Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Tamsin Omond & The Commons interview on Dazed Digital

New party The Commons is fed up with politicians and campaign to get 25-year-old Tamsin elected in the general election
Text by David Hellqvist | Published 06 April 2010

The UK's next general election is only weeks away, and the three main parties have launched their election campaigns. Or was it smear campaigns they started? The Blame Game is effective as repetitive propaganda but it bores the voters since it's not very constructive. Politicians, tell us what you will do, not what you wouldn't do! Some people, like Tamsin Omond, has taken offence to the state of modern politics, but instead of just talking about it, she started new political party The Commons. Together with like minded people, Omond and her party is campaigning to get her elected MP for Hampstead and Kilburn. On the 6th of May this year, people throughout the UK go to the polls, and here Tamsin Omond explains to Dazed Digital why people in this North London constituency should vote for her and The Commons.

Dazed Digital: Have you always been interested in politics?
Tamsin Omond: No. Really - not at all! I think that to most young people, politics seems irrelevant and boring. But when I found out about climate change, I suddenly realised that the decisions these suits are making in Westminster will have a big impact on all of our futures, and that inspired me to get involved.

DD: I'm guessing you lean towards left, so what's wrong with Labour?
Tamsin Omond: Is that a serious question? Try spending a day on the street asking people what they think of politics. Labour, Lib Dem, Tories - they're all fighting over the same middle ground. If there was a clear choice between left and right, I'd probably vote left. But what we've got is people who think they know best, think that they can sit removed from society and shove policy on us. Then there's the people who know that the solutions come from the grass roots and up - and that's The Commons!

DD: Do you have enough political experience to work effectively in Parliament?
Tamsin Omond: I'm not sure what you mean by 'political'. For the past four years, I've acted as a representative for the environmental movement. I've spoken to thousands of people. I've written a book. I've even been on women's hour. I've lived in this area all my life, know its problems and its potential - I'm more than ready to represent Hampstead and Kilburn.

DD: How old are you and what did you do before starting The Commons?
Tamsin Omond: I'm 25 years old, and since leaving university in 2007, everything I've done has been to draw attention to climate change. For a year, I was co-ordinator of the activist group Plane Stupid, before launching my own group - Climate Rush. Both of these drew a lot of media to climate activism. I guess you could say I'm a protest entrepreneur.

DD: Can you explain the name?
Tamsin Omond: The Commons is you and me. It's our high street. It's the water that comes out of our tap. It's the air we breathe. It's all of us, and it's everything. That's why we're going to win!

DD: What's the first thing you would do if you were elected?
Tamsin Omond: If I were to be elected, the first thing I would do is to hold a big party for my constituency to thank them for voting me in.

DD: What upsets you the most with politics and politicians today?
Tamsin Omond: I don't think politics represents the people they're supposed to serve. The MP from my constituency, Glenda Jackson, has spoken in Parliament only 40 times over the past four years, whereas most London MP's will speak 1000 times. She's not around in the constituency, she's not working hard for us. Politics isn't about democracy any more - it's about climbing a career path, being in the pocket of lobby groups and big business'. I want to renew politics and make it about people again.

DD: Tony Blair once had three words for us (Education! Education! Education!) - what are yours?
Tamsin Omond: 'Enough meaningless slogans!'...or, 'People not politics'.

DD: What's the biggest danger we face today in Britain and what's the biggest thing we have going for us?
Tamsin Omond: The biggest danger we have facing us, is a lack of community. The best thing about us is our multi-culturilsm, if we could only make the most of it.

DD: You will "stand your principles" and "won't be whipped", but isn't politics a lot about compromising?
Tamsin Omond: Politics, like life, involves compromise. What's important is that when we make a compromise, everyone involved understands why we're making it, that they feel involved in the discussion and that 'compromising' doesn't mean selling out to whichever special interest group pays us the most.

DD: Fancy going for the PM's job?
Tamsin Omond: Let's see how I do with Hampstead and Kilburn - but yes, I believe a young, energetic and honest Prime Minister is better than the options traditional politics gives us.

To find out more about the Commons, contact Tamsin Omond through the website, or visit one their Reclaim The Night marches through Hampstead. More info on the next event, The Big Gay Flashmob, here.

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