1. A Campaigning Party vs Elections?
Within a flawed electoral system, are we focusing on winning elections, one by one seat? Above being a Campaigning Party within the mass movement needed to fight capitalism and transform society before the climate change emergency becomes irreversible? Are we paying lip service to the warning from the brave climate change activists especially the youth who recognise time is running out?
We’re part of a wider Green movement, including organisations like Friends Of The Earth, Basic Income UK, and Mermaids. Within that movement we are the political part, we are the only group that are trying to create a Green society by getting elected and then putting through policy to achieve that. That is our duty and responsibility within the Green movement. Therefore our focus needs to be on elections. We can of course support the campaigns of other organisations, but our focus should be on getting elected.
2. An accountable Party?
How can the Green Party be an effective campaigning political party, with transparent internal democracy and accountability, supporting local party campaigns with devolved resources? Do we need delegate conferences to ensure policy is properly discussed at local level before conference decides?
In terms of accountability, I’d be in favour of having better procedures by which members can speak/get in touch with GPEx and the leadership team. That could be monthly zoom calls for example. I’d want to be speaking to members often to make sure I am representing their views accurately, and also to make sure my arguments in the media are formed from a range of perspectives and experiences.
With regards to making conference more democratic and more involving, there are definitely things we can do better. Democracy isn’t something we can get right and then be done, we need to constantly be working on how to make the process better, especially when it comes to accessibility. I’m open to hearing people’s ideas on a more decentralised policy making process.
3. A party that understands working-class communities?
Many people (with some progress) still see the green movement and subsequently the GPEW as being well meaning but not relevant to the everyday struggles of working people and working-class communities. How can we challenge that idea?
There’s two things we need to do. We need to use language better, and make sure we’re using language that connects with people. I’ve felt barriers in getting involved in politics because I don’t understand a lot of the words we throw around, and I want to make sure those barriers don’t exist for other people.
We also need to talk about the right issues. We have great policies when it comes to social justice, but are mostly known for caring about the environment. We need to talk about social policies more, like Universal Basic income and a 4 day week because those issues are right in front of people. The environment is also important, but can feel like a less immediate issue when you’re struggling to earn enough to make it to the end of the week.
4. Austerity and reversing public service cuts
After over 10 years of cruel Tory austerity which has trashed public services for millions, we must restore those essential services which we all rely on. Not only the NHS and social care but all the local government services like environmental health, trading standards, pollution control, libraries, public toilets, parks etc and the Green Party has not focused on this sufficiently for several years. Do you agree?
It makes sense for some things to be owned and run by the people for the people, especially when they can easily be monopolised, and have profit made a priority over purpose/benefit to society. I think we should be talking more about public services, especially as it’s an issue that often has significant impact to people locally. I umbrella it under the need to talk about social justice more than we currently do, to show voters we are a political party that can deliver a solution for everything, not just climate change.
5. The Movement for Green Jobs and a Green Socialist future
What do you know of the Trade Union backed Campaign Against Climate Change, Lucas Plan, The Million Green Jobs campaign and the Greener Jobs Alliance of trade unions? How would you work with these campaigns and ensure all parts of the party are engaging with these groups? Do understand and support what Just Transition means?
I don’t know much about those campaigns, which I guess highlights the fact that we haven’t been supporting them enough. I understand a Just Transition to be about how we should move society towards an economy that works for everyone, (including the environment). I support this.
6. Are you an eco-socialist?
I don’t have a personal definition of eco-socialism, and probably wouldn’t identify myself as eco-socialist. This doesn’t mean I am not an eco-socialist, but rather that I don’t think identifying myself as one would be helpful in creating the Green Party’s vision of a society that works for everyone. I don’t think that social justice and environmental justice are the same thing, but there is certainly a lot of overlap and positive change for both of those areas at once in our policies. For example, if talking about the 4-day working week, I would say it is a great policy on delivering social justice, however it also happens to have an impact on the environment, because of 1 day less commuting.
7. Support native and oppressed peoples
Greens need to expand our world solidarity by working to liberate millions of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Asia: Kurdistan, Middle East, Tibet, and many parts of Africa etc. Internationalism is still too weak in Green culture. How would you improve this in the GPEW?
I think this is an important issue, and I would support campaigns being led by other organisations about liberating indigenous people. Our internationalism is quite weak and I’d like to see how we can work with Greens around the world more effectively. My focus however is on getting more Greens elected, and I think for a lot of people in the UK, international issues can seem distant and less important than the social justice issues on their doorstep. We should be supporting campaigns on this issue, but our election focus should prioritise our policies that will motivate people to support us in elections.
Do you oppose the colonialist oppression of minorities such as Kashmiris, the Uighurs and Tibetans in China, and support the Palestinian-led global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)? Palestine solidarity groups world-wide have opposed the so-called 'IHRA definition of antisemitism' as an attack on Palestinian rights. Do you support or oppose this definition?
I oppose all forms of oppression. From my current understanding of BDS, I support it. From my current understanding of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, I support it. This is an issue, I haven’t gotten involved with or researched as much as other areas, so I remain open-minded to hearing other perspectives.
9. Making campaigning for PR a Green Party priority
It’s clear the electoral system is holding back Green Party advance at local and parliamentary elections. How can we campaign to convince members of the Labour Party, Trade Unions and Labour MPs to support this left democratic change to bring elections in line with other parts of the UK? Do you see this as a major priority for the Green Party in the next period?
Electoral reform, particularly proportional representation would make a huge difference to us, but when talking about it I always stress the democratic importance, because that’s what really matters to me. If 1% of the population vote for UKIP then they should have 1% of the seats, no matter how much I may disagree with them on issues of immigration. I think focusing on elections more than we have in the past as a party, and delivering electoral success, is how we will deliver PR. The Labour membership want it, as do some Labour MPs, but we need to build our success in elections for Labour to reach the point where they have no choice but to support PR alongside us. PR is a major priority, and one of the most transformational policies for the UK, however I think we need to focus on our general electoral success (in a difficult system) rather than campaigning separately for PR, because I think our increasing our presence in Parliament is ultimately what will make PR a reality.
10. Oppose Nuclear Power
Green Left is supporting a motion to the forthcoming GPEW Conference that calls on the Green Party to demand the government abandons the Hinkley Point nuclear project and plans for the follow-up Sizewell C nuclear project, including the regulated asset-based model and any further development of the hazardous and expensive nuclear power programme. The Green Party should also calls for all existing nuclear power plants to be shut down. No power sourced from nuclear should be imported - only renewable. Will you support this motion?
Probably. I approach every policy with an open mind and try to understand the views for and against any issue. From my current understanding of nuclear power generally, I would probably support the motion, however it’s difficult to say without knowing the specifics of the motion.