The campaign up until now has been as you would expect. Two leaders fighting for pole position with the hope of becoming the next Prime Minister, enough talk of tactical voting to make us all so confused that no-one knows what the outcome will be and the usual bickering that goes on between the parties throwing all they have at each other with the result of turning people off.
The Scottish Green Party accepts that this is a difficult election but if the referendum taught us anything it should be that we should ask questions of everything that is being said and done, even of our own party, and each and every one of us must engage in politics in order to make a difference. It's not about the powerhouses of spin any longer and for us to make a change we must march with our feet to the polling stations on May 7th.
Chatting to voters on the door step there is a clear message that everyone is tired of playing games when it comes to each and every one of our futures. This election is no longer a 'two horse race' and the First Past The Post system is clearly broken. People are asking for honesty and answers to the things that will effect them.
So we caught up Veronika to ask her a few questions that have been on some people's minds:
“How is your campaign going?”
That’s how most of my friends greet me these days. Followed almost immediately with a question about whether I am likely to win, or, depending on political inclination, how I can justify splitting the independence vote.
The Greens have a high profile at the moment, thanks both to increased interest around the referendum and increased exposure through the general election. Despite this it will be difficult to convert this advantage to Westminster seats in the first past the post system. The Westminster system makes it difficult for small parties to have a voice and I believe it is unnecessarily adversarial. Clearly there is also a problem with diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity. Consequently the SGP will campaign for electoral reform at Westminster.
"What do you make of all the discussions about tactical voting?"
The vote belongs to the voter, who are we to say who they would vote for if they did not have a green candidate? As a rule I believe in voting what you believe in. I would encourage everyone who has green values and agrees with our policies to vote for us.
How do you know if you have green values?
What distinguishes the SGP from most of the other parties is our
- anti – austerity agenda
- welcoming attitude to immigrants
- stance against Trident
- wanting power to be delivered at a local level
- the only party with a zero tolerance stand against Fracking and TTIP
Regarding austerity think it is the wrong answer. In fact the question is wrong too. There is money around, but it is not fairly distributed. I am in favour of redistributing our resources more fairly and injecting money at the bottom of the economy to support businesses and services.
To reverse the effects of austerity we plan a minimum wage of £10 an hour by 2020, equal to the living wage.
Rent controls and more social housing are also needed.
The SGP plan to end sanctions and workfare.
To decrease unemployment more jobs are needed! We are told that there are plenty of jobs but on closer inspection they are low paid, low hours or zero hours.
It is necessary to encourage local businesses which are connected to the community and transition towards a jobs-rich economy which respects the environment, The SGP plans to invest in green industrialisation and the homes, transport and energy we need for a low carbon future.
For young people we need to invest in training in these industries and we intend to raise the wage from apprentices form the current £3.30 an hour to the living wage.
To care for our population appropriately we want to see an end to the privatisation of the NHS.
I want to see less money spent on Nuclear weapons which kill and main people and more spent on Health services which care and cure. Our approach to health could be more proactive, rather than reactive with investment in a healthy nation by protecting our healthy environment, encouraging healthy lifestyles and making policy decisions which safeguard health.
Many people I meet in the streets are genuinely worried about immigrants. We need to rewrite the narrative about immigration.
The British emigrated all over the world for centuries and never once doubted that they were bringing assets to the countries they travelled to. Equally, we can welcome immigrants to this country knowing they and their children will be assets to our society and economy,
I believe the EU is a good thing. The Scottish Green Party is in favour of a referendum and would encourage constituents to vote to remain in the EU and aim to make some changes to the organisation to give us the maximum benefit.
…….So how is the campaign going?
Well, I have a short piece in the Irvine Herald every week, respond to press requests, answered nearly all my emails asking for commitments and opinions on subjects as diverse as company cars for teachers, Parkinson’s disease and Trident. I am attending street stalls; leafleting and canvassing sessions; hustings and any public event that will have me.
With just under two weeks to go, then what?
The kind of MP I want is an accessible one that I am likely to meet at the supermarket or at a local meeting. If I get elected that's the kind I want to be.
You can read the full manifesto here and if you have a question for Veronika you can either post here in the comments or contact her via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @VoteVeronika.