My Green Story – Tom Scott
I first became involved in environmental campaigning about 18 years ago, when my four-year-old daughter was nearly killed by a 4X4 mounting the pavement in Market Street in Falmouth. It was one of those big, shiny “urban tractors” with bull-bars that were then becoming popular with people who had absolutely no need for gas-guzzling off-road vehicles. I was so incensed by this that I started a campaign aimed at discouraging people from buying these ridiculous and dangerous status symbols.
This led to my first encounter with the Green Party, when I found out that Sian Berry – who’s gone on to become our party co-leader and a strong candidate to be Mayor of London – was also running an anti-4X4 campaign up in London.
I joined my local Friends of the Earth Group and campaigned with them for the proper pedestrianisation of Falmouth’s main shopping streets. My first experience of direct action was when we worked with a group of local schoolkids to make a giant papier-maché tortoise, which we paraded along these streets to slow down the traffic.
Not long after that I had what you might call a road to Damascus moment, or at least a road to Truro moment. I was driving back home with my family along the A30 when we were caught in a rainstorm unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It was so bad you couldn’t see even a few feet ahead, and we had to pull off the road till it was over. When we got home, we turned on the telly and saw that this storm had caused a massively destructive flood at Boscastle. I’d known about climate change for some time, but this really brought home what it meant.
It was around this time that my parents died, and I began to think about the challenges their generation had taken on in the shape of Nazism, and the sacrifices they’d made to defeat it. It seemed to me that my own generation was now faced with such an existential challenge, and was doing almost nothing about it.
Soon after that I started a campaign called Cornwall Switch, which was aimed at persuading people in Cornwall to switch to renewably generated electricity. It was moderately successful, but I started to realise that this kind of consumer-led initiative was hopelessly inadequate to the scale of what needs to be done.
Individual consumer choices are important, but while every aspect of our economic system remains dependent on fossil fuels, individual choices are only ever going to scratch the surface. I began to understand that what we needed was radical change to the whole system – and only the Green Party seemed to really get this.
Nothing I’ve seen since then has persuaded me otherwise, and in the last year or so millions of people around the world have started to demand just such systemic change, inspired by the amazing work of Greta Thunberg, the schools climate strikers and Extinction Rebellion.
Back in 2004, I’d never have imagined running for political office. Politics seemed like a grubby business best observed from a distance. But politics, in the widest sense, is what determines the shape of our lives and the future of our planet – and when we’re facing an existential threat like the climate emergency we all need to get involved.
If not us, who? And if not now, when?
Candidate for St Austell & Newquay constituency – Collin Harker
Collin Harker was born and grew up in Canada, married a Cornish woman, and the couple have chosen Cornwall as their home to live and raise a family. He has two children, and has been resident in Tywardreath, on and off, for 15 years where he operates a small guest house.
He has been a Green Party member since 2016, prior to which he was a member of the Green Party in Canada, where he also stood as a candidate in the Federal Parliamentary election.
Collin is a founding director and treasurer of a Community Benefit Society that has taken over a devolved athletics track and playing fields in Par, and is working to promote active and healthy lifestyles and keep the facilities open to the community for the long-term.
CONTACT COLLIN HARKER
Candidate for South-East Cornwall constituency – Martha Green
Martha Green is standing for the Green Party in the South East Cornwall parliamentary constituency. Martha is a qualified legal practitioner in the area of immigration, including Asylum cases, Human Rights and victims of human trafficking for modern slavery cases.
She moved to Cornwall in September 2014 from London and shortly after that joined the Green Party and stood for the Truro City Council and Town and Parish council elections for the first time in 2017. She has been very active since moving to Cornwall and has successfully formed and hosted two events (Cornwall diversity Food Festival and Every woman’s Hope event) in Truro.
Her qualifications include a degree in Biochemistry, law degree from Middlesex University and Postgraduate LPC from University of West England.
CONTACT MARTHA GREEN
Candidate for Camborne & Redruth constituency – Karen La Borde
My name is Karen La Borde and I am hoping to be elected as the MP for Camborne and Redruth Constituency in the west of Cornwall.
Now is not the time to shirk from the major issues facing our global future. The climate catastrophe is upon us and our environment is polluted by plastics, particulates and poor politics.
A pressing urgency requires the Green Party to assert itself as the party with the policies and strategies that can lead us out of this mess. This will take hard work, guile and opportunity of which I hope I have oodles.
I am a mother, grandmother, company director, political activist, parish councillor, knitter and dog lover. I live plastic free (ish) and have not washed my hair nor my home with chemicals, shampoo or soap for over 2 years. I buy and use as little as I can and will ditch my diesel vehicle for an electric car when it starts to fail (apparently this is best for my CO2 footprint).
In the next year I think it is important for Cornwall Green Party to explore all avenues to get our message ‘out there’. Media attention is crucial to a future election and we need to keep writing, speaking and ‘doing’ green politics. We lead by example, we hold out the beacon of hope and we will win our right to have a seat at the table where decisions are made.
