Comment: We are not just green and you are not just pink, writes Jenny Jones
Green Party candidate Jenny Jones sets out a case for why gay and transgender Londoners should consider her in the upcoming mayoral election.
On the 3rd of May, Londoners will have a choice to set the political direction for the next four years in the city, when they elect the next Mayor and members of the Greater London Assembly (GLA).
As the Green candidate for Mayor and Assembly member for the last 12 years, I am aware of how influential the Mayor can be over London and how your choice of candidate will shape the experience of living in the city over the next four years. I believe we should set aside macho politics, push for a consensual and tolerant vision of the city and ensure that public services in the city are responsive to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In this election, the Greens are keen to challenge two of the laziest arguments in politics:
· That lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people are only interested in policies that tackle discrimination against them.
· The Green Party concerns itself with climate change to the exclusion of the everyday concerns of voters.
At election time, it is sometimes easy for politicians to trot out a number of LGBT-specific policies and forget that LGBT voters are just as concerned about issues such as creating jobs, cheaper transport costs, crime and the cost of living in the capital. We don’t make that distinction.
The Green Party has a reputation for being progressive around environmental issues, such as reducing air pollution and investing in green energies and transport, but less well known is how these policies flow from our commitment to social justice, fairness and building strong communities.
Over the last twelve years, we have seen a widening of inequality in London between the poorest and richest. In this election, we are pledging that each of our policies will actively work towards making the city fairer for everyone and that City Hall listens more to citizens than it does for the City.
Getting around London has become increasingly expensive under Boris Johnson, putting additional financial pressure upon those Londoners needing to travel for work or to socialise in the city centre, especially for those living in the outer boroughs.
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For those of us without family in London, we build our social support network of friends across the city, not just where we live. We think it is important that the vibrant heart of the city remains as accessible to all Londoners, not only those with the means to afford to live in the centre. Greens will cut travel fares so that it is always cheaper to travel by bus, tube or train than it is to travel by car, saving you cash and cutting pollution at the same time.
Greens are arguing strongly against cuts to public services that LGBT people depend upon like everyone else, such as the NHS, welfare and housing benefit and instead are pushing nationally for fairer taxation, so that the most vulnerable and less well-off are not paying for the mistakes of the most comfortable in society.
Of course it is natural that your experience of London will influence what you see as a priority, so we do recognize that there are some very specific and important policies for the LGBT community.
Although crime levels have stayed broadly static or improved slightly, most of us have either heard or been touched by a worrying increase of homophobic violence in the capital. We would guarantee a police liaison officer in every borough to work with LGBT communities to draw up an Anti-Homophobia Action Plan to tackle local hate crime and we would put political muscle behind them to ensure that resources are there to implement it.
We are also campaigning for better health services across London, including improved access to sexual health services and ring-fenced funding for health promotion around HIV/AIDS prevention amongst at risk communities in the capital. Infection rates amongst gay men are steadily rising and at a time where the Coalition Government is identifying areas to cut back upon, we need a strong champion for these core services when they are most needed.
Green London Assembly members used the first ever Mayor’s Question Time in 2000 to secure a registration scheme for same sex couples from Mayor Ken Livingstone, paving the way for civil partnerships to be introduced nationally by the Government. At a stroke, we showed how the GLA could transform the lives of citizens when politicians were prepared to show leadership and fight for fairness.
If you want to see a fresh approach to London that invests in creating the new jobs we need, that makes life here more affordable and healthy for everyone, please vote for me as Mayor and vote for more Green Assembly Members to work with me on your behalf.
PinkNews.co.uk does not endorse the views expressed in opinion pieces or any individual candidate in London’s mayoral election next month.