Gulnar Hasnain
Gulnar Hasnain

In 2020, London will go to the polls to elect a new Mayor and members of the London Assembly. The London Green Party are now in the process of selecting their candidates for those elections. Bright Green is offering every candidate seeking selection an opportunity to tell our readers why they should be selected. One of these candidates is Gulnar Hussain, who has the following to say:

I worked at City Hall from 2004-2011 as part of the team setting up the world’s 1st City Climate Change Action Plan and making the 2012 London Olympics the greenest games ever.

When London goes Green it does it ambitiously and having more Greens on the London Assembly will mean we can compete with cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Vancouver to be the greenest city in the world.

The Mayor has declared a climate change emergency. The goal has been set to become carbon zero by 2030. Yet another Green motion passed through the London Assembly. Hurray!

The PR machine may be working overtime on this but the reality on the ground is very different. We have 12 years to stop a climate change catastrophe. I’ve worked in the team at City Hall responsible for taking Green ideas and making them deliverable; making buildings more energy efficient, decentralizing London’s energy supply, protecting our biodiversity. I’ve looked at the plans the Mayor has set out and I’m not seeing any fundamental difference to what was set out before. They are not deliverable at the pace we need.

You can’t shout emergency then carry on slowly towards the exit hoping you’ll get there fast enough. I want to be a London Assembly member so that I can get honest appraisals from businesses, local authorities and Londoners of what the real challenges are to meeting the targets and challenge the Mayor to make the changes needed deliverable on the ground.

Gender and ethnic pay gap

I can’t believe that we are still talking about institutional discrimination in the 21st century and we have not made enough progress to eradicate it. From the time I trained as an engineer, where the ratio of men to women was 9:2 with very few BAME students, to running my own company, I have had personal experience of discrimination as both a woman and a minority.

We know the gender pay gap is as much as 25%. Even at the GLA there is still a difference of up to 12%. If you are a minority there is a double whammy. I want to push the Mayor to penalize our biggest offending companies and to incentivise small businesses to close the gap. It’s time London’s small business thrived because they pay women and BME workers equally and not in spite of it.

The very least the Mayor can do is close the gender and ethnic pay gap within the GLA group.

Knife crime

I want to take a community centric approach to tackling crime. We know that racial bias in police Stop and Search is getting worse. The police should be working together with communities not isolating them. As an Assembly Member I will work with shops and neighbourhoods to be safe havens for anyone feeling vulnerable or who are victims of crime. I will also push the Mayor to support younger children, not just teenagers and reach out to those who are known to services but are afraid to come forward.

South London and the outer boroughs

I want to be a voice for South London and the outer boroughs. Why shouldn’t we have better transport links? We should improve the links across London with more bus routes and more frequent services within boroughs and across boroughs, not just north/south. And we should use the powers that the Mayor has to stop the train operators getting away with providing a shoddy service, from cancelled or delayed trains to sardine style packed carriages.

I would also push the Mayor for more investment in co-working spaces in South London. We should be making it easier for people to be self employed and give them the facilities and networking opportunities. The north, west and east of London have more developed clusters than we do. It is time to redress the balance.

As an Assembly member, I will focus on the forgotten Londoners, those in the South and the outer boroughs, those who are facing discrimination. I will put climate change and the most vulnerable at the centre of our city planning. And I will not let the Mayor break his promise on making our streets safer for all.

Making change happen

The Assembly role is a team role and it takes time and constant pressure to make change happen. It is not just about being politically savvy. What is needed is cross party working, the ability to work across groups, engage with your biggest detractors to change opinion and behaviour. To unite people not divide them. Here I know I can deliver

I’ve stood as Parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall twice, beating the Lib Dems in coming 3rd. I know how to create an exciting and energising campaign. I have helped build the capacity of Lambeth Greens, joining when only 5 people turned up to meetings. We are now the official opposition on the Council with 5 councillors. As a BAME candidate I want to use my position to make our GLA campaigns the most diverse yet.

As an Assembly Member I will be looking to learn from successful models across the world. The former Mayor of Bogota, Enrique Peñalosa, transformed the Colombian capital in to one of the most greenest, most accessible cities in the world. He wanted to plan a city for the future happiness of his residents. If he can do it for Bogota, we can do it here. I am hopeful for London, and I am certain that we have the power as Greens to transform things. Because making a safer, greener, fairer and more equal society would make London a happier city to live in.

Gulnar Hasnain is a Green Party member from London. She stood in Vauxhall in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections. In 2015, she won 7.6% of the vote, coming third.

Articles from all candidates can be found here.