Thursday, 21 August 2008

Radical v. Racist

Letter to The Observer: 19th August 2008

Dear Sir

The Green Party has long recognised the importance of its existence in the political arena. However, as Rafael Behr's article (The race to be the fourth party matters more than you think, Comment, last week) perfectly highlighted, especially in light of the recent rise in support for the BNP, its presence has never been needed more.

Whilst the Government and its opposition persist in targeting ‘Middle England’, which they believe will be more likely to turn out at the polls and use its vote, a growing number of Working Class (for the want of a better term) citizens are becoming evermore disenfranchised and embittered and are now looking for a radical alternative.

Sadly, having ditched its boots & braces campaigning style for a slightly more sophisticated albeit disingenuous disguising of its violent multi-phobic tendencies, the BNP is reaping some benefit from this collective Westminster negligence and is enjoying a modicum of success of late; incidentally though not nearly as much as the Greens who hold 117 seats on principal authorities nationally, not 47 to the BNP's 37 as quoted in Mr Behr's article.

In any event, due largely to the indifference of all the Parliamentary Parties, BNP support has grown enough to be of concern to the majority of the electorate who abhor far right nationalism and its inherent virulence. In view of this, The Greens have for some time now been discussing the very real possibility of being offered the option to speak on platforms where the media may allow the BNP representation.

Should that be the case, rather than burying my head in the sand in the hope that the problem will simply go away, be assured that every such situation would be used to put forward a positively radical agenda and be seen as an opportunity to discredit and denounce fascism in all its unacceptable forms.

Yours faithfully

Ashley Gunstock
Green Party Leader Candidate

See also:
Greens Versus BNP - Peter Cranie
Greens have a key role to play in combating the BNP, says Lucas

Thursday, 14 August 2008

53 Questions - with Answers

The Daily Politico has invited me to complete their questionnaire. This will appear on the Total Politics web-site at some point, but they are here now.

Q1. Why did you get involved in the political world?
A1. Rather than waste my time complaining about the state of affairs, I thought that I had better get involved in the Affairs of State.

Q2. When did you join [The Green Party]?
A2. November 1989

Q3. What is your earliest political memory?
A3. The assassination of John F Kennedy

Q4. Which one law would you repeal?
A4. I would rid us of the law that permits 42 days detention without trial.

Q5. Which one law would you introduce?
A5. I would introduce a law to ensure that there were no single faith/cult schools, colleges or universities and which would turn all educational institutions into community centres of learning.

Q6. What’s your favourite view in the world?
A6. My favourite view in the world is that of the Sun rising and setting each day.

Q7. What’s your favourite political quotation?
A7. "You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can please most of the people most of the time."

Q8. What music gets you up to dance?
A8. I will get up and dance to any sound with a strong beat and a good rhythm.

Q9. If you could have been present at any debate in the House of Commons over the last three hundred years, which would it have been, and why?
A9. I would dearly have loved to have spoken during the debate to decide whether or not to take the UK into the US War of Terror, if only to register the fact that The Green Party was the only political party to object to the conflict from the outset.

Q10. Imagine you are planning a dinner party, pick six people (living or dead) to invite.
A10. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Adolph Hitler and their partners.

Q11. Who is your best friend in politics?
A11. I do not have a best friend in politics.

Q12. What’s your favourite form of transport?
A12. I feel good about using a bicycle as my preferred mode of transport, for so many varied and different reasons.

Q13. What’s your favourite dish?
A13. I enjoy eating any well cooked, preferably hot & spicy, vegetarian dish.

Q14. Do you have any phobias?
A14. I have an aversion to filling in forms or questionnaires, for so many varied and different reasons.

Q15. What do you dream about?
A15. I’m sure that I still do have dreams, everybody is supposed to; but I’m probably too tired, by the time that I get to bed these days, to be able to ‘watch’ them.

Q16. When did you last cry, and why?
A16. I am quite sentimental, so am often moved to tears. However the last time that I truly sobbed was after I had found out that a political opponent of mine, whom I greatly respected, had died.

Q17. What’s the last thing you bought in a shop?
A17. I bought some Pick ‘n’ Mix Sweets for my son & I to enjoy while watching a film.

Q18. What’s the funniest You Tube video you’ve recently seen?
A18. The Mom Song sung to The William Tell Overture.

