The Norwich Radical aims to offer wide and fair coverage of both national and international politics, including elections, campaigns, and movements affecting local and wider scale policies. In light of this, we have contacted all the candidates standing in both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections for The Green Party of England and Wales, asking them to explain their vision for the Party and the country. We will be publishing their responses over the week leading up to the elections.
by Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley
The Green Party’s recent local election success around the country shows the impact we can have when we get our politics and strategy right. We took seats from both Conservatives and Labour with our clear message that having a Green on your council holding them to account benefits everyone. We won votes from across the spectrum by showing our councillors are effective, principled and hard-working.
Where Greens lead, others follow, and our councillors, our MEPs, our London Assembly Members and our Parliamentarians – including the incredible Caroline Lucas – are out there showing every day that we also have the best ideas, which the other parties take up.
We have been the clearest voice against austerity, against immigration detention, for renewable power and for bringing railways back into public hands, and we were the first to address the structural issues facing the economy with our call for a 4 day working week, and a basic income.
In London, after a long campaign, the Mayor cannot help but give credit to Sian’s work as an Assembly Member persuading him to put money from business rates back in to support youth services. In Lambeth, Jonathan won his own council seat and has created one of the largest green council groups in the country because the Greens stood up alongside estate residents and opposed library closures. It was a grassroots campaign backed by Greens across London that won ballots for residents facing the demolition of their homes. In many councils Greens are arguing against moves to remove council tax support from the poorest families, putting many in arrears and facing bailiffs. In Lambeth, Jonathan has worked to end the council’s cruel eviction policy, and Sian’s campaign with Camden Greens has meant the council there is the only one so far to go back on this inhumane policy.
We need to build on our successes and inspire more Green Parties.
We need to build on our successes and inspire more Green Parties. We know we can change the political agenda – as we already have in so many areas. And we must show that, even under an unfair first past the post electoral system, we can win more seats both on councils and in Parliament. Most importantly, we need to mentor, develop and train more of our members to be great candidates, councillors and campaigners.
This election for a new leadership team is about choosing the right people to build on the Green Party’s success in setting the agenda for government at all levels. It’s about which team has the ideas and election-winning, change-making track record to keep the party moving up.
Having two co-leaders has worked. Co-leadership embodies Green values – cooperative, collaborative, empowering – and demonstrates what makes the Greens different. Over the past two years, while Caroline Lucas has been in Parliament pushing our radical agenda, Jonathan has been up and down the country, standing side-by-side with campaigners against fracking in Yorkshire and Lancashire, tree-felling in Sheffield, and HS2 in Hillingdon.
We are not just a political party: we are a movement. And the two of us, other elected Greens, and members working to win seats, are not just politicians: we are campaigners. We speak out when others don’t. We take risks to stand up for our values. We do politics differently. As your co-leader candidates, we stand for:
- BRIGHTER GREEN IDEAS. We’ll search out and promote your best new ideas, make sure our political strategy can win seats from all the other parties, hosting a strategy summit, with members from all regions, within our first 100 days. And we’d make sure we’re the strongest voice on the biggest issues, from Brexit to human rights to climate change.
- FIERCER GREEN RESISTANCE. We’ll boost support for Greens driving grassroots campaigns and stand with members who put themselves on the line. We’d expand our local party support operation to include training in non-violent direct action and support a new strategy for winning issue-based campaigns at all levels.
- WIDER GREEN IMPACT. We’ll expand access to our fantastic training programmes, and mentor and bring forward the next generation of leaders and spokespeople. We’ve both benefited from the support of senior Greens and we would work with groups like Greens of Colour, LGBTIQA+ Greens and the Green Party Disability Group to help broaden the range of leaders the party is training and developing.
- BIGGER GREEN SUCCESSES. The party must be ready to seize the moment – whether that’s a by-election or a snap general election. As part of GPEx, our leadership would be focused on making the Green Party organisationally robust, resilient and well-equipped to be ready for anything. We’ll resource local parties to get bigger swings and victories in by-elections, and prepare Greens across England and Wales for our next big test in the 2019 council elections.
Our pledges are more than just words. We both have the track record of winning elections and representing the Greens at the highest level, and we’ve both run campaigns that achieve against the odds and deliver success. We want to do the same, together, for our party over the next two years.
Read more about our detailed plan for leadership at www.bartleyberry.green. Please vote for us to be co-leaders with your No.1 vote. Thank you!
Featured image via Bartleyberry.green
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