Interview with Green Party candidate for Ealing Central & Acton Kate Crossland

Kate Crossland may be the candidate for the Ealing Central and Acton Green Party, but even she has criticisms of ULEZ and LTNs

By Edie Oborne

There are eight candidates standing for election in the Ealing Central and Acton constituency. I talked to Kate Crossland, standing for the Green Party and asked her first of all about the Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

It’s a fairly blunt instrument. If you take ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zones), it’s better than not doing something about congestion and traffic.

“But what the Greens have been saying for a long time is that the fairest way to do this is road pricing. So, you pay for the miles that you drive and that’s a scale charge depending on the emissions of your vehicle.

“And you can do it in a way that it’s emissions and size of vehicle. You can do it in a way that if someone has an exemption because they’re a carer, you can build that in. So that is by far the fairest way to do it.

“ULEZ is what we have, and we have to do something about illegal levels of air pollution, and that’s a huge issue in the area.

“We have these massive arterial roads surrounding our constituencies. We can’t get away from the fact that that has an impact on our health, our children’s health.

“So yeah, we are pro-ULEZ. But recognising it’s not the fairest way to do it. We are pro-low traffic neighbourhoods. I think my biggest criticism of that has been, mine and the Green Party, particularly, is this is the way it was done, without meaningful consultation and pretty rubbish communication.’

This is not Kate’s time standing for election. I asked her why she chose to stand for the Green Party.

I guess I wanted to stand again because of the reasons I stood last time, needing to prioritise the climate, needing to address some of the issues that people are facing, you know, low cost of living and the NHS, and nothing’s really changed.’

“I live here. I live in the constituency. I’ve lived in Ealing for more than 20 years. I’ve lived here for 18. That’s kind of a no brainer, isn’t it?

“And also, because I’ve done a lot of community activism, community work. You want to represent your community. Not every politician does that. People move. For me it’s about representing my community.”

Asked about what she loved about the Central Ealing and Acton constituency she said,

“I love the richness of the cultures, that you can walk around within Ealing and you can access, shops and services and neighbours. and talk to people from all over the world. I find that really exciting.

“Just these different perspectives you get on things.” And of course, she also mentioned her love of Ealing’s many green spaces.

Given our first past the post election system, small parties are always asked whether a vote for them is not a vote wasted. On this she said:

“So, I actually think of this election out of the many that have come before is definitely not [a wasted vote] because we’re going to end up with a new government, that’s not news to anybody. But it’s a government with a fairly, how can I put this kindly, broad manifesto?

“So, the more people who vote Green, the more people who show that the things that we stand for, and particularly the things about climate.

“Obviously the Greens stand for more than just that. But that’s the issue that most people vote green on. It sends a message to that new government that its important for people. It matters also because the way political parties are funded.

“We are funded depending on our vote shares. So, the more votes we get, the more we can do. And the more we can represent that.

“Its not wasted, but because of our political system it feels like that.’

When asked about her thoughts on other parties backtracking on climate pledges, especially Labour, she remarked:

“I think the reasons that some parties have backtracked is that there’s a perception that the public doesn’t want that. And I think that’s misguided for two reasons.

“I think it’s misguided because the public do want that. And I think it’s misguided because as the political party in power, as the government of this country, your job is to ensure the future, the security, all of those things. And climate is one of the biggest, if not the biggest threat we face.

“So, by saying you’re not going to do anything about it or we’re not going to invest that much, to me is an abdication of your responsibilities. That sounds really strong, but I think I mean it that strongly.’

On the policy issues she was most keen on, she mentioned,

“I think most of the issues that are affecting anything in central Acton are pretty similar to the things that are on the national agenda. So, cost of living. We’re in London, so cost of renting is really high.

“The Green Party have got, a number of policies, one of them is the ability to bring in rent controls when the local rent market is getting out of control. I think that’s a really interesting policy that I would imagine Ealing would be keen to introduce.

“And then, thinking about cost of living and climate, because there’s all these problems are always connected: home insulation schemes. We have these beautiful terraced streets that need insulating property.

“Whether you’re renting or whether you’re a homeowner or whether you’re in social housing, if you’re not insulated properly, that has an impact on your bills. Its something we can do that the benefits across many different concerns.

“NHS, obviously, I’m a doctor. And depressingly there’s no quick fixes. You know, you can pour loads of money in which needs to be done. And you can look at workforce retention, which needs to be done, and you can pay your staff properly. But none of that will result in a waiting list improvement by next week. So, I think that’s a real frustration.

“Air pollution is another one of those issues that cuts across as lots of different concerns. So obviously the climate change and the emissions, but just the direct impact on people’s health.”

Asked about the Green Party’s stance on rising immigration she said,

“So, that is a nice question to be asked. We do not have a policy, or a cap on a number of migrants that we would accept in this country. I really support that policy. It’s a policy that recognises that you can’t just set a number. It depends what happens.

“So, if we have a situation like Ukraine and we set a cap, what do we do? Not let people in? We reliant on immigration for filling various gaps in the job economy. So, health and social care being the main one but hospitality as well. So, we need migration.”

Asked for her thoughts on the violations of international law seen in Gaza, and whether there should be an end of arms sales to Israel, a topic that was passionately discussed at the Ealing Central and Acton Hustings she responded:

“The first thing I want to say. When you stand for election, you receive hundreds of emails from people asking you to sign pledges. And this year by far the biggest theme is Palestine.

“So the Green party policy is really clear. We were one of the first parties to call for a cease fire. I think the first party who called for a ceasefire.

“I’ve been a member of an organisation called ‘Campaign Against the Arms Trade’ for a long time. I’ve been to a protest outside the arms fair that happens at the Excel in East London every two years, which is an absolutely horrifying event that the UK government has been very keen support. We seem to be proud in this country of our arms industry.

“That we grow our economy by selling weapons to unscrupulous regimes. And I am not proud of that. We need to stop selling arms to Israel. That’s clear. International law is clear on that.

“I don’t understand why we’re still doing it. And we also need to think really carefully about if we have a new Labour government that want to grow our economy. What sectors are we growing it in? I don’t want to sell more weapons.’

 Ending on a lighter note, I asked her about the most memorable moment from her campaign so far.

‘Can I cheat and tell you the most memorable one from last time? I got invited by the other Ealing Green party members to go to one of the Ealing half marathons legacy events, to run a mile around the parks in Ealing. And I’m not a runner. And they said, it’s fine. You can just come and have some pictures taken, cheer on the runners. And when I got there, they were very clear that I was running the mile. That’s the only time I’ve run a mile in my life. I am very proud of what I put in for my party and constituency.’

All candidates standing in the Ealing Central and Acton constituency were approached for interview, but we did not get a response from Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats, Workers Party of Britain or Reform.

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