07:19 Friday 30th May 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[C]HRIS MANN: They may not have had any councillors in Cambridgeshire, but the Green Party say they’re confident they will have a representative in Cambridge again. They came third in the popular vote in the Euro and local elections in the city of Cambidge last week, beating the Conservatives into fourth place. So, are environmental issues becoming more important to the general public? I’m joined now by Matt Hodgkinson, who was the Green Party candidate in the Petersfield ward in Cambridge. Hello Matt.
MATT HODGKINSON: Morning.
CHRIS MANN: Pleased with last week’s results?
MATT HODGKINSON: Yes. Definitely. Obviously it was disappointing not to get councillors, but I think we weren’t expecting too much this time. But we’ve got quite a lot of momentum. We just had the local Young Greens founded last October by Ellisif Wasmuth, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm among the local party, especially the Young Greens, so we’ve got a lot to do for next year.
CHRIS MANN: It didn’t help you that you got into power in Brighton and then messed up, did it? You were running the local council there. You’ve got a local MP. And it’s a bit of a dog’s dinner so to speak, isn’t it down there?
MATT HODGKINSON: I think a lot of councils are having difficulty in these times, with the measures in place by the Government …
CHRIS MANN: (INTERRUPTS) Yes but quite spectacular there, isn’t it?
MATT HODGKINSON: Well I think it’s not the first time there’s been bin strikes in Brighton. I think the other parties have faced those situations. I don’t really think it’s anything. Obviously because it’s the sole Green council then there’s particular attention on it, but I think if you focus on some of the other parties ..
CHRIS MANN: (INTERRUPTS) Well we’re focusing on Brighton Matt. We’re focusing on Brighton now, because it was the first time the Greens were in power, so if you wouldn’t mind, like other political parties, you’ve got to face up to your record. It wasn’t a particularly good one at running a council, was it?
MATT HODGKINSON: I think things could have been improved, but I think we’re going to learn lessons. I think we’re also the official opposition in Liverpool and Norwich and Solihull, so we’ve got a great deal to do for those communities as well.
CHRIS MANN: And of course I guess the problem partly is that OK, you’re flag is about green things, but you need to have other policies too, to do with other issues.
MATT HODGKINSON: Which of course we do.
CHRIS MANN: Exactly.
MATT HODGKINSON: We have very comprehensive policies. You can see our policies for a sustainable society on our website. It’s nothing that we hide away.
CHRIS MANN: OK. So what would you do for instance about the traffic problems in Cambridgeshire, and the A14 and so on? Would you still build a big new road?
MATT HODGKINSON: No. The Greens are not in favour of building more and larger roads. I think we can do more things with other means of transport, and reducing the need for people to commute. For instance Sustrans are doing amazing work with creating commuter routes from the outlying districts of Cambridge by bike on car-free routes. So that’s something which is very encouraging, and hopefully commuters will switch to different means of transport.
CHRIS MANN: I like the word hopefully in there. There’s a lot of people on the A14, the A10, the M11 and so on this morning. Where are you going to put all of those people in the big trucks and so on? We need to a realistic answer to that problem, don’t we?
MATT HODGKINSON: Well of course. But for example with big trucks and transport of freight, that can be much better done by rail. It’s sad that the investment in rail over decades has been so low. The Greens are in favour of re-nationalisation of the railways, so we want to have a much more rational transport system.
CHRIS MANN: Will you get a Green councillor in Cambridge again do you think?
MATT HODGKINSON: Yes, I think if not next year then the year after. I think we’ve got good momentum. We’re getting reorganised, and I think it’s very achievable. With the level of support at 20% at the European elections, even with the 14%, if there was proportional representation in councillors we would have received two councillors at those local elections ..
CHRIS MANN: (INTERRUPTS) There isn’t of course, is there?
MATT HODGKINSON: No, of course. But my point is that the level of support is such that people in Cambridge clearly want Green representation.
CHRIS MANN: Matt Hodgkins, thank you very much indeed, Hodgkinson rather. The Green Party candidate as was in the Petersfield ward in Cambridge, unelected of course.