Londoners need people in City Hall who will fight for them
Bright Green is offering all the candidates standing to be on the Green Party’s list for the 2024 London Assembly election the opportunity to set out why they are understanding and their vision for London. This article is published as part of that series. The full series of articles can be found here.
In my day-job, I am a barrister specialising in crime – everything from people-trafficking to public enquiries to domestic abuse and dangerous driving. It’s a job which has given me plenty of practice at digesting a brief and knowing my way around arcane and inaccessible procedures, but it has a sizeable human element. I have to be able to speak to people from all walks of life, often when they are going through the kinds of challenges most of us hope we will never encounter, and make the system navigable for them. I need to speak, persuasively and effectively, on their behalf, before a tribunal that might hold the keys to their livelihoods, or even their liberty.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that justice, and what it involves, is quite a big preoccupation for me. But it’s also become very clear to me as time has gone by that, long before I become involved as a legal professional, the justice, or lack of it, that ordinary people experience faces a myriad of challenges. If you’re a protestor who is being threatened with arbitrary police powers; if you’re a teenager facing your first conviction for carrying a small amount of cannabis; if you’re black or brown, and dealing with everyday racism in your interactions with authority; if you’re an ordinary citizen whose face is being captured by cameras without your knowledge; then already, the just treatment you should expect from your society is being eroded.
I also know that justice is about a lot more than what happens in a courtroom. It’s about whether you can afford to live in a warm, dry, safe home; about whether your job pays you enough to live well; about whether the air you breathe is clean; and about whether, when these requirements for a good life are not being met, you have the means to hold your leaders accountable.
It’s this larger, richer idea of a just world, and what it might look like, that has driven me to other ways of achieving that outcome. It’s for these reasons that I volunteered my services as a legal observer during the protests for black lives in 2020, and why I was proud to stand with my fellow legal professionals as we undertook historic action in 2022 to lobby the Ministry of Justice for better pay and conditions. And of course, it is what led me to, and continues to excite me about, Green politics: the reach and ambition of its manifesto pledges; the dynamism of its members-led policy process; and the shining dedication of its elected representatives.
I know how important it is to have someone in the room, fighting for you, and few things have given me more pride than seeing our fantastic London Assembly Team of Sian Berry, Caroline Russel and Zack Polanski fighting hard for ordinary Londoners. Now I want to join them.
As Co-Chair of the Tower Hamlets Green Party I spent years helping to build a campaigning machine which helped elect that Borough’s first Green Councillor in 2022. I stood for the Greens as a London Assembly candidate in City and East in 2021 and, with the help of our fantastic members and volunteers, secured our party’s largest ever share of the vote.
I have spent years of my life fighting for this party: as an administrator; as an organiser; as a candidate. I am endlessly inspired by the way in which our way of doing politics gives us such incredible scope for articulating what a better society might look like, animated by the core values of respect for human rights and a clear-sighted dedication to environmental, social and economic justice.
As cheesy as it might sound, the excitement that I feel standing by my Green friends and fellows as part of this diverse, boundary-pushing team is one of the greatest sources of renewable energy I know.
I am ready to raise my voice and to fight for the Greens in 2024. To those who are looking to put together the best possible team to face the London Assembly elections, I say – let me fight for you. Give me the opportunity to show what my skills can accomplish, together with my Green colleagues, when I put them to work for you in City Hall. Let me be your advocate.
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