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Martin Lucas-Smith, Cambridge, Green

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

Issues relating to development - an area which seems to have been completely sidelined.

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

I think it very important that people have an opportunity to vote for genuinely progressive parties such as ourselves on the left. The current
three "main" parties often seem to have little to differ between them, yet despite the continued disillusionment with the political system and the
direction of the country, people continue to vote for them.

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

Personally I don't feel it's my place to speculate!

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

It's been very interesting talking to people and raising issues and new perspectives that people may not have thought about. The panel hustings
have been particularly good in this regard.

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

I am personally heavily against ID cards, on both principled and practical grounds. The case has yet to be made, and the fact that few people seem to realise that the proposals are actually about a huge central database, with seemingly limited checks and balances, rather than an ID card per se, is worrying.

 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?

I personally am not quite a pacifist, but it absolutely has to be a last resort. Iraq certainly was not, with dubious motives more aligned to the
American desire for control of oil and the middle East. Regime change is not, in my view, a legally acceptable reason for invasion.

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

The train system is the obvious first candidate. The privatised train system is basically a system of legal contracts rather than a system run
as a public service. The huge amounts of money being siphoned off into public hands is unacceptable. That money would have made a huge difference to the quality of the service had it been kept in public hands and invested instead of squandered as now.

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

Nuclear power is an expensive way of not solving the problem. There is something like a 50bn clean up cost for present nuclear waste which,
rather than being borne by the power generation companies, will be paid for by the taxpayer. We need to invest in energy conservation and in a
diverse range of renewables, an industry which could create very many jobs and which is clearly cheaper in the long-run.

 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?

I think the key thing on this issue, which is something that all governments need to deal with, is to reduce the problems that result in the desire for migration in the first place through a more just trading/economic system and reduction of conflict (problems which countries such as our own are far from innocent in).

There is certainly a need for speedier resolution of applications. I also deplore suggestions of HIV testing as one basis of determine refusal of

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

Do you support the principle of Free Education?

[The answer is: Yes - and the Labour government's introduction of variable fees for higher education is particularly worrying.]





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