One of the better things about the Green Party these days is that, during internal elections, there are now some good candidates in the field. Regarding forthcoming Green Party elections, for instance, three caught my eye. They are:
1. Andrew Cooper
2. Liz Reason
3. Rupert Read
The context to these elections is particularly significant. The last General Election was a significant setback for the Green Party. It certainly faces a hostile external environment in many ways. Yet the party also sometimes make things more difficult for itself. Its external campaigning has often been unnecessarily weak, both at election time and in terms of campaigns over specific issues. Internally, things still need to be tightened while internal democracy and transparency could also be much improved. I feel sure that the election of all three candidates will greatly help the party in these and other respects, not least strengthening ‘regionality’ inside the party.
Andrew Cooper is one of the party’s best voices and activists. He has been a regular visitor to my region, the North East, and was a great source of support with regard to the threat of open cast coal mining at Druridge Bay. He is, of course, well known for his achievements on Kirklees Council in the field of energy conservation. He proposed the UK’s first universally free insulation scheme, with over 50,000 homes insulated. In 2000, he initiated the Council’s Renewable Energy Fund that has seen Kirklees become the leading authority in the deployment of micro-generation technologies. Andrew embodies that mix we need so much of real vision coupled to practicable policies for the here and now. As I know from walks with him around the ward he represents, he is very good at relating to those outside our ranks. I spent the first 18 years of my life there and more recently I had quite wrongly not seen Newsome as fertile ground for the Greens. The fact he is from ‘up North’ is a particular asset since there is, arguably, a certain London-centrism at national level in the party. I think he would be a strong voice for all the regions in the post for which he is standing.
Liz Reason is probably best known inside the party for the lead she gave in setting up a thorough-going review of party governance. Previous efforts in this area were going nowhere and, worse, some bad ideas were abroad. Liz really did come to the rescue: it is down to her that we have a real chance of taking a good hard look at the workings of the party. She has long experience in energy conservation but it is the organisational side of her career that really boosts her credentials for the post she is seeking. Indeed, she has extensive community building, political and business skills. For example, she has been chair of ‘Sustainable Charlbury’, a community organisation whose major achievement was to build a 4.5MW solar farm, developed, financed and managed by the community. She is now chair of ‘Southill Community Energy’, a community benefit society, which runs the solar farm and distributes its surpluses to environmental projects. Liz is exactly the person needed to keep national decision-making grounded in reality. I’d note also that she is particularly strong on fund-raising and, in my experience, works in genuinely collaborative ways
For some background on Liz, see: http://lizreason.co.uk
Rupert Read is standing for a post with a more external focus and one that would require a first class speaker and debater to ensure our message is effectively projected. Rupert has the right qualities: a sharp thinker and quick on his feet in debate. His work at the Green House think tank is widely admired. It has provided a steady stream of excellent publications (https://www.greenhousethinktank.org/publications.html ). The Green Party really needs to have the intellectual tools with which to challenge the dominant mind-set if it is to play its part in changing society. I particularly admire the work Rupert has done on the ‘precautionary principle’ and, more generally, ‘post-growth’. On YouTube you can see plenty of examples of how effective Rupert can be at public meetings and on TV.
If you are member of the Green Party of England and Wales, I hope you’ll vote for them in the relevant contests. If you agree with me, encourage other people you know across the party to do likewise. I am sure that all three would welcome message of support