What the Greens in London will do next


by Jenny Jones AM    
11:30 am - May 11th 2012

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My third place in the London Mayoral contest was a big blow to the Liberal Democrats within the coalition. After promising to scrap tuition fees and oppose austerity, doing the opposite has shattered many Londoners’ trust even in their outsider candidates like Brian Paddick.

The result was an endorsement of the Green Party’s focus on pay equality, lower fares paid for with a pay-as-you-drive scheme (“Oyster for your car”), lower rents delivered with co-operatives and private rented sector reform, and healthier streets thanks to less traffic and cleaner vehicles.

We are determined to push forward with these ideas on the London Assembly.

This election also saw an energetic and well organised cycling lobby. Both the well-established London Cycling Campaign and the newly formed Londoners On Bikes did an amazing job at getting out the vote for the best cycling candidate (me) and the better of the fruntrunners (Ken), showing that cycling lobby can no longer be ignored.

Ultimately, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and the London Cycling Campaign all endorsed my candidature, along with more unexpected groups such as the family campaign group 4children. They all gave Ken second place.

Although the Greens felt Ken Livingstone was far from perfect, we knew from his last time as Mayor that we could work with him to make positive changes in a way that has proven impossible with Boris Johnson, and would be with many other senior Labour politicians.

Around half of the people who voted for me as first preference gave Ken their second, so that Green voters delivered him just under half of all his second preference votes.

As the Labour Party consider their future, they should be mindful that candidates without a strong track record on the environment, equality and quality of life will fail to impress Green voters and organisations that agree with our politics and policies.

For Greens, the importance of the vote will depend on what we do next on the London Assembly.

We believe that a cornerstone of the gains made this year was the resonance of our key messages; that the idea that green politics are a luxury at a time of economic crisis is dangerously wrongheaded; and that the fight for greater social justice is tied inexorably to the need to protect and improve our environment.

I hope to use the next four years to work with progressives across London in making equality, affordability and a healthy environment completely mainstream.

Together we can build the irresistible case so that London – overwhelmingly a left/green leaning city – gets the politicians and policies it deserves.

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About the author
This is a guest post. Jenny Jones is a London Assembly Member, representing the Green Party. She is also leader of the Green Group and Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Green party ,London Mayor ,Westminster


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Reader comments


1. Shrugged...

Typical greenery… Give us the politicians and policies we deserve, not the ones we choose.

2. margin4error

I think it is a crying shame that the GLA doesn’t have the power it really deserves, given the electoral mandate it carries – and I would love the next Labour mayoral candidate to learn from you guys, and from Ken’s courage a decade ago, that road charging can be practical and should have a key role to play in improving the city we live in.

“London – overwhelmingly a left/green leaning city – ”

Funny, I thought Boris just got elected.

4. sackcloth and ashes

‘London – overwhelmingly a left/green leaning city’

Votes for Conservative candidate in mayoral elections, May 2012 – 971,937
Votes for Labour candidate in mayoral elections, May 2012 – 889,918
Votes for Green candidate in mayoral elections, May 2012 – 98,913

Votes for Conservatives in assembly elections, May 2012 – 708,528
Votes for Labour in assembly elections, May 2012 – 911,204
Votes for Greens in assembly elections, May 2012 – 189,215

In the Assembly Labour now have 12 members, the Tories have 9, the Lib Dems have 2, and the Greens have 2 (down from 3).

I think you need some remedial work in maths, Jenny. The idea that you’re somehow on a par with Labour is a complete fantasy.

Jenny, I voted for you with my first preference vote, but I didn’t do so to deliver a “blow to Liberal Democrats”.
I voted Green because I am for cycling and against all the cars that clog up this city.
I voted Green despite your endorsement of crazy Mr Livingstone who wants to run foreign policy and meddle in the Middle East peace process from City Hall.

jenny, i thought you were a great candidate for the greens but i feel sorry that you wish to peddle lies. the liberal democrats have NEVER opposed austerity. indeed, we were the first party to talk about spending cuts in the lead-up to the 2010 general election.

