Saturday, 17 July 2021

My 2021 Green Party Executive elections guide

 Here we are again with the annual ballot for elections to the Green Party Executive (commonly known as GPEx) around the corner and all the candidates have been announced. Each year we elect about half of the members of GPEx on a 2 year term with the other half of members being elected the following year, including the leadership of the party. This year we have Local Party Support Co-ordinator, Finance Co-ordinator, Internal Communications Co-ordinator, Policy Development Co-ordinator and Publications Co-ordinator. For a full list of candidates you can read the article here on Bright Green. Bright Green also have articles interviewing the candidates and I'm sure they'll have more coming out. There are also 5 positions on the Policy Development Committee being elected. There will be several hustings throughout July and voting takes place in August with the results being announced in September.

I will be listing below all of my recommendations for this election. I have to say I haven't felt this excited about a GPEx election for a fair few years. We have more progressive, inclusive and elections focussed candidates and fewer candidates for whom I am unwilling to vote for than ever before. There's 2 sides to every position that I look at when choosing to endorse candidates: candidates who will make the right political decisions while on GPEx (both in terms of political policy and political strategy), and candidates with experience in the areas of responsibility of the position they have stood for. Given that GPEx is a body that makes important political decisions for the party I believe it's critical that we elect candidates with the right politics. All of the candidates I am endorsing are supportive of trans rights and if elected will fight transphobia in the party where they can. But it's also important that we elect candidates with the relevant skills and experience, and I believe we have some really talented candidates this year.

It's worth noting that Jonathan Bartley has just announced that he will be stepping down as co-leader at the end of July. From that point Sian Berry will become acting leader for the party, and a new election for both leader and deputy leader will then take place. The timescale for that election is yet to be published but it is most likely to take place in the Autumn this year. Given that no candidate has been announced for that election I will not be discussing the leadership election here but will make a separate post when all the candidates have been announced.

Finance Co-ordinator

The role of Finance Co-ordinator is effectively the role of treasurer of the party. It's a really important role and it is one of 2 posts that are being elected unopposed this year. That being said, I am more than happy to endorse Jon Nott for this position.

Jon Nott


Jon Nott has been a member of the Green Party for over 15 years now. He was first elected to GPEx in 2006 when he was elected as Publications Coordinator. He has been the Finance Co-ordinator since 2018 and has been doing a fabulous job. In his professional career he has financial experience working for various coops and not-for-profit organisations. Jon has always been a big supporter of green causes and currently is Chief Executive for Woodcraft Folk and also works for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.


Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator

Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator is a very important position for which I feel we need a change. As a party I feel that for years we have been performing poorly when it comes to equality and diversity issues. This is partly a personal issue and partly it is because our organisational and governance systems are not fit for purpose and need a major overhaul. For this election I will be enthusiastically endorsing Ashley Routh for this position.

Ashley Routh

Last year Ashley Routh stood unsuccessfully for the post of chair of GPEx as a job share along side Benjamin Smith. She is currently co-chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens and in my opinion is doing and excellent job co-chairing that group. Ashley is committed to including voices from all the liberation groups, be that LGBTIQA+, people of colour, disabled people, religious groups, animal rights or other members of oppressed groups into all aspects of GPEx work and wider Green Party work. She wants to make the party accessible to all and that means not making any group of people feel unwelcome in the party. This will involve in part reforming how conferences and policy formation operate and ensuring consultation with liberation groups throughout. Please vote for Ashley for Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator.

Internal Communications Co-ordinator

Internal Communications Co-ordinator is a role that I have wanted to see a change in for a long while and I am happy that we will get to see a change this year. There is only really one candidate I can support in any way and that is Alexander Sallons who gets my full support.

Alexander Sallons

Alexander Sallons, from Brighton and Hove Green Party has some big plans for what he would like to do if elected to the role of Internal Comms. His plans involve investing in effective ways to campaign that will ultimately assist in winning elections. This includes video content and creating a network of creatives (ie people with skills to create content) in the party. It includes training to local parties on effective internal communications. Alexander also wants to overhaul the party's online resources such as websites and emails so that they are fit for purpose to allow for resources to go where they are most useful. Also fewer emails and an email calender that local parties, regional parties, liberation groups and campaign groups within the party can feed into so the central party doesn't dominate everything. Alexander is really progressive on policy and is really elections focussed and would be an excellent addition to GPEx.

Publications Co-ordinator

Publications Co-ordinator is one of those roles that is a relic of a time when physical print publications were a major part of central party communications long before the internet became so dominant in everyone's lives. It is a role that is likely to be abolished when the party finally finishes reforming our governance structures. Other than coordinating the now online publication of Green World (which used to be a print magazine mailed 4 times per year to members) I'm not actually sure what this role involves. At any rate, we have 2 candidates standing as a job share who I would be ecstatic to see on GPEx.

Kathryn Bristow and Rachel Collison

Both of these candidates each bring so much to our party. Kathryn is the first trans woman to be co-chair of Green Party Women. Kathryn is also active in the committees of LGBTIQA+ Greens and Greens of Colour as well as being active in Bristol Green Party. Rachel has a lot of experience within the party, being a former co-chair of the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC), being a former business spokesperson for the party, and having stood in many elections including 2015 general election, 2016 London Assembly election and the 2019 European Parliament elections, all in London. Both Kathryn and Rachel are deeply engaged with central Green Party activity and regularly attend and contribute towards things like conference. Having these 2 amazing talented progressive women on GPEx would be a major boost for the party and a much needed step in the right direction.

