As part of a Farewell Tour, outgoing Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett was in Cornwall this week for a whistle-stop tour, meeting supporters and campaigners and visiting companies and projects that continue to have a positive impact and make significant contributions to the future of Cornwall: economically, socially and environmentally.
Starting with a tour of the Eden Project, Natalie was delighted to hear about their continued success promoting environmental sustainability and educating visitors about the natural world and our impact on it. She discussed exciting developments in the arena of geothermal energy, as well as plans to help reduce residual waste that would otherwise be destined for landfill. Both pertinent subjects in the Southwest with the opening of the controversial incinerator in St Dennis and the plans for the ‘Hinkley Point C’ nuclear power station dominating the headlines.
Next stop was the Crowdfunder offices in Newquay to meet the teams who have played a pivotal role in helping the Green Party to raise money. Natalie thanked everybody saying, “in the run up to the 2015 general election we were hoping to stand in 75% of all parliamentary constituencies. But thanks to the many Crowdfunder-based campaigns, we were able to support candidates in over 95% of the country. This has given us a whole new approach to election campaign finance.”
Then on to visit a local crowd-funded success story; the newly restored Huer’s Hut is a landmark of huge historical importance to Newquay’s heritage, which had sadly fallen into disrepair as a result of council cuts and the continued austerity measures handed down by Westminster. “The Huer’s Hut is an inspiring example of the local community taking control of their assets. It now stands as an enduring symbol of local ‘people power’ that shows what can be achieved when we work together,” says Newquay Town Councillor, Steve Slade.
Speaking about the forthcoming Cornwall Council elections, Natalie went on to say, “We are now seeing significant growth in membership here in Cornwall and next year I am confident we can grow our representation on the council. We need that to ensure that there are people scrutinising what is happening at Cornwall Council, asking the difficult questions and working toward sustainable solutions.”
The day ended with a quiz night fundraiser at the County Arms in Truro, where members thanked Natalie for her work over the past 4 years. They all agreed that she has been a refreshing voice of calm and reason in an often childish, aggressive and chaotic political world.