tackling inequality, youth unemployment, and the lack of opportunities for young BME people.

Rebecca
Q8. Time and again over the last fifteen years the UK has carried out poorly planned humanitarian interventions in the middle east. We have left behind severe internal disarray in many countries. Why do we carry on? Why is noone addressing our reckless dalliances in humanitarianism?

A8. I would agree that military intervention has too often had counter-productive results – not least in Iraq, where insufficient attention was paid to post-invasion nation building. There are however examples of successful interventions, in the absence of which there would have been far greater internal disarray and human suffering – Sierra Leone and Bosnia to name just two such examples. I would argue that military intervention needs to be a considered last resort, and that otherwise humanitarian interventions should be in the form of foreign aid and diplomacy.

Toby
Q9. Its obvious we need more homes built, so are you prepared to rethink planning laws and give us the freedom to build them, just as thousands of people did on the plotlands between the first and second world war? Have you got the vision to hand development back to us, the people who live here?

A9. Like many anarchist-tinged ideas, I feel like this one is laudable in concept but likely disastrous in practice. The likely victors of more liberal planning laws would not be 21st century homesteaders, but big commercial developers. You are correct that we need more homes built – its a question of how many, not if. Only 2% of UK land area is currently covered by housing – despite xenophobic rhetoric about Britain being “full”. Developing another 2% could serve the UK’s housing needs for centuries to come. I’d like to see the development of 500,000 new social houses, the construction of new garden suburbs like Bournville, and a new pragmatic approach to planning permission in places like Green Belt land.

Anthony
Q10. Many politicians claim to identify with “Je Suis Charlie”, yet in Britain we do not truly enjoy a totally unfettered press. What would you do to challenge those fetters, or do you feel that your public is incapable of critical independent engagement with content?

A10. Already the UK Press is barely capable of operating within existing laws. Where there are guidelines for “good practice”, as for instance set by the Samaritans for reporting on mental health and suicide, the press ride roughshod over them. I don’t believe that the corporate press has the responsibility to be trusted with absolute “free speech”. I do indeed feel that critical thinking skills are not as widespread as they should be – as for instance demonstrated by a) the number of misconceptions that shape public views on immigration, welfare, etc; and b) the logical fallacy-loaded talking points which dominate political discourse. This is something which needs to be addressed through the education system.

Will Duckworth / Green Party said:

1. Economic growth is just more money being spent this year than last year. It is not helpful in itself. I am rather more bothered about fairness and and sustainability within our economy. Our economy is already large enough; wealth and land distribution is the main problem (a tiny elite own huge amounts of wealth and land). More growth could just widen the gap between the rich and the poor and also exacerbate environmental damage. I believe that everyone should earn a living wage of £10 per hour at least and there should also be a Green New Deal to create climate jobs.

2. Quantative easing can be used in different ways. It was used to give £375,000,000,000 to the banks. That money could have been given to people to pay off their debts and buy things they need. I am in favour of printing money and using it well.

3. I am supportive of freedom of movement and migration is generally a good thing, and I am well aware that the greed of banks and corporations was what really caused the current financial crisis.

4. Military intervention will only make the situation in Ukraine worse and result in the needless deaths of innocent people, as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have done. Britain should not get involved in these interventions and compensation should be paid to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq who have suffered from these illegal invasions.

5. Faith schools should be allowed to exist, but they should not get public funding. Children should be helped within schools to have an open mind about religion and have the freedom to make a choice.

6. If the people of Scotland, Wales, and/or Northern Ireland wanted to break away from the UK and declare independence, then that is their democratic choice and we should respect this. Yes, we are indeed all human beings with basic needs, but we also have different cultures and different values around the world. I am more worried by narrow minded nationalism than independence. Lets deal with unfairness and climate change and stop being distracted by borders.

7. Education is key. We need to encourage children to support diversity and equality from an early age, and realise the importance and value of peace and freedom in a democratic society.

8. I believe that Britain needs to stop these interventions and stop trying to be ‘the World’s policeman’. Instead we need to give peaceful aid and support nations’ wishes for development.

9. We must replenish the UK’s social housing stock and protect housing association properties. Before we build any more homes, we should use the million or so empty properties that exist in the UK, and give councils greater powers to seize unused homes that are just being used as speculation by overseas investors. Homes are there to be lived in. Our proposals for reducing taxes on improving homes and building half a million council houses should help.

10. Press freedom is important-the major issue is that most of the media in Britain is controlled by only five people. There needs to be a limit on how much of the British media any one corporation can own, and more encouragement for local press.

