My Candidate Statement.
For the Green Party of England and Wales Deputy Leadership election 2020.
Politics has to be for everyone.
I’m standing for Deputy Leader to make that happen.
I got interested in politics three years ago, when I was 21. I grew up feeling the same way I imagine a lot of the UK feels when it comes to politics. You vote in one party, then the other party criticises them constantly, nothing gets done, and occasionally they switch sides. It’s totally possible that I could have held that opinion for my whole life. I unintentionally ended up learning more about how UK politics works, and decided that was how I wanted to make the world a better place.
A lot of people think that success for the Greens is when we have a majority Green government. I disagree. It's not the future we’ll get, and it shouldn’t be the future we want. What will happen is, as we get more people elected, other parties will end up backing proportional representation, either because they want to, or because they have to. When that happens we will see many more Green MPs in parliament. That not only allows us to have a greater impact on policy, but even more importantly, it makes the UK more democratic.
From then, we shouldn’t expect a majority and we shouldn’t want a majority. A majority government doesn’t have to listen, and doesn’t have to work with others to make change - that’s dangerous, even if it’s Green. At that point, we’ll be working with other parties to deliver a society that works for everyone. Green success is when there is social and environmental justice in society, when our current ideas for society are put into place, and when the reasoning we use to create policies, is the reasoning that everyone uses to create policies.
That’s what the Greens have that no other party has:
Policy designed to make society work for everyone.
Policy that recognises that we need to live sustainably.
Policy that wants everyone to have a fulfilling life.
The problem we have currently is that, nationally, we’re not electable. That’s because we’ve done what everyone else in politics has done. We’ve made politics something for politicians. We’ve made politics something exclusive, something that only some can be involved in. That has to change.
We can see the problem reflected in the lack of diversity in our membership. If we want to create a society that works for everyone, we need voices from all communities to be heard. A diverse movement will mean we can appeal to a wider audience, but more importantly, it means that our policies and our work in local communities will be better at delivering a system that everyone can thrive in.
We need to use language better.
The purpose of language is to communicate messages. We keep using complicated words when simple words would work just as well. We want our movement to be inclusive to everyone, whether they were expelled from school or are university educated, and whether English is their first, fourth of fifth language. Let's stop using words like neo-liberalism and authoritarian. It doesn't help create change. It only creates confusion.
We need to talk about the right policies.
We have great policies on the environment but also great policies when it comes to people. We have become known for standing up for the environment, however our policies about people get so much less mention. We need to show that we are ready to deliver a society that works for everyone, that tackles inequality, tackles discrimination, and focuses on making the lives of people across the UK happier, as well as tackling climate change. We can’t expect people who are having to choose between heating their home and eating to support us if we only ever talk about the environment. We are a party standing for social and environmental justice, and we need to make sure everyone knows it.
We need to be willing to work with others.
Collaboration is really important. It’s not just part of our route to success, it’s also what we want to see in our communities. When people work together, they can achieve so much more. I support the EU because it is a project focused on collaboration. We should be willing to and actively offering to work with other parties at every opportunity. We won’t always agree, but we shouldn’t stop trying to work with others.
We need to be inspiring personal change.
Our focus must be on changing the system, but we should also inspire people to make personal changes in their own lives too. We can do both. Problems like climate change are too big to be tackled without system change. Encouraging people to make personal changes like using public transport more, or switching to a plant-based diet will make it easier to push for big changes to how our society works, and mean that people will be more prepared for the future we want to deliver.
We need to keep fighting for the rights of everyone.
People have given their lives fighting for equal rights. We must continue that work, now more than ever, with more policies being discussed that want to push us backwards. That includes standing up for the rights of people of colour. That includes standing up for the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community. That includes standing up for the rights of women. That includes standing up for the rights of animals. We know that the press will stop talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, and when that happens the general public will stop talking about it too. We cannot let that happen. We have to continue the fight for equality.
These are the things we need to change, and I’m standing as Deputy Leader because I want to lead those changes. When it comes to the environment, we only have 10 years. When it comes to people, every day is too late.