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Your Interview: Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East
7:00pm Friday 30th May 2014 in News
Keith Taylor is a newly re-elected MEP who will continue to serve South East England following the European Election results on Sunday.
The Green Party politician was previously a councillor for Brighton and Hove City Council.
IAN TAYLOR by email: Whilst not a ‘natural’ Green Party supporter I can understand what you are trying to achieve for the long-term benefit of Brighton and Hove. However, I feel that the party isn’t getting its message across effectively to the local electorate – would you agree?
Keith Taylor (KT): You’re absolutely right to note that Green councillors are working for Brighton’s long-term benefit. That’s why we’ve been investing in measures to cut pollution and promote sustainable transport. It’s also why we’re doing all we can to narrow the gap between the highest and lowest paid in the city, to make it a fairer place to live.
In politics it is always hard to get your message across. In Brighton we’ve faced a Labour Party intent on undermining us at every possible opportunity. But despite this I think we should take your view on board and do all we can to improve the ways we communicate to the electorate.
BEN ASHBECK by email: I have no idea what you do in the European Parliament. What are you going to do to make sure I know what you are voting for on my behalf?
KT: Part of the job of an MEP is to inform their constituents on what actually happens in Brussels. I am hoping to keep you up to date by producing a newsletter at least twice a year and by sending out e-updates every couple of months.
Just head to www.keithtaylormep.org.uk to sign up to the newsletter.
AFTERVOID online: What do you intend to do about the failure of vision, the failure of competency, the failure of responsibility and the failure to understand the meaning of democracy that the Green Party has carried out in Brighton since being elected?
KT: I have to say I really don’t agree with your analysis of the situation in Brighton. We’ve certainly had some trying times but, with a huge chunk of our manifesto commitments fulfilled, the Greens have done a great job.
SIMON SHEPPHERD by email: There have been repeated accusations that UKIP is racist. What is the party really about?
KT: Though I wouldn’t say that every UKIP member or voter is racist I do worry about the dangerous tone set by the party leadership.
They tend to blame all of the problems in the UK on migrants, while ignoring those who really have responsibility for the challenges we face. I also worry that UKIP MEPs are going to absolutely fail to stand up for their constituents (their previous records shows them to be some of the laziest MEPs).
FLORA ROBINSON by phone: Do you really have a hope of winning more MP seats in the General Election? Are people really just using European and local council votes as a protest?
KT: The Green Party is certainly growing. At the local elections we saw people elected all over the country and we became the official opposition on a number of councils. We do tend to fare better in proportional elections but Caroline’s election was a real breakthrough for us that we intend to replicate in a number of places across England over the coming years.
DAVID LOPEZ by phone: In your view what is the worst-case scenario if the sceptics get their way and we withdraw from the EU?
KT: My biggest worry about leaving the EU is that our environment, from our rivers to our beaches, will be left unguarded. As things stand, about 80% of our environmental laws come from Brussels, and without them I fear the worst.
MAT JENKINS by email: When are you going to collect my recycling? It was last collected two to three weeks ago and before that perhaps more than a month. Everyone on our street is confused, often the whole road is littered with recycling from bins that have been left out.
KT: This is, of course, an issue for the council. I’m not sure where your street is but I suggest you speak to your local councillor and they will help you out as soon as possible.
ZeeGee online: You claim to favour community adhesion whilst ignoring the fact that mass immigration, something the Greens are in favour of, have not only destroyed centuries-old communities but have created ghettos. It has also led to increased levels of pollution, which contradicts neatly your aim to reduce them.
So my question is how do you intend to square your “We should not tolerate the long-term presence of large numbers of people whose immigration status is not defined” with your intention to give them an amnesty, in your “We would open up ways for existing illegal migrants who have been here for three years to become legal. In particular, a legal status must be provided for people who have not succeeded in their claim for humanitarian protection but who cannot be returned to their country of origin due to the political situation there”.
KT: Greens believe in an immigration system that treats everybody with dignity and respect. We celebrate multiculturalism and tolerance in our society because we think a diverse society is a rich one.
Sandra Dyke by email: Can the Green party grow enough to offer a genuine alternative for left wing voters at the General Election next year? If so, how? Are you now taking the Lib Dem vote?
KT: The Green Party is growing and certainly does offer a genuine alternative to business as usual. We’re going to continue to focus on policies which people support but the other parties refuse to back. For example we’re against tuition fees, for a publicly owned railway and for progressive taxation to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
At the last election we beat the Lib Dems almost everywhere in the UK (including my own constituency) and we expect to do well again in the General Election as voters keep seeking radical solutions to the problems we face.
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