Featured Candidate: James Chan

17 March 2015

In the run up to the General Election we will be giving you the opportunity to get to know some of our candidates. Our key candidates and spokespeople can be found here.

This year we will be standing in over 90% of seats in England and Wales.

Our candidates for St Helen's South and Whiston: James Chan


Why are you standing for the Green Party in St Helen's South and Whiston?

I have always been passionate about 'Green issues' as a well as being sympathetic with socialist and anti-capitalist sentiment. After voting Liberal Democrats in 2010, and then supporting Labour for many years thereafter, I became disillusioned with the same neo-liberal dogma that was being pushed. The only party advocating for a re-negotiation of our political system was The Green Party. It was the party that aligned the most with my own beliefs and values, as well the one with policies that fit with the evidence of what has to be done to avert social and environmental catastrophe. I see the other parties as being a part of the dogma that is allowing us to sleepwalk into civilisational cul-de-sac.

As for why St Helens South and Whiston? I was born here, I grew up here, this is where I consider home, and it's a part of the UK that really deserves better representation in Parliament. Many of the issues affecting St Helens South and Whiston are not unique, but it represents the disaffection and deprivation that affects Many parts of the UK.

What are your three top priorities if elected?

I want to see political reform to be more inclusive and representative of the people, a more sustainable economy that can provide for all, and to protect our NHS, to create a health and social care system that can better serve the people.

What made you want to get involved in politics?

I have always been someone who has been 'concerned'. Ever since a young child, I have been worried about species extinction, and environmental destruction as a result of our collective greed. I proudly owned a Green Blue Peter badge given to me for a poster that I submitted about ozone layer depletion. Being fortunate enough to spend time in the Amazon rainforest as a teenager really allowed me to develop a relationship with our planet, in a way that isn't really easily done growing up in an industrial town in the North West. Watching scenes of war and images of human suffering as a teenager prompted to me to pursue medicine as a career, as a 'way to relieve human suffering'.

My real political turning point happened on 20th March 2003, as a college student who skipped double biology to sit in the middle of a busy road in Liverpool in protest against the Iraq War. Being involved in global health and environmental issues as a university student deepened my passion, and understanding, allowing me to draw links between the social, political, economic, psychological and spiritual with the environmental, and helped me to see the complex mess of our society. My involvement with Climate Camp and Occupy fuelled my passion for social justice and social change. I returned from volunteering as a paediatric doctor in Malawi in June 2014, to a country who had started to embrace UKIP and as a country waking up to political dissatisfaction. I then decided to take a stand, and joined the Green Party

What's your favourite thing about your constituency?

St Helens is a friendly, welcoming place. It's often said that the people are warm and welcoming, and that's largely true. My family were welcomed here as immigrants from China in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

It has a proud heritage as one the founding places of the Industrial Revolution. It was in St Helens where modern glass production allowed us all to live in homes with windows - something often taken for granted. It was in Rainhill where modern passenger railways were developed.

Who is your political hero?

One of my political heroes is Stephane Hessel. He was a surivor of a Nazi concentration camp, a member of the French Resistance, and a key figure in the writing of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Before his death in 2013, he wrote Indignez-vous (Time for Outrage) - a book that inspired many popular movements across the world, a moment that I consider to be a new political awakening that is still happening now. Here is one quote that I feel sums up much of our political struggles today, "Let us not be defeated by the tyranny of the world financial markets that threaten peace and democracy everywhere".

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