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Q&A with Leadership Candidates

We asked all of our Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates to answer the following questions, that were asked during our hustings but we didn't have enough time to ask them.

1) There is a general lack of understanding of the political system in society - what role could the Green Party in improving the electorate's understanding of the different elections and different roles that represent us?

Rosi Sexton

I believe very strongly in encouraging engagement in the political process. We can do this in a number of ways, including engagement with young people at schools and colleges (something that I and my colleagues have been involved in here in Solihull), working with community groups, in our interactions with the media and our own leaflets and other literature. One common reason why people become disengaged from the political process is a lack of trust in politicians - why vote, if they don't believe that it will make a difference? Building trust with local residents by speaking up for their interests and delivering positive results is one way that we can affect this. We know that in the wards we have had elected councillors, turnout at local elections has gone up.

Shahrar Ali

We have excellent campaigning relationships with Make Votes Matter, with whom I have also worked alongside as former Deputy Leader. Alongside electoral reform for an elected second chamber and use of STV we need to be highlighting proportional systems as a model – e.g. regional assemblies and sadly, now defunct, European Parliament elections.

Cleo Lake

I have started working on a series of short video clips regarding the party, local, and national political processes. It is quite clear that the interest is theer but the way to get involved is not accessible. I was happy that I was able to support two young black citizens to submit statements at the last Bristol full council, which was significant. There is never enough diversity n the public galley which really does not reflect the number of concerns in complaints that circulate from these communities online on social media and in the communities themselves!

Tom Pashby

In terms of current Green Party policy, as agreed by Conference, we have ED041 which says that the National School Curriculum will be replaced with a set of learning entitlements, which includes "experience of the democratic process through being involved in the running of their own school community as well as understanding the history of and the politics and political structures of the local area and country."

I fully support this and believe Green activists should take every opportunity to go into school and other community spaces to speak to people about how they can exercise agency using our current political systems. This is something I would encourage Green activists to do as Deputy Leader.

Andrea Carey Fuller

Yes I agree and one of the suggestions I have made to the Elections Officer in Lewisham is that the council need to send out information setting out the different elections:

Local Council Elections - how many councillors there are - and how often these elections are held - how the areas for local elections are in Wards (with a map) - as opposed to constituencies - who can vote in local elections - how many votes each voter has - the current breakdown of political party representation in the Local Council.

Regional Elections - e.g. London's GLA Elections  - how many GLA members there are - the two types (London-Wide & map of constituencies) - who can vote in these elections - how many votes each voter has - and for this election the different types of voting system used (First past the post for constituencies and PR for London List). The current breakdown of political parties in the GLA.

General Election - Constituency area, who the current MP is - how much percentage of the vote they gained last time - who can vote in these elections - reminder that people only get ONE VOTE.  Information about the £500 'deposit' cost of standing candidates and that they don't get their 'deposit' back unless they achieve 5% of the vote.

I would like us to have a campaign around Proportional Representation via our elected green Councillors working with Make Votes Matter, and we could use this campaign to inform people about the drawbacks to our first past the post system and explain why we need PR for greater democracy - I would use pictorial charts showing what the make-up of the current Parliament would have been based on the last election results to illustrate the unfairness of the current system.

I would like to see other electoral reform as well - just as in the GLA London-List election every household gets a pamphlet with all the Mayoral Candidates and the lists of 11 people standing as GLA London-List candidates - for every election I would like to see ONE COMBINED pamphlet - detailing all of the candidates standing with a photo and statement - so that it is a fairer contest for the smaller parties with the least funds.

Nick Humberstone

We can and should be clearer about how elections work in our messaging. Too often, we forget that in the Green Party we're surrounded by political people who probably know that stuff. I'd love to see us run a campaign to explain how powerful a vote in an election can be, by talking about how spending 10 mins to register, 10 mins to go to your polling station to vote, can let you have a say over the next whole 5 years of politics. That's huge. And we don't talk about it enough to encourage people to get out and vote in my opinion.

Amelia Womack

I have campaigned for many years for electoral reform, including supporting the messages of the Makes Vote Matter organisation. It is extremely frustrating when the Greens miss out on seats due to the lack of understanding of the systems, how many times on doorsteps in Bristol in the General Election I was told by people that they felt they had to vote Labour to keep the Conservatives out even though it was Labour vs Greens in Bristol West. In Wales we have multiple voting systems including a more proportional system for the Senedd, although not as proportional as the system in Scotland.

As a party we must keep campaigning for electoral reform, keep highlighting the inadequacies of the current systems and keep explaining how our elections currently work, and fail so many people. Other parties would desperately like people to lose interest and not bother voting, we need to do everything we can to motivate those who feel disenfranchised, encourage voter registration and encourage people to turn up at the ballot box while also demanding a better system.

2) How do we preach beyond the converted?

Rosi Sexton

We need to ensure that we are listening to our communities, and speaking up about the issues that are most relevant to them. We must recognise the day to day reality of those experiencing poverty or discrimination, and address this with the same passion that we bring to our environmental campaigning. Rather than lecturing people about our priorities, we have to show that we have understood the challenges they are facing and that we have a clear, credible plan to address them.

