Name: Gordon Peters
Area Standing (Constituency): Hornsey and Wood Green
Signed The Positive Youth News Haringey Pledge: Yes
Responded To Online Hustings: Yes – Answers Below
Politicians always attack our youth centres when making cuts, what would you do to protect them?
Youth centres are an important part of community resources. On the whole, they are provide/funded by the local authority. As your MP, I would use my influence (with local media and with local councillors) to argue for the retention of Youth Centres; I would also ensure that any central government funds that can be made available for such centres benefits young people in areas where provision is most needed. And above all, I would provide a public space for young people to voice their views on this and where those voices are heard by the media and the local authority.
Do you think the Duggan case has made it hard for the community to trust the police?
The short answer to this is: yes; the longer answer is that both the community and the police need to find ways of getting beyond this; that means for the police to acknowledge their mistakes; and it means for some form of dialogue to be supported by community leaders and local politicians (including, of course, the MPs representing the two Haringey constituencies). I would certainly want to be part of such a process.
Young people are the lowest voters, what can you do to increase voting participation?
The main thing is communication. I fully support initiatives such as Positive Youth News Haringey because it is a vital way of communicating with younger people. The education system has quite a lot to answer for, too, and I would support any school that makes space and time available for young people to learn about politics and to meet local politicians; this would develop the habit of talking to people who may seem a bit distant otherwise. If elected, I would make myself available both face to face and on-line for regular exchanges with young people.
Do you support votes at 16?
Yes I do; we saw in Scotland in the referendum there that this brought about an unprecedented level of engagement of younger people and I think there is really no reason why people shouldn’t be able to vote at 16. That said the comments about education and engagement above will be even more important once the voting age is lowered.
Do you think it is fair that there is a different minimum wage if you are under 18?
No, it isn’t. If people are working in the context of an apprenticeship are therefore being trained, then there may be some justification for a lower wage. But not generally, and when younger people do exactly the same job that an older person would get paid more to do. But above all, I don’t believe that the minimum wage is fair. It is too low to allow someone to achieve a decent standard of living on a full time job. I support the raising of the minimum wage to a living wage of a minimum of £ 10 per hour nationally with a higher rate applicable in London.
The affordable housing being built in Haringey is not affordable, why is this allowed?
It is allowed, because the Coalition Government and other governments before it have allowed it to happen. I do not accept that the Mayor’s definition of affordability is anywhere near reasonable. We need:
- Rent controls in the private sector
- Protection for private tenants so they are not evicted without any reason
- More house building in the public sector so that Councils can offer council housing to those who need it
- Ending the Right to Buy to safeguard the remaining council houses and flat and, of course, no extension of the Right to Buy to Housing Association.
Why have you chosen to stand?
I have spent a lot of my life trying to integrate my practice and vision for protecting the planet from what unbridled capitalism has been doing to it with interventions in the lives and circumstances of people on the receiving end of power. I think that as an MP I can bring the values and vision that have been the centre of my working life to politics and that I can make a real difference as a Green MP to a political system that is ripe for change.
When are we going to see real jobs not just supermarkets or sales?
What we need is a Green New Deal: real investment (by the public sector) in infrastructure (such as locally generated renewable energy, housing, transport, the care sector and the NHS), which will provide hundreds of thousands of proper jobs with decent wages and prospects. We need an end to the zero hour and unpaid internship culture and I am committed to banning zero hour contracts and unpaid internships. This is not just the right thing to do; it also makes sense for the economy and it will change people’s lives for the better.
Do you support the knocking down of Broadwater Farm estate?
I think that there may well be a need to improve the living conditions of many of the people who live on the Broadwater Farm estate (and similar estates elsewhere). However, knocking them down and replacing them with more expensive private sector homes that local people cannot afford is the wrong way to go about it. I believe that there needs to be proper local consultation; there need to be local solutions that will bring about the changes that local people want.
Do you think prison needs to be tougher?
Prisons need to be different. Quite a lot of people are in prison when they shouldn’t be. And generally, prison does not really work in bringing about real changes to the lives of people who are in prison or the victims of their crimes. I believe we need a reassessment of the justice system giving mediation and restorative justice approaches much greater scope and much greater weight. There may be some people whose actions warrant that they are put into prison; but they need a prison regime that tackles the root causes of their offending.
The UK’s prisons are vastly overcrowded; we imprison a far greater proportion of the population than many other European countries; and it has been shown that the likelihood of getting a prison sentence has more to do with race and class than it has to do with the specific offences committed. This needs to change and I am committed to helping bring about such change.
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