Teena Lashmore said:

Worldbytes
Apologies if I have spelt names incorrectly. Please do vote because you can! My views to your questions are as follows. I have jumped about a little bit – so apologies for this but I felt you would all benefit from answers based on how we actually live day to day rather than an social policy and economics module. Hope this is ok…

Holly: How will LibDems support income and growth?
Income… We pushed through the increase in salaries before you pay income tax to £10,500 and the aim is to increase that to £12,500. This means more cash in your pocket to spend on your needs and thereby reducing your need to create debts. This is growth from the economy, essentially the ‘bottom up style’.
Growth is supporting small business, as they are the powerhouse of any economy. Keeping business tax for these where it is and focusing tax collection on big corporate companies – thus redistributing wealth, is also a growth strategy, especially in our public services and infrastructure. LibDems’s Green economy… now we have the Green Bank and other financial tools related to financing re-newables. For every £1 of capital in the Green bank it has gained £3 of private investment – showing financial tools tailored to social needs and our green future can work. Transport and heating is major area of growth and its expansion is due to our population needs for today and into the future. Moving our economy towards green infrastructure and green financial services supports jobs creation and apprentices too. Growth is making something – not because these are already made.
QE… the printing of money going to the rich… This can happen and often does but lets look at this. The Bank of England (BoE) prints a £50 for about, on average, 49p and it sells this to the other bank for £49.51. This £49.51 is a massive profit to the BoE and in the 1970’s this income supported quite a lot of infrastructure development. The QE of late dropped into the financial sector, as there was a consensus that this is where it would stimulate the economy. I personally disagreed and felt it would have been better to inject the printed money into GDP areas of the economy. This would/ could have allowed say a housing block to be built without ‘debt’ and thus give us jobs and incomes while preventing the housing crisis. Should this happen again, I will be campaigning harder with the like of ‘positivemoney.org’ to ensure QE is distributed debt free into public infrastructure. Whatever we do means the rich get rich (which is OK) but we shouldn’t become poorer as a consequence. Liberals are on a journey and have to come to this ‘new economy’ but at least they are prepared to shift! The other two main parties have dragged their feet around the economy that I’m surprised we even have one! I debate internally to bring this positive change to our financial systems and thus a change and improvement for you and I. Finally having the six commercial banks dominate 93% of our economic markets means everything is too expensive to do – even though it will bring social good. Liberals approach is beginning to put limits on this but this is against the tide because the banks are so dominate and because too many politicians are also benefiting from this system! I fight internally for a more balanced financial system like the German model. Despite what they (Germans) do that may not be positive in a global sense, at home, they keep the commercial banks out of infrastructure by limiting their presence to about 13% of the financial markets. I think politicians need to engage with the public on how much the banks rule our lives. I do this inside my party and slowly, like a tanker sometimes, there is movement.

Michael and Unise: controlled immigration vs open borders. Firstly I love Teresa Hayter’s analysis in Open Borders: Case against immigration controls. ‘Old’ or more traditional economist always talk about, ‘numbers of people and finite resources and therefore there is an optimum limit’. Reality is, we have under invested in our country, which is why we have shortages in homes, schools our NHS etc and not because of immigration. I personally feel this is largely due to the banks running our economy. For example, they run 97% of our economy and the BoE runs the remaining 3%. This situation feeds the massive inequality we experience. LibDems agree to a robust and fair and transparent management of immigration. We agree sanctuary for refugees and open to visitors. We want to speed up asylum claims and should they not be resolved in 6 months, the applicant should be eligible to go to work. No more Azure Cards. It’s like a whole new currency for ‘illegals’. There people are not ‘illegals and should not be treated as such. Basically the benefits or under-spends on these cards are sucked up to the top – the wealthy business owners. It’s not even transferable to get on a bus so you cannot travel to your immigration appointments! It excludes small stores too. We believe separating students out from the collated numbers so migration debates cannot be used by parties to bash each other. Any system is liable to being discriminatory and that is why transparency is so important. Open border is a value I subscribe to. In a global context, it may be better that we humans all live in a smaller space so we limit the damage we do to the planet but these debates are ongoing. In the mean time, we can aspire for openness so that we become equal global citizens. In 2015, the immigration stage is set, so join a party and do like I do – fight internally for change. And at some point you will shift that party to a new space!

Mary: UK sending military advisors to Ukraine. Core Libdem value is devolution so that people can run things for themselves. In lay terms, Ukraine is on a journey to democracy and technically should be left alone to do that; however, Russia appears to be supporting one group against another. In Russia, outside Moscow, there is desperate inequality and essentially you have changes in Russia that benefit only the rich. A familiar story – you may say? Yes it is, I say. Should Ukraine seek its democracy and choose to run its affairs like this, I’m sure its people would either agree or vote in new political leaders. It cannot do that when their capacity to debate and explore ways of running their country is being ‘massaged’ (allegedly) by outside forces. UK advisors are essentially there to advise and not take up arms. My view is that if a country asks for help in a non-combative capacity, we should be able to support but we should in no way prevent the democratic debates and developments. I’d rather countries sorted their own affairs but in reality, from time to time, they ask for help. I’m happy with this because it’s a value position and I am a layperson on international affairs. In reality, when these advisors’ aka ‘boots are on the ground’, this adds to the dynamic situation and as such, we and other countries providing advisory support should be subject to scrutiny and change. In future, our foreign policy will continue to develop to match the needs of the 21 Cent and I support this too. Russian bashing… We are apposed to any bashing of anyone due to their ethnicity and the other eight protected characteristics of our diversity act. I support this position because I support equality. Because a few people behave poorly, this is no reason to assume everyone is bad.