Shahrar Ali

We need to reach beyond our comfort zone and traditional demographics by being the change we want to see in our candidate selection and being bold and unapologetic about our messaging. I will emphasise our values and principles as leader and believe this will enjoy wider appeal beyond the narrow frame of looking after number one.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

Our mission for the next two years is exactly this: to create a mass-membership movement that reaches out beyond the usual suspects, and builds alliances with others. This next step for the party is crucial for our future success. But obviously too we don't believe we should be preaching. We need to listen, learn and stand alongside others as allies, amplifying their voices as part of our campaigning. This is how we took Labour's safest seat in Lambeth in 2018, where Jonathan now leads the opposition, and became the party of the estates there. It's how we took our first seat off UKIP (which Jonathan promised that we would do in 2016 if we followed this strategy). And it is how we will win more council seats across the country, and so create the foundation to win more Parliamentary seats. It's one of the reasons why we hired Chris Williams as our head of elections, because it's what Solihull have done successfully in the past too.

Cleo Lake

We have to get out of the bubble and meet people where they are and our leadership must reflect society.

Tom Pashby

We should do this in two ways; elect more Greens from the communities we hope to represent, both internally and into public office, and by articulating a politics which really clearly would improve peoples' lives where they are.

For me, the latter part means being a Green Left alternative. Speaking more about Universal Basic Income, a real Living Wage, and strong trade unions will enable us to appeal more to people outside of our London-centric, overly white, middle-class bubble.

Nick Humberstone

It's all about using the right words, and talking about the right policies. Our language needs to be inclusive to everyone, including those who have never cared about politics before. I can lead on this because I'm one of those people, I've only been interested in politics as a way to make change happen in the last three years. We also need to talk about the right policies. Everyone knows we care about the environment but they need to know that we have solutions for the problems they're facing every day too, in terms of economic and social justice. We have to show that we are a party that has an answer for everything, a group that can run a government.

Amelia Womack

As a party we have grown substantially over the last few years, but to achieve a step change and appeal to those who wouldn't usually vote Green, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions.

We need to look at why there are some communities that we have failed to engage with. And we need to listen, not just to those politically involved and on our social media, but to the wider population about where they feel we are failing to represent them. We need to remain true to our roots as a socialist and ecological party, but also we need to listen to people's real life concerns and demonstrate how our policies will address those concerns. And finally we need to show that we can win, in elections, so that people realise the only wasted vote is a vote for a party you don't truly believe in. We listen to people, support people and spread our Green message on doorsteps in all communities that ensures we are supporting people and helps us get Greens elected to ensure we have policies of social and environmental justice enshrined in our institutions.

3) If you could change one thing, what would you change within the party could you change within the party and how?

Rosi Sexton

I want to make the Green Party truly inclusive. We must shake off the perception of being a party for white, middle class vegans, and make sure that we are including a range of diverse voices in all our discussions. I want everyone who shares our values to be able to find a home in the Green Party. To do this, we need to work on widening our appeal, engaging with communities who don't fit the stereotype of Green voters, and also on overcoming barriers to participation that some still face within the party.

Shahrar Ali

Debating culture. I have seen thresholds for tolerating engagement with political opponents, or disagreement internally, substantially lowered and I regard that as deeply problematic for liberal democracy – which thrives on contesting and challenging ideas through free speech. The mantra ‘not up for debate’ is particularly damaging and encourages dangerous groupthink – in which environment, falsehood and distortion thrive because of such limited exposure to challenge. In our own party, I have seen women debarred from organising fringe events at conference on the most questionable of pretexts. We need to turn that around by improving political debate and reasoning skill in our own party. Seminars in reasoning might not be a bad place to start.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

We would want the party to recognise that leadership is about having the right team. We want to see a far wider range of people recognised as leaders within the party and during our time as co-leaders we have made sure more people are put forward to speak in the media, so the wider world sees the party as a team too.

Cleo Lake

I am uncomfortable to learn more about the inner conflicts that linger within the party. It is very derailing and I have already seen quite threatening tones that verge on bullying and shutting down discussion. I would want to bring people together with a clear code of conduct ground rules reiterated.

Tom Pashby

I would make it easier for our massive pool of talent to be better enabled upwards within the party. We have so many great activists – it's just a shame that we currently have a very small pool of familiar faces seen in the media.

Andrea Carey Fuller

I think it is inequitable that young greens are given resources that neither Greens of Colour, Green Party Women nor Green Seniors receive.  I would like for these three other groups within our Party to have resources to support a dedicated part-time paid worker to promote campaigns and produce campaign materials to encourage new members and to raise awareness about the policies we have that relate to those groups - of course we would need to have a women's rights policy within our Party which I am working on with Green Party Women (as there isn't one - major oversight which needs to be addressed urgently). The Racism policy within our Rights and Responsbilities policy is also in need of an update - there is nothing there about stop and search, knife crime, gang violence, youth services, need for anonymised CV's etc.

Nick Humberstone

I'd change our messaging. We keep using complicated words when simple words would work just as well. It was a barrier for me getting involved in politics, and I don't want it to be a barrier for anyone else. Getting our messaging right is crucial if we want to have mass appeal. We have the best policies but we don't explain them in a way that connects.

Amelia Womack

The one change I would make would be to move us from a party with one MP to being a party with ten MPs while still retaining our clear vision and strong uncompromised environmental and social justice policies. As a party we need to win elections to finally be able to put those policies into action. This won't happen overnight and we need to get there through winning campaigns, building up our presence through local elections and building from the grassroots and through our media presence.

