27 October 2015
Deepspaceworks art centre was crowded to hear Molly Scott Cato talk about 'Migration and Global Solidarity', the third in Cheltenham Green Party's Autumn and Winter programme of events. Molly's work as an MEP gives her insights into the world's problems that many British politicians seem to lack and this underpins her talks with an authority that allied with her practicality, compassion and optimism, makes them very compelling.
Although recognising that the current acute Migrant/Refugee situation in Europe will be very hard to sort out, Molly was also keen for us to recognise that it gave an opportunity to change the way we do things. We need to work towards a move away from neo-liberal values rooted in the idea that possessions bring happiness; we need to question the unfairness of people in some countries (like ours) having far more than we need when others suffer desperate poverty and lack of opportunity.
The Green Party has been challenging these values for many years and we are therefore well-placed to be at the forefront of helping the move towards a society that is based on sharing resources more equally. Molly also pointed out that living more responsibly doesn't have to mean a lowering of our standard of living, and that living in a more connected and sustainable way is actually far more satisfying.
Molly is always keen to involve her audience in discussions and she set some excellent debates going, so that we got to hear from a lot of different people in the second half of the evening and some good connections were made. It was great to hear from Rose Chacko, local coordinator for Citizens UK about how we can get more directly involved with helping Syrian refugees, and we're hoping to work closely with her over the coming months. It was also inspiring to learn more about Germany's response to the crisis, and how we might approach persuading our own government to make a more humanitarian response. Altogether, it was an fascinating evening and we are very grateful to Molly for giving us her time and inspiration.
In marked contrast, Cheltenham's new Conservative MP Alex Chalk gave a talk on the same subject the following evening. You can read Adam Van Coevorden's report on his deeply disappointing position here.
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