Jessica: I believe children can make up their own minds. Just look at you! You did, just like I did! LibDems believe in people freedom – to largely self govern themselves and in this regard, Faith school show that individual leadership but LibDems also support the same core curriculum subjects with rigorous inspections and that all teachers are qualified. The Teacher Training is generally in the ‘middle ground’ so once we ensure the policy of every teacher being qualified, this will naturally allow Faith Schools to continue from a shared base, allowing children to develop independently and should they choose the reflect their faith according to their parents/ family, this would be their choice. I did struggle with this for a while but then I took the view that particular universities churn out particular students who mostly end up in particular fields – its just more subtle. I’m seen as the third, fourth and firth parent to many children in my neighborhood and among family and friends and I hope I bring further balance to their lives, education and future. I, like you, trust the next generation that is why I support 16+ rights to vote. Our party has shifted towards this too!

Vicky: Devolution or the power to allow ‘self government’ is key to Liberal values but like all systems of governance you have to be aware of the tyranny of the masses. Decisions in Central London may not translate well to other parts of the UK. Although you may not see differences between Scotland, Wales etc, there are many Scottish and Welsh people etc that do see differences and wish to self govern. I personally don’t see Devolution as the break up of the UK, as the land mass is fixed and too small to be radically different. I also trust in the common sense of the UK people. The economic priorities around the UK are different and in order to meet those priorities we need things local. That is why we have Local authorities, 32 different London Boroughs! The Scots may well feel that commercial banks running so much of their economy is not providing benefits for the social good and they may wish to limit that monopoly. At least it would allow traditionalist to see an economy function differently and lay their fears to rest. Given that ‘Jubilee’ is the worst thing that can happen and that the best is we can see a working model of finances that focuses on the social good, I have no issue with further local governance. But the benefits of being a collective may not be worth the bother. My view is, let people discuss and decide and have the referendum as Scotland did, and then be bound by its outcome, which is we stay united!

Matthew: Sorry I did not understand the question here.

Becky: Humanitarian intervention in Middle East. I joined the thousands marching against the Iraq war and I was caught up a little in Bahrain. I’m not a foreign affairs scholar but I have views – of course. I’d like our foreign policy to evolve and to be driven by humanitarian values and not about securing earth’s resources in some crazy attempt to keep our home boilers warming our homes. I love the relationships developing in the Green economy with Middle East countries – where the sun is harvested from the deserts to energy. I hope that these relationships evolve along humanitarian values and respect and demonstrate to other countries that it is possible not to have wars to secure energy. The LibDems party values are evolving and by you joining and making the case, you’d ensure this party’s humanitarian interventions in the future are respectful and for the social good.

Toby: Housing is big and I believe we need a London solution and possibly an urban solutions. A tool for London may create more problems in other areas of England than it solves. I’ve been involved in housing campaigns for years and I live in a cooperative – which a couple of today’s parties are not fond of and some politicians don’t even know exists! I know that diverse people can buy, build, allocate, share and run their own housing as small collectives and make it a viable business – because that’s what we do. LibDems believe in devolution too and our policies are about building more supply and rent controls. This is OK but I’d go further. Here I’m advocating Housing Leadership. A Housing Commissioner aka Mayor of London to mediate. I’d like homes to have a minimum size, measured in square meters. This would allow a league table for rents and instead of rent controls, I’d peg London rents (private and social) to London’s average wage. This should bring a correlation between rents to GDP. In Germany, when the landlords (who are essentially Americans who run the stock like commercial Housing Associations) try to raise the rents that are not matched by salaries, the Mayors steps in to negotiate. Anyone found charging higher rates are prosecuted. LibDems introduce the low pay commission to encourage business to increase what they pay to workers and the TUC averages salaries to £25,000. I’d suggest society functions better when rents are about ¼ of their income over the year. I think it is time to remove buy to let mortgages from London, as this is another financial distortion tool in the housing market. I feel that unless you own a property outright then you cannot rent it out. Clearly you cannot afford to pay for it which is why one uses Buy2Let but why should you get others to pay for something you cannot afford? The moral argument on Buy2Let Mortgages has been set. St Pauls did many evening seminars in the city to try and get the bankers to change their lending and attitudes to this. I’m not sure they had success because the Buy2Let mortgages are still flying off the banker’s shelves; however, they did raise the moral argument – which I hold as self-evident. Usually, when you cannot afford something, you have to sell it. Therefore, why should people be allowed to hoard houses they cannot afford to pay for? Without renting them out, which is essentially getting others to pay that mortgages, they’d have to sell and this would allow those who are renting those homes to buy them is they wish. Furthermore it would free the economy up to invest more in green and renewable. I get that some B2L people may relocate for work and I guess there can be a short period f renting but that is not the reason for the explosion in Buy2Let mortgages. I believe we need to bring back into use properties sitting empty. I believe we should have a national debate on foreign home ownership. At the moment we have a Mayor happy to sell our public lands to foreign investors and we have no idea whether the money they are paying with is real, because these transactions are done by the banks – the same banks that bankrupt is all and the same banks that dominate 97% of our economy. I’m simply not prepared to accept that monopoly. I could be jaded as I have worked in white color crime but I hope I’m simply balanced. The amount of financial tools in the housing market distort the prices both for renting and buying and that is why it is important to join the campaigns together, demand a housing commission and peg rents to GDP and wages. I believe in these things and already debate them internally within my party to get these changes into policies and I’ve had some successes. I believe in ‘managed housing markets’ because I believe less money in bricks means more money for you to buy the things you need – which makes our economies move and benefits the majority in society.

