26 January 2024
Andrew George, MP for St Ives from 1997 to 2015 is running again to regain his seat. This seat has notoriously been a close fight between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, but we are hoping for it to swing back in 2024, following a shameful couple of years for the Conservative party. It may be the Environmental issue that could make the difference.
Environmentalism is at the heart of Andrew's campaign for re-election and he wants to put need above greed - opposing climate change being an afterthought for profit-driven Conservatives. He has been a lifelong activist for climate change and sustainability and wants to see Cornwall leading the way - his aim: Turn the St. Ives constituency into a "Green Peninsula". He is committed to the Lib Dem goal to generate 80% of energy from renewables by 2030 and St. Ives will strive to meet this target with Andrew leading the way.
Additionally, Penzance, in this constituency, has already been the first town in the country to gain 'Plastic Free Town' status and other Cornish towns are following suit as plastic pollution becomes a pertinent issue for coastal towns that receive the worst buildup of plastic waste from the ocean.
In addition to his concerns for plastic pollution, Andrew has firmly backed all calls for action to immediately stop illegal sewage dumping and make polluters pay! Following the State of Nature Report, he has said on social media that this years general election should be a 'nature election'. The report, which he has repeatedly backed has called repeatedly for an increase in nature - more flowers, more trees, particularly in urban areas protecting wildlife - as we see that 1 in 6 of our native species are at risk and higher environmental standards for farming and nature friendly approaches. And an urgent need to end the pollution in waterways and lakes.
Watch below to see what Andrew has to say about the State of Nature:
In the 2010 parliament, Andrew George MP was the Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Housing and Planning Group. He therefore had more than a passing say on the high standards set for insulation and environmental qualities of newly built housing - standards which were set by the Coalition Government and which were then degraded by the Tories when they had the government to themselves after 2015.
As the Lib Dem candidate in St. Ives and the Scilly Isles, Andrew strongly supports the emphasis on high standards, for newly built houses, with affordability being high in the list of priorities as well. This is just a part of the fight against the worst effects of Climate change.
Even out of his position as MP, Andrew has been putting on the pressure to parliamentarians to secure better housing for Cornwall, where the problem for decent affordable housing is growing - Read here in his own words: https://www.andrewgeorge.org.uk/political-column-27th-sept-2023/
Andrew George, like his other Liberal Democrat Peers has been supporting the fight to end illegal sewage dumping in UK waters. He said online that the South West pay the highest bills because they were promised that they would have a "clean sweep" and the ocean and waterways would be cleaned up by South West Water - however this has not happened, and the Conservative Government keeps allowing them to get away with this whilst also paying themselves huge bonuses.
George calls for immediate compensation for victims of sewage dumping, tidy up our waters and have a "clean sweep" of the Conservative government as well to ensure this is not allowed to happen again.
As a part of the Lib Dems, he would help turn these companies into community benefit societies - on the board they would install an environmental champion which would hold them to account and ensure that they clean up the pollution and their act.
The St Ives constituency and the Isles of Scilly, just as other rural communities, have been failed when it comes to connectivity with the rest of the country. Rural communities often feel isolated and the lack of public transport options exacerbates this.
Andrew George has been actively campaigning for better networks, championing the establishment of the Cornwall to London sleeper train, the Night Riveria, alongside his calls for a Cornwall train care centre. He also argues for stronger connections to the Isles of Scilly and for a £4.5 billion investment into improving bus services - clearly a more environmentally friendly alternative to car travel!
The Liberal Democrats called again in 2023 for a freeze to rail fares, particularly for commuters amongst rail fare price hikes during the cost of living crisis. This freeze, accompanied by free rail fares for 16-25 would help struggling families and young people, and create a great incentive for greener, cleaner travel.
Given the geographical position of the constituency, it is no surprise that Fishing is important for the local economy. During his 2019 General Election campaign George warned over the potential harm that departure from the EU could bring: "Understandable industry concerns about fishing rights were shamelessly used to peddle Brexit ideals." Now that we have left, some fisherman are being left with a feeling of betrayal. Despite increase in fishing hauls for large scale operations in Scotland and the North-East, Southern and Cornish fisheries have seen minimal or "no" change (BBC News). Some Cornish fishermen say they are potentially 'worse-off'. New Quotas have seen little to no increase, trading with countries such as France has become much more difficult as processes and paperwork are more complex and time-consuming and some trading spheres have become more hostile. More recently Andres has reiterated his support for local fisheries and acknowledges the troubles that Brexit has delivered.
3/12/2023 - "2. Fisheries mismanagement - the Conservatives promised that "take back control" Brexit would deliver a brighter future for the fishing industry. Just listen to what the fishermen think of that! Expletives had to be bleeped out! Having used them for their political ends, the Cons simply "turned their back on them".
Some of the damage has already been done by Brexit, and it will be a few years until conversations may be reopened with EU countries, however in the meanwhile, Andrew George has promised to be a strong voice for fishermen in parliament, for Cornwall and beyond to get the best deal and protect their livelihoods and well-being.
And for other environmental stories featuring Andrew George, you may wish to follow these links:
X (twitter): https://twitter.com/andrewgeorge_?lang=en
Andrew George is a key member of the Liberal Democrats team which can, together, make environmental change happen in Parliament, so we'll be doing all we can to help get him elected. Will you join us?
For more Green Heroes go to the Green Heroes front page here >>> https://greenlibdems.org.uk/en/page/green-heroes