Interview with Ben Parker, Green Candidate

Ben Parker is the Scottish Green Party candidate for the Craigentinny-Duddingston by-election in November

Q. What’s your background?

I grew up in a small market town in North Yorkshire with my parents and older brother before moving to Edinburgh in 2015 for university. I graduated in 2019 and I now work for a disability housing charity. I’m delighted to be settled in the city which I regard as my home.

Q. What is your vision for the city?

I want to see Edinburgh become a fairer, greener and happier city. In the wake of COVID-19 and in the face of a climate crisis, there is so much to be done to make the city work better for people and planet. We need to see our city council make decisions which promote the common good, not private interests. That means rethinking our attitudes and priorities so that:

  • public spaces are used and maintained for public enjoyment, not private profit;
  • the council takes action on sky-high rents, criminal landlords and inappropriate housing development;
  • refugees and asylum seekers are made to feel welcome and supported;
  • action is taken to reduce poverty and inequality;
  • a sustainable arts/culture industry is supported and promoted;
  • green spaces are protected;
  • provision for public transport and active travel is increased;
  • residents feel empowered, represented and involved in decision making processes in the council

I want to work energetically with everyone in the community to ensure local and city-wide social and climate related issues are resolved, and that we build a better community and city together.

Q. What needs to be done in Craigentinny / Duddingston?

I have been actively listening to understand the issues and concerns of people here. My main priority as a councillor would always be to deal with those issues quickly and effectively. As well as feeling the pressures of city-wide issues such as poor housing provision, I know there is work to be done locally to reinstate the 69 bus which is a vital service for the community, look at access routes for pedestrians and cyclists through Holyrood Park and to ensure that development at Meadowbank happens in the best interests of local residents.

Q. What needs to be done in the longer-term?

I’m a proud member of the Scottish Greens, and I fully support our proposals for a Green New Deal. Those proposals represent a move away from the failed politics of austerity to a different, kinder politics for people and planet. That means making the case for more investment by the council in public services to make people’s lives better. If elected to the council, I promise to make that argument at every opportunity.