Anthony: I, like you, am saddened buy how big money runs our press. I’m happy that the Guardian took a stand recently with their Pensions investments and pushed these into renewable energies – I believe. That benefits us all until their workers retire and need an income. Big money dominates our press, our banking and if we don’t step in it will be our housing and our NHS. It is time for parties to really explain what their values are so that people can vote – assured that their vote supports a policy that will benefit the many. Policies for the few, dressed up in our media as being for the many is a sad state of affairs but I trust you and know you see through this – hence your question. I hope you keep your critical eye in action and vote and I hope you join a party and fight for this not to be the case. Go well my friend!

Twitter: MzLashmore

Amy Gray said:

1. Over the last five years we’ve seen a huge improvement in so many sectors of the economy – but we can still do more. The UK is home to many industries where we lead the world – like high tech, pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing, as well as creative industries like game design and film and TV production. We’ll back all those enterprises which create jobs and help our economy to grow. I strongly support my party’s plans to eliminate the deficit so Britain lives within its means.
2. At the moment anyone from the EU can come to the UK – which means that we have to put tougher limits on people from countries like the US (though, having lived in the US, I should point out that their visa system is famously unwelcoming!). The Conservatives want to renegotiate our relationship with the EU so that anyone who claims through our welfare system has to have paid into our system first and EU jobseekers will have to leave if can’t find work within six months.
3. The people in Ukraine absolutely should decide their own fate – but at the moment, Russian influence and Russian backed militias mean they can’t do that which is why they’ve asked for support from other European countries, including the UK.
4. I don’t support unlimited, uncaveated freedom of movement. The last decade in Britain has shown us how difficult it can be to provide the services we need when we can’t accurately predict how many people will be here. We should be able to decide who we want to come to our country.
5. I’m a governor at a brilliant church primary school in Hoxton. All schools, even faith schools, have to teach their pupils about more than one faith, and I believe that faith schools offer excellent education.
6. The break up of the UK isn’t probable and I believe it’s only a tiny minority of British citizens who want this to happen – I’m a passionate believer in the strength of the Union. My party will put the recommendations of the Smith Commission into practice, which includes more power for English MPs to vote on laws which only affect England and more power to raise their own taxes for the Scottish Parliament.
7. Our values speak for themselves. Our country is a tolerant, peaceful and welcoming one, where people of all faiths and none, of all races and all sexual orientations are able to live side by side and women are equal in law with men. That is not true of the area controlled by ISIS, a murderous death cult.
8. I opposed the war in Iraq at the time and it’s cast a long shadow over British foreign policy. The rise of ISIS in the Middle East is, however, one of the biggest threats to human rights and global security today. The crimes ISIS is committing are heinous and it would be wrong for our past misadventures to stop us from tackling today’s problems.
9. This government already has rethought planning laws by completely simplifying them into the National Planning Policy Framework, which includes a presumption in favour of development. We need to keep building more homes of all types, particularly social housing and homes for affordable rent. We’ll build garden cities in Ebbsfleet and Bicester. But we’ll prioritise building on brownfield land first.
10. The Conservatives will introduce protection for journalists via a British Bill of Rights which will help protect the freedom of the press.

Amy Gray
Conservative candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Jasper Richmond said:

Charlie Hebdo, not Je Suis Charlie as stated below.

Jasper Richmond said:

Jasper Richmond.
The Green Party Chichester
Economy: “Hi I’m Holly. My questions are on the economy. In what sectors do you intend to promote the investment needed for serious productivity increases and growth in the UK? Secondly all parties have supported or failed to oppose quantitative easing which is effectively the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich, what would you do about this in the future?”
Hi Holly. An area that is in desperate need of growth in the UK is manufacturing. It is at a very low point and many of the main policies coming from politicians fails to address this. The failed experiment with quantitative easing meant that the money (as you quite rightly point out) went to the wrong part of the economy. Instead of creating proper secure well-paid jobs it went into assets. These basically created more wealth for the already wealthy. The country needs income, and a well-founded manufacturing base would bring much of this in. But, it should be tailored to present and long term needs. Also, it should not have overly detrimental effects on the environment. This measure will provide:
• The assurance of meaningful employment and a life of dignity and modest comfort for all.
• The development of a sustainable zero carbon industrial infrastructure as a basis for a sustainable zero carbon society. This will free the UK economy from a reliance on endless growth in the production of commodities and financial transactions.
• Industrial production will be based on social needs rather than the maximisation of profit and ever increasing consumption. It will aim to maximise quality of life for all within both environmental limits and availability of employment.

