"I’m Debra Pickering, originally from West Cumbria. The daughter of a shop worker and a miner and fully grounded in socialist principles. I have lived in Scotland for 20 years and in Falkirk for 12 of those. I live with my husband Alan and West Highland Terrier called Sookie. I have 2 grown up daughters and one recent granddaughter. I am a trained psychotherapist with particular interest and experience in the field of addictions.
I'm standing as a Scottish Green Candidate in the General Election! If you haven't read that with a sense of amazement then read it again and imagine me grinning from ear to ear. I was encouraged to stand by my Party as the Women's Network I belong to suggested standing all female candidates and locally there was only two males interested in standing, so I thought "What the hell, let's get some woman on the job" and realised it might have to be me. The men gladly stepped aside and there I was front and centre. I did however expect to be amongst a huge pack of brilliant women rather than the two of us, Lorna (Slater) and I.
I'm no stranger to politics I joined the Labour Party at 16 and was one of the youngest councillors elected in Copeland at the age of 21. Labour subsequently left me and my ideals and went a strange, centrist route so I went into a political wilderness for years. During this time I moved to Scotland from Cumbria and returned to politics after the amazingly charged times of the referendum for independence, finding a natural home in the Scottish Green Party.
My exploits with the Greens have had me standing at a street stall in all of the weathers, canvassing, leafleting and very recently standing as a candidate in the local government elections. This week I'm going to see a film called The Bentley Effect a movie about a community in New South Wales, that spawned a social movement defying unconventional gas mining. We face this threat in Falkirk as we are poised to have our land, water and air poisoned by fracking and the Scottish Government refuse to ban it outright and this is my reason for standing, I want to protect the land I live on.”
Here’s the thing about this high fallutin’ parliamentary nonsense. Life keeps happening. During my, albeit low key campaign, my eldest daughter and her partner had their first child, Lola, baptised.
So a journey down to Cumbria ensued, the land of my birth and what a land. The Lake District is heavenly, apt that although an atheist I was attending a Church to be a witness to my Granddaughters indoctrination into the Catholic Faith. Lola’s father is a Catholic and he wants her to have the type of upbringing he had with access to the Catholic community and Schools.
This of course sent me off on a wonder about how I got to be in the Greens, and their policies on faith schools. The Scottish Greens ideas are that all schools in the future should be inclusive of all and no faiths, echoing the diversity of our communities, healing division and ignorance by creating schools and places of education where questions can be asked and differences be acknowledged and celebrated.
Hopefully, as the campaigning draws to an end, I’ll be looking down to getting back to normal. There’s no miracle going to happen whereby I become an MP. Politics in Scotland still has a huge way to go to be inclusive and welcoming to women, well to anyone really that isn’t male and over 45. The current way Party politics can be played out is a game that I don’t enjoy and one I and my fellow Greens get frustrated with. The Scottish Greens aim is not for power or control but for a rainbow parliament representing all the peoples of Scotland, working together on making a better future for children like my wee granddaughter Lola.