Young people ‘could elect Stormzy as Mayor’: Green candidate to energise Lambeth and Southwark GLA voters

The Green Party candidate for Lambeth and Southwark’s Greater London Assembly seat, Rashid Nix, is a man seeking election to redress the borough’s democratic deficit.

Mr Nix’s candidacy comes from a desire to represent people from all parts of the area, some of which have among the lowest voter turnouts in London and the UK.

A former cameraman and film-maker, Mr Nix directed a short film entitled ‘Why Don’t Black People Vote’ in 2010 and found residents of his estate were apathetic about representation and election.

He said: “Maybe I should come out from behind the camera and put myself forward.”

In his eyes the chance to vote for a London Assembly member is a civic duty and he hopes he can represent the concerns of constituents in Lambeth and Southwark.

He said: “It’s no use the people of Lambeth and Southwark complaining about situations and when they get the opportunity to go and vote for someone they don’t go and vote at all.”

He bemoans the lack of voter engagement, particularly among 18-29 year olds, who could ‘elect Stormzy as Mayor of London if they wanted to’.

Holding the mayor to account is key part of the role for Rashid. He praises the work done by Green officials on the GLA, who have pushed both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson into promoting cycling and cycle lanes.

However, he is sceptical about affordable housing targets set by councils, laughing at the suggested level of 35% as a ‘fallacy’ and suggests developers ought to be pressured by politicians.

“You might get a handful of social houses in a sea of private development, so they don’t deliver. They should really make sure they make the developers stick to what they say they’re going to do,” he said.

For Mr Nix, securing improved relations with the police is an important factor within the GLA’s remit and notes how young men in South London have been victimised by police officers.

His own work on the Westminster Race Equality Council, and time spent training police officers in diversity helps shape his belief that the mentality needs to be shifted.

He cites the Macpherson report into police conduct following Stephen Lawrence’s death as the grounding for this.

An improvement in the number of green spaces in London is a policy concern for Mr Nix, but so is the big issue of transport, something which regularly causes debate in the borough.

Mr Nix believes South London gets a ‘raw deal’ in terms of transport and would like to see the Bakerloo line extended to Camberwell Green. Similarly, though he appreciates car users need the roads for business, he believes ‘not every motor vehicle should be on the road’.

The Green Party candidate thinks he has the requisite skills for the role, having worked in education and in care and knows the needs of the people he hopes to serve.

He is keen to see the use of municipal buildings in London for the capitals future energy needs with an emphasis on renewables and solar panels a big part of the Green Party’s agenda.

The party currently have two Assembly members but will be hoping last year’s ‘Green Surge’ can help them to greater representation in Thursday’s elections.

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