South Tyneside Green Party | Sarah McKeown for Whiteleas Councillor




FAO Sarah McKeown at


Candidate's supporting statement

Why am I standing as a candidate for the Green Party in Whiteleas? The Green Party is a party of fairness, honesty and respect for each other and our environment. Inequality is something that I feel strongly about and is sadly all too apparent here in the North East. Economic policy, privatisation, stigmatising government policies and more fundamentally globalisation and climate change are all widening the gap between rich and poor - the 'haves and have nots', and this is not fair.

As a parent and a teacher I want to help to build a more positive future for our children, including their right to a good education, a free health service, a planet with sustainable and diverse ecosystems and a society based on respect and not greed. These things are all at the core of Green Party policy.

What do you think are the big issues facing our society nationally and locally?

The NHS: I believe strongly in the NHS and the principle of free healthcare for all. The privatisation of sections of the service and chronic underfunding are jeopardising patient safety and the excellent standards of care that should be available to everyone.

Education: I am dismayed by what is happening to the education system. Having taught in an outstanding state school and a failing academy I do not believe that academisation in any way raises standards. I do believe this is a form of privatisation which will put control into the hands a few executives without real accountability and it may have no limits. The expertise and professionalism of teachers and the wishes of parents should be at the heart of an education system which is there first and foremost to provide an excellent and fulfilling educational experience for our children.

Climate change: this is a very real global issue which must be acted upon. It is not optional or something that can be dealt with in the future, we are reaching the limit of the carbon that can be absorbed 'safely' into the atmosphere now. We are seeing the effects of climate change already, and it will hit the most vulnerable in the world first and hardest. We need to work towards a zero carbon economy and invest in renewable energy technologies. Austerity is not working, we need to invest in the economy and create jobs, so why not create green jobs and invest in our future? More preferable surely than continuing to subsidise the oil and energy companies in which so many of the government hold shares?

Tax avoidance: over £70 billion is lost in the UK each year in tax evasion (compared to £1.2bn in benefit fraud). I think those figures speak for themselves!

Public transport: locally the metro system is fantastic in principle but it is very expensive and limited in its reach. Bus services are equally expensive and not integrated. I would work towards a comprehensive, integrated public transport system which is more affordable for all. C

Cuts to children's services: these are a direct result of central budget decisions and the policy of austerity. All young people deserve the best start in life and the withdrawal of so many children's services only serves to widen the equality gap in the long run.

I am proud to be from the North East and am angered by the contempt shown by this government for people and regions who lack the privilege which so many ministers were born into. Their words about the 'desolate North' (only fit for fracking and contamination) and 'underachievers' (who pay their taxes), their London-centric policies and their deeds (which inevitably line their own pockets). We use services such as the NHS, state schools, social security...the people in power don't: the dismantling of these services doesn't affect the most powerful and that's why we need to stand up for them!

Of course, the irony is that without a safe planet to support us all, we really will 'all be in it together'! The Green Party is the only party to really recognise this and that's why we place respect for the whole planet at the heart of everything that we do.