Here is what I stand for: some of the national policy changes that I think will benefit Walthamstow residents.
I believe in renationalising public services, from housing to environment and social care. I support renewable energy and oppose fracking.
I believe in renationalising Whipps Cross and extracting it from Barts Health Trust. I support the NHS Reinstatement Bill, standing to repeal HSCA and for an end to PFI, the Private Finance Initiative which treats the NHS like a bank and puts business debt servicing and profits before people. I oppose TTIP.
I believe in trade unions and their role in improving working conditions around the UK. And I believe in investing in start-ups, social enterprise and small business particularly in the arts and technology, to increase employment and pay into the Walthamstow economy.
I stand for diversity and social cohesion, particularly championing anti-racism and campaigning against religious prejudice, protesting against fascists like the EDL.
On schools I stand for giving our young people the best possible start in life by investing in both core subject teaching but also the arts and sports.
My focus for schools is music, and the positive impact learning music and participating in music has on cognitive and childhood development. We need far more state-funded music provision in schools and colleges. But that also goes for all the arts, and sports provision. It is the extra curricula activities that develop a child and young adult and give them the broadest options in life. Arts and sports activities sustain and develop adult well-being and social cohesion.
On education generally, I believe in renationlising our education system from top to bottom, and removing business profit from it – renationalising schools, scrapping the expensive student loans system, bringing back grants and eradicating top-up fees. I stand for radically increasing publicly funded scientific research and improving academic pay and conditions for qualified lecturers and post-docs, increasing opportunities for women in science.
I believe in supporting human and civil rights and particularly the rights of refugees. We need to de-criminalise the treatment of refugees in the UK and support the rights of overseas refugees to be able to return to their homes in safety. This means the UK holding countries to account for violations of international law and Geneva conventions against Palestinians, Tibetans, Kashmiris and Tamils. Israel, China, India and Sri Lanka persistently violate international law. They have created international refugee crises by military occupying, annexing or blockading another people’s lands and ethnically cleansing the indigenous inhabitants who ought to be allowed to live in peace and safety, with self determination. The UK, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has to address these human rights violations stretching back over decades.
Underpinning all of this, I believe in the rights of women and girls to live lives of equality and safety, with equal life chances and equal pay.
Photos copyright (c) Ellie Merton