Will it be third time lucky for Green Party candidate in Brent Central?
PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 April 2015 | UPDATED: 15:44 24 April 2015
The kind of future the Green Party want is already happening in Brent according to Shahrah Ali.
Shahrar Ali first came to the party in 2002 after a stint working in the European Parliament on GM Food and could see how the Green Party were ‘on top of that’ and that ‘environmental action was taken seriously amongst that group of politicians’. The party’s social justice, of looking after the most vulnerable also hit home.
If he becomes MP – it’s his third shot at Brent, having stood for Brent East in 2005 and Brent Central in 2010 – his biggest campaign will be on climate change.
“There is nothing more uncomfortable that an uninhabitable planet,” he said.
He cites Willesden Green Town Team and the KensaltoKilburn Transition movement as two examples of a positive future.
“They are very important and they need to be given more support through local government and government structures. For they are spaces where people are trying to think and act outside the box, whether it’s growing their own food, going on mass mobilising apple picking. It’s just not wasting the food we have in front of our eyes, try to build in resilience, try to work out how we can volunteer within our own communities and trade that expertise instead of putting a monetary tag on it. Those kind of movements are where a lot of the social transformation is going to come from.”
Last year Dr Ali became the first BME deputy leader of any political party, a role he sees as only beneficial, within politics and outside.
He says the Greens “have a particular problem” with lack of diversity which needs improving upon but that part of the benefits of getting elected into his senior office is to raise the profile of diversity outside the party. “This is the place where we take political issues that can particularly affect ethnic minorities, particularly in London.
I want to be able to promote not just ethnic harmony but to ensure there isn’t discrimination being felt across those communities.”
Dr Ali got his doctorate after finishing a thesis on the theory of intentional deception and lying.
“I sometimes mention this as a reason to get into politics because there’s so much of it,” he said, adding: “There’s a high premium now on politicians who tell it as it is. Even just admitting bad news, politicians will gain a lot from that, I always say you should take people, take the voters to be at least as intelligent as you take yourself to be.”
The author of a book, Why Vote Green, he worked at the Universtity of London as a manager and as a lecturer in philosophy.
So why vote Green?
“We’re going to be looking out for everybody’s interest, whoever you are, whatever place in society you hold. The Party also looks out for non human animals and other species we share this planet with and future generations, people who aren’t around yet but who deserve better from us, the current generation.”
In an election that can be seen as a two horse race between two heavy weight parties, he urges people not to throw away their vote in a tactical move, or even use a Green vote as a protest vote, but to vote as they believe.
“I believe that now people have the opportunity and the confidence to vote as they believe and I would urge them to. For all the years I’ve been campaigning electorally, people have said for me ‘I would vote for you if I thought you could win,’, If people vote what they believe in, they’ll get what they want. They have to have the confidence to vote as they believe; I’ll always say that irrespective of the voting system, because they’ll never get what they want otherwise.”
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