Policy Development Co-ordinator

The Policy Development Co-ordinator does not develop policy, rather they shape and coordinate discussion around policy development. They do this in a few ways such as chairing the Policy Development Committee and advising on policy motions at conference including the accreditation process. Rather than making comment on the content of motions, they advise on technical issues such as evidence to support motions, how motions would work in terms of implementation, etc. They can also advise on gaps in policy and work with both the Policy Development Committee and the various Policy Working Groups in order to try and plug in those gaps by getting members to bring in policy motions to conference. Luckily we have had some excellent Policy Development Co-ordinators on GPEx and I am a fan of the incumbent who is restanding, Vix Lowthion.

Vix Lowthion

Vix Lowthion is standing unopposed in this election, but still worthy of an endorsement. Vix first came to national prominence when she beat Labour and came third in the 2015 general election in the Isle of Wight parliament constituency receiving 13.4% of the vote. At the 2017 general election which was a disappointing one for the party generally, Vix managed to increase the party's vote share to 17.3% and again coming in third place. For about 5 years now she has been the party's spokesperson on education. In 2019 she stood for the party's MEP list in the elections to the European Parliament for the South West region. Vix is also standing as a candidate for Policy Development Committee.

Local Party Support Co-ordinator

For Local Party Support Co-ordinator we have many candidates. 3 standing for the role solo and another 2 candidates standing as a job share. I have 2 endorsements for this role, with Rosie Rawle being my number one choice and the job share candidates of Daniel Laycock and Lyndsey McAteer being my second choice candidates. That's not to say that I won't be giving any preferences to the other candidates, but I need to do my research because they are both brand new to me.

Rosie Rawle

Rosie Rawle has just finished a few years as co-chair of the Young Greens in which she achieved a lot of good things and where I first came across her (although I am no longer a member of the Young Greens). Last year she got elected to the Green Party Women committee. At this May's local elections she was a target candidate for Oxford City Council and narrowly missed out on taking the second seat in the 2 seat ward for the Green Party, and also came second in the election to Oxfordshire County Council. This year she played an enormous in helping to elect a record number of Young Green councillors, organising action days across the country. Her experience both in running the Young Greens and as a target council candidate has demonstrated that she has a huge amount to offer the role of Local Party Support Co-ordinator. I would argue that Rosie is probably the most popular and possibly even well known of all the Young Greens co-chairs since I joined the party in 2010, being re-elected to the post not once but twice, more than anyone else that I am aware of. Rosie absolutely knows how to organise Green Party groups into effective election fighting machines. All of this is why she is my absolute number one choice for Local Party Support Co-ordinator.

Daniel Laycock and Lyndsey McAteer

Daniel Laycock is the current co-ordinator for the Eastern Region and Lyndsey McAteer is the leader of Warrington and Halton Green Party. I have know Lyndsey for many years through the North West Green Party. Last year I supported her unsuccessful attempt to become chair of the North West Green Party (as part of a job share). Daniel has a lot of experience through his regional work of assisting local parties to make electoral gains doing a superb job this year with many gains in the Eastern Region. In 2019 he ran an impressive general election campaign in Bury St Edmunds. They both engage with central party activity and I usually find myself on the same side as these two when it comes to policy discussion.


Those are all of my endorsements for this election. All I can ask now is that you consider all of my endorsements and go out to your local parties and speak to other members and get them to to out and vote. It's so important to get more members engaged in these elections and aware of who is running the central party. Voting opens in August and results get announced in September.


Thursday, 18 February 2021

How I became a supporter of HS2

The first time I really ever heard much detail about the high speed rail project known as HS2 was about a decade ago when it was discussed at a Green Party conference. Being a fairly new member of the party, I tended to just agree and support Green Party policies. I bought into overly simple arguments against HS2. As the years have passed I've listened to other arguments and dived a bit deeper into HS2 and it has changed my view from somewhat opposing HS2 to somewhat supporting HS2. Let me explain why here.

Starting Assumptions

Before we begin there are some assumptions I hold when looking at these issues. Namely:

  • We are in a climate emergency and rapidly need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Personal car travel and flights are 2 of the biggest contributors towards greenhouse gas emissions when it comes to transport and therefore reducing flights and car journeys is a very helpful step for lowing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Travel poverty is one of the biggest and most underestimated forms of poverty.
  • Demand for travel will remain high in the future decades, even if a small portion of the population start to work from home.
  • People will travel by car and by plane if public transport options are unreliable,  expensive and inconvenient. Improvements to public transport lead to people leaving their car at home and traveling by public transport instead.
  • Rail (light and heavy) tends to be one of the quickest and most reliable forms of public transport.
All of these assumptions lead to my grand assumption that investing in improving rail links between towns and cities across the UK will both bring hundreds of thousands of people out of transport poverty and it will take hundreds of thousands of cars off the road which will play a vital role in the fight against climate change. Those are assumptions I have always held, even before HS2 was ever thought up. Feel free to disagree with my assumptions, but I hold these assumptions based on the evidence I have seen.