4) What do you think are the main barriers to having more POC members in the GPEW/wider Environmental Movement?

Rosi Sexton

I think that for many people who are experiencing social injustice, poverty and discrimination, environmental issues can sometimes seem like a luxury for privileged people to worry about. It's difficult to worry about climate change when you are not sure how you're going to put food on the table or pay your rent this week. This is why it is so important to have strong policies to address inequality at the forefront of our messaging. We also suffer with the perception of the Green Party as being very white - I have been to regional conferences where I have been the only non-white face in the room. I wonder how this must feel to POC who are seeing us for the first time, and whether they feel comfortable and welcome. Structural discrimination also means that protestors and campaigners who are POC may face different consequences compared to their white counterparts.

Shahrar Ali

There’s a vicious circle among Green Party and environmental groups of their projecting a non-diverse face and simply concentrating the problem for years and decades. We cannot afford to leave the fix to osmosis but need to be bolder about reaching out to these communities – why not start with our leadership team in 2020? Change is necessary. I’ve also been active in launching community environmental programmes especially for BME youth https://www.ourbrightfuture.co.uk/2018/12/17/2018-19-uprising-environmental-leadership-programme-launch/

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

We believe that the barriers can best be identified by comparing areas of the party, local parties and regions that have done well with those that have been less successful in building diversity. In London, for example, four out of the top six people on the 2021 Assembly Member candidate list - those who would be elected if we win more seats next year - are Black, Asian or from minority ethnicities. In Lambeth our by-election candidate in a major council by-election in Brixton was Michael Groce, a campaigner for justice and the son of Cherie Groce whose shooting began the Brixton riots. As long ago as 2015 two thirds of our Parliamentary candidates there were BME. We have had huge swings in by-elections like these in Lambeth because we are increasingly seen as representing people of colour, particularly those on estates who are discriminated against by the council's programme of gentrification.

Cleo Lake

The perception that the movement is dominated by middle-class white out of touch with our reality and out of touch with class realities, means many will be put off from attending meetings etc. We must keep reiterating that social economic and environmental justice is intersectional. People are interested and engaged in the environmental movement as the recent Climate Reframe project proved.

Tom Pashby

I think the main barrier is representation. If you see people who look and sound like you, you're more likely to feel like you could do the same as them. Given that the GPEW and wider environmental movement is overly white, this clearly poses a challenge when trying to attract more People of Colour.

Andrea Carey Fuller

I am disappointed that the Deyika Nzeribe fund has not been used to help us get more Greens of Colour Elected

https://greenworld.org.uk/article/new-fund-launched-support-greens-colour

Because without Greens of Colour becoming elected we remain the image of a white middle class party.  We need to address this issue now, and provide resources to Greens of colour to promote GOC candidates, and to encourage people of colour to join us by getting them involved in campaigns that would have importance and meaning for them.  We need to have more GOC Spokespeople and use a diversity of candidates for media work.  It was totally inappropriate to have a white person produce a video about BLM for example - if BLM to the Green Party we should be enabling and empowering Black African/Black Caribbean people to speak about this and link it to the reparation motion (put forward in Lambeth).

Amelia Womack

At all levels of the party we need to get better at welcoming new members, who often bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas, and finding ways to reach out to parts of our communities which we have failed to reach before. Sometimes this may mean spending slightly less time persuading people that Green is best, and spending more time listening to others telling us how Green can be even better.

For POC members, have we done enough to remove barriers? Clearly not given the proportion of Green councillors and general election candidates who are POC. We need to make a binding commitment to do better at this and do whatever it takes to ensure that we have more POC members on our ballot papers in key target seats.

5) To what do you attribute the global strength of the BLM and anti-racist movement?

Rosi Sexton

This is a movement that has been building for some time, owing to rising awareness of the injustices and structural inequalities that have been swept under the carpet for too long. The horrific death of George Floyd was a tipping point that ignited a wave of anger around the world. I think that it is also related to the recent increase in far-right nationalist sentiment (as illustrated by the election of Trump in the US, and the Brexit vote in the UK), at the same time that a more progressive generation are coming of age and rebelling against the regressive politics that they see around them.

Shahrar Ali

Universal disgust at the inhumanity laid bare in the murder of George Floyd, who was begging for air for minutes on end. Unfortunately, it’s too early to assess the impact of this movement. For it not to be flash-in-the-pan stuff, we need to use the momentum behind it to reform our institutions, urgently, now. This reform goes well beyond toppling statues but pervades every aspect of our lives – from BME health inequality to poorer life chances and opportunities, to racist policing which has continued since.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

There are positive and negative reasons behind the surge of activism against racist attitudes and institutions. On the positive side, there is a movement for justice and increasing intersectional solidarity between different oppressed groups that is genuinely gaining momentum on a wide scale. Global issues like the #MeToo movement and campaigns like #OscarSoWhite have led to small, slow but noticeable improvements in cultural representation for LBTIQA+ people, women, and Black people, and growing awareness and education about Black, feminist and LGBTIQA+ history. On the negative side, and in this context, growing far-right racism, and the antagonism of populist, racist and anti-LGBTIQA+ politicians like Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán, are creating a growing need for action to defend human rights, and atrocities like the murder of George Floyd are more able to spark real, organised action on the streets, the results of which is still playing out. In other words, this is a movement whose time has come and it will not and cannot go away.

