This is a General Election blog on behalf of … well, I make no secret of my Green Party membership, but this is personal. My brother Dave is GP parliamentary candidate for Beaconsfield and he’s been my hero for a long time. Jonathon Porritt has endorsed him already so he hardly needs me to sing his praises, but I love and admire him very much and I want to! As our friend Steve Press says, he’s “a great good man”, a man of conviction and principle, courage and absolute commitment – to a better way than this, for the sake of people and planet. Dave is technically my little brother and we played together long ago: Robin Hood, the Men from UNCLE and other imaginative outdoor games, ping pong in the garage (no car) and mini golf (very) in the garden. He was a lot better than his sister at climbing trees. As a teenager he made himself a stereo system and I remember him playing me tracks he thought I’d like by King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. His bedroom drawers were full of tiny components and Olivia Newton John smiled down from his wall.
Dave was clever at everything and went to Cambridge, where he studied Engineering at Emmanuel and discovered the sport of rowing. Imagine how proud we were when he was eventually selected for the United Kingdom (Lightweight eight) and rowed in the World Championships at Lucerne. It was while living at Putney Rowing Club that Dave fell in love with Jan. They married and have stayed close to the Thames ever since. In 2005 he set up on his own as the Carbon Coach – this world’s first – long before many knew the phrase carbon footprint. He’s a Chartered Environmentalist too, and a great speaker, but what Googling him won’t tell you is what a support and inspiration he’s been to me.
Even though I was GP member twenty years ago, once I went back to teaching I felt too busy to deal with the truth about climate change, or Dave’s passion. But I never doubted it, or him. He introduced me to his friend Polly Higgins and her campaign for Ecocide Law (see the dedication for my next book, CRAZY DAISE) and to Stephen Jenkinson’s Griefwalker (which Daisy, my eco-activist character has also seen, because it illuminates her view of death at the end of the novel).
Dave’s a deep, poetic soul and a creative thinker. He’s complex, unorthodox and funny, full of fire and wisdom. And in spite of everything he knows about the destructive power of human beings, he exudes warm, generous humanity. It makes him a great DJ on Marlow FM where he hosts Watt Next: All Things Being Eco. And it makes him a great brother and friend. He’s an encourager; he understands. Beaconsfield is the 9th safest Tory seat. But the future isn’t safe in Tory hands. It’s up to first-time ‘politicians’ like Dave to stand – against greedy human exploitation of the earth, its creatures and each other, and for a way of living together that’s fair, responsible and sustainable. Thanks to people like him, those who share his vision can vote for it. It’s a start. Thanks to my bruv, and people like him, the Great Turning has begun.
Lyrics by Dave, sung by Steve Rodgers – with thanks to Tom Mayhew