Green Party candidate for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough says “we’ve already reached a tipping point, with less than a decade to alter climate change.”
Christine Gilligan Kubo, who has previously represented the Green Party in Sheffield local elections, and the 2015 and 2017 General Elections, spoke exclusively with The Northern Voice.
On her rival parties’ environment policies, she said: “The other parties might start to be putting policies in place, they’re all going for 2050, well 2050 is too late.
“We have already reached a tipping point, we’ve got less than a decade to alter this, that’s why we’re going for 2030.
“We need a green voice in parliament.
“The other parties are starting very slowly to get on board with tackling the climate crisis, but that is the major issue for the green party.”
The Green Party has traditionally been seen as solely focusing on environmental issues, but this year their manifesto aims to stress that in order to address the environment, we have to address social inequality.
Ms Gilligan Kubo said: “The climate crisis is causing great social inequalities and the current political system is also creating great social inequalities.
“We have a 10 year difference in life expectancy between people in the Hallam constituency and people in my constituency, that is the inequality that exists even just in Sheffield.
“When you’re on minimum wage, struggling to feed your kids, you’re going to do whatever you need to do to survive, you haven’t got the choice to think about doing things for the planet.
“We’ve got to lift people out of poverty, we’ve got to give them a good standard of living, then we can all work together to protect the climate.”
On Brexit, the Green Party are proposing a People’s Vote, in which they will campaign for remain, which could be polarising in a leave voting constituency like Brightside and Hillsborough.
Ms Gilligan Kubo said: “We think remaining in the EU is the best option for the climate, one country can’t be an influencer, we need to be part of something bigger.
“We also recognise that if we’re seriously going to address the climate crisis we have to reduce flying and we have to green our transport, and obviously that’s much easier if we can get our food from Europe than if we have to get it from all over the world.
“We understand that our stance will turn some voters off, and there’s this discussion of democracy as 52 percent of us voted to leave, but we also recognise that 48 percent voted to remain, and we can’t just cut them out the whole debate.”
Ms Gilligan Kubo was the only candidate standing in Brightside and Hillsborough to sign the ‘School Cuts Pledge’, after 28 of the constituencies’ 35 schools fell victim to education funding cuts.
She said: “School funding is a really big issue, in this constituency, schools have faced massive cuts and it is making a difference to the quality of lives.
“We would shift the policy, moving away from the exam factories, we would get rid of OFSTED inspections and have a more holistic approach.
“One of the things we’d also want to do, which is proven to be very effective in Scandinavian countries, is not make children start formal education until six, so that they’ve got some time to play and develop.”
In the 2017 General Election, the Green Party received just under two percent of the votes in the Brightside and Hillsborough constituency.
On why voters should consider voting Green, Ms Gilligan Kubo said: “Vote for the future, vote Green, that’s all I can say.
“We need to be in parliament getting our voices heard.
“We’ve got Caroline Lucas, who’s been voted MP of the year several times, and I think the Green Party are trying to be honest, we’re not saying everything is perfect and will be wonderful.
“We aren’t supported by big businesses or the trade unions, we don’t have these vested interests that potentially sway parties and policies, we do things in the interest of our voters.”