Immigration: “Hi I’m Eunice. My question is on immigration. I believe in open borders. I believe people have creative potential and are human beings, not just consumers, mouths to feed or numbers. Are you prepared to stand up for freedom of movement for all or do you believe in discriminating against people according to where they were born?”
Hi Eunice. The Green Party have an aspiration for a world that has no borders. With no poverty and freedom to move all reasons for conflict will hopefully cease. We understand that this will be a gradual process though. We wish to increase overseas aid to deal with issues of poverty and the emancipation of women in particular. No one should have to leave where they want to be. No one should not be able to go where they want to go.

Immigration: “Hi I’m Michael and I’m from the USA. Do you think I should have the right to be here? People like me haven’t caused the recession or made people unemployed, we can work and pay taxes like everyone else, so why do you believe in controlling us, putting people in prison as criminals for coming here, deporting people and letting the public think we are to blame for problems caused by the government?”
Hi Michael. We imprison children in this country just because they do not come from here. We separate families on technical details. All that has to stop. We need to celebrate and welcome those who come here and contribute. Not use them as a scapegoat for our failure to invest properly in infrastructure and people.

Ukraine: “Hi I’m Merja. Britain has sent military advisors to Ukraine do you support this intervention and hasn’t Britain and the EU meddled there enough backing the Maidan protestors against other Ukrainians? Why shouldn’t people in Ukraine decide their fate, do you think they are less capable than you? Lastly I’m no Putin fan but I’m worried about the amount of Russia bashing we’ve seen, what will you do to challenge the moral grandstanding of Western foreign policy?”
Hi Merja. If only the people in the Ukraine could decide their fate. But it is being decided by armed intervention and insurrection from an aggressive state. Putin is a paranoid egomaniac. He sees every piece of foreign policy from the west as a personal slight to him. His inability to deal with the Russian economy is one of the reasons he is diverting attention with his campaign in the Ukraine. Ukraine has a democratic leadership and has to be protected from aggression. By having observers in place this can be stopped.

ISIS: “Hi I’m Mahdi. Given the number of people who have gone to fight with ISIS murderers what do you intend to do to put pro human, pro-democracy ideas centre stage and to inspire young people that these are superior values?”
Hi Mahdi. I have mentioned our ideas on foreign aid in another answer. We need to deal with issues such as poverty and inequality in the world. The principles of democracy can then be promoted without the risk of conflict. Young people will be the key in this. They want a fairer society without fear or danger. We as a country can help with that.

More Homes: “Hi I’m Toby. It’s obvious we need more homes built so are you prepared to rethink planning laws and give us the freedom to build them, just as thousands of people did on the plot lands between the first and Second World War? Have you got the vision to hand development back to us, the people who live here?”
Hi Toby. We have local areas where I live that were ‘squatted’ between the wars. Old railway carriages were common. These plots are now worth fortunes and are beyond the reach of many. So, that was a socialist idea that fell flat on its face. So, a free for all land grab is not the answer. Such developments would be unlikely to be sustainable, and may put pressure on infrastructure already weakened by cuts in public spending. We want there to be homes for people that they feel secure in, that they feel safe in and they can afford. I do believe we need to completely redefine the land. It is largely owned as a result of invasion and aggression in the distant past, or hereditary processes. And opening some of that up to development may be a way forward.

Scotland: “Hi I’m Vicky. I do not believe there are major differences between Scottish, English and Welsh people and we have common needs, interests and concerns. What will you do about the gradual break-up of the UK?”
Hi Vicky. The makeup of the British Isles has changed much over the years. This has been for a number of reasons, but I’m guessing the Romans or Danes have no immediate plans to invade. I can understand why people have an identity they are proud of, and a desire for autonomy is part of this. We have to develop a system where identity can be celebrated, but without the need to feel the need for breaking away completely. Decentralising the administrative process would be part of this. Modernising our parliament and even moving it away from London. I think those in other parts of the union need to feel that there is benefit from being in the union.

Faith schools: “Hi I’m Jessica and I have a question about Faith Schools. Do you think children who are educated according to the religious values of their parents are being helplessly indoctrinated, or are they capable of making their own minds up about the ideas they are taught in school?”
Hi Jessica. Faith can be an important issue for many people. In an open and free democracy that is to be celebrated. But, as you say, the minds of the young can be open to suggestion. This is not something schools should be involved with. Schools are there to provide a well-rounded education that nurtures and develops each child as an individual and member of society. Faith schools are contrary to this and should not be part of mainstream education.

Free Speech: “Hi I’m Anthony. Numerous politicians claim to identify with ‘Je suis Charlie’. Yet in Britain, we do not truly enjoy a totally unfettered press. What would you do to challenge those ‘fetters ‘or do you feel that ‘Joe Public’ is incapable of critical, independent engagement with content?”
Hi Antony. The press in this country is in private hands. As such, it is open to the influence of those that own it. There are many publications outside of this, and of course the internet provides many avenues for independent thought. That most people only choose to access the main stream does mean though that minds can be closed to alternatives and will be manipulated. Mind you, there is a lot of rubbish out there. Je Suis Charlie was hardly high art.