What I got wrong about HS2

There were a number of things I used to believe about the HS2 project, which I no longer believe. I used to believe the purpose of HS2 was to provide quicker routes between London and other major cities in the UK to benefit predominantly wealthy business executives. Manchester to London is already a fairly quick route, why does it need to be 20 minutes quicker I thought? Wouldn't it be better to spend that money on improving local and regional lines across the county? I believed some of the figures about how destructive building HS2 would be. I have since changed my mind on all of these over-simplified arguments against HS2 after looking into the issue further.

HS2 and the need to improve the rail network in the North

One of the biggest misconceptions about HS2 is that the benefit of the line will be focussed on London as it allows quicker access into the capital. In fact, many believe that the whole purpose of HS2 is to give rich business executives a quicker route to central London. But this over-simplistic take on HS2 misses out the real purpose and benefit of HS2.

HS2 is about freeing up capacity for local and regional services by removing long distance trains that only stop at major cities off the track that they share with local and regional lines so that those lines receive a massive increase in capacity. High speed trains require that all other trains get out of the way so sharing the same track massively reduces capacity. This is particularly noticeable around bottlenecks in major city stations such as Manchester Piccadilly,  Birmingham New Street and Leeds. Both Birmingham and Leeds are getting brand new stations serving HS2 which will only accelerate the effect of freeing up capacity on existing lines.

I accept and support that other things need to happen  to improve local and regional routes everywhere such as electrification of more lines and opening new lines where it makes sense. But that does nothing to solve the bottlenecks which restrict frequencies of trains, only new track will achieve this. At any rate, we can do all of these things at the same time. The only thing stopping us is political will.

Who will use the HS2 line?

Another big misconception about HS2 is that it will only benefit rich business executives will use HS2 to get into London quicker. This in fact is just not the case. The majority of long distance rail trips in the UK are for personal trips not business trips. Students going home to their family. People going to visit their friends. Football fans traveling to see their team play an away match. People spending a weekend in London while catching a show or a concert. Leisure trips to places all over the UK. This is the bulk of what the HS2 line itself will actually be used for. These are trips that are far too often done by car when they could easily be done by rail instead.

So the question of who will benefit from actually using the line isn't predominantly rich business people. It is predominantly working class and middle class people from all over England, including many working class people in London. We need to stop thinking of London as a place full of wealthy individuals who have more resources privilege and influence than the rest of us. The people of London are very similar to the people of Birmingham or Leeds or Glasgow. London is a diverse city with massive working class communities. HS2 has the potential to bring thousands of working class Londoners out of transport poverty. 

HS2's impact on rail fares

There can be no doubt that since the privatisation of rail in the 1990s that the cost of train tickets in the UK has gone up and up every single year. The affordability of rail is a major barrier for a lot of people to traveling by rail. Anti-HS2 campaigners argue that HS2 will be unaffordable as current rail tickets are, but that's not taking a look at the bigger picture.

There are many policies that we can change that would impact rail fares such as re-nationalise the railways, and we should absolutely do that. But one thing thing has a big impact on rail fares is the limited capacity on busy commuter lines. If the trains are full during peak times, then the government and rail companies can get away with charging more for tickets. As capacity increases, more frequent trains can run on these commuter lines and that means more seats to fill. Ticket prices will then fall in order to fill these extra seats. This is what HS2 can achieve due to the extra capacity created on many different lines up and down the country, particularly at bottlenecks around major cities. So while we continue to argue and fight for the re-nationalisation of the railways and for government to lower ticket prices,  HS2 will cause a lowering of ticket prices by increasing the supply of rail services in the UK.

What about the impact on flights?

HS2 currently plans to create 3 brand new stations at or near to airports. Manchester Airport is to get a second train station for HS2 while the HS2 station Birmingham Exchange will have a shuttlebus to Birmingham International Airport and the East Midlands Hub being 10km away from East Midlands airport has proposals for future rail links between the airport and the HS2 station. There have also been now abandoned plans to have spur of HS2 go off to Heathrow Airport from London.

For me these airport stations are the modt controversial part of HS2 and if it was down to me I would scrap the airport links. However, I have heard some arguments that these stations are a good thing for a few reasons.

International travel will return in a post-pandemic world. It won't quite be as frequent as it used to be and technology will reduce the need for international business trips. We can be fairly sure that the majority of international travel will continue to take place via flying. HS2 will reduce some flights between the Midlands, the North and other areas of the UK and mainland Europe. This is because HS2's final destination of London Euston is less than a 15 minute walk to St Pancras International station where HS1/the Eurostar goes to Paris onto Brussels. This makes it much quicker to travel from say Manchester or Leeds to Paris via trains. It will be a limited effect and it will depend on both the pricing of tickets and the ease of travel to Europe as post-Brexit talks with the EU change rules for UK citizens, and also vice versa. But the possibility will still be there to get a train in Manchester and then be in Spain or Italy or Germany on the same day. If the cost is the same or lower than flying it will become a much more attractive proposal to travel by rail instead of plane.

HS2 and other future high speed lines in Britain will really have a large impact on the number of domestic flights here in the UK. In the pre-pandemic more than one 5th of passengers flying from a UK airport was doing so to another UK airport. There were hundreds of domestic flights a day in the UK. HS2 and future high speed lines will reduce this massively for 2 main reasons.

