Green Party candidate in the 2014 Clacton by-election
Clacton environmentalist Chris Southall was chosen unanimously as the Green Party's candidate for the Clacton by-election at a meeting of Tendring District's Green Party members on Tuesday 9 September 2014. Douglas Carswell was elected as UKIP's first MP at the by-election with 21,113 votes. Chris Southall came 4th with 688 votes.
Chris Southall has stood for the Green Party at General Elections as well as for district and county council elections, and was both a parish councillor and a parent governor.
Chris Southall, formerly an engineer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, said:
- "It is more important than ever to have Green ideas heard. Inequality is rampant in the UK with news that the 1,000 most wealthy people own more than the poorest 40 per cent of families put together. We must confront creeping privatisation of our health service and a widespread denial of climate change - the greatest threat facing us over the coming decades."
- "I follow the old tenet ‘from each according to their ability. To each according to their need’. I see the unlimited growth in consumption and in population leading inevitably to the destruction of human culture. I am confident that the world (Gaia) will recover and move on without us. It is in our own interests to learn to live sustainably and to share the world’s resources fairly between us. Research shows that more equal societies are happier societies (yes even the rich are happier in a more equal society!)"
- "I believe in evidence based decision making, co-operation and communication in politics. Too much of our government today is from the fixed dogma of the main political parties not much connected to what is happening (and going to happen) in the real world. I think that human’s relationship to the rest of the ‘natural’ world is of vital importance to our well being; physical, emotional and spiritual. I want my life's efforts to increase the harmony and understanding between people and between people and the environment, plants and animals that share our world."
Chris Southall has been self-employed most of his life, working as a potter, computer engineer, drummer and with people who have special needs. He currently sells bees:
- "I have a surplus of bees and am passing them on in the way I have done for a number of years. I sell the bees not the equipment. Prices start at £30 for 5 frame nuke. All bees with laying queen. People bring me their hive and frames, I transfer the bees to their hive and keep the appropiate number of frames in exchange. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested."
He has two children and three grandchildren and lives in Clacton with his partner, Rosie, where they are converting their 1930s bungalow into an ecohouse which they sometimes open to the public. Chris Southall says:
- "In spite of the malicious distortion created by those seeking to deceive about climate change, the scientific evidence for man-made global warming remains unassailable and we must do what it takes to reduce the scale of the crisis and make plans to live with the inevitable effects."
In 1967 Chris Southall led a group of apprentices at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in a Rag Week stunt when they deployed a number of "flying saucers" along the same latitude stretching in a line from Somerset to Kent. The authorities were baffled and concern was caused in Whitehall. One UFO was blown up by the army and the one discovered near Newbury even led to a standoff between the US airforce and local police.
The hoax took 6 months to plan. Routes were plotted, cover stories concocted and of course the "flying saucers" were built. They were made out of fibreglass but there was metal in the outer coating so when it was polished it looked like titanium. When they were moved an internal mercury switch tripped which activated a unearthly bleeping sound powered by batteries. They also contained a rather low tech component, a flour and water paste left to go off so it became a strange foul smelling jelly:
- "We wanted it to contain something nobody could identify, but it really smelled awful and made the saucers harder to carry", said Chris.