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Peter Cranie, Liverpool Riverside, Green Party

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what do you think is the most important issue in this election?

Climate Change is the biggest long term challenge we face. Right now, in my mind, it is the fact that a Labour government allied itself with a far right US President and deceived us about their real reasons for launching their war on Iraq.

why did you make the decision to stand in this constituency and for this party ?

I've was a passive member of the Greens until Bush got elected as President, after rigging the US electoral system and getting 250,000 or so votes less than Gore. The anger and concern I felt at that point made me realise that I had to be active politically as well as involved in making differences in individual lives. Since then I've been our target candidate at a council election in this constituency, and we've cut the Labour majority over us in our target seat from 836 votes down to 292 in just 2 years. It is a matter of time before we win our first council seat in Riverside.

However, we've also done well elsewhere in the city, finishing ahead of Labour in a ward in Wavertree and with some other good results. We also had to consider that there are Labour MPs around Merseyside, for example Peter Kilfoyle, who voted with their conscience over the Iraq war. There are also Blair loyalists like Louise Ellman. That was my final deciding factor in determining where I wanted us to target our efforts.

what kind of vote are you expecting on May 5th?

As our local chair, I started to build Green support politically in Riverside in 2002. Since then we've increase our vote by a factor of 5, and gained over 10% support at last year's local elections, double the share obtained by the Tories.

We have an addressed Freepost scheme in Liverpool, which means every voter will receive a leaflet from me. This is a big improvement on anything we've produced in Liverpool before. I expect to poll well over the 5% to keep our deposit and my aim is to finish above the Tories (they got 8.4% in 2001) in at least 3rd place this year.

aside from the vote what are you hoping to get out of this campaign?

As the Election Co-ordinator for England and Wales, I'm working hard with the rest of the party to see our first ever Green MP elected. Brighton Pavilion is a very strong prospect, with Lewisham Deptford, Norwich South and Leeds West all outside bets. Just one elected Green MP would radically alter the way we are perceived nationally.

in your view what is the greatest threat to our civil liberties at the moment?

I am concerned about Stop and Search, ID cards and anti-terrorism. There are other strong undercurrents of policy that have long term significance. Corporate control of the media, an increasingly skewered and corrupt electoral system and a failure to educate our children to think for themselves. Consumer culture turns many otherwise intelligent people into consumer automatons. A culture based on debt traps people in a "golden cage" where they have to work very hard just to stand still in life, and is a major long term threat to the ability of ordinary people to behave as concerned citizens.

Blair has taken us to war three times since coming to power (not including the occasional ad hoc bombing raid) in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. Can war ever be justified?

Genocide in Rwanda was an event that should shame us all. The world stood by idly and we should not forget this. Intervention to save lives is never wrong. People's suffering should never be ignored because they live on the other side of a border drawn by politicians past and present.

War, meaning aggression, or as a means to control resources, change regimes or as geopolitics is always unacceptable. Selling arms, giving export credits to UK arms exporters or licensing the sale of weapons to oppressive regimes is just as bad. These things have continued under the current Labour government despite claims in 1997 they would operate an "ethical" foreign policy.

There is very little left to privatise in this country, if you had your way what would be brought into public hands?

As an absolute priority, our rail and bus services, and our utilities. What interest does a profit making electricity company have in encouraging energy efficiency? None, because it means reduced consumption of their product and reduced profit. Privatisation is a false economy, that is going to have to be paid for by future generations.

Some environmental campaigners have started talking about nuclear power as a way to bring down CO2 emissions - what do you think of this?

This is about control of supply, and is more about economics than the environment. Energy efficiency improvements, in combination with small scale energy projects, passive solar heating, solar panels and small scale wind power can supply the bulk of domestic energy needs. However, if people are producing their own electricity, there is less profit for large privatised suppliers and reduced tax takes for government. Therefore existing suppliers reject the Green model of energy production.

Nuclear power is perceived to be the most viable centralised and controlled form of supply left once oil, gas and coal become too expensive. It is not the only alternative. I'd rather have one thousand wind turbines than a single nuclear station. We already have 5 MILLION TONNES (yes, 5 MILLION) of nuclear waste stockpiled in the UK. This stuff remains deadly thousands of years into the future. It is an unacceptable price to pay, and that is quite apart from the thought of a Chernobyl type nuclear accident that would render most of the UK uninhabitable if it occurred at any of our existing stations.

Asylum and immigration will be central issues in this election. What action on this issue would you like to see the next government push through?

No one ever talks about floods of New Zealanders, Australians or Canadians entering this country every year, taking British jobs, outstaying their visas or sponging off our National Health Service. Why? It's very obvious. We need to make clear the racist element implicit in any debate on immigration.

It is absolutely clear that we will continue to have people move around the globe to try and obtain a better life for their children. We are the 4th richest country in the world and we will remain a desirable and accessible location. However, no one leaves their place of origin lightly. If we can increase fair trade, help communities elsewhere in the world to have a better standard of living, in partnership with other European nations, we will reduce population movements.

When I talk about asylum seekers, I like to make one thing very clear. There is persecution in the world. While that persecution exists we and all other nations have an absolute duty to provide asylum to those who are fleeing from it. The key is to tackle the causes, not the symptoms, but so far our government has only marginally improved its aid budget, and is sadly lacking in its failure to implement an ethical foreign policy.

What question do you wish was on this list but doesn't appear?

What policy would you propose if you were able to put forward a private members bill in the next parliament?





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