Western Intervention: “Hi I’m Becky, time and again over the last fifteen years, the UK has carried out poorly-planned humanitarian interventions in the Middle East. We have left behind severe internal disarray in many countries. Why do we carry on? Why is no one addressing our reckless dalliances in humanitarianism?”
Hi Becky. Because we mainly have men in charge, and they like that sort of thing. We need to make friends and calm the world down, not stoke conflict. Our overseas aid policy (see above) will help with that.

Richard Wise said:

I forgot to mention I am the Green parliamentary candidate for Hitchin Harpenden

Peter Bisset GREEN East hampshire said:

Looking at the comments, I’m with Richard Wise, 2 posts below, on all the issues. Great video, I’m spreading it.

Hazel Thorpe LIB DEM said:

1) I and Lib Dems back productivity from the digital world and environmental and renewal sources,e.g the Green Bank , and railways .The HS2 project will provide investment for 2 colleges in engineering and railway industry. Jobs, skills,employment and an economy based on education not personal debt.
2)The Lib Dems are the party for everyone, policies made by them and the economy needs to grow but not at the expense of the lower income households. We believe in equality of opportunity, so our £8bn for the NHs for all free at source including mental health issues will be paid for by reducing the deficit and hence extra cost Westminster costs (£12bn) , addressing tax dodgers and their advisors (£7bn), the richest corporation tax relief 4% (£6bn) and £3bn from welfare ( free TV licences , etc ) unlike the £12 bn form the Tories.
3 I am totally against war, and joined the campaign NO to War . Currently I promote prevention of radicalization by addressing the issues and causes within our country, recognising that depression, isolation and many other factors including poverty add to people being disconnected from their society.
4) Totally agree with freedom of movement. Lib Dems are internationalists WE realise that migrants bring more into the country in terms of wealth,in skills and taxes than they take out . Our local hospital needs 120 vacancies to be filed.
5) As a former teacher, all parents should have the right to educate their child at whatever school they wish,.Some children don’t fit the one size fits all idea and are educated at home. The important issue is what they are taught and that they are taught by trained teachers. Quality is king.
6) I have family in Scotland , and hear their views. I believe that the UK should be stronger together, and unite as one family. We are always going to have internal arguments but fairness and funding according to need. The next government will need to be able to be open to partnerships and team work as opposed to one rigid controller. They will need to be team players as well as leaders.Lib Dems will always fight to stay within the European community too as our businesses are intertwined with our fellow beings across the water. WE need them as much as they need us.
7) This is such a complex question , true respect for the subject can’t be given in a simple statement . But, I believe in Peace and I back our armed forces as they put their lives at risk for us and need to support them on their return from conflict not of their making. I don’t agree with interfering with other cultures but sometimes it is necessary and morally right to stand up for those in jeopardy.
8) Our party will always stand up for international issues , humanitarian issues and are happy to pay 70p in every £100 gdp for children, families, people in real poverty, research into Ebola, systems which will stop children dying , famine, floods and security and much more. Overseas aid is essential.
9) Localism is important to Lib Dems who do a lot of good work on the ground level. We champion social and affordable housing ( those on the average wage) for local people , who need it. The Tories argue that 25% is enough but we say 40% of housing should be made available to stop homelessness , sofa surfing and depression caused by low self esteem and blockages to work and a better life. The flawed right to buy will not help those in real need Our Renting scheme is better , more flexible and affordable.
10) As regards to the press, locally our media is very biased towards their Tory bosses, those who control the purse strings , and I guess that will always be the case. But Lib Dems will push for a second Freedoms Act , to protect free speech, tighten the regulations on CCTV , stop heavy handed policing, band mosquito devices and importantly introduce a statutory” public interest defence” where journalists may need to break the law to expose wrong doing. We would not shun whistleblowers nor shy away from fair scrutiny.

Allan Todd said:

Sorry – forgot to add that I’m the Green Party candidate for Copeland (in Cumbria)!!

Allan Todd said:

