by Rob Telford
Bristol West: 10 minutes with each of your local Green candidates in May 2015
Number 5: Jude English (Lawrence Hill)
Jude English is the Green Party candidate for Lawrence Hill. She is a Bristol-based teacher and Open University course coordinator.
Why are you standing to be a councillor in Lawrence Hill ward?
It’s the place in Bristol I moved to and kind of took me in when I moved from Cardiff about 18 years ago. I came and was housed by self help community housing by Charlotte Keele Medical Centre and I had a really happy five years living there.
What do you think the important local issues are at the moment?
What I’m hearing on the streets and in neighbourhood forums when I go to hear what people have got to say is street cleansing and tidiness. I know that’s kind of an old chestnut, but people are really fed up of the lack of attention to the streets of BS5, Lawrence Hill and Barton Hill. They want a proper service, like that people get in other parts of the city. There’s refuse piled up from flats, from businesses – and it’s just become tiresome. Also, I think there are issues about schools. We need more places for young people in schools. I’m a teacher, I’ve been in several primary schools in Lawrence Hill recently. There are large classes – I shouldn’t be teaching classes of over 30 kids in a primary school in Bristol. There’s also a huge mix of lovely young people speaking many different languages. We need more help and support for them – for interpreting, we need extra teaching assistants.
If people have voted Green locally before, why should they vote Green for the parliamentary election?
I’m hearing this: “I’m really worried about the Conservatives getting in so I think I should vote Labour.” I can understand people’s worry. It is a concern, isn’t it? None of us want to have any more time with this dreadful Conservative-Liberal coalition.
But Labour….are they delivering the goods? Have they delivered the goods? We might think some of their policies are OK, but on the ground people want change. If you want change, you have to vote for it, you have to see it happen, you have to make it happen. Don’t be frightened of that message – it was in the Green Party’s fantastic new party election broadcast. I know that resonates with a lot of young people. We can’t have the same old tune, you have to have the courage of your convictions and you’ve got to make it happen.
Green is different. I like to think we’re socialists at heart and if you look at the policies, most people really agree. So don’t be frightened. Fear is what is stopping people from voting Green sometimes and so what I try to do is reassure people that it’s not a wasted vote. I certainly would not waste my vote, it’s a very precious thing to me.
What’s your background? What are you passions? What are you up to at the moment?
My background is in environmental youth work. I started off many years ago working for an environmental youth charity. I worked for Friends of the Earth for a while. At the moment I work for the Open University for some of my time, teaching on a course called “Energy for Sustainability” where I help people who haven’t accessed university level education before to gain a degree, which is very satisfying. I also work in schools – I work as a supply teacher in a number of schools in Bristol. At the moment I’m teaching in a secondary school in Lawrence Hill.
I started off as a physicist. Physics is about the natural world. Physics is about how the world works. It’s about climate and weather and mountains and animals. For me, this is all related to how we care for our resources and over the years I’ve recognised that we are not caring for our resources in a very sustainable fashion and we are going to kill the planet, effectively. One of the most famous physicists, James Lovelock, thought of the Gaia theory which people don’t recognise enough, I think. The planet is a living thing and we are killing it. So I’m passionate about that, and all things really connect to that, for me.
Are there any other local or national issues that you think are going to be important in the next period of time?
For the new council it will be taking forward the legacy of the fantastic Green Capital year. We’ve had £7m from government and we’ve had the energy and enthusiasm of all the Bristol citizens. It’s not just for one year. We need to be the green capital of Britain and possibly Europe and further afield. We need to role model all these new technologies. We need to have our fantastic young people in jobs where they are doing worthwhile and meaningful work in green technologies, gifting this and spreading this throughout the planet.
If you were Mayor for one day and you could change one single thing, what would it be?
I would make the entire city centre of Bristol car free.