Over the last week or so, it has been really exciting to see that the leadership campaign for the Green Party will be tightly fought over. We are getting the opportunity as a party to critically examine our approach and to hopefully elect a leadership team that will take us onto even greater heights than achieved under Caroline Lucas. I’ll be examining each of the candidates for the Leader role in more depth over the coming weeks, but for now I wanted to be explicit about who my preferred candidate for the Deputy Leader position will be.
I’m supporting Alex Phillips’s bid for the Deputy Leadership because I feel she represents the increasingly credible and articulate face of the modern Green Party. I’ll acknowledge my bias: she has asked me to be part of her campaign team and I was really excited to accept her offer, because I believe that she understands many of the issues facing the Green Party that I have written about in the past on this blog. She has demonstrated that we must become more professional, more diverse and financially sustainable – but that we can achieve this without losing sight of the core values that brought us into politics in the first place.
During my time on the Brighton and Hove Party Executive, I worked closely with Alex and was impressed immediately with the depth of her campaign skills, her energy and the infectious enthusiasm she inspired in those working alongside her. She has been a crucial part of a number of our biggest successes in that city in recent years and I have seen at first hand that she is a natural manager and leader.
She has been a vocal supporter of LGBTIQ and gender issues during her time in office and I have no doubt that she will continue to campaign for a Green Party that takes diversity seriously and speaks honestly about how we can achieve social justice and tackle poverty across England and Wales. As Chair of the LGBTIQ Greens, I am in no doubt that she will ensure that promoting equality will be high upon her priorities.
Politically, although I have a background in the environment (including a spell working for Friends of the Earth), what really brought me into the Green Party was our commitment to promoting social justice, reducing inequality and tackling poverty. As a result, I’m finding her stance of combining both of those important Green traditions in her outlook really refreshing and one that embraces our commonalities, not our differences as a party.
Talking with her, I’ve also got that sense that she understands the need to broaden out our appeal nationally and invest in the campaign work of other regions within England and Wales. As someone originally from the north-east myself, I’m keen for the voices of our colleagues around all regions to be heard as loudly and clearly as they are in our traditional middle-class heartlands.
I want somebody as Deputy Leader who has the strategic experience to be able to credibly support the Leader in their work, but who can be trusted to put the necessary energy into working with the party to build capacity. Someone who can manage a process of change that brings the best out of our activists and transforms our organisation into an election-winning machine. A voice for members and someone unafraid to be radical and challenge us as a party. I am convinced that Alex represents the best of our new generation of politicians and can deliver on this promise.
I’d encourage you to look closely at what Alex is offering on her website and for those of you able to vote in the leadership election, to consider giving her your vote. For those readers who aren’t currently members of the Green Party, I would also encourage you to consider joining the party at this crucial point in our political journey and help make these aspirations for the Greens a reality.