Green leadership election: We need to revive our campaigning spirit


11:30 am - August 7th 2012

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contribution by Romayne Phoenix

If elected by the Green Party membership my leadership would be distinctly different to the other candidates, partly due to my political priorities, but also due to my previous experience and skills.

As the only candidate who has held public office (Lewisham councillor 2006 – 10) I am also the only candidate to emphasise that the party needs two strategic pillars to make progress – a smartly targeted and improved electoral strategy, coupled with a robust campaigns strategy.

Our philosophical basis states that: ‘Electoral politics is not the only way to achieve change in society, and we will use a variety of methods to help effect change’

But we have seen the Green Party neglect campaigns activity over the last few years in favour of exclusively focusing on elections.

We need to revive our campaigning spirit. Strong campaigning activity will help recruitment, member retention and contribute to electoral success at a far more effective rate. However, most importantly, it will help us to win political battles for ‘people and planet’ right now.

We need to be working with others to change the mood of the nation, or political influence in Westminster will be decades from now – and decades too late.

The other main difference between my leadership and that of other candidates is that I would seek to develop work with groups outside of the Green Party in order to fulfil our broad political aims, this could include trade unions, campaign groups or even other political parties where there is sufficient agreement for us to work together.

This has worked effectively for broad based groups in other countries, and with the right people in place willing to make it work, it could work here too.

The real difference between my vision for working with those outside the party and that of the other candidates is my proven track record. I am currently Chair of Coalition of Resistance, a group which brings together many different people from different backgrounds.

Wider collaboration with groups outside the party isn’t going to happen just because we invite them for tea and cake.The links need to be strong, collaborative and long lasting.

I work with trade unionists and environmentalists in the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union group, was a member of the first steering committee of the Anti Academies Alliance, and I have endorsements from people like Paul Mackney (ex General Secretary of NATFHE, now UCU) and Lindsey German (of Stop the War Coalition) as well as high profile Greens like Peter Tatchell.

I’ve spent years building these links, and would be best placed to continue this work as Green Party leader.

I urge Green Party members to look at my vision for the party, which is outlined on my website and to give me their first preference vote in the on-going elections.

—-
Liberal Conspiracy will be running pieces by all the candidates running to be leader of the Green Party.

Peter Cranie: Why the Green Party should elect me as leader
Natalie Bennett: My ‘first 100 days’ plan for the Green Party

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Reader comments


a smartly targeted and improved electoral strategy

Political wonkary, though, None of your opponents have argued for a badly targeted and mediocre strategy. You want to improve your electoral strategy, fine, show don’t tell. What are the green’s failing in electoral strategy and what is required to improve it? To be honest you cannot objectively say you can improve it, all you can say is what you will do differently.

Jim – you’re pulling that out of context – it’s the targeted election strategy in collaboration with an actual campaigns strategy. The Green Party has over the last few years completely abandoned getting out and campaigning on specific issues – it’s the addition of this to the mix which set’s Romayne apart, the desire to add this to the electoral strategy (which in many places is already smartly targeted – see the West Midlands for example).

What the opponents are arguing for is an increase in targets electoral seats – but within numbers that will make little if any different to people’s every day lives – if we use extra parliamentary campaigning – which is what that section of the article is about – then we can hope to improve people’s lives for the better without waiting for a commons majority – which even at the optimistic rates set out by other candidates will be decades away…

So what are you planning to campaign for? I can see you’re against climate change, but that’s not a surprise. You’re also resisting something, but what is not exactly clear. You’re anti-academies, but nowhere are you actually constructively moving forward with ideas that you support. You’re probably against banks as well.

A protest vote is not necessarily a bad thing, but tends to be very opportunist. Most people don’t really know what the greens stand for. There’s a bit about de-industrialisation, a bit about growing and producing less on farms and so on. Why not describe your view on what you want to achieve in terms of society, economics and especially the environment, so people can understand why you are different from the 3 main parties. Tell us what the country would be like after 10 years of Green Party government.

You are approaching this as though it were trying to attract people to support the Green party, it’s not (specifically), it’s for an internal election – selecting the person who is going to lead the party for the next two years.

The difference is that the Green Party Leader doesn’t (can’t) set the policy agenda – that is the job of conference. The Leader has as much ability to change policy as any other ordinary member, and in fact I’ve seen Caroline speak against a number of motions as leader, and yet they were still carried at the last couple of conferences.

The leader is only able (re)present the policy agenda to the wider world this means the difference between the leadership candidates is always going to be one of presentation – placement and priorities – and not one of policy specifics.

I’m sure there are a number of places you could look for the things you want to see – I’d suggest the party manifesto for a start, then if you want more details, then Policies for a Sustainable society – the parties policy book – outlines what a green government would look like:

Manifesto: http://greenparty.org.uk/policies.html
Policies: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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    Important bid by @romaynephoenix for Green Party leadership: "we need to revive our campaigning spirit" http://t.co/yYi9lsKb

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    Green leadership election: We need to revive our campaigning spirit | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/6pmgQYhU via @libcon

  12. lin

    Important bid by @romaynephoenix for Green Party leadership: "we need to revive our campaigning spirit" http://t.co/yYi9lsKb

  13. Joseph Healy

    Important bid by @romaynephoenix for Green Party leadership: "we need to revive our campaigning spirit" http://t.co/yYi9lsKb

  14. Jack Mcglen

    Green leadership election: We need to revive our campaigning spirit | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/nvGI7ryW #Romayne4Leader

  15. Lynton North

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