CONTACT KAREN LA BORDE
Candidate for Truro & Falmouth constituency – Tom Scott
Tom Scott is a Falmouth-based writer, editor and university lecturer.
Over the past three years, he has played a prominent part in the anti-Brexit campaigning group Cornwall for Europe, and his ‘People’s Vote Trelawny’ and versions of various sea shanties have been sung by hundreds of protesters from Cornwall at several massive marches in London.
Tom has also worked closely with Green MEP Molly Scott Cato to expose the motives and methods of the people who have bankrolled and promoted Brexit. Earlier this year he wrote a major report on abuses of social media during the 2016 referendum campaign and presented it at both the House of Commons and the European Parliament.
A long-term environmental campaigner, Tom has previously worked with Falmouth Friends of the Earth on campaigns for pedestrianisation of Falmouth’s main shopping streets and against environmentally destructive dredging and ship-to-ship oil transfer in Falmouth Bay. In 2009 he organised the first big climate protest in Cornwall to coincide with the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
Tom, who has lived in Falmouth with his family since 2001, was a candidate for the Green Party at the euro elections in May, when the party won its highest ever share of the vote in Cornwall, ahead of both the Conservatives and the Labour Party by a wide margin.
Candidate for St Ives constituency – Ian Flindall
Local activist Ian Flindall has been selected to stand in St Ives. His mission is to promote Green policies on ‘destruction of the natural environment and our far-reaching policies for ecological sustainability.’
Local farmer Ian knows the ins and outs of the election business, having stood several times as a General and European election candidate during 40 years of active Party membership. Green through and through, Ian has worked in renewables, energy conservation and sustainable farming, and has been director of West Cornwall Community Power. Ian is well-placed to explain to voters how practical solutions, which we already have available, now desperately need to be pursued with vigour and determination.
“Humanity is clearly drinking in last-chance saloon,” Ian reminds us, “and yet mainstream politicians continue to regard this major threat as a mere side issue.”
Ian is also keen to promote the Party’s critique of economic growth and Gross Domestic Product as the sole measure of well-being; to argue for a society which aims to meet people’s needs rather than fuelling people’s greed; and to put the case for sustainable food production as an alternative to the current destructive agricultural practices.
“At a time when so much concerted global action is needed, I despair that the UK has chosen to leave the European Union,” Ian adds. “But above all, I believe that voters must have the choice to vote for an ecologically sustainable future”.
CONTACT IAN FLINDALL
Cornwall’s Green Party today announced that it has selected general election candidates for every constituency in Cornwall.
- Camborne & Redruth: Karen La Borde
- North Cornwall: Claire Hewlett
- St Austell & Newquay: Collin Harker
- St Ives: Ian Flindall
- South-East Cornwall: Martha Green
- Truro & Falmouth: Tom Scott
Cornwall Greens’ co-coordinator Philippa Purchase said:
“We’re delighted to have such a strong and diverse group of candidates to represent the Green Party at the next general election. Between them, they draw on a wide range of professional and campaigning experience – in farming, education, business, citizens’ advocacy, community engagement and environmental activism.
“The Green Party achieved its best ever result in Cornwall at the euro elections in May, beating both the Conservatives and the Labour Party by very wide margins. Our clear position on Brexit and our strong call for radical action to address the climate emergency cut through with many voters. Since then, disillusionment with the parties that have got us into this mess has only grown, as has the appeal of a party with bold policies that can get us out of it. We’re confident that this will be reflected again at the next general election. Whenever it comes, we will be ready for it!”
Two of the candidates, Tom Scott (Truro & Falmouth) and Karen La Borde (Camborne & Redruth) were also candidates as the euro elections.
Tom Scott is a lecturer who has been a prominent anti-Brexit campaigner over the last three years. Earlier this year he wrote a major report on abuses of social media during the 2016 referendum that was presented at both the House of Commons and the European Parliament, and his anti-Brexit versions of sea shanties and People’s Vote Trelawny have been sung by hundreds of Cornish protesters at Westminster as well as in Cornwall.
With a background as a company director running her own successful business, Karen La Borde, is one of Cornwall’s most tireless and effective climate campaigners. She is a parish councillor, and her hard-hitting presentations have helped persuade numerous town and parish councils to declare climate emergencies over the past few months.
Standing for North Cornwall, Claire Hewlett is a town councillor and currently Mayor of Camelford. She has worked hard for her local community – as a school governor, treasurer of the local youth club, and as a founding trustee of The Old Bank, a charity that runs a disused bank as a community space. Claire has also campaigned for Camelford to be declared an Air Quality Management Area, and led the successful delivery of a new skate park for the town.
Ian Flindall, standing for St Ives, runs an award-winning sustainable farm at Morvah with his family. He has also worked in renewables and energy conservation, and has been a director of West Cornwall Community Power.