@ 4. sackcloth and ashes

It was the LibDems who went down from 3 to 2, not the Green Party. The LibDems saw their vote share tumble, whereas the Greens did basically the same as last time, and the time before that. Interesting that their vote share holds up, even when there’s a squeeze on other smaller parties.

8. margin4error

@6

that’s an interesting interpretation of a party who’s pre-election position was roughly the same as labour’s – saying that growth had to be secured before tackling the budget – to a post-election posiiton the same as the tories – saying that harder and faster cuts were needed from the get-go.

Now obviously all parties felt that the deficit had to be tackled eventually. But to go from prioritising growth to prioritising the deficit was a pretty big post-election switch – and in common parlance that focus on immediate spending cuts to tackle deficit is typically termed “austerity”

So stop quibbling.

I’m glad you gave those Lib Dem scum a bloody nose, but the Greens will never build socialism, therefore they just don’t matter that much.

The environment is important, but socialism comes before anything else in the world.

9

Sorry if I keep repeating myself on the subject of socialism but, Andre Gorz does a brilliant job of putting the environment very near the top in his model of socialism, and this genius (well imo) also includes a large degree of liberalism too. It’s a shame that he is ignored by the British left.

a pay-as-you-drive scheme (“Oyster for your car”)

Does this involve a sensor in everyone’s car that tracks their movements? If so, I can’t endorse it as it’s an invasion of privacy.

12. So Much For Subtlety

Around half of the people who voted for me as first preference gave Ken their second, so that Green voters delivered him just under half of all his second preference votes.

So …. even the majority of Green voters hated Ken?

Or Green voters are something else. Something else is going on in their minds. A protest vote? They seem to not give a flying rodent’s arse about what their leaders tell them to do.

…pay-as-you-drive scheme (“Oyster for your car”),

Is this an aditional charge on the cost of motoring? Why not just say that poor people shouldn’t drive?

Whatever we do we’re stuffed anyway as the population is set to rise so much in London and we’ve already got a ”sheds with beds” situation going on.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/slum-landlords-put-thousands-at-risk-in-squalid-sheds-with-beds-7310559.html

I don’t think 4% of the vote is much of an endorsement for anything, Jenny, not least when set against the 44% received by the elected Mayor who largely disagrees with most of what eco-fascists say.

15. Mike Killingworth

Well done, Jenny!

The loons really are out today.

Well done Jenny, and good luck.

17. Dissident

@test, ever hear of manufacturing consent? that idiot lantern in your living room, the dodgy corporate ‘newspaper’ you read, the billboards you pass every day. all brainwash you into wage slavery – for what? to look up from your deathbed & have to apologise to the emaciated wreckage of your family? that is what consumerism will give you.

maybe you think THAT is ok, after all your flash car, designer clothes, holiday in the sun etc are more important than their future. that is what consumerism that bozza & co represent are all about. they tell you anything to keep that going, & you beleive them…

you deserve the darwin award matey.

Good post – but “fruntrunners” ?

Sorry to be pedantic! :)

19. Tim Summers

I think that London Greens must improve their visibility in the growing movements against “austerity” (the illegimate and ideological assaults upon welfare spending) and the movements against nuclear energy. It was never an easier time to press for the alternatives.
Can Greens and New Labour effectively and critically deny Bojo’s mayoral budget?

Tim

Have you actually met anyone who is financially literate? The need for cuts isn’t ideological – the sad fact is that we are spending more than we are making and this cannot go on forever.

You conflation of sustainability and socialism is one reason why the greens do so poorly. Imho you would do so much better as a single-issue lobby group. For a good example, consider UKIP (not their policies, the structure of their unambiguous mission statement).

My question isn’t ‘What do the Green’s stand for?’ It’s ‘Do all greens stand for the same thing?’


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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