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I figured with just 10 days left until voting day, Matt Sellwood, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, as well as council candidate for Clissold ward, had outlined all the the Green Parties key issues enough times, so I cut him some slack and instead asked Matt a few of my own “key questions” along with, well … some of life’s more probing questions.
1) What was the deciding factor that made you run as a parliamentary candidate?
The complete lack of really radical options in establishment electoral politics at the moment. We face so many serious economic, social and environmental challenges, and the various flavours of Thatcherism on offer are not going to solve them. I felt I had to set out the case for a different politics.
2) Regarding the violent youth gang culture Hackney is witnessing, do you think parents should be held accountable of the crimes their children commit?
It depends what you mean by accountable. I certainly think that parents should be involved in and influencers of their children’s lives, and if they go off the rails a contributing factor is often the role (or non-role) of the family. But that is not always the case – and as with so many things, we have to look wider for the causes of gang culture – it is rooted in the massive inequality in our society, the powerlessness that many people feel, and the atomisation of once coherent communities. We can’t just blame parents – this is an economic and societal problem.
I certainly don’t think that parents should be fined or imprisoned for the crimes of their children – that runs contrary to natural justice, whatever we might think of individual cases.
3) Where do you stand on Hackney Loyalty Cards for local business in Hackney?
A Hackney Loyalty/Residents Card is Green Party policy for the borough, and all of our candidates want to see it happen – not just for local businesses, but for local council services such as leisure centres too.
What is your current state of mind?
Energetic or hyperactive, depending on how optimistic the description is.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Social Justice – still trying to come up with a better phrase!
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to sing as well as I could when I was younger – I’m alright now, but when I was a treble I could really sing.
Where would you like to live?
If not in Stoke Newington, which I really enjoy, then I’d love to go back to Caye Caulker, Belize, where I spent some time during my gap year. A wonderful place.
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your most treasured possession?
My set of diaries.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My political heroes include George Lansbury, Rosa Luxemburg and Bernie Sanders. Outside of politics, anyone who dares to think differently and express themselves – people like Thoreau spring to mind.
Who are your favourite writers?
My favourite novelists are Tolstoy, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Kim Stanley Robinson. My favourite poets are Robert Lax, Wendell Berry and William Carlos Williams.
You can find out more about Matt Sellwood and the Green Party on his website.