It’s only a matter of hours before online voting for the leadership election of the Green Party of England and Wales closes.
It’s only a matter of hours before online voting for the leadership election of the Green Party of England and Wales closes. We take a closer look at the campaigns of the candidates and their final push for votes.
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond have pledged to put the party on track to gain 10 MPs by 2030 and have also vowed to double the number of Green councillors every four years. The pair say that they are uniquely positioned to secure Green wins across the country, saying they are offering young voters intersectional feminist political leadership.
Womack and Omond also say that if elected, they will visit all target parliamentary constituencies, and at least one 2022 target local election campaign in every region and Wales, within their first 100 days as leaders. They say they will use these visits to attract media attention to campaigns, and spotlight key councillor and candidate successes.
Funding of election campaigns has also been a major priority for Womack and Omond and the pair have promised to support funding elections infrastructure wherever possible.
Their campaign has received a number of endorsements, including from London Assembly member Caroline Russell. The pair also gained support from two more Green MSPs, Ross Greer and Gillian MacKay.
Womack has been deputy leader of the Green Party since 2014. Omond, who identifies as trans and non-binary, is a founding member of Extinction Rebellion and has also campaigned with activist group Plane Stupid.
Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay
Denyer and Ramsay say the Green Party needs to professionalise if it is to extend its reach, vowing to improve how the party’s executive functions and to ‘encourage greater accountability and transparency’ to the membership. They say their goal is to have 900 councillors elected by 2025 and to be in political control of 40 councils. The pair also say they will aim to have a second Green MP elected by then.
They have pledged ‘to take back the Green New Deal from Labour’ and have placed a Green recovery from the pandemic as a major focus point, pledging green jobs, warm homes, a Universal Basic Income, restoring nature and active travel.
Denyer, councillor for the Bristol ward of Clifton Down, proposed the first Climate Emergency declaration in Europe, committing Bristol to go carbon neutral by 2030 and the pair are hoping that their combined political experience will appeal to members. Ramsay a former Norwich city councillor, served as the deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales from 2008 to 2012 and has also been the CEO of two charities.
Their campaign has received a number of endorsements, including that of former MEP and Lambeth councillor Scott Ainslie and Sandy Hore-Ruthven, the party’s candidate in the mayoral election for Bristol as well as Caroline Lucas.
Tina Rothery and Martin Hemingway
In the final day of campaigning, Tina Rothery and Martin Hemingway say they are
‘hopeful’ because of more interest, less predictability and more variety to this leadership election than past elections.
They tell LFF: “We’ve had poor voter-turnout for previous leadership elections, perhaps in part because they often contain a ‘foregone conclusion’ about who will succeed. This election is less clear. The best outcome will be that more than a mere 15% cared and voted this time.”
The pair have prioritised the upcoming COP26 summit and have vowed to work more closely with regional and local parties on election campaigning. They have also pledged to do more to engage with people of colour, working class members, those communities most affected by poverty and those disabled by impairment. Tina also says that the Young Greens are a model that the party can learn from when it comes to how to raise issues and policies.
Tina and Martin say that one of the best aspects of this campaign “has been seeing just how many members are focused on climate, nature, biodiversity and the determination amongst membership that we focus together on these things.”
The pair told LFF: “After hearing positive plans by other candidates, it would be hugely beneficial to see what each goes on to do next; hoping that campaign promises of fundraising and working toward a massive impact at COP26 would still be met because ‘losing’ shouldn’t change anything about our commitment to the only party that stands a chance of getting us through the climate crisis.”
Ali served as deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales from 2014 to 2016. Hehas called for a “culture of open debate, where the taking of offence is not used as a means to prevent those who do wish to debate from doing so”.
Ali has faced criticism for his views on trans rights. In July 2020, Ali tweeted a statement saying that women were commonly defined as “an adult human female and, genetically, typified by two XX chromosomes”.
The Guardian reported that Berry’s choice not stand again as leader of the Greens in England and Wales “was understood to be based on the party’s decision in June to make him spokesperson for policing and domestic safety”.
Ali has said that his immediate priority is to tackle the climate and ecological emergency and says a future Green government’s policy programme would include an end to airport expansion, the introduction of a carbon tax and the expansion of renewable energy.
He also told the Morning Star last month: “We must reach out to new constituencies of voters, especially those who are feeling politically homeless due to leaders presiding, or facilitating, a hostile environment for them. I am thinking especially of women and ex-Labour members and voters.”
He also said citizens’ assemblies would play an important role in raising and tackling the issue of climate change, adding: “As Greens, we firmly believe in the necessity of community engagement beyond the ballot box to achieve the scale of social transformation required.”
Gunstock believes that the Green Party has been failing to live up to its potential and says he wants to see more Greens elected to office. The former actor who appeared in stage productions and TV shows including The Bill, had to issue an apology following an interview with Bright Green, in which he said he was best placed to lead the Green Party as he is awhite, cisgender man. He also faced criticism for comments he made on trans rights in the interview, in which he seemingly misgendered an individual.
Gunstock has openly committed to the idea of a progressive alliance, saying that they are key to getting rid of the Tories and has said: “I don’t think we can avoid getting into positive progressive alliance.”
He has vowed to attend regional meetings with local activists to better refocus the debate on climate change and says that the party must prioritise strategy around funding. He told Greenworld: “The time has also come to revisit our policies on party funding. Our refusal to accept corporate donations is clear and principled, but puts us at a huge electoral disadvantage. When the Liberal Democrats received over 30 times more in donations than the Green Party in 2019 and the Brexit Party received over 15 times more than we did, is it any wonder that we find ourselves hopelessly outgunned at election time, or that our hopes for significant gains so often fail to materialise?
Basit Mahmood is co-editor of Left Foot Forward
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