Monday, 28 February 2011

My 1-2-3-4 picks for the London Assembly List

I returned from a half-term break in the Scottish Highlands (posts to follow!) to find the ballot papers for the Green Party’s Mayoral and London Assembly selections waiting for my attention. I’d already decided who my London Assembly 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th preferences would be going to, and here is my decision, plus the reasons behind it:

1st preference: Natalie Bennett

Natalie has been a member of the Green Party since January 1st 2006, when she joined as a New Years' Resolution. Whilst most New Years’ Resolutions are forgotten by the second week in January, Natalie couldn’t really have thrown herself into Green Party activism with more gusto. She served as Internal Communications Coordinator on GPEx for four years – that really is beyond the call of duty! – and has founded the group ‘Green Party Women’ within the party, making links with women’s campaigns and NGOs, promoting women within the party and forming excellent new policies.

In short, she never really stops, and with such an incredible drive, coupled with the fact that she is extraordinarily articulate, she would no doubt be the very best Green Party London Assembly member imaginable.

Indeed, Jean Lambert MEP’s comment that ‘Natalie can take the pressure’ really struck a chord with me. She can, and that is of course essential for any high profile, elected Green. So for all of the above reasons, plus many more too numerous to list here, Natalie is my first choice for the London list.

2nd and 3rd preferences: Jenny Jones and Darren Johnson

Jenny and Darren have done fantastic work over the last ten years as our hard-working, articulate and dedicated team on the London Assembly. From campaigning on issues as diverse as the London Living Wage, to improving cycling provision, their work in planning and housing and their efforts to highlight the problems with London’s air quality, we couldn’t have asked for two more eloquent ambassadors. Both fully deserve to be re-elected to carry on their important work.

4th preference: Caroline Russell

Although relatively new to the party, Caroline has massively impressed both me and others with her community campaigning work and her engagement in Green politics.

The story goes that Caroline was approached by no less than three parties: Islington Labour Party, the Lib Dems and us Greens. All had been impressed by her dedication to the issue of pedestrians: she is the Chair of Islington Living Streets, and is absolutely passionate, not to mention incredibly knowledgeable, about the issue.

Caroline went home and read all three parties’ manifestos, and – of course! – she found that she agreed with the Green Party’s philosophy and aims. It is always good when we can turn a community activist into a Green Party member and a candidate; it’s something we, as a party, are particularly good at. (Contrast that with the Lib Dems, to whom a ‘community activist’ is someone who can hold a petition aloft whilst looking a bit perturbed, or, alternatively, squat down and point at a pot hole, looking simply devastated).

I’m sure Caroline – who follows in a rich tradition of excellent Green Party Carolines, let’s not forget! – would make an excellent Assembly Member, carrying on her dedication to campaigning about important issues that affect the lives of all Londoners.

So that’s my 1-2-3-4, and yet there are so many excellent candidates still left to choose from!

I would really encourage all London Green Party members to take a look at the candidates’ leaflets, attend the hustings if they can do this coming Saturday, and then have their say – deadline for ballot papers is 12 noon on March 17th. It’s both important for internal democracy that we have a good turnout, plus we’ll be campaigning for these folks so let’s make sure we have the very best candidates at the top of the list!

1 comment:

  1. Good choices - I hope people also consider Sue Luxton and Caroline Allen after they've voted Natalie [1] but there are a lot of good candidates and it's good to see how many people are thinking about this selection so seriously.

    Jim Jepps (posted by Sarah, as the 'comments' field wasn't working for Jim).