Posted by: Matthew Heenan 2 years, 10 months ago
Whenever my friends and I meet we invariably comment on current affairs – the stuff that happens around us, whether it is in the news or just local issues. Inevitably we argue that the powers that be are out of touch and failing to address the real issues.
For me, it was hard to keep on having those discussions without starting to think that perhaps I should stop moaning and consider doing something about it. Maybe it’s because I am Australian? I think it is in our culture that we have a strong sense that if you want to get something done, you should get up and do it yourself.
I also believe that politics is meant to be ‘for the people’ and not just reserved for people born into power.
The key moment for me was when I realised that none of the mainstream parties seemed to have any real interest in changing the situation for one of the key issues for civil society. I think I realised how damaging our approach to the legislation around drugs is when my children became teenagers.
It’s one thing to think about drugs policy and the so-called war on drugs as an abstract issue but when I realised how many teenagers become victims because the laws in the UK are out of sync with what teenagers see as the facts on the ground, then I thought I should do something about it.
I was delighted when in David Cameron stood up in 2002 and said he would introduce reform because it was the right thing to do.
But then, like every other politician, he backtracked. The evidence shows one thing but the Daily Mail said another.
The CISTA party is a chance to start afresh. All political parties start small. I joined CISTA because it has a clear vision and a policy agenda that I can get behind. It feels good to belong to a political group that has a real commitment to do the right thing. I think also that for me, I realised that I could actually have an effect because I was joining a political party that is not set in its ways and where there is not a huge pile of political baggage.
It’s inspiring and invigorating. I believe that people will see this and will want to be a part of it.
When you look around you can see that people are increasingly turning away from the tired, old, mainstream parties. Perhaps they see that in trying to be all things to all people those parties end up meaning nothing to anyone? New political parties are springing up in response to this, I think.
I have met with the founders and have seen how committed and enthusiastic they and the other members are. I wanted to do more and show my support. What better way than to stand as a candidate?
This way I can genuinely claim that I am standing up for what I believe in. Yes, CISTA is a small party and we are not going to form a government anytime soon. However, I know that the people in this country, and more importantly in my area, are not stupid. If we can show that our policy will bring about a change for the better then we will win votes.
Of course there are other issues that need addressing but that does not mean we should neglect this one. Others can tackle those. CISTA is about changing our policy on drugs and ending the war on drugs. It was a mistake but perhaps politicians back then knew no better. But now we do know better. The evidence is there. We have a responsibility to do something about it.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook