10 December 2014

Talis Kimberley-Fairbourn here. I've been a Green Party member for about eighteen months, and now – now I’m standing for Parliament, for the Swindon South constituency. It's been a challenging and inspiring journey so far, and Wednesday was a real landmark along the way. We went public with the results of Swindon Area Green Party’s selection process, had a bit of a party, and introduced Swindon to their local, Green, Prospective Parliamentary Candidates.

For our launch event, we chose a lovely independent venue on Victoria Road, Cafe Art, who serve hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and cakes all day, and have a picture framing business as well. They couldn't have looked after us better; as more and more people arrived, they served coffees and teas and more with a smile to members of the public, Green Party members, supporters, and representatives from the media. The cafe filled up nicely, and I believe everyone had a good time. We had some frontline members in hi-viz jackets greeting folk and making them welcome, and I've heard already from more than one new contact that we seemed 'a very friendly bunch'. That's good – that's very good, because we really do welcome all comers, and we need everyone's input, energy and ideas.

Ken Kimber introduced the evening (after the Swindon Advertiser had interviewed and photographed all they needed - they had a print deadline to make!) and Poppy Hebden-Leeder (Swindon North) and I made short speeches. I think they were short...? Poppy was excellent, as we knew she would be. For my part, I was aware of the moment my performer's brain kicked in hard and I started waving my hands about and getting passionate about what I was saying. Then it was a whirl of meeting people, listening, talking, sharing, being interviewed some more (BBC Wiltshire and Swindon Radio 105.5) and forgetting to eat (though I’d remembered to carry a water bottle with me).

I talked to a gentleman who's previously been a Conservative voter, and who has struggled to square his politics with the compassion his Christian beliefs call him to practice. I heard from a woman who said she'd lost hope in politics, but that she found the evening 'inspiring'. I met a long-term Labour voter on the journey between political parties. I saw some of our newer members stretch themselves and take up the task of talking to new people about the Green Party with enthusiasm and real hope.

I really think that there is an appetite for change out there. I've heard again and again that the Green Party's positive message is what draws people to join. Let's keep that at the core of how we communicate. I know there's a great deal of hard work ahead, but I'm so proud of the team that have supported Poppy and me so far and enabled us to take up these roles, and we will both do our best to communicate the Green message, principles and policies, in every possible arena.

Swindon, North and South – you will have Green candidates on the ballot next May. And in the meantime? We're listening. We're getting involved. Let's make some change happen.

Talis Kimberley-Fairbourn
(Wroughton, 5th December 2014)

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