60 seconds with Natalie Bennett
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Natalie Bennett replaced the Green party’s most high-profile figure, Caroline Lucas – who became the first Green MP in 2010.
Born in Australia, Natalie was a former journalist and had written for a number of publications, starting out as a journalist on two provincial Australian newspapers.
She has written for The Independent, The Times in London and the Bangkok Post and is a former editor of Guardian Weekly, which she left to concentrate more on writing and politics.
Before getting interested in green politics and the environment, Ms Bennet is a self-declared feminist and founded Green Party Women and is a trustee of the equality campaign group the Fawcett Society.
She has been quoted as saying that her first politics was feminism which started when, at the age of five, she was told she wasn’t allowed a bicycle because it wasn’t “ladylike”. Much later she did a degree in agricultural science, although she didn’t join the Green Party until 2006.
We caught up with the 50-year old Green Party Leader for a rapid fire round of questions on what she thinks if education, economy and of the brown vote. Here’s what she told us during her visit to Bradford:
You’re here visiting Bradford today, a city where education is at the bottom of the table. If the Green Party was in power how would you turn things around?
Well it’s about the inequality, such as minimum wage, having decent benefits. If parents weren’t worried about zero hours they can then support their children better. We need to tackle inequality and discrimination.
What do you think of Islamaphobia? Does it exist?
We are trying to create statements and policy performance. We have seen statements on immigration, to Muslim women should learn English why single out one community. The Tories slashed Esol funding in 2011 and now their blaming the people. We have seen a lot of anti-Islam attacks, that is being empowered and encouraged by mainstream politicians blaming immigrants, blaming housing, blaming crowded schools. This is not immigrants but failed Government policy.
Can the Green Party be taken seriously, a Party other than being labelled ‘tree huggers’?
What we saw last year was an amazing growth. It was the Green surge and it was a huge step forward for us. Now we want to turn our Green surge into Green seats. I think we need to recognise that politics is changing fast. For example, look at the SNP in Scotland and then Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide win. Just because Tory and Labour have been leading, it doesn’t mean that’s what people want. People are desperate for new ideas. People want change and the Greens can be that change.
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