Firstly, people traveling long distance in the UK will find it more reliable and accessible to travel by rail than by air. The people who do travel between cities within the UK rather the  taking a train do so for 2 reasons, for cost and for speed. HS2 addresses both cost and speed. Instead of someone traveling to say Manchester Airport, going through boarding and waiting for a flight to Heathrow , that flught taking an hour and then taking a train from Heathrow to Central London, that person could walk onto a scheduled HS2 train at Manchester Piccadilly and arrive at London Euston an hour and 15 minutes later, right I  Central London. If HS2 links up with future high speed lines to Glasgow and Edinburgh or high speed lines south to Bristol or even Exeter then this impact then the impact on reducing domestic flights will be much greater. Pre-pandemic there were around 170 flights a day between London and Glasgow or Edinburgh and high speed can make these flights redundant.

The other reason why HS2 will impact on domestic flights will be reducing connecting flights. If someone travels to London from America, they could find it cheaper or quicker to fly to Manchester and then fly from Manchester to London. Instead, this person could catch a train from the HS2 station at Manchester Airport and get to Central London quicker than catching a connecting flight from Manchester to London and then travelling to Central London from that airport.

But won't having more stations at more airports make flying in general more accessible? Well, yes it will, but not enough to have a significant impact on the number of people who take flights. People taking international flights would still be taking them regardless of HS2 being built. What it will do is change how people travel to these airports.

Along with these new HS2 stations at or near these airports, there are connected plans to expand existing light rail and bus networks to serve these new HS2 stations and better serve the airport. The predominant method of traveling to airports for international travellers is either by car or by taxi. With improvements to rail, light rail and bus connections it will mean a lot more people leave their cars at home and not bother with taxis. There is also scope to add cycle routes around the airports as well.

This will also make a huge difference for local workers and residents. Tens of thousands of people work at or next to airports in the UK many of whom are low paid workers, working in restaurants or hotels or retail or as cleaners. Tens of thousands of people also live very close to airports. Improving public transport links to airports will allow many people to leave their car at home and bring people out of transport poverty. I personally have noticed this with the Manchester Airport line of the Manchester Metrolink tram network being used by thousands of local residents and workers employed in connection to the airport. This tram line will be getting an extension to the new Manchester Interchange HS2 station, and then looping around the rest of Wythenshawe (the area of Manchester which the line runs through) to create a loop covering a much larger area including stopping at the local hospital.

Northern Powerhouse Rail and future high speed lines

Once HS2 is completed the next planned high speed rail line to open will be Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) otherwise know as HS3. This is a planned high speed line firstly from Liverpool to Manchester, and then from Manchester to Leeds. There are other plans connected with NPR such as using the HS2 line from Crewe to create a new high speed line to London but from Liverpool and upgrading the line between Manchester and Sheffield and onwards to Hull.

NPR proposals haven't been finalised but they rely on HS2 infrastructure in 2 main locations. Firstly, the Liverpool to Manchester leg of NPR uses HS2 tracks and stations starting somewhere between Crewe and Manchester Interchange/Airport. NPR will then use HS2 infrastructure all the way to Manchester Piccadilly. Secondly, the NPR  proposal to create a London to Liverpool high speed line relies on HS2 infrastructure between London and Crewe. This will then use NPR infrastructure on the way to the final station at Liverpool Lime Street. NPR will use the HS2 station at Manchester Airport (Manchester Interchange) and may well use the HS2 platforms at Manchester Piccadilly. The most likely proposal between Manchester and Liverpool stops at Warrington, but there is a proposal for NPR to stop at Crewe in which case it could share the HS2 platforms at Crewe. In short, Northern Powerhouse Rail will massively benefit from both using HS2 infrastructure and from the connections with HS2.

Northern Powerhouse Rail will have a similar impact as HS2 on freeing up capacity on existing lines. It will take the express lines between Liverpool and Manchester, and between Manchester and Leeds off the existing track shared with local commuter trains that stop at all the stations between the cities and put the trains on new track. A big difference though is that many people do commute daily between these cities and therefore quicker rail links will make a real difference when people are deciding to commute by rail or by car. Plus it will have another impact on lowering ticket prices by increasing capacity. Trains traveling from Liverpool to Leeds will take roughly 51 minutes instead of 1 hour and 46 minutes that they take at the moment. Those trains will also be 6 times an hour instead of the current 4 times an hour.

Other future high speed rail lines could really benefit from HS2. In fact, many could not work without HS2. High speed lines from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh to cities in the south like London will use HS2 track. High speed lines from Bristol or Exeter to Newcastle or even to Scotland will use large parts of HS2 between Birmingham and Leeds (or possibly a new line through York instead of Leeds). This extended network of high speed lines will only further add to the transport revolution that HS2 begins. Domestic flights will be mostly killed off if we could get a train from Aberdeen to London in maybe 3 hours instead of the current 7 hours it takes.

What about the environmental destruction in building HS2?

I'd be slated quite heavily if I didn't address most people's biggest concern with HS2, the impact that building the line will have on the environment. This obviously is a big concern and one that we should try to address. Nobody wants to see trees cut down or any loss to biodiversity. Every decision about where the route will be should take this into account. Whilst some of the route is already being built upon, there's a lot of the route that work hasn't been started on and it would be possible to alter the route to avoid certain areas. Every decision comes with consequences though. Avoiding a woodland somewhere might result in needing to knock down some houses elsewhere. Alternatively, making the route so that it avoids all trees and all buildings may just make the line extremely impractical and so winding that it negates all the speed benefits from the line and therefore the demand for long distance rail trips might just carry on the existing overcrowded routes.

