GreenShoots: Fracking, European election strategy and rail re-nationalisation

In the last few weeks, I’ve been spending a bit of time looking at other Green political bloggers and thought it might be interesting to reflect on some of the more interesting articles and debates that are trending amongst Greens. I’m going to start sharing some of the highlights on a semi-regular basis. If you’d like a piece you have produced to be featured, feel free to contact me directly.

mpFracking

Unsurprisingly, the arrest of Caroline Lucas MP during the Balcombe anti-fracking demonstration yesterday has pushed this issue to the forefront of the national media.  She found herself trending on Twitter for a couple of hours in the afternoon of her arrest.  I’m sensing a groundswell of public support for her actions from social media sites, although the poorly presented news story featured on the Green Party website does little to capitalise on the inevitably higher traffic they will be receiving.  It’s a shame that the piece features no explanation of what fracking is, provides no background materials for journalists and no analysis of why Government policy is wrong on this issue.

For those looking for a concise and informative piece on fracking that examines the practical and economic disadvantages of using this as energy source, I’d really recommend a debate article on the subject written by Councillor Alex Phillips for the Guardian instead. Not only does she mirror the principled opposition shown by Caroline Lucas today, but she injects a much needed dose of passion and momentum into the fight for proposed alternative solutions.

Campaign strategy for the European elections

I haven’t had the opportunity to comment on the upcoming Green Party Executive (GPEx) elections taking place at this year’s autumn party conference, but I would still recommend party members take the time to look at a blog post written by one of the candidates for the  position of Elections Co-ordinator, Sam Coates. I’d personally be a bit sharper on the key messaging and narrative we are shaping over the coming months into the election, but I’m in agreement that if we can knit a common message together across a broad coalition of target voter groupings, we could have some success.

Rail re-nationalisation

The anti-fracking campaign has undoubtedly energised the Green Party activist base with a straightforward choice of pro or anti-fracking. Since we have been wrestling with a much more complex political set of choices down in Brighton and Hove Council, there is something to be said for the simplicity of campaigning against enviromentally-damaging corporations.

Similarly, Caroline Lucas has used the summer recess of Parliament to breathe life into a long-standing Green Party commitment to rail re-nationalisation and reducing fares on hard pressed commuters, policies that resonates strongly with the electorate. She is currently gathering signatures for a petition to the House of Commons (which I’d encourage you to sign) and has garnered a great deal of press interest. These are the sort of bread and butter populist issues we need to be championing.

You might have missed…

The Government has demanded a further 10% budget cut from the British Film Institute (BFI), in spite of expecting only half of this from other major arts organisations. This comes on top of an 18% cut over the last two years, during which the BFI has had to absorb the activities of the UK Film Council and take over as distributor of lottery funding.

If you have a couple of minutes, I’d really encourage writing to the Culture Secretary, the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP and your local MP to ask for this to be reversed, as there is a good chance this will result in the loss of many elements of their amazing programming.

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