Canvassing in Oldfield Park, Dominic Tristram – the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for Bath – found himself reminiscing about student life, as well as the time he spent living in the area when he first moved to the heritage city fifteen years ago.
“The Woolworths has become a pound stretcher or something has it? When I was a student Woolworths was the most useful shop you could possibly find because it sold everything: sweets, records, screwdrivers,” Dominic ponders as we walk down Moorland Road. He was, however, incorrect; it was in fact the Sainsbury’s Local that replaced the former retail chain, as his fellow Green Party member and local candidate for Westmoreland Jon Lucas pointed out. There’s a certain sense of nostalgia about Dominic Tristram; he seems very keen to venture into his student past, from his sex-crazed housemates to never having lost a deposit on a student house. His efforts to appear student-friendly to a student-run newspaper were certainly effective.
In the last issue of bathimpact a poll revealed the Greens to be the favoured party amongst students at the University of Bath, and Dominic was quick to reference the results. “Well as you know we’re doing pretty well, certainly with students at the university, your bathimpact poll showed us pretty much in front just about and I think the talk I did at the University’s Politics Society went reasonably well,” he says, adding, “Nationally we polled first with 16-24 year olds and in the south west that’s true as well. So I’m pretty confident of our vote with the younger people, and just generally I think we’re doing pretty well. I mean we got 20% in the European elections and that was before our enormous growth in membership, so yeah, I think it’s generally better than people expect.”
Dominic seemed very at ease about the campaign trail in Bath, but was quick to defend his confidence, describing the election as “all up in the air.”
“I don’t want to make it sound like we’re gonna do..,” he hesitates, continuing, “I’m very positive that actually we’re going to do much better than people expected and we’ve actually got a real chance. You have to bear in mind that this is the fourth safest Lib Dem seat and they’ve seen their vote plummet, and those votes aren’t going to the Conservatives, they’re gonna go somewhere else and because we’re on track to do better than Labour in Bath, we would be the natural choice for someone who doesn’t like the coalition, so we’re very optimistic.”
Dominic isn’t too far off with this statement; Labour have yet to win over the constituents of Bath, having never won the parliamentary seat in its history. However, much to his dismay, the first house in this canvassing session was occupied by someone whose vote is set for Ed Miliband’s party in the upcoming election. “It’s just a shame that the first person who answered the door there was somebody saying they’d vote Labour because the last time we came round
everyone was very positive.” Dominic said, continuously emphasising the success of a previous canvassing attempt in the Oldfield area.
Dominic spends little time talking about Green Party policy, but rather prefers discussing the faults with all the other political parties running in Bath. “Bath is, I would say small “L” liberal, so there’s a lot of people who’ve voted Lib Dem to keep the Tories out and now the Lib Dems have pretty much shown that they’re more or less the same as the Tories in a lot of ways,” he says, adding that, whilst the Tories won’t lose any voters, he doubts that they will swing many voters either. As for UKIP, Dominic is rather dismissive, saying, “I don’t think UKIP in Bath are really much of a threat to anyone but if they do take votes away it’ll be from the Tories.”
Despite the backhanded comments about the other parties, Dominic comes across as a bit of an everyman: in his casual clothing, his friendly mannerisms and the quiet confidence he has about him. In a sense, he is the epitome of the Green Party; as he himself said, “Nobody dislikes the Green Party… The worst we ever get is ‘you’re unrealistic hippies’.”