1. Greens recognise we live on a planet with finite resources – thus unlimited growth is impossible. If the whole world consumed on the current pattern in Britain, we’d need 3 planets. Instead, we would increase economic activity – which must be sustainable – by expanding the public sector & the renewable energy sector. In addition, we would re-distribute wealth via a fairer taxation system and making the minimum wage a living wage.
2. Quantative easing, per se, is not the problem – it’s what done with the money that matters. Should quantative easing be necessary, the Green Party would put that into green investment. What is causing poverty today is austerity, which the neo-liberals (ie the Tories AND the Lib Dems) are using as an excuse to take money from ordinary people & put it in the bank accounts of the super-rich. The Greens would end austerity, AND re-distribute wealthy by making wealthy corporations & individuals pay their fair share of tax.
3. Western interventions (ie doing what the US & NATO want) almost always are taken in the interests of Western powers. While genuine humanitarian assistance is important, the Green Party believes our foreign policy should respect the sovereignty of individual countries, and help bring about peace – military interventions have almost always had the opposite result.
4. Freedom of movement is an important right – especially now, when more people wish to escape the effects of climate change, the economic inequalities resulting from the policies of developed countries, political oppression, natural disasters (increasingly caused by burning fossil fuels), or wars & civil wars (increasingly caused by Western interventions). While resource issues may require some limited controls, the prime concern should be to help such refugees while, at the same time, giving aid to developing countries to overcome such problems.
5. To be honest, I’m not completely certain of official Green Party policy on this. My personal opinion is that children should be exposed to the range of religious & political beliefs so that, when mature enough (as opposed to a particular age), they can make their own minds up. I certainly support the demand that, as with private schools, faith schools should not have charitable status & tax-breaks – I consider both types of schools socially divisive (they certainly helped exacerbate the situation in Northern Ireland.
6. The Green Party is in favour of devolving/ pushing power out to regions and local communities. This, I believe, is the best way of keeping the country together. In this globalised world, larger nation states – and especially organisations such as the EU – stand a much greater chance of resisting the activities of the largest transnational corporations.
7. In part, my answer to this is covered in the response to Q. 5 – faith schools make such extreme ‘choices’ more rather than less likely. However, I recognise that many groups feel excluded and even discriminated against. The best antidote to this is have all children together in secular schools – and to address housing problems by diverting money from the wealthy to ensure situations cannot be exploited by extremist groups.
8. I opposed the illegal NATO intervention in the former Yugoslavia, the ‘intervention’ in Afghanistan, both the Gulf Wars, & that in Libya – for the simple reason that the main aim of these actions was the economic or geo-political interests of developed Western powers. This was especially true of the invasion of Iraq – it was all about oil. The Green Party is an internationalist party, and fully supports genuine humanitarian interventions, based on respect for human rights and co-operative security. At the same time, it campaigns for a fair, secure and peaceful world – in part, greater & fairer international economic aid would help achieve this: military interventions have only been good for the armaments firms, the large energy companies & international construction companies (again, just look at Iraq).
9. The Green Party would devolve greater powers to local authorities and councils, to build according to local needs. At the same time, a fairer taxation system (eg. removing tax relief for those buying to let) will enable the building of 500,000 social housing units at affordable rents.
10. The Green Party supports controls on media ownership, and will protect the anonymity of sources in cases of public interest. My personal view is that the large media groups – in particular that owned by Murdoch (who has had such a pernicious effect on the British media & culture) – should be broken up. In addition, financial support should be given to enable citizens to create their own media ventures (provided these did not advocate hatred & intolerance). Citizen TV is one excellent example.

Richard Wise said:

1 Investment spending should be on green energy production & conservation, environmental resiliance of infrastructure, education & health.
The media lazily call QE ‘printing money’ in fact it involves the government buying back its own interest paying IOUs (Treasury Bonds) with non-interesting paying IOUs (Cash) in the hope that the banks, deprived of their risk free interest from the state, will lend to business. that have not. The money could just as easily go to environmental investment as mentioned above which would help the poor rather than plutocratic bankers.
2. I agree. Immigrants are being scapegoated for failures in government policy on health housing and schools. Employment laws should be tightened and a higher minimum wage enforced to prevent exploitation of workers both UK & immigrant.
3. I do not think UK should have any military role in what is essentially a civil war in Ukraine
3. I agree. Given the militaristic record of the UK and US in recent years it is hypocritical for them to criticise Russia.
4. I am in favour of free movement of people in principal except when it used to drive down the incomes of UK workers.
5. Faith schools are terrible idea. I believe all publicly funded education should be 100% secular and should not encourage adherence to a particular faith.
6. I have no problem with an independent Scotland, N. Ireland or Wales or more autonomy for the English regions if thats what the people want.
7. Trying to instil ‘our values’ must seem hypocritical to those kids outraged by our historical record in Iraq, Afghanistan & Libya. I think only their contemporaries & families can persuade them that violence is a bad idea.
8. I am totally opposed to the UK being involved in any foreign military adventures.
9. I am not sure what is being asked for here — there must be planning in the context of housing need and environmental sustainability.
10. aside from incitement to violence and defamation of individuals I am totally against censorship in any form

Alan Borgars said:

My response to the 10 questions in this video is as follows:

1. We do not really need economic growth but rather equality and sustainability within our economy. Our economy is already large enough; wealth and land distribution is the main problem (a tiny elite own huge amounts of wealth and land). More growth would just widen the gap between the rich and the poor and also exacerbate environmental damage. I believe that everyone should earn a living wage of £10 per hour at least and there should also be a Green New Deal to create climate jobs.

2. I would bring an end to quantitative easing and instead support fairer wealth distribution, reintroduce high tax rates for top earners, introduce a land value tax, and bring about a Green New Deal to boost employment rates.

3. I am supportive of freedom of movement and migration is generally a good thing, and I am well aware that the greed of banks and corporations was what really caused the current financial crisis.

4. Military intervention will only make the situation in Ukraine worse and result in the needless deaths of innocent people, as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have done. Britain should not get involved in these interventions and compensation should be paid to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq who have suffered from these illegal invasions.

