To Jenny Jones, An Open Letter

JennyJonesAt Autumn Conference in 2015 the Green Party membership voted overwhelmingly to campaign for a remain vote in the EU referendum, so it was quite frustrating and disappointing to see your scathing (‘Green’) attack on the EU in the Guardian Online today.

I celebrate your right to speak freely on important issues, and I’m not seeking to discourage you in future, but the Green Party is an organisation with very few high-profile elected representatives and your intervention today has no doubt served to confuse the party’s national message. Speaking frankly, it feels like a betrayal of the membership and our democratic right to set official party policy. The article repeatedly refers to your personal case for Brexit as “Green”, capitalised for maximum confusion with the Green Party’s official stance on the issue, and you characterise the official party position as naive (referencing Pollyanna) and less “authentic” than your own views.

The article chastises party members for ignoring the negative aspects of the EU, yet the campaign as I see it hasn’t had the rose-tinted outlook implied by your assessment. If it seems like our campaign has been overly positive, that’s because we need to make the best of what little coverage we’re given in the media. Wasting precious screen-time and column inches contradicting ourselves would damage our campaign to stay in the EU, and reinforce the (unfortunately common) view that we’re unable to make up our minds.

I hope you will acknowledge that, as one of a few high-profile spokespeople for the Green Party, your views could have been presented with greater care to avoid confusion with the national party’s official stance, as voted for by the membership.

Dan Johnston
South West Young Greens