Cleo Lake

Social media, the world is smaller and more connected. After 401 years of oppression its about time.

Tom Pashby

I attribute the strength of the Black Lives Matter and wider anti-racist movement to 1. Their tenacity and 2. Their being on the right side of history.

Also the fact that as a society we're developing more of an awareness of our relative privilege and about which systems of oppression still exist. We definitely have a very long way to go.

Andrea Carey Fuller

Society becoming more open and connected through social media to organise linked up international campaigning has enabled campaigning to become easier by these connections .  Covid -19 has raised issues about social inequality into the spotlight and this combined with the continuation of oppression of black people (police brutality toward Black people has been ever present in modern society) has sparked the rage to push for justice because people have had enough.  The words used in the demands are the best of human values - empathy, loving engagment, restorative justice, global family etc.

I applaud the BLM movement in raising issues about the need for black history in our schools, raising the thorny issue about how the UK have glorified slave traders with statues etc in London and Bristol (likely other Port cities as well), and how these should come down and be replaced with leaders of the Uk Black civil rights movement instead.  I have empathy because as a white person I have not experienced discrimination because of my colour but I have always supported the anti-racism movement:

https://lewisham.greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/03/25/racism-rally-march-2014/

& repeatedly throughout the Leadership campaign have said that whilst I appreciate people's support for me, I would also encourage them to vote for Greens of Colour.

Nick Humberstone

The BLM and antiracist movement is all about people. It's about individual people saying that what we have right now is not good enough and getting out there to protest for change. I think that's what has made the movement so successful (and especially so because its become an international movement). We should be doing similar. We need to focus on getting individual people involved. If there's enough of us organised, we can make the changes that are so needed.

Amelia Womack

The strength of these movements lies in the people, coming together, who make up the movement. People can do incredible things when they work together and I have been so inspired to see changes to public discourse, challenges to perceptions and changes to hearts and minds over the last few months. We need to keep antiracism campaigning high up on the media agenda and in the political world, and we need to demonstrate that the Green Party is an actively antiracist party.

6) How do you think we can be more electable to voters?

Rosi Sexton

We need to be serious about inclusion, serious about credibility, and serious about winning elections. We have to shake off our image as a lifestyle movement or single issue pressure group for white, middle class vegans. This means taking diversity seriously, at all levels of our politics, and making sure we're talking about the everyday concerns that people worry about - homes, jobs, schools, healthcare, crime - as well as the environmental crisis. We must do a better job of communicating convincingly on the whole range of political issues that people are concerned about, and our representatives must be well prepared and briefed for all dealings with the media. We must ensure that our electoral strategies are based on data and evidence, not wishful thinking. The more radical our agenda, and the more we want to change, the more credibility we need in order to get a mandate for that change and to persuade people to vote for it. We need to build that by proving that we can be trusted to deliver - at a local level first, and then increasingly at a national level too.

Shahrar Ali

We can be more electable by changing our public face, drastically – by pushing for BME candidates in target seats to changing the face of our leadership team. We need to move beyond our demographic comfort zone by appealing to BME communities and the politically homeless, such as former Labour and women voters.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

We need to be the change we want to see. There are two traps that the Green Party frequently falls into, when thinking about how to be "more electable". The first is that if we just have better policies we will be more electable. But opinion polls and election-time surveys consistently show our policies are incredibly popular, and the unprecedented scrutiny they were subjected to at the last general election shows now that they are credible. The second is that we just need an image change. This isn't born out by the evidence either. We are consistently the most liked and trusted party with positive ratings for our leadership figures unlike almost any other, in English politics at any rate.

What the evidence shows is that people don't believe we can deliver. And so to 'be the change' we need to put more resources into not just getting more councillors and Assembly Members elected, but helping them deliver change that people can see, and (importantly) communicating those successes better to people on the ground too. At a local level, where we have councillors who keep their constituents informed about the difference they make, we know that people elect more because they have seen that we can deliver change. In the next two years our plan is to scale that work and that communication up so that we develop both our credibility and electability on the national stage through our actions on the ground.

Cleo Lake

Being real and actively talking on and taking action on the issues that matter to people and finding out what these issues are by collaborating and outreach work.

Tom Pashby

To answer this question, we need to decide our own identity. Do we want to be everything to everyone, or do we want to communicate a really clear vision which gives a definitive choice to voters at the ballot box, one which is a Green Left alternative designed to build a sustainable society for the common good?

I choose the latter, and this means (as I said in response to an earlier question) speaking more about Universal Basic Income, a real Living Wage, and strong trade unions will enable us to appeal more to people outside of our London-centric, overly white, middle-class bubble.

Nick Humberstone

We need to show people that we have an answer for everything, so we need to talk about social justice more in the media. We also should talk more about how the people we put forward for seats in local and national elections are almost always genuine people from that area. That's a huge reason to vote for someone, they literally know what it's like to walk the streets near you. We should work out how to talk about that more in a way that connects with people.

Amelia Womack

We need to address the fact that although the party is growing, both in membership and in numbers of elected representatives at a local level, we are failing to breakthrough in the numbers needed to make the kind of differences to lives and the environment which we would like. This means asking ourselves challenging questions about why more people who are sympathetic to our policies don't vote for us. The electoral system hinders us but can't be used as an excuse. We need to continue to focus our work on electoral success, using techniques such as Target to Win, but also build strong campaigns across England and Wales where we can represent people and build our profile ready for the next General Election.

