The Green Party’s internal elections open up on Monday 25th July at a hugely important time for our country and the party. With Labour in turmoil and UKIP still on hand to hoover up the anti-establishment vote, it’s crucial that the Greens offer a strong, decisive and credible alternative to protect our social and environmental policies from post-Brexit disaster. With that in mind, here are the candidates I’ve decided to back in the upcoming election… (for TL;DR version, click here).
Leadership – Caroline Lucas & Jonathan Bartley
My only vote for Green Party leader will be going to Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and work & pensions spokesperson Jonathan Bartley. Both are savvy and comfortable media performers, with the ability to articulate our policy in an intelligent and understandable manner. At a time of chaos in the official opposition, it is crucial to have a party leader who has been publicly elected to the house of commons, and can properly hold the government to account. Caroline’s record of fighting for social justice in Parliament is fantastic, beyond even that of Jeremy Corbyn, and she has won numerous awards for her work in Westminster. Jonathan has proven himself a passionate and engaging advocate of Green Party policy on various TV debates and panels, and his no-nonsense approach to dealing with climate change-denial is exactly the kind of strong-mindedness we need to tackle the corporate lobbyists and the rhetoric of skeptics in the right-wing press. He’s also not afraid to ruffle a few establishment feathers.
At a time when the public are crying out for a different kind of politics, a gender-balanced job share shows that the Greens take a radical and cooperative approach to party politics. Our sister party, the Scottish Greens, have already proven that two leaders can be better than one, as Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman led the party to electoral success at the Scottish Elections this year, gaining 4 seats. Those who are concerned that our deviation from the norm of a single leader will make us look weak should stop to reflect on our target demographic. We’re looking to engage the disengaged, to empower the disillusioned, a job-share is our signal to the world that the Greens are ready to champion the politics of cooperation and community which has been missing for so many years.
Deputy Leadership – Shahrar Ali, Amelia Womack
Shahrar Ali is my first preference for deputy leader. His charismatic style has been an undeniable asset to the party and our cause for the last two years and he stands out among the candidates as a true force to be reckoned with. A Lucas-Bartley-Ali leadership team has the strength to promote the Green agenda to voters previously untouched by our campaigns, and boost Green membership even among those who have traditionally dismissed environmental politics.
Amelia Womack is my second preference. Her enthusiasm and ability to engage younger voters has contributed in a big way to our success among students and young workers during the green surge. Young people in this country are being shouldered with the burdens of climate change, national debt and the fallout from Brexit, even though they didn’t ask for (or vote for) any of these things. With Amelia as deputy leader, we can solidify our base among young voters and fight for their future.
In my view Shahrar and Amelia are the two stand-out candidates, but I will be allocating further votes as follows: Daniella Radice (3), Kat Boettege (4), Andrew Cooper (5) and Störm Poorun (6). Daniella has done an outstanding job as a Bristol City Councillor and Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods under George Ferguson’s cross-party cabinet, and I’d like to see her do well in the internal elections. The others have their merits, and I look forward to seeing their campaigns unfold over the next month.
Thoughts about voting RON
I will not be voting to re-open nominations on either ballot and I urge other members to think hard before doing so. Members were given sufficient time and notice to stand for executive roles in the party, and those who came forward clearly have the confidence and desire required for leadership. At a time when the political establishment is in utter chaos we need to be decisive about the future of our party. We cannot afford to re-run our leadership race while the Conservatives dictate Britain’s future outside of the EU. We need to take action now to protect our social and environmental regulations. The Green Party strives for diversity and inclusive politics, and our liberation groups are doing an excellent job of engaging and supporting people from a variety of backgrounds. We will continue to fight for equality regardless of our leadership, and at this time I think it’s important to make a confident decision to elect our leadership team from the available candidates, rather than voting RON.
Summary / TL;DR
I’m voting for Caroline Lucas & Jonathan Bartley for co-leaders, and Shahrar Ali for deputy leader. This trio can deliver the strong and charismatic campaigning we need to reach out to new voters and shake off the criticism from the corporate climate-skeptics who are holding back social and environmental progress. With a strong party leader in the house of commons, to hold the government to account, and strong leadership voices in the media, we will make our voices truly heard for the greater good.
https://twitter.com/lucas_bartley – Caroline Lucas & Jonathan Bartley
https://twitter.com/ShahrarAli – Shahrar Ali