Q19. What is the best speech you have ever heard (and been present at)?
A19. My brother’s best man speech at my wedding.

Q20. Who’s your favourite comedian?
A20. Robin Williams.

Q21. Have you ever cried at a film? Which one(s)?
A21. Cyrano de Bergerac with GĂ©rard Depardieu. Please also see A16.

Q22. Which is your favourite political biography or autobiography?
A22. Adolph Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Alan Bullock.

Q23. What is your favourite novel?
A23. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

Q24. Name a book you have read which has failed to live up to expectations.
A24. On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

Q25. Who would you like to say sorry to, and why?
A25. The list is endless.

Q26. What job would you be doing if you weren’t involved in the political world?
A26. I would spend more time pursuing my career as an actor and make more use of my Football Association coaching qualification.

Q27. Do you have a party trick, or hidden talent?
A27. Not that I know of.

Q28. What’s the best holiday you have been on?
A28. My honeymoon in Italy.

Q29. Where in the world would you most like to go on holiday?
A29. Cuba.

Q30. When was the last time you used public transport?
A30. Today.

Q31. When was the last time you went to the theatre and what did you see?
A31. I last went to the theatre in June of this year to see a friend in Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis – Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate.

Q32. What do you collect?
A32. Almost anything re-useable or re-cycleable.

Q33. What is your most unusual hobby?
A33. I don’t have one.

Q34. Which newspapers do you read regularly?
A34. The Observer and any that I pick up on the Tube or in coffee bars.

Q35. Which websites do you visit regularly?
A35. I only visit websites in the course of my work.

Q36. Which blogs do you love or hate?
A36. Ditto for blogs.

Q37. Which magazines do you subscribe to?
A37. I don’t have any subscriptions to magazines, but I regularly read Greenworld and The Big Issue.

Q38. Which five words would your friends use about you?
A38. Unprintable.

Q39. Which five words would your enemies use about you?
A39. Ditto.

Q40. Are you into sport? If so, which ones?
A40. I enjoy most sports, especially football!

Q41. Which is your favourite football team and player?
A41. Chelsea is my favourite football team and I’ve been a ‘glory hunter’ with them for only 42 years. My favourite player at present is Michael Essien, whom I consider to be a superb footballer of immense character, who does not complain even though he is often asked to play out of his natural position.

Q42. Who is your political hero?
A42. Martin Luther King.

Q43. Who is your political hate figure?
A43. Pick a fascist, any fascist.

Q44. What’s your most memorable time in politics?
A44. Having opponents who had in the past looked down their noses at me for my political affiliation – and whom I have had ‘run-ins’ with – come over to me to respectfully shake my hand before a recent election.

Q45. What’s your most embarrassing moment in politics?
A45. Not getting my nomination papers delivered in time for a local by-election.

Q46. What’s your prediction for the next general election?
A46. The Green Party will hold the balance of power.

Q47. Who is your favourite and least favourite political interviewer?
A47. Jeremy Paxman is my favourite political interviewer, because he ‘cuts to the chase’ and my least favourite political interviewer is Nicky Campbell, because he is far too smarmy for my liking.

Q48. What do you never miss on TV?
A48. I always try to catch the News and really big football matches, when I get the chance to watch TV.

Q49. Which current foreign politician do you most admire?
A49. Nelson Mandela is the current foreign politician whom I most admire, because of the dignified way in which he always appears to conduct himself.

Q50. What do you listen to/watch when you get up in the morning?
A50. I can’t bear to listen to or watch anything first thing in the morning. However after I have ‘got it together’ I tune in to Radio 5 Live.

Q51. Complete this sentence: The thing I hate about politics is...
A51. ….that, although there is a right way of achieving what is necessary, most politicians screw up because they tend to go for the cheapest and/or easiest option.

Q52. Complete this sentence: The thing I love about politics is...
A52. ….that there is a right way of achieving what is necessary and often it is the most obvious option.

Q53. What would you like your political epitaph to be?
A53. Job done!

Internet Hustings

There are some unofficial internet hustings over on Jim Jays blog with answers from both myself and Caroline Lucas.

Also coming up are answers from Adrian Ramsay, the candidate for Deputy Leader.

Plus plus similar hustings for the position of Chairman.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

An Interview with Ashley has a Feature on the Green Party Leadership Election with an interview with Ashley.

Please ignore the double negative spotted by "Green Gordon".

Next week: Caroline Lucas.