Dan Thompson: “Politics isn’t really my thing, it’s a dirty game and I’m not really a politician of any sort”

THE GREEN Party of England and Wales has seen its stock grow exponentially over the last six months, with membership numbers overtaking UKIP and seemingly not stopping there. In an article in The Guardian back in January, Joe Greenwood wrote that broadly speaking, “the Greens’ membership is split into two main groups: the green and red wings. The former group tends to be made up of older members who have a historical commitment to conservation and green campaigning, but are not necessarily left-leaning. The latter group tends to be the younger members, who are also committed environmentalists but combine this with a broader left-wing political philosophy.”

Dan ThomsonFrom what I’ve heard on the two occasions I’ve heard him speak so far, I would argue that the Green Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Ceredigion, Dan Thompson, falls into the latter category. Raised in Ceredigion from the age of three months, like the Labour Party candidate Huw Thomas, Thompson is a local. Having left briefly to study at the University of Brighton, a city which, arguably, sits at the heart of the Green Party (with mixed results), he returned to Ceredigion to set up a successful computer business Aberaeron thirteen years ago.

When I ask him to tell me a bit about himself, he very quickly states that he has “always been interested in solving problems, which developed into a keen interest”. Somewhat hyperbolically he says he also wants to “solve the problems of the world; no problem is too big or small for me”. On a wider and more national level, this appears to be a narrative thread that runs through all politicians when asked about why they want to run for a seat in parliament. Solving the problems of the nation and the world seem to feature in everybody’s answer, however very few of them actually ever solve any major problem or crisis.

Dan is very clear when asked why he has chosen to run for the Green Party. “That’s very easy to answer. At their AGM in 2013, the Green Party passed an amendment that supported the proposals of ‘positive money’ which are the banking reform proposals that they laid out. I’ve been a supporter of positive money forever”. You only have to spend five minutes with Dan to realise that this is the big cause that drives him – he openly tells me that “the aim of my whole adult life has been this issue – in fact, as the interview progressed, every answer to a question I asked was somehow linked back and related to the issue of positive money.

Dan admits that he was “reluctant” when first approached last year about standing as the Green Party Parliamentary Prospective Candidate in Ceredigion. “Politics isn’t really my thing, it’s a dirty game and I’m not really a politician of any sort. However, at the same time, it’s interesting for all of the wrong reasons. Like how it fails to address the fundamental problems which we face in society today, that’s what interests me”. Furthermore, Dan is full of praise for the Ceredigion Greens, talking about how they have help events showing films about positive money.

It probably will come as no surprise as to Dan’s response when I asked him what he thought the biggest challenges facing Ceredigion are. For starts, the economy has been the answer from all of the candidates that we have interviewed, as it probably should be. The difference between them all has been their responses. “Money is key to it all. If we understand how money works then we can understand the challenges. Do we have the people and the resources to solve the issues? I think the is yes, in abundance. “

At this point in the interview, Dan trails off and starts discussing the ins and outs, the ‘basics’ of monetary reform. If you’re interested in what he has to say on the matter I would urge you to get in touch with him, it was interesting, it just wasn’t conducive to the interview itself. Essentially, says Dan, “you have to start with the nations. The United Kingdom currently borrows its entire (not quite, 97%) monetary system from the banking sector. In that dynamic were we’re borrowing almost all of our money and interest, we’re having to pay it back which means that we’re always going to lose”.

“Money issued needs to be something of real value. Credit or something that doesn’t get destroyed by the process of lending. If we do this, then we can address the little problems”.

This would mean, he says, “Ceredigion would be able to pay for what it needs and it would take all of these incentives away. We can stop selling off publically owned goods to pay off debts which are unpayable. It creates stability. It resists the business cycle of boom and bust, which can only help people and businesses.”

Again, another common refrain among the candidates is their answer when asked about the biggest positives of Ceredigion – It’s people. “Ceredigion is great, that’s why I live here and have stayed here. The pace of life is different because we don’t quite subscribe to this rat race that we have elsewhere. We do to an extent, but less than others”.

Dan pulls out the trump card when asked about why students should vote for the Green party. “The Green Party supports free education, no tuition fees. It’s an absolute scandal that the next generation will start their lives with huge amounts of debt for no good reason. This comes back to not understanding the monetary system. Need to get rid of the big, damaging, corporations such as Student Finance”.

However, my next question is one that many have asked of the Green Party regarding this policy on free education – Is it economically viable? Dan says that “yes, it is economically viable, in fact it is essential. We need to invest in our human resources”. Whether this truly answers the question or not is debatable, but it is worth remembering that the small print of policies is often overlooked by voters – they just see the headlines.

Interestingly, there is somewhat of a spat going on between the Green Party here in Wales and Plaid Cymru over whether or not to help each other out. Plaid supporters have been trolling Dan on Facebook, something which he says he is absolutely fine with – in fact he finds it rather comical. “They obviously see the Green Party as a threat. This isn’t a new thing, but it’s certainly lately a more pronounced thing.”

The relationship between Plaid and the Greens is an interesting one. Cynog Dafis’ surprising victory for Plaid in the seat back at the 1992 General Election was only possible due to a deal made with the local Green party to have their support. This arrangement lasted until the 2005 election and some in Plaid would like it to happen again this time around. The logic behind this is simple. Current sitting MP Mark Williams, a Liberal Democrat, is likely to haemorrhage support from student populations of Aberystwyth and Lampeter, leading to a much higher vote percentage for Plaid Cymru. The electoral maths suggests that if Plaid had the Green vote as well, they’d win the seat, something which they desperately want to do. However, the reality is that the Green Party in Ceredigion aren’t going anywhere, making Plaid’s job that much harder.

In finishing up the interview I asked Dan if he had anything he wished to say to readers – “Well, obviously, join the Green Party. Don’t give up hope; things may look bad but I don’t like to go to bed at night thinking that we as a nation and civilisation are heading inevitably down the shoot. There are sensible solutions.”