Graham’s local involvement in the Friends of Canford Park and Community Speed Watch means he knows how to bring people together to win respect from councillors and civil servants. He wants to see real action for better local buses, and a safe road crossing on Canford Lane. But he also knows that campaigns start with real people and their concerns.
Graham says, “My idea of a good councillor is someone who helps you fight your battles with the city council, helps you have your questions answered and who works to get you the best possible local authority services.”
“I commit to listen to you, to follow-up any ideas you have for Bristol or locally, and to support you so your issues can be discussed.”
“Persistent campaigning pays off. Positive change happens when people work for it.”
Graham has worked hard to raise questions about how council money is spent – notably in his petition calling for an independent inquiry into the golden goodbye given to a former city council boss.
Working together with other Liberal Democrats, Graham will help offer a real opposition to Mayor Rees. At Bristol’s recent Budget debate, the Liberal Democrats proposed key changes to the mayor’s budget, designed to put money back into schools, libraries, and parks – money that is instead being spent on servicing unnecessary debt.
These sensible proposals were thoughtlessly voted down by Labour’s councillors and Mayor.
And Graham also stands against the sort of secrecy that saw former mayor George Ferguson run up a deficit during the period when a Conservative was deputy mayor for finance.
As a committed European, Graham wants the decisions on the final Brexit deal to be brought out from behind closed doors. Before we leave the EU, we need the deal to be published and put to the people in a national vote.
Graham believes that he is in sympathy with many other local people on this issue - 73% of Westbury & Henleaze electors voted Remain. But however we voted in the 2016 referendum, Graham’s ambition is for us all to be valued and counted in a ‘people’s vote’ on the deal.
We can tell from the news that Conservative politicians, divided and scared by the consequences of the last referendum, don’t want to take the risk of having their ideas scrutinised by ordinary people.
Maybe some Labour politicians say they want such a vote – but their leadership have tied themselves in knots with different promises to different parts of the country, and Labour MPs have voted in agreement with most of the Conservative Brexit process proposals to date. Labour can’t deliver a final Brexit vote – unless there is real pressure on them from outside their party.
Only the Liberal Democrats will put power back in your hands over Brexit.
As a Liberal Democrat, getting the ‘small print’ right matters to Graham. His past role was to make the practical details of our governmental system work for ordinary people. He wants matters dealt with straightforwardly. Ordinary people need to be treated with respect during this time of sudden change which could have long-lasting impact.
Putting the final Brexit deal to the people is our best hope for the future of our country. Vote for someone you can trust to fight for that chance.
Graham’s whole approach to government and democracy is about hearing your voice and being straight with you about the facts. That’s why he petitioned the council on executive pay. That’s why he won’t back plans to pay for local library services in richer areas by slashing benefits for the poorest. (Bristol Liberal Democrats want to keep all the city’s libraries open, as a public trust or cooperative, in a way that doesn’t divide communities like Conservative or Labour plans could.)
And that desire for honesty is why Graham backs significant changes to how we fund the NHS. He believes – like Clare Campion-Smith – that dishonesty from politicians has misled people as to how we can get the good-quality services we all want. Desperation for a ‘cheap and easy’ NHS has led to failures in organisation, failures in planning and investment, and resulted in the worst possible combination: waste and inefficiency, yet too-harsh austerity cuts at the same time!
But if we could get neutral, reliable estimates of NHS costs, most people in the UK would be happy to pay more a little more in tax. But that tax needs to be fairly arranged so that money is guaranteed to go direct to the services that need it.
That’s why Graham and the Liberal Democrats are backing Vince Cable’s proposals for a special ring-fenced tax (replacing national insurance) solely for health and social care, set by an independent office.
Graham isn’t afraid of change – if it’s the right change for you, and not about playing the system for short-term political advantage.