7) How will you make sure you work closely with GoC both for shaping the GPEW policies and better engagement with the Communities of colour?

Rosi Sexton

I want to improve channels of communication with all the liberation groups within our party. I want there to be regular input from GoC, not just when there is a topical issue that needs to be responded to, but at all times. As a national party we should ensure that we are learning from the experiences of GoC campaigners, activists and councillors, and local parties who have had success in engaging with local Communities of colour, and we should be highlighting good examples of this in our national communications. I think there is work to be done to understand the experiences of People of Colour who are new to the Green Party, and where the key barriers are.

Shahrar Ali

I helped launch Greens of Colour and the first BME Green Party manifesto https://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2015/05/green-party-launches-manifesto-aimed-at-blacks-and-ethnic-minorities/. It’s evident to me that a slew of our policies should be immediately resonating with ethnic minorities and I would be active in taking that outreach further. GoC is doing a fantastic job having a voice within the party and would seek to encourage that across the party, too. We can’t overcome institutional prejudice without buy-in from everyone.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

Jonathan has invited Greens of Colour - as well as other liberation groups - to regularly attend Polcom, the political committee of the party, in recent months so they can be right there making the political decisions. This has proved to be successful and so we have pledged to make sure all these groups are invited permanently onto PolCom from now on. As our governance structures change following the implementation of the holistic review reforms, we want GoC to have not only places on the new council but also to win seats on the new political executive.

Cleo Lake

I am proud to be the GOC SW rep and I am committed to harnessing the interest from our communities of colour. Standing as Deputy has already increased interest which is positive.

Tom Pashby

I have said throughout the campaign that if elected Deputy Leader, I would engage regularly with all our liberation groups including Greens of Colour and elevate the voices of people from communities of colour in our party.

GPEW policy development would be more effective if we could formalise the input of those communities affected by our policies when they are being developed.

Andrea Carey Fuller

I am hopeful that more Greens of Colour will be elected in these Leadership elections and it is for GOC to set their own agenda and decide on campaigns that link in with the BLM movement.  I will work as I always have which is to listen to how members feel about policy/party structure etc offer support - practical and emotional support for campaigning and find ways to engage and involve more GOC members through conference reform and ideas for things like volunteer panels to work on the recruitment of staff and ensure that we use positive discrimination where necessary to have at least 10% of staff from Black or Asian backgrounds.  Engaging with communities of colour needs to be done with GOC members who can enthuse as to why the Green Party is the better party (than Labour) for people of colour - the best way to do that is as said above, through community campaigning on things like housing, workers rights, air pollution, schools, youth issues etc.

Nick Humberstone

GoC, along with a few other Liberation Groups, need to be involved as early as possible. We need to make sure that we're not producing something (whether its a policy or just a graphic for social media) and then saying 'hey what do you think of this?'. It's too late at that point to make sure its going to appeal to a wider audience, all we will be alerted to is if it was offensive and no one had realised. I would be pushing for representation of GoC and other Lib Groups in all areas, including the council (a 50 person replacement for GPEx), and also on the political executive (that decide strategy and what policies to talk about), and where we don't/can't get representation, trying to meet regularly to make sure I can represent GoC's views.

Amelia Womack

Working with GoC is already something I am doing as Green Party Deputy Leader, and is something I will continue to do even more. I will work with GoC to help remove barriers to people running as Green Party election candidates. I will also work with GoC to find ways we can develop more people into roles within local and regional parties, and into roles within GPEW such as Gpex and other committees.

8) What more can be done to mobilise the 60,000 members? It's great that the membership has increased so much, and there's probably some really good ways some areas have done this. 

Rosi Sexton

I think this would be an excellent discussion to have with regional parties. One of the first things I would like to do as leader is to have a series of conversations with our regional parties to understand what is going on in their area, and how the national party can support them to develop further. The challenges faced are likely to vary from one place to another, and our philosophy of localism implies that the people with the most insight into what their region needs are the local members and organisers. It's also important to share learning from our most successful areas. One idea could be to promote more mentoring / exchange visits between more established and less established local parties to help newer groups to learn from those who have more experience.

Shahrar Ali

I don’t recognise this figure. I believe it’s less than that. We are still losing lots of members and the best way to increase our numbers substantially is to stop shedding members while we gain new ones. Improving our hospitability towards members with social events and new member inductions and less sub-groups in the party. We need more cohesion and unity in our own party and siloed working is not the way forward. Campaigning on the climate emergency will help galvanise these members better than we have done.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

We aren't at 60,000 members yet, but it is right that the membership has hugely increased over the last two years and we want to get to 60,000 within months from now!

Cleo Lake

We may need to see an analysis of who are members and new members actually are. GOC should focus on getting data on members of colour and focusing on how we reach them. I like the initiatives so far in terms of online events. We should be having events for members and non-members.

Tom Pashby

I'm a big believer in directly speaking with people. When I was a target candidate in Rickmansworth with Three Rivers Green Party, I went door to door with the local coordinator to encourage new members to get involved with our activities.

