Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Why I'm Voting for Natalie Bennett as Green Party Leader

I’m going to be voting for Natalie Bennett as new leader of the Green Party, and here’s why.

Natalie has championed women within the party, encouraging them to stand for roles both within the party and as candidates in elections. She has also founded Green Party Women, a subgroup that works to make links between the party and women's groups and organisations nationally and internationally, to promote the women-friendly policies and approach of the party, and to work generally to promote women's rights. She has been instrumental in writing many of our women-centric policies, such as those on parental leave, women asylum seekers and abortion rights.

As Chair of the group she has travelled around the country, speaking with women from local parties and regions, inspiring women to take more active roles in their local parties. How do I know she has done this? Because, as Secretary of the group, I was often there too! Sheffield, Huddersfield, Brighton, Lewisham, Manchester, Lancaster, Norwich, Stroud, Cambridge - very inspiring days! Made all the more so by Natalie’s presence.

She’s also Chair of Camden Green Party, probably one of the most dynamic local party going. In the recent London Mayoral and London elections, Camden went all out to boost the Green vote, even opening a campaign shop for several months. The Green Party of course became the third party in London on May 3rd, and it was in no small part due to Natalie’s work, because as well as being Camden’s dynamic Chair she was also a fantastically eloquent London Assembly candidate. I witnessed her excellent performance at the Progressive Women Hustings at the House of Commons, in the run up to the elections, and, not for the first time, I was proud to be a Green Party member.

Indeed, public speaking is one of Natalie’s key skills. I will never forget how she left the other candidates standing at a hustings for the 2010 General Election, when she was the Green Party candidate for Holborn and St Pancras. Even veteran MP Frank Dobson looked somewhat amateur compared to Natalie’s passionate yet calm performance. I felt the mood of the room move in her favour, which was played out by the long line of people who lined up to speak to her afterwards – I had to get in the queue! People who perhaps hadn’t even thought about the Green Party were buzzing about ideas such as a Citizen’s Income and a London Living Wage, and other ideas which are radically, uniquely Green. Not every candidate can inspire people thus. Natalie can.

I could go on and on,  but there are many more people who are already singing Natalie’s praises, and rightly so! A dynamic exponent of our policies, an inspiring presence, an incredibly eloquent speaker, and also the hardest working person I’ve ever known. In short, a naturally brilliant leader.

Please vote for Natalie Bennett for Green Party leader!