5. Faith schools should be allowed to exist, but they should not get public funding. Children should be helped within schools to have an open mind about religion and have the freedom to make a choice.

6. If the people of Scotland, Wales, and/or Northern Ireland wanted to break away from the UK and declare independence, then that is their democratic choice and we should respect this. Yes, we are indeed all human beings with basic needs, but we also have different cultures and different values around the world.

7. We need to get to the roots of the problem here. We need to encourage children to support diversity and equality from an early age, and realise the importance and value of peace and freedom in a democratic society.

8. I believe that Britain needs to stop these interventions and also withdraw from NATO. Instead we need to give peaceful aid and support nations’ wishes for development.

9. We need to particularly replenish the UK’s social housing stock and protect housing association properties. Before we build any more homes, we should use up the >1 million empty properties that exist in the UK, and give councils greater powers to seize unused homes that are just being used as speculation by overseas investors. Homes are there to be lived in.

10. Press freedom is important-the major issue is that most of the media in Britain is controlled by only five people. There needs to be a limit on how much of the British media any one corporation can own, and more encouragement for local press.

Best wishes,

Alan Borgars
Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hemel Hempstead

James Barber said:

1. Economic investment and growth. We need more apprenticeships,regional investment funds managed regionally, better transport, green investment bank
2. Quantitive easing. Not sure i follow how it makes poor people poorer? Keeping interest rates so low makes repayment of loans cheaper. My big fear is when interests rise and what that will cause.
3.Migration. Having totally open borders is practical. We have to be careful that we don’t suck talent from other countries, especially less developed countries, causing a ‘brain’ drain’. Detaining people isn’t a smart way of controlling things. Recording everyone leaving the country means we can know the numbers coming and going. So if we agree we need to control migration it follows we need the fairest system possible and one that doesn’t deprive other countries of their talent or allow excessive competition for jobs in the UK.
4. I support UK military advisors helping Ukraine resist the territorial aggression of Russia. If you recall the Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in a treaty where both the Russian and US government guaranteed their borders. I hope Russia will feel the impact of sanctions and withdraw and not escalate the war in to a regional conflict. It is really sad that we[re heading for a cold/hot war with Russia.
5. Morral grand standing. Russia under Putin has started to turn towards Stalanist style governments. I hope this decent to despotism stops. so while Russia becomes so undemocratic the west must point this out and some supporters of Russia will call that grand standing.
6. YesI believe thE UK should prioritise it’s citizens and not have fully open boarders. BUT I also believe we must invest 0.7% of GDP in helping other countries develop as well as supporting free trade with less developed nations to help them succeed economically.
7. Faith schools. Yes, I think children can decide their own religion even if they attend a faith school their parents choose. I am concerned that faith schools may not all support the moral values of the UK.
8. Uk breakup. I believe a much more federalist UK with English regions will ensure each area has the freedoms citizens their clearly want e.g. Kernel for example without breaking up the UK.
9. ISIS/pro democracy values. I believe the age for voting should start at 16. IT would mean children at school at that age would start voting in an educational environment where they will discuss and think about the importance of their votes. I hope this would lead to increased voter participation which would carry on throughout their lives.
10. internventionism. Yes, we need to be much clearer on the end game for such intervention. But allowing anarchy so close to home may not be wise.
11. free for all planning. Having sat on numerous planning committees I would be very concerned if developers felt they could have a free for all. They would happily use/pay off citizens to develop green belt and then redevelop it several years later. Visiting Ireland you see ribbons of such properties along highway and it is a huge blot of what was once attractive space.s Also such developments can;t have public transport as very low density. Which means greater reliance on private motor cars storing up long term climate problems.
12. Press Freedom. Lib Dems in government would introduce a public interest defence allowing media to push exposes more.

James Barber
Liberal Democrat Councillor for East Dulwich ward
Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Dulwich & West Norwood

Ahmed S said:

Good point, humanitarianism=reckless foreign policy, no more no less. I’d want to know candidates will stand against Western intervention not for ‘not in my name’ cop out reasons but because they believe people in other countries are capable of managing their own affairs and support sovereignty. Don’t care mind you if IS get wiped off the planet -they are barbarians.

Valerie Meeson said:

I must say I did giggle at first at an American asking about visa controls, but thinking about it, it somes up the unfreedom we impose. Immigration is not just about rich versus poor but about our freedom and the sort of world we would like to live in. Like the point we are not just consumers or numbers too-will share.

Elizabeth Arnauld said:

Yes thank you indeed for this worldbytes a brave set of really thought provoking questions. Nice to see some global issues being tackled too. I shall put these to canvassers who come to my door for sure.

J. Peters said:

Nice video-l for one will consider voting for candidates who bother to reply to even one of these excellent questions.

Ishan said:

Thank you for this, I’m not standing myself but a mate of mine is and I’ll certainly get him to watch it- economy question is hard and one everyone seems to avoid-what could be the growth areas?

Gema S said:

Great questions, especially the building one, love the idea of being able to build ourselves. Whole swathes of land and it’s such a myth there is a shortage, should be handed over and we’d soon have some great places to live. I doubt many politicians have the guts to argue for it though, most are nimby’s.