My real name is Gerry Haines, and I work for London Underground. Married to Mandy, a nurse, we have been married for over 12 yrs and still go to Trinity URC, Upminster.
I stood as a candidate in Romford for the Green Party in the General Election on May 6th, 2010. My interests, policy wise, were - a more equal society, fair trade, electoral reform (PR by STV) and animal welfare, as well as eco sustainabilty in the economy.
I was born into a working class family in Derbyshire, but we moved to London when I was 5 years old. I grew up mostly in tenement housing, sharing a bathroom and toilet facilities with 3 or 4 other families. I also went to State schools and needed the NHS when I developed appendicitis.
Because my dad was an alcoholic who could not face the fact that he had a drink problem, I got 'rescued' by Social Services and packed off to boarding school. There, I met folks who lived in a completely different world and they showed me a completely different set of values from those of my father, who was old fashioned working class Old Labour, but without the respectability that went with it. He dismissed the ideas of education and self improvement as snobbish and elitist. I felt then that opportunity should be open to all regardless of background, and that one had a duty to make something of oneself for the benefit of society as a whole, not just oneself.
These experiences and what dad dismissed as 'middle class values' shape my political outlook today.
I believe in the idea of a Welfare State as a 'safety net' to catch people if they fall and put them back on their feet - it should not be seen as a permanent feature in people's lives and we must end the dependency culture where people who are born here or come here and simply look to the State to provide all their needs.
In spite of a poor start, I have made something of my life and want other kids to have the same chances I got. Having said that, we all need to make the most of the chances we get, not just expect the State to provide everything for us. As a Boy Scout, I was taught, not just self reliance, but the virtue of helping others. these are still the values I believe in and want to incorporate them into public life in Britain.
Politically, I am happy to see British brickies going off to Germany to earn money abroad, and also Polish plumbers and other workers coming here to find work. I am not so keen on people like Abu Hamza, the one handed Jihadist cleric, coming here to preach about and organise terrorism while he lives on State benefits.
In this, and in everything else, we must strike a balance and recognise the differnce between those who need our help and those who don't. looking at the worldwide issue of endemic global poverty, the cost of ' fixing the system' - of giving every child a home with sanitation , and clean runnig water, of providing a basic education and such - this comes well within our means.