Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Isle of Wight experience

The outcome of the December 12th General Election is one that fills me with fear. Boris Johnson is between 8 and 12 percentage points ahead and on course for a majority. The one probable silver lining is Greens get their second MP.

Leading the race for that honour is Vix Lowthian on the Isle of Wight.
The Green Party stall in Ryde

Earlier this month we combined a weekend away with some campaigning. Vix is benefiting from the Lib Dems standing down - as part of the Rebel (Remain) Alliance.

When we met she spoke of her frustration that the Labour candidate had not stood down either. Labour members need to think about 5 more years of Boris Johnson. They can't win in Isle of Wight but they can help the Greens.

The European Elections show that there is a strong independent mindset among islanders. Let's hope that IOW goes Green.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

BJ is PM today

BJ is PM today.
If the EU doesn't re-open the Withdrawal Agreement and he fails to suspend parliament to leave without a "deal" (both of which I believe will happen) then Boris has to push the most radical right wing and populist policies possible to keep Brexit voters content in advance of the next General Election. His appointments indicate this. That way he'll nick some of those Brexit Party votes to stay in power.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Green Wave all across the country

  1. A couple of weeks back, I was lucky enough to be standing for election when the wave rushed through the country. A record number of councillors were elected locally and nationally. Greens jumped from 178 to a dizzying 362 councillors. Regrettably, it was bad luck that this alliterative alignment of circumstances - namely Brexit bollocks and climate catastrophe - didn't occur when I was a target candidate in Croydon and Sutton!

  2. The ward on Regiate and Banstead council I was standing in polled the following:

  1. Chipstead, Kingswood and Woodmansterne
Tim Archer Conservative 1422
Simon Parnell Conservative 1277
Maria Neame Conservative 1207
Shasha Khan Green Party 642
Eileen Hannah Liberal Democrat 545
Gerry Heaver UKIP 367
Ian Thirlwell Labour 357

Alongside Green Councillor Jonathan Essex. Photo taken just outside the Count. At the time we were hopeful that all six target councillors were elected.

  1. My old campaign aide, Martyn Post, sent a succinct and precise explanation of the Green Wave in a Whats App message:

  • Dissatisfaction with the two main parties (Brexit shambles)
  • Remainers turning out, with left leaning remainers choosing Green over Labour
  • Good local camapigns with activists who joined during the green surge and stayed
  • Extinction Rebellion 's recent highlighting of climate change and need for action

I saw a tweet by London activist Benali Hamdache (copied and pasted below). His explanation covers five areas:

  1. 5) We selected community champions So many of our candidates have been active locally for years. They’ve built networks. They’re well liked. They’re invested in where they live.
  2. 4) Finally a spotlight XR & the People’s Vote have finally given the Greens air time. We’ve been able to capitalise on key issues that we’re authentic and trusted on. Fair coverage during the Euros should do the same
  3. 3) it wasn’t all Brexit Lots of wards Greens have won in are deprived or neglected. Greens have worked hard to connect with communities that felt poorly served by elected figures. For lots of areas they’ve never had regular ward campaigns. Greens were there as local champions
  4. 2) The time was right Brexit has shook loose party loyalty in a way never seen before. Remainers and Leavers we’re absolutely sick to death of the main two parties. Greens used the time to actually engage with local communities and win voters over
  5. 1) The professionalisation of the Party is here. Finally we have the membership, the experience and the funds to put together serious campaigns. Our field staff team are excellent and deserve a lot of plaudits today

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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Candidate for Chipstead, Hooley and Woodmansterne

I received an email from Inside Croydon asking if I knew of any former Croydon candidates standing  on the local elections. *London doesn't have any elections in 2019. I sent this reply:

Yes, I am one of those ex-Croydon now standing for Reigate and Banstead council. My home ward is Chipstead, Kingswood and Woodmansterne.
I've lived in Woodmansterne - which has a railway station actually in Croydon - for three years now.
Greens actually get elected in these areas! This is down to hard work and recognition for ther hard work. There are three Greens elected here in Redhill East (2) and Earlswood & Whitebushes(1) wards.
I haven't had an opportunity to get out that much but the activists tell me canvassing returns suggest the Green vote stronger than ever.
The local agent told me she expects turnout to be low as Conservative voters stay away because of Brexit. The local MP Crispin Blunt - a Leaver - took the unprecedented step of putting out a statement asking voters not to punish local Tory councillors because of Brexit. Local Tories have stopped canvassing because of the doorstep fury they have received over the issue.
Green canvassers are still noting concern about affordable housing and Green Belt development on the doorstep, but also for the first time Climate Change is being mentioned as an issue. Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough have pushed the issue to the fore of voters minds.
Given there are three councillors to be elected this time around, it will be interesting to see how the results pan out in my ward as the only party putting up three candidates are the unpopular Conservatives. Other parties such as Greens or UKIP could benefit from split votes.

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

WIll this all end in Civil War? It can't do.

Today my family and I are going to the the Peoples Vote March in Central London. I am not paid up member of the 2nd referendum brigade because I am more concerned about how we heal the divisions that have become so starkly noticeable as a result of Brexit.

We went to the previous rally and I felt the mood was more disillusionment with Brexit, because if there was a referendum and a Remain type option won - it will only anger those that voted LEAVE in June 2016.

I met, by chance, a consultant who works for financial institutions. Presently these institutions are  looking for guidance on what is likely to happen with regard to Brexit. This senior individual noted many similarities with Trump in USA and Brexit in UK. I jested with the consultant that in years to come, maybe we will look back at this time whilst in the midst of a civil war, wondering why we didn't do more to bridge the two sides of the Brexit debate. To my surprise the consultant didn't dismiss civil war out of hand.

Surely we can't end up in a civil war. Civil unrest, maybe. Brexit headbangers are openly ringing up radio stations such as LBC and talking up civil unrest if Brexit doesn't happen in the particular way they want it to happen; On the Today Programme on yesterday, Nigel Farage used the word 'fight' with regard to  defending Brexit when being interviewed by Mishal Husain; and countless MPs are being called traitor by Brexit headbangers outside the Houses of Parliament. Are these the the early signs of something more frightening. I keep hearing the army are on standby.

I was talking to an Egyptian friend of mine, he made the observation that civil unrest starts when a rally or march gets attacked by the opposite side. Could this happen today??

Interestingly, a Professor of Political Economy has noted similarities between the Brexit divide and the English Civil War. They are mainly geographical, but the semblance is apparent in other elements.

The above is all hypothetical, but sometimes I wonder how is this going to end?

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Standing up for what matters