But the environmental impact of building the line was never my biggest concern, it was about allocation of funds to different parts of the rail network. In order to build any infrastructure project destruction of some kind needs to take place. For me it's all about asking do the benefits outweigh the negative impacts? Will we be in a worse place or a better place if it's built? Can we achieve the same result but for less destruction? Is the destruction as bad as it's claimed?

When I think about what I consider to be the alternative to upgrading and modernising our railways it is without a shadow of a doubt road building. We cannot get away from the fact that people want and need to travel and will continue to do so. If we don't improve public transport then the demand for driving and road building will continue as the main mode of travel. Building new motorways and roads will, like HS2, lead to woodlands being destroyed.

As it stands, about one 10,000th of the UK's ancient woodland is set to be destroyed by HS2 being built. HS2 will plant more trees than will be cut down (although ancient trees do far more good for soaking up CO2 than new young trees). There have been plans to build cycle infrastructure alongside parts of the HS2 routes, although some of this has been scaled back due to cost. I have come to the conclusion that HS2 has done what it can to easily reduce it's impact on the environment, that the alternative is to build more roads and that building HS2 will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by taking tens of thousands of cars off the roads each year.

In Conclusion

HS2 is coming, whether we like it or not. Opposing HS2 will not stop that or have much impact on how it is to be built or be operated. A high speed rail network that links in with existing conventional rail across the country will bring about a public transport revolution that is much needed. It can take part at the same time as upgrading existing rail lines or building new lines. The money can be found to fund all of it. We just need the political will in this country and it can happen.

I believe that HS2 will bring tens of thousands of people out of transport poverty and that it will take tens of thousands of cars off the road. I believe strongly that this will be of a better benefit to the environment than not building it, despite the destruction involved in building HS2. Transport modal shift needs to happen and we need to get people out of their cars and off planes, and rail is one of the only ways to achieve this. HS2 and further improvements to the rail network will allow people to live further away from their work place and therefore will reduce the housing crisis in major cities.

HS2 isn't an issue I'm willing to die on. There's lots of other things that can be done to bring about a similar public transport revolution without building HS2 but all scenarios benefit from HS2 being built. All attempts at improving rail connectivity would only just benefit from having HS2. We absolutely need a public transport revolution in the UK and it is vital to invest in the rail network in order to achieve that. HS2 will only be a positive part of that.

So I've joined a group called Greens 4 HS2 who campaign to change the Green Party policy to support the development of HS2. Check out our website here: https://hs2.green/



Saturday, 25 July 2020

My guide to the Green Party leadership, GPEx and House of Lords elections 2020

My guide to the Green Party leadership, GPEx and House of Lords elections 2020

So it has been a very long time since I have made a post on this blog. I'm not likely to return to regular writings here, but I did want to write about this year's elections that are being held internally in the Green Party. In my 10 years of Green Party membership I have never seen a GPEx (Green Party Executive) election where every single post up for election has been contested by multiple candidates. There have been many ups and downs for the party in my 10 years in the party, but it seems to be as though the number of core activists has been growing and we are now at a point where many more members with experience are putting themselves forward for these positions. As well as GPEx elections, we also have the elections for leader and deputy leader, and we have our selection for our prefered choices for the House of Lords and electing members of the Policy Development Committee.

Members will be able to vote from August 3rd to August 31st. Make sure you've joined the party by 31st July in order to get a vote. Join the party here: https://join.greenparty.org.uk/

I will be giving an endorsement here to every candidate for whom I am enthusiastically giving a preference vote for. For some positions I will know exactly who will be getting every one of my preferences, for other positions I haven't made my mind up just yet. For some candidates I know already that I will not be giving them any preference, but I will not be discussing here why I disapprove of their candidacy.

How am I deciding who I vote for? Well, I view these positions similar to how you could view cabinet positions in government. Whilst we do need people with really relevant skills and experiences, we also need people with the right politics in these positions. GPEx is one of the two most important decision making bodies in the party along with the Regional Council (GPRC). Decisions within GPEx help decide things like choosing our head office staff like the CEO, deciding what our Party Political Broadcasts look like at election time, and for example GPEx was heavily involved in negotiating going into an electoral pact with the Lib-Dems and Plaid Cymru last year. So as well as looking out for experience and skills, I am looking for candidates with the right politics. We need candidates who will stand up for the rights of minorities, including people of colour, LGBTIQA+ people but especially transgender people, disabled people. I would like to see candidates who would have stricter lines and more consultation with members before discussing electoral pacts such as 2019's "Unite to Remain" pact with the Lib-Dems and Plaid Cymru.

On a personal note I will also be interested in candidates who support animal rights and veganism as that is one of the most important policy areas for me personally. I also think representation is hugely important. We need representation from minority groups and oppressed groups to ensure we are inclusive and bringing their viewpoints on board. I also favour representation from geographic areas outside of London and the South East.

Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

I'll dive straight into the first position and some could argue the most important position, our leader. We have 3 candidates to select from here, and I have been particularly impressed with 2 of them. I have not decided my first preference for this role yet. I will not be giving a 3rd preference to anyone except Re-Open Nominations (RON).

It's worth noting that our leadership rules mandate 3 people be elected to the leadership team. If a 2 person job-share get elected as co-leaders, it will mean we can only have 1 deputy leader (as is the current situation). If we only elect 1 person as leader, this will mean we have to elect 2 people of different genders for deputy leader.

  • Jonathan Bartley & Siรขn Berry - The current outgoing co-leaders. Jonathan Bartley has been a co-leader since 2016 (originally with Caroline Lucas). Sian Berry has been co-leader since 2018. Sian is a London Assembly Member sitting since 2016. She has a long history of roles in the party, being Principle Speaker in 2006, London Mayoral candidate in 2008, 2016 and in 2021, and she has been a councillor in Camden since 2014. Jonathan has been active in Lambeth and in London since joining in 2010. He has been candidate for several roles such as the London Assembly and General Election. In 2018 he was elected as councillor in Lambeth. Both these candidates have a lot of experience and have both played large roles in expanding the party's profile. They're also quite progressive and have openly spoken in favour of trans rights.THE GREEN PARTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS 2018: SIAN BERRY & JONATHAN ...
  • Rosi Sexton - Rosi or Rosemary Sexton is a Green Party councillor in Solihull getting elected in 2019. Rosi is quite a new figure in the party, joining in 2015. I've been very impressed with her campaign so far. Her campaign slogan is: "Serious about Inclusivity. Serious about Credibility. Serious about Success". She used to live here in Manchester, having studied at the University of Manchester. What's interesting about her history is, as well as having various degrees in mathematics, she has also had a successful career in Mixed Martial Arts, at one point being a UFC fighter. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Ju-Jitsu and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. Born in France but raised in England, she describes her ethnicity as half Malaysian Chinese, half English. If she was elected leader she would be the first ever non-white female leader of any major UK political party. Rosi also seems to be on the progressive side of the party and has openly tweeted in support of trans rights. Check out her campaign website here (make sure to watch her video): https://www.rosi4leader.green/
    General Election Candidates 2019 | Green Party
Deputy Leader of the Green Party

Next up is deputy leader. And wow, we have an excellent range of candidates running for this position. I have heard of all but one of these candidates and I would vote for all of them. I personally nominated Nick Humberstone and Amelia Womack but there are other candidates I would have nominated had I found out that they were running before close of nominations. In no order:

  • Amelia Womack - I have endorsed Amelia Womack at every deputy leadership election she has ever stood in, being our deputy leader since 2014. I first networked with her when we were both Young Greens standing in the European Parliament elections in 2014. I've watched her career as she's grown in confidence and skills over the years. She's stood in general elections and in Welsh Assembly elections. Every now and then she posts photos on her social media of the train tickets she has collected in her travels as deputy leader and it's staggering how far she's travelled. She's always been approachable and made herself available whenever she can. A true progressive, on the left of the party and a proud supporter of trans rights. I suspect that she is the strong favourite for deputy leader as she has the highest profile of all of them.
     Amelia Womack - Wikipedia
  • Tom Pashby - I met Tom Pashby a few years ago at a Young Greens convention and then again at Green Party conferences. Tom is a non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns. Tom has had lots of experience in the party, previous being on the Young Greens national executive, GPEx as internal communications coordinator, and has stood in 2 general elections. Tom would be a breath of fresh air. Openly left-wing, openly opposed to electoral pacts, openly supports trans rights. I think it is so important to have trans/gender non-conforming representation and Tom is the only trans or non-binary person standing in the leadership election. Tom is also a vegan, which is important to me and will help sell the party to the vegan and animal rights community, who often don't think we are taking these issues seriously because our leaders aren't usually vegan. Watch their campaign video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYLjkngG1wo
    Tom Pashby - Home | Facebook
  • Nick Humberstone - Nick is a fairly new member joining in 2017, but he has worked for the party as staff and also has been chair of the Structures and Procedures Committee for the Young Greens for the past 2 years. The main reason I support and nominated Nick is for his support of animal rights. He is a vegan and an advocate for animal rights, emphasising the link between animal agriculture and climate change. To my knowledge Nick is the only candidate I am aware of in any of these elections that has mentioned animals or animal agriculture in their platform for this election. As a vegan and (on and off) animal rights activist myself, I find it so much easier to get other vegans and animal advocates on board when we have vegans as part of our leadership. I've lost count of the amount of times vegans have told me about Caroline Lucas not being vegan and therefore we're not taking animal rights or the link between animal agriculture and climate change seriously. As with most of the candidates I am supporting, Nick is on the left of the party, is a socialist, and he openly supports trans rights. Nick is doing Zoom chats every Saturday I believe from 11am to midday where you can ask him anything you like about his campaign. You can find the link to the Zoom meetings and check out Nick's campaign on his website here: https://www.nickhumberstone.com/
  • Cleo Lake - Cleo has been a party member since 2015 and just one year later in 2016 she was elected as a councillor in Bristol. From 2018 to 2019 she was the lord mayor for Bristol. In 2019 she was second on the South West England list for the European Parliament elections. As a black woman, a large part of her platform is tackling racism and race-related inequality. Cleo has a background in arts, which is also evident in her activism, something that is quite often forgotten about. If she was elected as deputy leader, she would be the first woman of colour in the leadership team.
    Cleo Lake elected new Lord Mayor of Bristol, former actress and ...
Chair of the Green Party Executive

Quite an important role on GPEx is the chair. To be honest, there is only one of the candidates for chair that I have heard of that I know I can support. I have nominated Ashley Routh & Benjamin Smith, but I have also heard good things about Adrian Spurrell who is mostly unknown to me.

