Had a fascinating time last night speaking at the Progressive Women event in Parliament House.
It was made particularly interesting by the fact that I got to go first – not a usual state of affairs for the Green Party in such circumstances – the chair announcing as she started speaking that she was going by the entirely fair random alphabetic order of speakers’ names.
It set up an interesting dynamic, since I got to present our very progressive policies on minimum wage (more than 2/3 of recipients are female) at 60% of net national average earnings, or now £8.10/hour, on a citizen’s pension of £170 (which would immediately lift recipients, a high proportion of them female, out of poverty) and our new parental leave policy giving each child the chance to have 24 months of parental attention (and strongly encouraging paternity as well as maternity leave).
It is more in sorrow than anger that I add no one else on the panel could match, with their party’s policies, any of these.
But potentially the most immediately fruitful point of the evening came when a Fawcett Society representative asked about rape crisis centre funding and I was able to raise with the Tory representative, Mary Macleod, the failure of the Tory mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to live up to his manifesto pledge on funding London rape crisis centres.
She said that she was unaware of the issue, and would raise it with Boris. I know lots of other people already have, but let’s hope that this “insider” push might make a difference!