East Midlands Green Party Blog


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What Integrity is Left?

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Greens are changing the political conversation with our push against the shift to the right of other parties. A sure signal of success can be seen in Labour’s uneasy recognition of the “Green surge”. They have created a national anti-Greens unit, headed by Sadiq Khan, to bring the left to heel. Instead of re-examining their abandoned roots they are using misdirection to discredit Greens, with highly dubious and hypocritical stabs at Brighton and Hove high on their agenda. As one of the East Midlands’ Green Party candidates (for Nottingham East), I thought hard and spoke to my family at length before standing. It was always going to be a challenging journey. For ever increasing numbers of us, striving within the Green Party is a stand we feel the need to make proudly, together. I knew we would battle being ignored and that, if we did well, we would be under fierce and sometimes personal attack. We are now under fire because our voices are being heard! Greens are a party run by its membership, on donations and by volunteers. We are surrounded by a political landscape of corporate funded parties, pro-austerity dogma and scapegoating. Without media backing and with limited resources we have soared up the polls as 4th party in front of Lib Dems. We aren’t avatar politicians with slick campaign machines and spin doctors. As a party we have integrity.

Other parties have regularly betrayed their own membership and core principles. Most Labour policies are no longer either fair or ‘left’. Greens are the only party fighting austerity and climate chaos left in the running. Labour’s Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves are among those recently reasserting the same tired, tried and failed agendas of continued deep cuts and placing focus on rising spending to cover shortfalls. This means rising personal debts and inequality for the majority of people, supposedly to pay the national debts fueled by that very same philosophy!

The right-wing is fracturing even as it grows and becomes more extreme. This is the time to push against it! Progressively, it seems the Green Party are the only ones not leaning ever further to the right. Some Labour supporters speak about splitting the left vote but I would argue they are no longer a party of either left or non-discriminatory policies. They would never consider standing down as they ask us to. It seems undemocratic and manipulating to suggest we should allow them privileges based on a distant, more ethical past. I believe parties need to earn votes with good policies and stay true to core values. Green policies are created and voted for by our membership which helps avoid the betrayal other parties have suffered at the hands of their leadership.

The rise of the Greens is due to an increase in people voting for policies they want. People who have become distrustful of the whole political system are also turning to us, adding to our collective voice. We are the only party talking about job creation, not job cuts. We are the only party standing against TTIP and fracking, for a public NHS and a fair taxation system that takes easily affordable amounts from those who can best afford it, instead of punishing the poor in economically and socially bankrupt ways or passing our debts on to young people. One analogy I like is a ‘shared’ dinner; it makes no sense for those who have eaten more and have more in their wallets to pay nothing of the bill leaving those still hungry and with empty wallets to pay for it all.

I could say a lot more, but all I want to put across is that no one owns your votes or is entitled to your support unless you feel it is earned. Question any party’s sense of entitlement of your vote. Question anyone who says your vote and voice don’t count. I’m not going to ask you to believe me. Instead I am going to ask you to make up your own mind and vote for what you believe in. I recommend this independent survey which matches people with preferred policies.

http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/survey/select
Antonia Zenkevitch, Candidate for Nottingham East
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Party of the Future, Party of Now

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The Green Party has been in the spotlight more and more in recent months. Nationally we have seen our leader on Question Time, Big Questions and BBC radio. Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett have written for The Guardian. We have heard a breadth of topics discussed from economics, to fracking, privatization to flood defense, welfare and benefits to population, climate change and the living wage. Nearer to home our profile is shining too. We in Midlands are getting some very positive press.  I mention only a couple of highlights. The title of this piece is inspired by an article written in the Nottingham Post, 17th April ’13, entitled ‘Party of the Future’ in which Arnold North candidate Jim Norris was interviewed. In recent poll in which people focus on looking at policies, Green Party policies have been coming out as the public favourite. This is based on policies people want most, rather than choice based on the false perception there are only two / three political parties to choose from. As Jim Norris is quoted as saying in Nottingham Post “We are standing as an alternative to the three main parties and one which actually is thinking about the future and being sustainable. People have been receptive to what we are saying.”

We are the party facing the future. For a swelling volume of people, there is an exciting and much-needed shift towards democracy and choice which opens up possibilities. In Northampton, independent candidate Tony Clarke has joined The Green Party and now locally campaigns with us under an “INDEPENDENT GREEN’ banner, standing at the election as a Green Party candidate. Increasingly Labour representatives and activists alike have been shifting allegiance to the Green Party. Former Labour leader of Worcester City Council and Party Chairman David Barlow joined the Green Party. In his company is former Worcester Labour Party Chairman and Councillor, Peter Nielsen. On 29th April Worcester News reported  Barlow saying “The Green Party offers exactly the kind of credible, progressive policies which I have always supported and from which the Labour Party has drifted away.”

Greens are a party growing, sometimes slowly, sometimes with great energy, always with determination and rooted values. A much repeated sentiment is that the Green Party is the party with ethical action and morality at its core.  This has been said by those who were once staunch supporters of other parties. Our stance on alternatives to austerity and our at present lone political voice in the fight against climate change and destruction of environment are among other common praise. Councillor Richard Mallander and candidate Katharina Bottege have spoken publicly about HS2, Kat also recently on local radio interviewed about the plastic bag tax. We have been photographed as we joined and helped steward local protests against the horrors of the bedroom tax.  Our striving towards equality is much noted, our commitment to a fair 50% of our candidates being women for example, is not going unnoticed when it stands alongside the other parties recent 21-30% women candidates. It is our action on the ground, in communities, that gains applause too. It also raises awareness of what we, as a party rooted in our communities, could achieve with more representation and more people choosing a party with the fair policies they want most, instead of choosing what they hate least.

In that shift away from putting up with complacency former Labour Party Chairman and Councillor  Peter Nielsen is reported in Worcester News on 29th April ’13 as saying : “The Green Party has the ethical and moral dimension that has been lost in our traditional political parties, in particular the Labour Party. The Green Party sees environmental sustainability and social justice as inseparable. It is now 40 years old, and has matured into an impressive and credible political organisation that I am happy to join and in which I feel completely at home.”

So folks, voting cards at the ready, they are a ticket to the future. May 2nd is the next stop on the journey.

Further Information:

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Greens-party-future/story-18729147-detail/story.html#axzz2QiROoObE

http://tonyclarkeindependent.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/i-guess-i-am-one-big-watermelon-green.html

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/10355420.Labour_leaders_shift_their_allegiance_to_the_Greens