Tag: Green Party

This chart shows the 2010 local election results for The Lane, the ward I ran for. After a year of really hard work I doubled the top Green vote to 1,265, but as you can see an incredible surge in votes for Labour stole the show. To get an idea of how much of a difference having the national and local elections on the same day had in London, look at the black lines. I’ve drawn those into to show, roughly, where the votes were in the 2006 local elections. The increased turnout was massive, and it almost all went to Labour/Lib Dem/Conservative candidates. Across Southwark their vote increased between 50-300% whilst the Green vote was up much, much less; we just got left behind. In The Lane, the Lib Dems didn’t even campaign. Their candidates didn’t attend the hustings, they only really put out general election leaflets in the…

Read More Should local elections coincide with the nationals?

A new BNP presence mobilised local anti-fascists in Bermondsey recently by delivering a spiteful leaflet warning that immigration might lead Bermondsey to “end up like Peckham and Camberwell”. A picture showed a west African shop front. Having surveyed nearly a thousand households in Peckham in the past six months, I can see the power of this appeal because the character of Peckham town centre was by far the most frequently raised issue. But how to respond to the BNP whipping up racial explanations? Southwark Green Party have recently published our action plan for Peckham, detailing 17 ways that we could improve the town centre. I hope that this positive and practical response to peoples varied and valid concerns, very few of which seemed motivated by racist or xenophobic views, is exactly the kind of thing that can help counter the BNP. Like it or not, a lot of people are…

Read More What’s wrong with Peckham?

I’ve a lot of respect for anyone who steps up to run for election with a manifesto that, they genuinely hope, will improve the lot of their constituents. But aside from my obvious partisan reasons, I don’t think I could ever vote for a Pirate Party candidate in these forthcoming national and local elections. I suspect I’m like the majority of people in that I really get put off by politicians saying “don’t vote for Party X or you’ll let Party Y in”, as though they’ve nothing more compelling to offer voters than “we’re not that lot”. Ultimately I would always want people to vote for the party they most support, give or take some tactical voting if they prefer. So if the Pirates are your bag then get involved with them. But the Pirates are an unashamed single issue party. Their manifesto lays out a radical agenda for copyright,…

Read More Why I could never vote for the Pirates

How can we tell a simple, persuasive story about Green housing policy? Tom Hill sent me this challenging article about the US Democrats’ recent failure to turn solid facts into folksy stories, reminiscent of George Lakoff’s past work on their failure to frame issues correctly (read this and this). I’ve been doing some work recently on the Green story about the recession, and what the Mayor of London should do in response. A big part of this is the Green story on housing, since the housing bubble is both a structural weakness in our economy and a negative consequence for the majority of people for whom it is far too expensive. Jenny Jones has recently published a great report explaining the downside of the story, and we’re working together on a follow-up describing a range of rather complex solutions. So how can we tell our positive story on housing in…

Read More Telling the Green story on housing

I wasn’t surprised to read that the Harris Academy at Peckham has taken an injunction out against Jacqui Fergus. Faced with the undemocratic nature of Academy schools, Miss Fergus took the only route available – protesting about exclusion with parents outside the school. Figures last year revealed the Academy has a temporary exclusion rate that is three times the national average. Labour have sold us into a Faustian pact, letting a Tory Lord buy up community schools in the hope that standards will improve. Never mind that we hand over control of the school to unaccountable governors, selected by a man with an estimated wealth of £285m. Southwark has been pretty gung-ho for academy schools, in contrast to Lewisham where Greens have helped keep schools in the hands of local people. In August I added my vote to the new Green Party education policy, which includes a freeze on expansion…

Read More Democracy in Peckham’s schools

Over the summer a few fantastic initiatives have started to grow from the grassroots. I’ve been going along to meetings of Transition Town Peckham and Growing Southwark, full of local people who share my hopes to grow more food in the area and fix up our homes with the Peckham Power Company. This year I managed to get the last of the blackberries on One Tree Hill and grew plenty of tomatoes, salads and herbs with my partner. But living in a flat means my options are pretty limited, and allotments are a big commitment. Walking around Peckham you can’t help notice lots of underused green spaces just begging to be used for communal food growing, and beautiful parks with barely a handful of fruit trees for the public. We’re busy pushing forward the food strategy Green councillor Jenny Jones introduced through Southwark Council, and I’m exploring ways to connect…

Read More Growing communities in Southwark

The Government raised the national minimum wage today to £5.80 per hour, a welcome 7p extra for Britain’s working poor. But here in London, and in many other expensive parts of the country, it’s still far too low. The London Living Wage, calculated by GLA Economics to meet basic living costs, currently stands at £7.60 per hour, almost £2 an hour more! Just imagine earning 23% less than the amount you’d need just to get by. Or imagine working an extra 12 hours per week to make ends meet. Working poverty accounts for almost half of all child poverty in this city, and one fifth of all London workers – almost 400,000 people – earn less than the Living Wage. That goes up to 47% for part time workers. Until everyone – especially public bodies and the Government itself – pays the Living Wage or above, we’re failing people and…

Read More Minimum wage rise is still to low for London

I took some time out of my brief in-between-jobs holiday to speak to some students from Alleyn’s School in East Dulwich. The Geography Society invited me to talk about climate change and the Green Party. What do you say in 25 minutes to young people who are  amongst the highest consumers in Southwark, but also potentially dedicated citizens who can do a lot to tackle the problem? I think my talk got a bit confused, but perhaps that’s OK because I really wanted to help them understand just how complicated the whole topic is. Beware the doomsayers who claim there’s nothing we can do, but also beware optimists who offer the solution in the form of ten easy steps! On reflection, these would be my two main messages to young people. First, recognise that climate change fundamentally changes the way we think about politics and our personal lives. Just as…

Read More Climate change in 25 minutes

Hove town hallA couple of days in Hove at the Green Party Autumn ticked all the usual boxes, though this year jokes about beards were given a fun edge by Sue‘s buzzword bingo game. Thankfully a lot of the unfortunate posturing around Green Party Executive (GPEX) elections died down as it became clear that most members couldn’t be bothered with it, leaving space for some good policy debates.

Science and technology finally got its day, with two fringe events giving the nerd core a chance to work out how we can avoid this kind of (quite valid) coverage. I’ve high hopes that we can begin to overhaul some fairly ancient and shaky policy, not least because we got such strong and wide agreement that policy should be – golly – based on scientific evidence, as should decisions about NHS treatments. But never mind that “on the back foot” stuff, I’m most excited about the possibility of putting out some really strong messages around science and technology that should resonate strongly with scientists, technologists and the general public. Read More Green conference fun & games in Hove

With the autumn conference weeks away, some of the candidates have started to make noises to get voted onto the Green Party Executive (GPEx). As a soon-to-be-ex member of GPEx I thought I’d share some thoughts on criticisms that candidates are making in their bid to replace standing members. Read on, they’re quite long!

If Jason and Rupert replace Tracy I really hope they continue her very strong work on building up that “glossy” stuff they don’t seem to like. The election broadcast video won us amazing plaudits from the media; mailing lists, twitter and blogs were flooded with positive comments from friends and onlookers. It’s easy to say “we will focus on everything” but much harder to square that with a very limited budget. Read More Some thoughts about the Green Party Exec elections