As Deputy Leader, I would encourage local parties to do this, and would join them in speaking with new members whenever possible. I would also make myself as available as possible to speak with the membership more generally.

Andrea Carey Fuller

Improving communications between the regions and the party machinery that produces training/materials for campaigning.  Zoom and internet technology means that things do not have to be London-centric.  I support conference reform - in particular the option for one day conferences in each region culminating in a two day conference event - whereby people can vote on line if they can't attend conference.  It is unfair to have the Party steered by 800 people at conference instead of the majority of its members.

We need training, and mentoring support for members who are keen to become elected as Councillors, and MP's and also for people to take on a role within their local party or on the new GP Council are as follows:

The remaining 25 seats suggested allocation:
Elected Councillors should be allocated 10 seats instead of the proposed 5 - with at least 6 out of 10 for women Councillors - and at least 3 of these to be Greens of Colour
I do not agree with the heavy weighting giving too much power to Young Greens - instead of the proposed 5 seats I would allocate them 2 seats (Members @6K) (Note there is a heavy weighting of young greens in the LGBTIQA+ group as well - so between these two groups they will have 4 seats.)
Green Party Women should also be allocated 2 seats (Members @7K)
Green Seniors should also be allocated 2 seats(Members @3.K)
 
Greens for Animal Protection - should also be allocated 2 seats(Members @5.K)
 
LGBTIQA+ should also be allocated 2 seats(Members @3.K)
Greens of colour - 1 seat (in addition to reserved 3 on elected councillors)
TU Group - 1 seat - (and at least another 2 representatives as union members - e.g. elected councillors) NB: This Group are not currently represented on action network
Jewish Greens - 1 seat
Green Left - 1 seat- currently not on action network - not recorded on civi
Green Party Disability Group - 1 seat

We also need more 'power-sharing' - we shouldn't have leaders who have more than one paid position already.  If they get elected to another position they should support and mentor preferably a GOC member to take on one of these roles e.g the elected councillor role.

Nick Humberstone

Its difficult because a lot of people don't have the time or energy to be more than just someone who supports the Green Party financially and votes for us in elections. We have to respect that that is what some people want to do. As membership increases though, our activist numbers also increase. I think when looking to expand our membership further we should consider focusing on speaking to people who are already activists. It's much easier for them to be out on doorsteps speaking to people if they're already a regular at protests.

Amelia Womack

We have had several membership surges over my time serving as deputy leader. What attracts people to us is our clear and consistent message that addresses the biggest issues of our time while relying true to the grassroots nature of how political change happens. Some areas have worked hard to embed diversity into their work and there are some great successful examples from parties such as Lambeth Green Party.

9) Bartley comments on halal meat feed the perception that Greens are anti-Muslim. There needs to be a public reckoning of his comments which include talking about his Christian faith to justify himself(islamophobic trope) and in public, this has been swept under the rug bar one letter to the MCB which didn't help

Rosi Sexton

I have heard from many people who have been dissatisfied with the party's response to this incident. I was very unhappy at the time it happened to see that many Green Party members did not understand why the comments that were made were problematic, and who quite publicly leapt to their defence. Our Muslim members seeing this (and the party's failure to distance itself from the remarks) must have felt marginalised and isolated within the party, and I don't think that enough has been done to repair this rift.

The first step in dealing with any situation like this has to be listening. It's apparent to me that whatever steps have been taken, there are still many people who do not feel their anger and concerns have been properly listened to and understood by the party leadership. Several have told me that the engagement that they did have made things worse rather than better; and they perceived it as "how can we make this go away?" rather than "what do we need to do to make things better?"

I would like to have seen more done at the time not just to engage with Greens of Colour, but also to communicate with our membership and to help them understand why these comments were inappropriate. I am glad to hear that there are some ongoing efforts to resolve this issue, but it is disappointing that it has taken so long and felt like such a battle.

Shahrar Ali

This matter was mismanaged by the Party and the Co-leader at the time. Great damage was done to our reputation by repeating the mistake throughout the day then refusing to apologise officially from the Party itself. It’s time to hold your leadership accountable by voting a fresh face who wouldn’t even be capable of making this basic value error.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

We absolutely don't intend to minimise the impact of this incident and Jonathan remains very sorry for making this mistake. The morning after it happened Jonathan reached out to Greens of Colour and together they agreed a list of half a dozen actions, which Greens of Colour confirmed in writing in November had all been fulfilled. This included the letter to the Mulsim Council, the text of which was agreed by GoC. Since November, he has reached out widely to listen to different groups inside and outside the party and has been invited to speak in Mosques - invitations which he has taken up, as well as taken part in Visit your Mosque day. We know there is still more healing and communication needed, and we would be happy to meet with the questioner to discuss any further steps needed.

Cleo Lake

We need culturally competent and confident spokespeople

Tom Pashby

I agree that we need our spokespeople to think more carefully when speaking about sensitive issues like this.

I'm a vegan, but I know Muslim's eating halal meat isn't the issue – the issue is industrial animal agriculture, and the fact that healthier plant-based food is often more expensive.

If we elected more Muslims into positions of power, like on GPEx, we could start to resolve these issues.

I also believe that it would have been better if Jonathan Bartley had publicly apologised at the time and committed to more active personal engagement with Muslim members of the Green Party and the Muslim community more widely.

