Manchester Elects: Will Patterson

In the final installment of this Manchester Mayoral Election focussed series (“Hooray!”, says you.), we take a look at the manifesto of Green Party candidate, Will Patterson.

I’ve been keeping a league table running for who I’d most likely vote for, based purely on the candidate’s manifesto. Which is why there are 5 in the table, rather than 9. Only 5 of them even bothered to have one. Don’t have a manifesto? Don’t have a chance of my vote. Currently the league table looks like this:

1st – Andy Burnham – Labour

2nd – Stephen Morris – English Democrats

3rd – Jane Brophy – Liberal Democrats

4th – Sean Anstee – Conservatives

So, where does Will Patterson fit into this? Let’s find out.

Will has been in the Green Party since 2014, and was chosen to stand for the Greater Manchester Mayorship after the untimely death of Deyika Nzeribe. Will’s from Wigan, and, unsurprisingly given his allegiances, is a member of Frack Free Wigan, Leigh & Makerfield. He also helped establish Wigan People’s Assembly Against Austerity, and organised the inaugural Wigan Pride for last August.

He looks a cheerful chap, oozing likeability from his photo – something that other candidates have fallen down on. There’s a definite smack of truth to his smile in that manifesto photo.

Will PattersonHe’s gone for a very personal approach with the first page. Again, he’s in the camp of making sure you know that he’s from Greater Manchester. It just shows the importance, or perceived importance, people place upon the personal identity of their mayoral candidate. And he’s also gone Labouresque with the idea of including “the people” within his manifesto. Corbyn has repeatedly done the same thing with bringing people’s questions to PMQs, so that Theresa May is not only facing questions from Corbyn, but also from the very people she is meant to represent. Will, in a similar vein, has built his policies around the stories he has gathered from various residents of Greater Manchester. Quite a nice touch that will definitely endear him to a few. Who doesn’t like to think that their voice is being heard, after all?

He’s focussed on the “rights” of the people as well in the meat of his manifesto. Another good choice. He’s the only one to speak about people’s rights in his manifesto, and it shows either a caring side to him, or an eye for what sells. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and plump for the former.

Here’s his main points in essence. He wants all Greater Manchester residents to have:

  • The right to a home – a roof over every head, with more homeless shelters and help for young people to get into affordable housing (a big issue in Greater Manchester currently), and the set-up of a Greater Manchester Renters’ Union to protect private tenant rights
  • The right to fair pay – He wants a Real Living Wage from public bodies, and a Basic Income scheme in Greater Manchester to make sure everyone has access to basic living standards
  • The right to quick & clean transport – Not really an actual “Human Right” but he wants an end to peak fare prices; a bus service that works for the people, rather than the providers; and more investment in rail and tram for the whole of Greater Manchester

Will Patterson 2Good points, and points that I can fully get behind. Particularly the transport one. There is a definite need for regulation in Greater Manchester when it comes to buses. I read an article that discussed the difference between the regulated bus services of London, and the unregulated bus services of Greater Manchester. It’s clear to see, from travelling at least twice daily on buses, that something needs to be done. When you get to a certain point in Manchester, it can become absolute chaos, and you never quite know if you have the right money to grab the bus you want.

It’s hard to know where to stick Will in the league table. He’s top 2, that’s for sure. He far beats Brophy and Anstee and is comfortably above Morris. Can he top Burnham? If there is a quibble with this manifesto, it might be that, while his points are good, there are only the three of them. Is that enough, without having to investigate further, to grab my vote? Can I vote for the Green Party? My head tells me that could be a silly thing, but there’s something about the manifesto that rings a bit true.

Tough decision, and one that’s left me feeling rather indecisive. The safest thing to do would be to stick them in at an equal 1st. But, I feel like I should make a call, either way. I’m going to give Burnham the benefit and put Patterson into 2nd, but only just.

Final league table:

1st – Andy Burnham – Labour

2nd – Will Patterson – Green Party

3rd – Stephen Morris – English Democrats

4th – Jane Brophy – Liberal Democrats

5th – Sean Anstee – Conservatives

That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll vote for Burnham – I’ve got just one more day to decide, with Greater Manchester going out to vote on Thursday 4th, but it’s a possiblity. I, like every other Greater Manchester resident, need to take as in-depth a look as possible at each candidate. If you live in Greater Manchester, then get out and vote for someone, if you feel there is someone you can vote for in good conscience. As ever, don’t vote just for the sake of voting.

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