On March 30 I sent an open letter to the prospective candidates for Warwick and Leamington asking them to consider the environment in their campaigns and what their parties policies were.
I am sad to say that only one candidate replied to me – Chris White. I understand they are busy people but if they want my vote then they need appeal to my perspective. I am one of the undecided voters and feel that we need to consider the environment in our policy making. Whilst Chris didn’t directly respond to my questions he did outline the Government’s track record and offer some views on how he would like the environment be treated in the local area, especially regarding the hot topic of housing and Green Belt. To say that I am disappointed in the response is an understatement. In the past two general elections all three of the main parties replied to me and helped me to understand their policies. The environment is notably absent from the campaign as a whole, and whilst I understand the importance of the economy and NHS, I want to live in a country that balances all its duties. As a constituent I feel even more ignored and remote from politics, why should I bother voting for them when they can’t be bothered to engage with me?
So has this exercise helped me come to a decision... quite frankly no. As a local MP the Conservative candidate has a fairly good environmental record especially in opposing Government projects such as HS2. The Labour Party has a very tempting offer to end the Badger Cull and tighten animal welfare policies. The Liberals in my opinion have the best policy involving a Nature Act to back up change with legislation. The Greens likewise have good policies and UKIP... well they have some good ideas and some worrying ones.
Either way I see some dark times for those of us interested in the environment regardless of who wins or who makes up the next Government.
Mark Smith, Disgruntled ecologist