Andrea Carey Fuller

Yes I agree

Nick Humberstone

Jonathan Bartley definitely made a mistake here. I've been thinking a lot recently about what to do when things go wrong like this, and wonder if we should have a policy of 'for every mistake, we do 2 corrections'. Those correction shouldn't just be 'sorry I was wrong', they need to be actively the opposite of the damage that was caused In this situation, had I had said what Jonathan had said, I would've wanted to make an effort to work out what led me to saying that/having that opinion, and then focussing on how we can educate others about that being wrong. Then producing resources and speaking to experts on how we can change this perception in the wider public. It's always important to focus, when you make a mistake, on how you can change the future to be better (because you can't undo what was said)

Amelia Womack

Green party policy is clear on this and supports better labelling which benefits everyone.

10) What can the Green Party do to appeal more to public sector workers - teachers and support staff, nurses, care workers, council workers etc?

Rosi Sexton

I want to see engagement with trade unions, and other groups, to ensure that we fully understand the concerns and issues faced by these workers. We should ensure that we are using our voice to speak up for these vital key workers. I had some experience of this recently: as opposition health and adult social care spokesperson in Solihull, I raised a serious problem that care workers on zero hours contracts were facing during the COVID crisis, as many were not entitled to full sick pay if they were required to isolate because of symptoms in their household. As a result, we were the first council to set up a hardship fund for social care workers in this situation. This isn't an ideal solution, and no substitute for better pay and employment rights, but it does at least provide an important safety net. I have also spoken in full council on this issue - https://www.switchradio.co.uk/frontline-heroes-deserve-more-than-gratitude.

I would also like to see us engaging with professional organisations in developing our policies in these areas. As an example, I would like us to engage with groups like ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) in developing our social care policies to ensure that these are informed by and value the experience of professionals in the field.

Shahrar Ali

The COVID pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests have brought home to us more powerfully than before how our social goods are tied up with the productive labour of many of the most marginalised and poorly rewarded in society – whether BAME key workers at the sharp end of systemic health inequality and hence disproportionate risk of death, or people kept in hock to intergenerational institutional prejudice. Our campaigns for public sector workers must emphasise socialism, workers’ rights and UBI.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

Take up the issues they face, which are so important to document and campaign to fix after a decade of austerity. We have worked hard during the crisis to bring the voices of public sector workers within the party to the fore, and in our elected and policy work have shown the crisis in housing, pay and overwork faced by nurses, emergency workers and teachers.

Cleo Lake

We have to forge better links with unions as Green Women are doing regarding the Ethical Care Charter that was started by a union.

Tom Pashby

With unionisation in the public sector at around 50 per cent, I think we should be more publicly positive about trade unions and union membership and seek to ingratiate ourselves with the trade union movement.

We should also be speaking more about Universal Basic Income, a real Living Wage, and a Green New Deal with a million new high quality jobs.

Nick Humberstone

We should definitely be working more with unions, as a lot of those workers will be in unions. We also need to use the right words, and talk about the right policies. Our language needs to be inclusive to everyone, including those who have never cared about politics before. In terms of policies, everyone knows we care about the environment but they need to know that we have solutions for the problems they're facing every day too, in terms of economic and social justice. We have to show that we are a party that has an answer for everything, a party that can run a government.

Amelia Womack

We have many public sector workers that support us, and my work with the People's Assembly means that we work closely with unions and campaigns working to support their needs.

Our biggest issue in these sectors is that we don't always get national coverage of these issues. We will continue to champion vital work around the NHS reinstatement Bill, Public Sector Payrises and better investment in education across England and Wales, but we also need to include this work in industry specific press.

11) What personal experience/success have you had with your local TUC trades council?

Rosi Sexton

None to date, but I look forward to engaging with them in the future.

Shahrar Ali

I have supported numerous campaigns at my place of work and home district as part of the trades’ union network, from the fight for a London living wage and workers’ rights to holiday and campaigns for postal workers and firefighters. Here’s an example https://wembleymatters.blogspot.com/2014/12/green-party-support-for-firefighters.html

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

In our councillor and Assembly roles we both regularly raise issues brought to us by local unions, including those representing outsourced workers, closing gaps in fair pay for, for example, care workers employed by councils through agencies. In recent years Jonathan has also particularly worked with the IWGB union on the rights of workers in precarious jobs and the 'gig economy'.

Cleo Lake

I have had a good working relationship with 2 specific unions - Equity and Fire Brigade Union SW branch. Equity has invited me as a speaker at their meetings and also was a wealth of information regarding artists and COVID support which I was able to disseminate to artists of colour. I have a good relationship with the FBU and it is always important that I have a temperature check on their views as I have seen how officers may avoid the matter and that authority member may be ignorant to underlying issues - I believe in transparency even if matters are controversial or difficult.

Tom Pashby

I don't have any personal experience with my local TUC trades council, but I am a member of Unite the Union.

Andrea Carey Fuller (Answer to Question 10 & 11)

Work with them on issues that affect them the most - one way of doing this would be to work closely with the unions on issues affecting these workers - support campaigns (as I am doing through Unison's Ethical Care Charter with Matthew Egan). Unite's Dis-Credit: https://unitetheunion.org/campaigns/unite-community-campaign-for-a-fairer-social-security-system-for-all/ would be a key one we could start off with along with the GMB's campaign for a pay rise for local government/school workers:

https://www.gmb.org.uk/campaign/we-demand-pay-rise-local-government-and-school-workers

I have been a member of Unison in the past and been a whistle blower to protect children from harm.