  • Ashley Routh & Benjamin Smith - Ashley Routh and Benjamin Smith are standing for chair as a job-share. Benjamin is the former deputy leader for Wales Green Party and Ashley is a party campaigner from Sheffield. Both are progressive, on the left of the party and in particular they campaign in favour of trans rights. One particular thing I like about their platform is they want to see a reduction of emails sent from the national party, something I support after getting sometimes daily and even multiple emails a day from the national party.
    Interview with Benjamin Smith and Ashley Routh – Co-Chair ...
Campaigns Co-ordinator

There is going to be a common theme here where because of the broad scope of candidates that have come forward, there are quite a few for most positions that I've just not heard of. The Campaigns Co-ordinator coordinates all of our non-electoral campaigning. It is really important to show that we are supporting campaigns out there be that Black Lives Matter, anti-fracking, renationalising railways, bringing in Universal Basic Income, or the many different campaigns out there that are happening that we support with our policies. It is so important that non-electoral campaigning supports and backs up our electoral attempts at bringing in our policies.

  • Hannah Graham - Hannah is most likely to be my number one preference for Campaigns Co-ordinator. She was co-chair for the Young Greens, she has stood for the party for Parliament and she is on the list for the London Assembly. She has done a lot of non-electoral campaigning through her job with World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts. She is progressive, on the left of the party and is supportive of trans rights.
    Election Candidates - London
  • Daniel Laycock - a name that is quite new to me, but someone who has impressed me. His program for the post includes supporting Universal Basic Income, LGBTQIA+ rights including trans rights, a Green New Deal, green economic and transport infrastructure, electoral reform and clean energy.
    Daniel Laycock - Home | Facebook
Elections Co-ordinator

I believe the Elections Co-ordinator role to be one of the most important ones. We need to get our election strategy right. There have been many times that national election strategy has made problems for local parties. While conferences can instruct our national election team to follow certain rules, in general ordinary members don't get much of a say in deciding our national strategy. I'm not even that opposed to this, so long as we have the right people in place making these decisions. For example, I do not think it would be a good idea for the membership to vote on our national target constituencies. Thankfully, we have some very good and experienced candidates who fully support and understand target to win (TTW), our strategy for getting councillors elected. I nominated as job share for the role both Kai Taylor & Claire Stephenson as well as Laurie Needham & Joe Levy, but they are not the only candidates I support.

  • Kai Taylor & Claire Stephenson - I'll be honest here, I'm not that familiar with Claire but I am a big fan of Kai. Kai is a councillor in Knowsley where he has grown that local party from being one of those local parties that struggles to get a full slate of paper candidates to one where they are in control of two town councils and have multiple borough councillors and being the second largest party by both vote share and councillors in the council. When elected as borough councillor in 2017 Kai was the youngest Green Party councillor in the country. Being from a borough that typically has poor results for the Green Party, but is suited for TTW campaigns I feel Kai would be well placed to direct the party's election strategy. Far too long we have focussed on urban lower middle class areas with an independant and hippie vibe. It may have worked for us in Brighton Pavillion during the height of Labour unpopularity, but selecting working class areas that have been abandoned by Labour or even some middle class seats taken for granted by the Tories has to be given consideration when choosing where to put our limited resources. I'm sure Kai's experience will be very valuable here. Self-declared as a socialist, Kai is on the left of the party and fully supportive of trans rights.
    Green Party candidate for St Helens South & Whiston named | St ...
  • Laurie Needham & Joe Levy - Joe and Laurie both have a lot of elections experience within the Green Party. Joe has stood for several years as a local council candidate in Exeter, helping the local party to gain it's first councillor. He stood twice as general election candidate in Exeter, increasing the vote in 2019 to a record Green vote for the constituency of 8.6%. He is on the progressive side of the party and fully supportive of trans rights. Laurie is a councillor in Charnwood, having taken the seat from the Conservatives after not having put forward a candidate at the previous election 4 years earlier. Laurie also stood as a general election candidate in Charnwood. Laurie is also a progressive candidate and supportive of trans rights. Both Laurie and Joe have attended the party's Campaign School, the program the party has for training people up on how to run Target To Win campaigns. Together, they have lots of experience working in wildly different seats, from urban Labour seats to rural Tory seats.
    Laurie Needham for Charnwood in the UK Parliament elections | Who ...General Election Candidates 2019 | Green Party
  • Louis Williams - I've known Louis for a few years through Young Greens events and conferences. I first became aware of Louis's election work through last year's target constituency work in Bristol West, where we came second and achieved just below 25% of the vote. I personally am not convinced that Bristol West is the right target seat for us, for various reasons, so that is an enormous achievement. Louis has an impressive CV with running the West of England mayoral campaign, passing Campaign School and being elections coordinator for the South West regional for 2 years achieving more gains than ever before. There are very few unpaid volunteers I know in the party who work harder on elections than Louis, often leaving home first thing in the morning to catch a train to support a campaign in another part of the region early on a Saturday morning. As with most of the people I've supporting in these elections, Louis is on the left of the party and supportive of trans rights.
External Communication Co-ordinator

For External Co-ordinator I genuinely have't made my mind up as of writing this. Both candidates have a lot of experience and I have a huge amount of respect for them both. Molly Scott Cato is standing for the House of Lords list which does influence my vote somewhat, but I'm still mostly undecided.

