14 Questions with: Daniella Radice

Time for another deputy leadership candidate and this time it’s Daniella Radice on Caitlin Moran, Paul Mason and the energy of Bristol.

Daniella Radice, former Bristol Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods
  1. What inspired you to first join the Green Party?

I have always been interested in politics, and throughout years of Labour government, became frustrated that they did not seem to understand how our economic system was working against the interests of both the planet and many people. I agree with the fundamental principles of the Greens that our economic system needs to change, and this is what initially attracted me to the party.

2. You get given a ticket for you and a plus one to see your favourite band or artist. Who do you take and who do you go to see?

That is a difficult question because I like a whole range of music, and don’t have a favourite, but lots of different genres that I like going to for different reasons. In an ideal world I would go first to hear a string quartet such as the Brodsky quartet by some Schubert and then go on to dance to some blues, reggae, or anything lively, in Mr Wolf’s (a small bar in Bristol). I’d go with my husband and as many friends as I could persuade to come.

3. Politics aside, who inspires you and why?

One of my early inspirations was Rachel Carson who wrote the classic environmentalist book, Silent Spring. I really loved the way that she was a scientist who used her knowledge and passion for nature to argue for important changes in policy about use of pesticides.

At the moment I am reading such books as David Graeber’s, History of Debt and Paul Mason’s, Capitalism that I like. Along with work done by the New Economics Foundation, they all help keep me thinking about how things could and should be different.

I think everyone should read, How to be Woman, by Caitlin Moran because it is so funny but also direct and to the point.

4. What do you consider to be a formative moment in leading you to where you are today?

I suppose one of my formative moments came when my son was about 8 weeks old and a Green Party colleague mentioned that we would be targeting a particular seat in the local elections and I said, mm “I was thinking about standing for election.”

5. What’s the most embarrassing thing you have ever done (that you’re willing to talk about!)?

Being asked on Radio Bristol why I wanted to be Mayor of Bristol and my mind going completely blank. Luckily it was very early in the morning and I don’t think many people were listening.

6. You have the choice of going to dinner or a drink with Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Theresa May (or all three at the same time). What would you talk about? What do you think they would be like?

I would go to dinner with all three of them at the same time. I would get the discussion going around the EU, find out what they all really thought about it and get us to try to work together to plot a strategy for not leaving.

7. It’s been a long day and you just want to let everything go for the evening. How do you unwind and relax?

Watch comedy on Netflix or iPlayer (although I would also recommend the three documentaries about Obama on iPlayer and Adam Curtis’s amazing documentary, Bitter Lake).

8. If you had decided not to go into politics, what do you think you would be doing instead?

It is difficult to say. I left my job as an environmental adviser and got into politics because I found it frustrating, so I am not sure whether I would have stayed in that field or done something completely different. I have also been helping bring up two children over the last 10 years so I may have spent the last few years involved in various community and voluntary groups.

9. 2015 saw the Green Party come a very strong 2nd in Bristol West, something that excited Greens across the country and caused some upheaval for Green critics. What worked well for us there, particularly on points of strategy, that you would to bring to the leadership to establish nationally?

What worked well for us was over the past few years, delivering a leaflet to the whole constituency before every election, successfully implementing a target to win strategy, starting with one, then three then many more, wards in the constituency. We had an unpopular Lib Dem MP (incumbent effects are very important). We ran a good Mayoral election campaign in 2012 that raised the profile of the party across the city.

We had the advantage of having elections almost every year which meant that we could build on our successes and campaigning knowledge fairly rapidly. We were also helped by the national green surge which was particularly strong in Bristol.

So I think the main lesson is that we need to have constant activity to increase our number of council seats. Target to win is important, but if the constituency is promising we also need to look at the whole area.

If a local party can build up a team of enthusiastic and time-rich people who agree of a series of common goals then a lot can be done.

10. If you had the power, what would be the one thing in the world you would change or implement?

Only one thing? I would eliminate sexism, and patriarchal attitudes that hold women back in so many ways and in so many countries. can I also make contraception and abortions legal everywhere, and free, and ensure that all countries have a robust social care system?

11. Your manifesto expresses your concern for the Corbyn effect and renewed Labour activism in Bristol. What do you think it is about Corbyn that has caused some Green voters to turn (or return to) Labour and how can it be counteracted? What can the Green Party offer that a Corbyn-led Labour cannot?

Some Green voters were long-standing disgruntled Labour voters who have returned to Labour under Corbyn. We should be saying that we have always had many of those policies, but unlike Labour we would actually implement them. We can offer a party that upholds those policies and is not riven with conflict, and is very clear about what its goals are. We are a party where the members really do make policy and we believe very clearly in decentralisation and real devolution of power as a central principal, I don’t think we emphasise this aspect enough although its advantages are difficult to communicate.

12. The Olympics are currently on! Are there any sports or sportspeople that you are keenly looking out for?

I enjoy watching Olympic gymnastics because they are all almost super-human.

13. You have the opportunity to create your own frontbench in Government. If you could pick any politician from any party, who would you pick and to which role would you appoint them?

I take it that this means an MP from any other party than Green, because otherwise Caroline would be the obvious choice … there are plenty of Green councillors I would pick above many MPs. I wouldn’t appoint anyone to my cabinet before having a long interview with them to sound them out on a number of issues and to find out if I could get on with them. (I can only think of MPs I wouldn’t want….)

14. What specifically, beyond what is listed in your manifesto, do you feel you can bring to the Green Party leadership?

I am a friendly, down-to-earth person who is good at getting things done.

You can find out more about Daniella Radice’s campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

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For more political and personal tweets by the author: @pjazzymiles