An interview with Fiona Radic Green Party Candidate for Peterborough broadcast on Thursday 15th April 2010 at 08:10 in the Paul Stainton Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Peterborough.
STAINTON: Today the Green Party launched their manifesto in Brighton. We already know they are very passionate about the environment. But what else are they going to be fighting for? Well Fiona Radic is the Green Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough. She’s here now. Morning.
RADIC: Good morning Paul.
STAINTON: Is it just green policies that you’ll be offering the people of Peterborough?
RADIC: Well when you say green policies, do you mean the environment?
STAINTON: Yes I do. Green jobs. I mean are you going to try and get us out of this massive economic hole with green policies?
RADIC: Well exactly. We have a massive set of problems to deal with. The biggest one at the moment has got to be the economy. And the Green Party has tackled this by producing policies to bring down the amount of money that we need to borrow. We’re actually proposing to borrow less than the Labour Government is intending to borrow, but also to increase the number of jobs in the public sector.
STAINTON: How are you going to do that?
RADIC: We’re going to do it by bringing on jobs in the areas of renewable energy. I think most people do understand this. But there are also other areas, such as social care, and midwifery for example, which we would regard as absolutely key, and essential in improving life at the moment.
STAINTON: You’re going to spend, spend, spend as well aren’t you? And you’re going to tax, tax, tax.
RADIC: We’re going to cut, actually. We’ve got quite a few lovely things that we can cut. We’re looking for huge savings to be made on the Trident. We would scrap the Trident programme. In fact I think even that policy is running, and is being very seriously considered now I think by a lot of people. We want to tackle fraud and tax evasion on a very serious level, and not just at my level, ordinary people, that sort of level, but evasions by big business.
STAINTON: So you’re going to cut here, cut there, cut there? Is that going to pay for all your substantial rises in public spending?
RADIC: Yes we think it is actually all fully costed.
STAINTON: How much are you going to put all of our tax up? Quite a lot, aren’t you?
RADIC: There’s an intention to raise tax for people earning over one hundred thousand pounds a year. For people on lower incomes, we will reduce tax.
STAINTON: National Insurance is going to go sky-high though, isn’t it? That’s a tax, isn’t it?
RADIC: Yes. Yes.
STAINTON: Where’s that going to go to?
RADIC: Sorry, I’m not really happy talking about the National Insurance policy at the moment. Because I have .. (LAUGHS) Could I just have a look in here?
STAINTON: Yes. Have a look at your information.
RADIC: This is our manifesto.
STAINTON: I mean I know about it. (PAUSE)
STAINTON: Any luck?
RADIC: I’ve got it here. We’re going to help lower earners, Ok, by raising the lower national Insurance limits, the personal allowance rate. Ok? So I understand that as meaning that lower earners will actually benefit.
STAINTON: But for everybody else it’s going up substantially, isn’t it?
RADIC: It will go up a little bit, yes.
STAINTON: Yes. It’s going to be a hard one to sell, isn’t it?
RADIC: It is hard selling things where people think they’re going to suffer. But you’ve got to look at the policies in the round. We have got a society now where the poorest people in the country are paying the most tax, in terms of the amount they’re earning. They’re the highest proportion. We’ve got a wider gap between rich and poor than we’ve seen probably since before the last war. This is absolutely outrageous after three terms of Labour government.
STAINTON: I think we’d all agree with that. I think we’d all agree. But in the last election in 2005 the Green Party managed to secure one per cent of the vote. Are you confident you can do better this time? Are you confident perhaps people are a bit more aware of green issues, and you can get the message out there a little bit better?
RADIC: I think we’ve got candidates who stand an excellent chance of being elected this time. I think we will see Green MPs elected to government this time. And if you think about it, if people want to vote for policies, they can look at us as a very serious option. If people want to vote against what they don’t like, we’re never going to get anywhere. This is a very very bad way of going about voting. And that is the danger of the system that we’ve got at the moment. We have a system of first past the post which gives you a kind of click-clack click-clack, don’t like them, don’t like them, so I’m going to sort of stop them by voting for the least worst one.
STAINTON: Because with a different system in Europe you did much much better in European elections, didn’t you?
RADIC: Absolutely. If we had a proportional representation system of voting, people could vote for what they wanted. And more people’s opinions would be represented in the voting system by the type of people that manage to get in.
STAINTON: Do you think that the Green Party has an image problem?
RADIC: I would certainly say we have had an image problem? There’s a kind of leprechaun approach, you know, the long-haired hippy, people who wear sandals.
STAINTON: And you’re certainly not that.
RADIC: Well I hope not, no. I try ..
STAINTON: You look like my Mum. You look like my Mum, you know.
RADIC: (LAUGHS) Thank you very much.
STAINTON: That’s alright. It’s a compliment.
RADIC: I’m sure it is. Thank you.
STAINTON: No but you do. I you know if you told me to do something I’d probably take notice. Do as I’m told.
RADIC: But we do have a slighly sharper smarter image and I’m sure that will become apparent to most of us during the campaign.
STAINTON: Are you confident you can secure enough votes, or do you think you’re in danger of losing your deposit?
RADIC: That’s entirely down to the voters of Peterborough. If we get five per cent of the vote we will save our deposit. And that deposit for us means leaflets in local wards. So if we get that back that’s where that will go.
STAINTON: Are you Peterborough through and through Fiona?
RADIC: I moved here about twenty years ago, twenty plus years ago. Yes. I moved up with Pearl Assurance. I came up.
STAINTON: Yes, you and me both then. We’ve been here about the same time, nineteen eighty nine I came to this fair city, and I’ve watched it grow, not always in the right way in my opinion, but ..
RADIC: No. I absolutely agree with you.
STAINTON: But listen, good luck on polling day. I hope it goes well for you. And I hope you can get your policies across and get your image across, and we’ll let you have a read of your policy document.
RADIC: Well I shall certainly have another look at the National Insurance section Paul.
STAINTON: Good stuff.
RADIC: Take care. Thank you for the warning about that smoking dollar coming towards my house. I’ve shut all my windows.
STAINTON: Yes yes. It’s all on it’s way from Iceland. Fiona Radic who is the Green Party candidate for Peterborough, standing in the elections for the Peterborough seat on May 6th. (FULL LIST OF CANDIDATES)