Martha Green (South East Cornwall) is a legal practitioner specialising in asylum cases, human rights and support for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. She has also initiated and hosted events celebrating diversity and women’s rights in Cornwall.
Canadian-born Collin Harker (St Austell & Newquay) runs a guest house in Tywardreath. He is the founding director of a Community Benefit Society that has taken over a devolved athletics track and playing fields in Par, and works to promote active and viagrarxhere.com healthy lifestyles in his community.
Tom Scott – Truro & Falmouth and Cornwall Greens Media Officer
Karen La Borde – Camborne & Redruth
07734 055306 / 01872 241146
Martha Green – South East Cornwall
Claire Hewlett – North Cornwall
Ian Flindall – St Ives
Collin Harker – St Austell & Newquay
PHOTO: Green Party candidates for Cornwall, left to right:
Martha Green, Collin Harker, Karen La Borde, Tom Scott, Claire Hewlett, Ian Flindall
Cornwall’s Green Party is this morning celebrating the re-election of Molly Scott Cato as a Green MEP for the South West – and a massive increase in the Green share of the vote in Cornwall and across the South West. In Cornwall, the Greens won more votes than the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP combined.
The results announced last night showed the Greens increasing their share of the vote in Cornwall to 18%, up from 11% in 2014. In South West as a whole, the Greens exceeded the best estimates of pollsters, with 18% of the overall vote.
Tom Scott, the Falmouth-based candidate who was number four on the Green Party list, said:
“This is a fantastic result for the Green Party in Cornwall. We’d met many people on the campaign trail who told us that they’d be voting Green for the first time, so we were expecting to do well. But this is even better than we’d been hoping – and it bodes very well for the Cornwall Council elections in 2021 and for the next general election.
“It shows that our clear messages – Yes to Europe and No to climate chaos – really resonated with voters here, and I think it also reflects the fact that Molly has been an outstanding MEP for our region. We’re absolutely delighted that she’ll be representing us again and very much hope that this will be for a full five years. Given that a People’s Vote now looks to be the only way forward from the current deadlock over Brexit, we think it likely that it will be.”
Truro-based Karen La Borde, who was number six on the Green Party list, said:
“These results mark a real sea change in British politics. Many voters are absolutely fed up with the big parties who have got us into this mess, and are voting for fresh ideas that can help get us out of it.
“Over the past few months, I’ve been working to help persuade local councils in Cornwall to declare a climate emergency, and this result shows how many people now realise that we need to take radical steps to tackle this before it is too late. This means tough action at local, national and international level, and it’s great that Molly will be returning to the European Parliament as part of a greatly strengthened Green group there that’s determined to make this happen.”
Greens across the UK and the rest of Europe also had reason to celebrate today, after surging support in countries from Germany and the Netherlands to Ireland and Finland saw more Green MEPs elected than ever before. Altogether seven Green MEPs were elected in the UK, and the Green/EFA group is now the fourth largest in the European Parliament, giving it a powerful role in the future direction of EU policies in areas from energy and transport to farming and animal welfare.
- The Green Party’s candidates for the European Parliament elections, left to right:
Carla Denyer, Martin Dimery, Molly Scott Cato, Tom Scott, Cleo Lake, Karen La Borde. Credit: Jon Craig Photos
Individual candidate photos also available on request.
Notes to Editors
- The full Green Party list of candidates for the European Parliament elections on 23 May: Molly Scott Cato, Cleo Lake, Carla Denyer, Tom Scott, Karen La Borde and Martin Dimery.
Tom Scott (Cornwall Greens Media Officer, Euro election candidate)
Karen La Borde (Cornwall Greens, Euro election candidate)
Will Theresa May choose – or be forced into – a snap general Election?
If so, the Green Party in St Ives Constituency is all ready to go!
At a meeting on October 8th, members in the constituency selected as their candidate local activist Karen La Borde, whose mission is “nailing decision makers to their previously agreed good intentions”.
Parish Councillor Karen has flown the Green flag in Kerrier, challenging planning decisions and preventing inappropriate development in an AONB area. She led the campaign against a new heliport on the outskirts of Penzance and – despite consequent flak on social media – is determined to (as she puts it) “I will make it a priority to continue holding local and national authorities to account, ensuring they adhere to the ‘green’ policies they write and adopt especially regarding climate change and the loss of bio diversity”.
“If a government says it is ending austerity”, Karen adds, “then we need to see evidence that it is. We need to see the NHS properly funded, long term investment in public transport, local councils receiving fair levels of revenue to spend on social services, public service workers paid a fair wage. If a government states all new houses built in areas without gas should be fitted with renewables to reduce costs and carbon by 2020 – then that should happen.”
Karen has also been West Cornwall Branch Secretary for three years, and ran a great campaign for Cornwall Council in 2017, securing 22% of the vote at her first attempt.
So, May, Corbyn et al., and of course Derek Thomas MP – St Ives is ready when you are!
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