by Andrew Cooper
I got back from the Green Party’s Deputy Leadership campaign trail yesterday and it’s been great to see so many Green Party activists at each of the 8 hustings I attended. I was fortunate enough to manage to get to them all.
What has become clear is that there are many questions that still remain to be answered about the Progressive Alliance being suggested by Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley. My own view is that it’s certainly worth trying but there are major obstacles to overcome.
Labour needs to have a Progressive Alliance with itself before it can really contemplate having one with anyone else. Until Labour hopefully ‘settles down’ into some degree of stability we can’t progress matters with them.
The other issue with Labour is that currently I am not convinced they have that much enthusiasm for Electoral Reform which is the principal rationale for the proposal. Too many Labour MPs and activists seem to be of the ‘one last heave’ brigade, that believe that if the undemocratic First Past the Post system works for them, then somehow that makes it legitimate. Electoral realities may make Labour wake up more quickly with a Party that is now decimated in Scotland and divided across the country. Another worrying sign was when Caroline Lucas’s 10 minute rule bill tabled last week on Electoral Reform was subject to a Labour Whip asking Labour MPs to abstain.
The other question for a Progressive Alliance to grapple with is how it will gather support among electors if it is focussed on on just one issue – the delivery of proportional representation. My own view is that it should have a broader policy platform that can demonstrate how progressive it really is. There is a danger that concentrating on just PR will be wrongly portrayed as ‘self serving’. Large sections of the media will say political parties are seeking to secure their own future rather than focussing on what a General Election should be about.
That’s why I believe we should be seeking policies in a Progressive Alliance that seek to provide secure jobs and affordable homes linked to a wider vision of more equal society working together to address serious issues such as climate change.
I am not against the idea of seeking progress towards a Progressive Alliance but I do want us to pursue it with our eyes open to the barriers we will face and what will be needed to make it fly.
As regards the Deputy Leadership, I’m standing because I believe someone from the North, who is an experienced elected Green politician and who has actually successfully initiated many Green policies at the local level would be a strong addition to our Leadership Team. The Party needs a perspective in the Leadership Team that can speak with experience and authority from outside London and the South East. As a Councillor from Yorkshire with 17 years experience I feel well placed to fulfil that role.
Andrew Cooper is standing as a candidate for the Deputy Leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales. Andrew has been a councillor for the Green Party for 17 years in Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council, is currently the Party’s Energy Spokesperson and stood for the Green Party in the 2010 and 2015 General Elections in the Huddersfield Constituency
You can find out more about his campaign here.
Every Green Party member receives a vote in the forthcoming Deputy Leadership election, which will take place from the 25th of July to the 25th of August. The Norwich Radical have invited all candidates for Leader and Deputy Leader to submit one article to us on their campaign.