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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Standing up for what matters