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The grassroots is Green for mayoral hopeful

EFFECTING CHANGE: The Green Party’s Rashid Nix hopes to set an example

A MAN who brings a fresh perspective to politics has thrown his hat in the ring to become Mayor of London as a Green Party candidate.

Rashid Nix, born Julian Nicholls previously led a spirited campaign to represent Dulwich and West Norwood in the 2010 General Election, but has now set his sights on getting London’s top job.

Speaking to The Voice, Nix said: “I stand because no one else from my community did. Our young people need to aspire to leadership and responsibility. How is it people from Eton become prime ministers and mayors, but what do our local schools produce? Are our young people ever told they have the ability to create real change?”

The youth mentor said he was counting significantly on the political capital of young Londoners.

He continued: “Young people in London aged between 18 and 29 are 1.7 million of the population. One million people voted for Boris Johnson in 2012. Young people of voting age could elect their own mayor, Stormzy could be the Mayor of London, Skepta could be the Mayor of London.

“These young men are getting 10 million views on YouTube. We’ve been put in such a position we don’t even recognise the power that we have at our disposal because we’re thinking, ‘voting is not for us. They don’t represent us. They do their thing and we do ours.’ They don’t realise that our thing and their thing is all connected.”

GRASSROOTS

The long-time campaigner, who has previously sought to address voter apathy within the black community, is well-regarded in the Brixton area as a grassroots politician which he hopes to translate across London.

“I think London is a city that has incredible potential. It has fantastic diversity, the people have so much to offer and what’s lacking is leadership,” explained Nix, pointing out the current mayor, Boris Johnson, as a prime example.

“It says in the Scripture: ‘Where the people lack vision the people will perish’.”

The self-employed father-of-four is arguably the most visible black member of the Green Party, which was criticised for fielding less ethnic minority candidates than UKIP at the General Election in May.

The aspiring politician responded: “Communication is what I’m about; that’s why I know I can connect Green ideas to people from our community very simply.

“Where the Greens can do a lot more powerful work is just by communicating what it is they stand for. People just think that the Greens are about hugging trees and saving the environment which is at the core of green policy but in terms of social justice, the Greens are more Labour than the Labour Party.”

While pointing to conflicting ideals among the top mayoral contenders, Nix said he is focusing his campaign on five principles that he is confident will resonate with the electorate including the advancement of young people, a green economy, support for small to medium-sized businesses and protecting London’s music venues.

DEVELOPERS

At the forefront of his campaign is a housing agenda. “The Standard did a piece where it revealed how many of the Labour candidates were taking donations from property developers,” explains Nix. “The so-called frontrunners are all in the back pocket of property developers. If we leave London’s housing crisis up to private developers who are intent on maximising their profit as well as politicians who are on their payroll, that’s not going to solve anything.”

The vocal campaigner also expressed disappointment with the present line-up of black candidates, saying: “If there’s a heaven and Bernie Grant is there looking down on people like David Lammy, he’d shake his head. Bernie Grant raised the issue of reparations in the House of Parliament as an MP back in the 1990s.

“In August, there was a reparations march, and the MP for Tottenham couldn’t even find himself there but now he wants to come and get the black vote? They’re [all] very uninspiring. It’s sad to know that after all the years in this country, we’re getting these career politicians.”

The Green Party, which finished third in the mayoral race in 2012, is hoping to make further gains and Nix believes he is the man for the job: “Voice readers need a leader who is bold, audacious, who can communicate, who understands what it is like to live the kind of lifestyle many have come out of and also recognise that they also want a vision of a future where everyone can get a little piece of the pie.”

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