The political economist Emma Dawnay is standing as the Green Party Parliamentary candidate for the Devizes constituency. The constituency covers a swathe of rural Wiltshire, as well as the towns of Marlborough, Pewsey and Tidworth.
“The Green Party has the only economic policy that makes sense – both for people and the planet. This is as true for those of us who live in Vale of Pewsey as it is for the bankers in the city of London, or indeed New York or Mumbai. I see getting the economy on the right path as a priority, and to that end, I will campaign vigorously against austerity and cuts to local services, and for a better safety net for the most vulnerable in society.”
A Passion for Economics
Emma’s home base has been in the constituency since the age of five. She went to school in Wiltshire, before going up to Cambridge University to read materials science, in which she has a PhD. After working for Bookham Technology - founded by local entrepreneur Andrew Rickman - she went on to do an executive MBA at the London Business School, where she discovered a passion for economics. In 2005 she joined the New Economics Foundation (nef), were she wrote the influential report on Behavioural Economics.
“While at nef I came into contact with James Robertson and Prof. Richard Werner – two great thinkers who have had a massive influence on both my thinking and Green Party policy.”
After her daughter was born, she immersed herself in what had become her passion: “How to develop an economic and financial system that will benefit all of society and will stop us from using the planet’s resources in an unsustainable way.”
For the past two years she and her family have been based in Switzerland where she’s a member of the board of the NGO bringing the “Vollgeld” (Sovereign Money) People’s Initiative (a monetary reform similar to the Green Party policy on monetary reform as proposed by Positive Money).
Campaigning for Positive Change in Devizes
She lives near Marlborough and is determined to bring about positive change to her local area – and to wider economic thinking. “This is a wonderful part of the world, and I feel very privileged to live here. I've always thought of our area as relatively affluent, but I have been shocked to discover that families in Marlborough and Devizes are relying on food banks to feed their families. That shouldn’t - and doesn’t need to be - the case.
“There are so many areas that we can improve, and I will campaign for greater local power over decision-making and over how our taxes are spent. I believe in a land value tax, and progressive taxation. I think we need to reform the education system to enable school pupils to spend time in local businesses, so they are better prepared for the world of work on leaving education.
“We need large-scale green investment in low-carbon technologies like geo-thermal heat pumps for private properties. There is great expertise in this constituency, and we need to harness it for the benefit of the people who live here.
Revamping Local Transport
“We also need to sort out the transport system so that bus and train services are linked, with buses serving local villages waiting to meet every train. This is vital in rural communities in order to stop our reliance on cars – and will both reduce our carbon impact and reduce stress on the road infrastructure. At the moment public transport doesn’t even link our towns satisfactorily, let alone the villages: how are school leavers from Marlborough meant to take up apprenticeships in Devizes when there are no suitable bus services?
“The Green Party has come of age in this election and is ready and eager to play a prominent role in making life better for all of us. I want to play a part in this change. I have never thought of myself as political, but I feel so passionately that we are moving in the wrong direction – towards a more unequal society and unsustainability - that I have decided it is time I stand up for what I believe in, and try to make a difference.”
Emma's video clips