I support us working more closely with unions and that is why I propose we have 1 place for the TU group on the GP Council.

Nick Humberstone

I don't have any previous experience working with my local TUC trades council. I'm only 24 so have not had much experiences with unions in general but have been a Unite member for the past year and been really encouraged of the change a Union can bring.

Amelia Womack

I have worked with the TUC on a national level and spoken at several of their events. I am a trade union member and I am also co-chair of the People's Assembly, the umbrella anti-austerity organisation, which is embedded in the Trade Union movement.

12) I think no one is really talking about how you improve perceptions and engage with communities?

Rosi Sexton

This has been a key aspect of my campaign, and I have spoken of the need to shake off the stereotypes that people have of the Green Party, and how we need to listen to and build relationships with our local communities. I've spoken about how we have done this in Solihull, where several of the wards we represent are a long way from being stereotypical Green areas. (https://bit.ly/2PCoEH2). A very effective way to do this is to look for places where residents are being badly let down by their elected representatives. By listening, and providing a strong local voice for the community we can build trust.

Shahrar Ali

You can’t improve perceptions by fronting our first official Black Lives Matter solidarity video with a white face, really, you can’t. This damages credibility and makes us look even more out of touch that we could knowingly be so tone deaf. It also pains me to say it but when we have several other spokespersons who could have done it, something must be wrong in the Green Party and I want to help overcome these challenges, too, but I can’t do it without your vote in this election.

Sian Berry & Jonathan Bartley

The third plank of our programme for the party really focuses on this precise issue. Of all the candidates at the hustings where this comment was made we think Sian tackled the question this refers to the most comprehensively and showed HOW we will do this not just say in general terms that the party 'must do more'. Being a strong ally and a stronger more powerful and numerous team of political voices for a wide movement for justice far beyond the traditional green movement is our mission for the party's next two years.

Cleo Lake

Representative bold leadership will go a long way.

Tom Pashby

I've answered this above, but to repeat:

We should do this in two ways; elect more Greens from the communities we hope to represent, both internally and into public office, and by articulating a politics which really clearly would improve peoples' lives where they are.

And we should be speaking more about Universal Basic Income, a real Living Wage, and strong trade unions will enable us to appeal more to people outside of our London-centric, overly white, middle-class bubble.

Andrea Carey Fuller (Answer to 2, 6 & 12)

We need to stop talking just inside our own 'green party bubble', and focus on working within our communities on nationwide campaigns - I have been working with Green Party Women to get the Ethical Care Charter promoted through our Green Party Councillors to address the issues around social care provided in people's homes.  This is a key time for us to work with organisations (like Unison in this instance) to promote better standards of social care and better pay and conditions for social care workers - most of whom will be women - and a large majority of these will be women of colour.

I would like to see Green Party Women and Greens of Colour work together to set up a cross-party women's climate change conference - I work well with, and have great respect for, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah - fellow candidate in Lewisham (East) who is now the Green Party Women's spokeswoman on air pollution and she would be the ideal woman of colour within our Party to head up this event.  we should also be working internationally with the Green Parties in other countries to focus on the social injustice aspects of climate change - how the poorest societies who have contributed very little climate damage will suffer the consequences of the global temperature rise the most - loss of homes, natural eco-systems etc.

We need to listen to the concerns of our communities - sometimes we have good policy ideas but in the real world they may not be equitable in practice - e.g. Low traffic neighbourhoods are a great idea, and we all need less traffic but currently some of these are just shifting the traffic from richer (and often white middle class) areas to poorer (lower class and higher mixed race areas), which in our current COVID-19 world is increasing health risks for those who are most at risk.

We need to campaign on issues that are important for everyone - health, climate change, housing and income. The Party is spending too much time navel gazing on things like gender identity when there are huge numbers of people who are living in. insecure/over-crowded/poor quality housing; and who are becoming reliant on food banks in order to live - recent articles in the Big Issue and the Guardian highlight the appalling fact that 2,500 children have been admitted to hospital THIS YEAR as a result of malnutrition! - Yet we are the 5th richest western country in the world - why aren't we talking about that?!

https://www.bigissue.com/latest/food/up-to-200000-children-going-hungry-during-lockdown/

https://www.theguardian.com/info/2020/jul/24/removed-article#:

In 2017 I co-sponsored the "Citizens Income, benefit sanctions, workfare and Living Wage motion at Spring Conference.  It is great to see Norwich become the first area to trial the 'Universal Basic Income" - I would push for other areas where we have elected green councillors to do the same - e.g. Brighton, Liverpool, Bristol etc.

Nick Humberstone

We have to figure out our messaging to make sure we're not using complicated words that exclude people, but also to make sure we're using words that actually connect, and motivate someone to vote for us/support us. This also applies when choosing what policies to talk about. For a lot of people, climate change is too far away from their day to day struggles. We need to talk about the amazing policies for social and economic justice we have, those will connect a lot better with a lot of voters.

Amelia Womack

We have Greens on doorsteps in diverse communities across the country, picking up case work and improving perceptions. I think this is vital and important work and why I am always committed to working with local parties in their communities and vitising campaigning organisations

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