International Co-ordinator

The International Co-ordinator co-ordinate our work with both other Green Parties around the world, and with the wider global green movement. We have 4 separate candidates for this role but I have to confess I've only heard of one of them, Alice Hubbard & Sam Murray who I nominated. Please do your research for this role as there are some Greens of Colour who have put their name forward, who may be suitable for the role that I'm not familiar with. It's worth noting that different International Co-ordinator have had a different focusses. Some have tried to strengthen links with other members of the European Green Party. Some have looked to movements in the Americas or Africa, for example.
  • Alice Hubbard & Sam Murray - Alice is the current International Co-ordinator and Sam has sat on the International Committee for the last 4 years and sits on the Executive Committee for the Federation of Young European Greens. They both have lots of experience relevant for the role. They are endorsed by former Green Party MEP Jean Lambert. Again, they are both progressive and support trans rights.
    Alice Hubbard (@aliceahubbard) | TwitterPro-EU 'nerds' gather on Dutch island for election plan
Management Co-ordinator

I’m not entirely sure of the exact job description for the role of Management Co-ordinator, but I assume it involves co-ordinating the management of the party. So this would involve working with the CEO and other staff members and maybe some working with GPRC. I also imagine this would involve being active in major national infrastructure decisions for example if the party was to move it’s headquarters. For this role I am endorsing both candidates.

  • Richard Bearman - When I first joined the Green Party back in 2010, we had fewer than 100 councillors (currently at about 382).  I was always amazed if I ever got to meet one of those councillors. At the time, the second largest group of Green councillors in the country was in Norwich. Imagine my excitement when I got to meet Richard when he came to Manchester to attend a GPRC meeting which I attended as an observer. I warmed to him immediately. I am incredibly happy he was one of the first Green councillors I got to meet. He has an enormous wealth of experience in the party, co-ordinating Norwich Green Party through 4 of it’s most productive years, co-ordinated Eastern regional party, been a county councillor for 8 years, GPRC rep for 4 years and is currently a target-to-win co-ordinator in Norwich. Plenty of transferable skills useful for the role of Management Co-ordinator.
    Interview: Richard Bearman - Concrete
  • Matthew Browne & Florence Pollock - Florence and Matt both have only been in the part for 4 years each, but they have done a lot in that time. Florence has been chair of the Young Greens Senate and also London Young Greens as well as being deputy chair of the Disciplinary Committee. She also has important skills from her day job in HR. Matt was a staff member for the party for 2 years as the party’s policy and governance manager which effectively acted as secretary for GPEx as part of that role. They are both on the left of the party, want to bring in more diversity and fully supportive of trans rights. You can view their campaign website here: https://www.florencematt4gpex.com/
    People - Greenwich and Bexley Green PartyHousing, transport and education: Florence Pollock, candidate for ...
Policy Development Co-ordinator

Policy Development Co-ordinator is an important role that involves working with the policy committee to both identify ways to improve the policy making processes, but also to help identify where policy is lacking or needs major changes. This also involves working with the various policy groups on big changes to specific policy chapters or just to give advice. It is not for the policy development co-ordinator to set the policy agenda or to make the policy changes they wish to see. For this role I’ve heard of half of the candidates, and I am happy to be voting for them.

  • Vix Lowthion - Vix rose to prominence in the party when standing for the Isle of Wight constituency in 2015, she polled an impressive 13.4% and came in third (previously achieving 1.3% and coming in 7th place), above both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. In 2017 she fought for Isle of Wight to become a target constituency and her vote here rose to 17.3% in what was for the party a general election where huge amounts of our 2015 support went to Corbyn’s Labour. To achieve roughly 4% rise was very impressive indeed. She has been national spokesperson for Education, promoting our education policies nationally. When it comes to policy preferences, I would say she generally promotes progressive policies. She does support out policies on trans rights.
    Isle of Wight Green candidate launches the Green Guarantee ...
  • Liam McClelland - Liam is a former co-chair of Young Greens. He has specifically done a lot of work on our drugs policy. If you read his statement on the members website he has a lot of interesting ideas for what he would do for the role and how to change various aspects of the policy work, including a skills audit of the policy development committee and improving learning platforms by utilising access the party has at the YouTube Space in London (a studio run by YouTube that YouTubers above a certain subscriber count or view count can have I think free access to make high quality videos) and also using YouTube Space to run PolicyFest online if needed. Liam is on the left of the party, very into inclusivity and supports LGBTIQA+ rights.
    Liam McClelland (@Green_LEMcC) | Twitter
Publications Co-ordinator

The Publications Co-ordinator overseas a range of publications and media that the party puts out. Now pretty much an internal online only publication, Green World magazine is the main publication that the party produces for general consumption for members. As well as working with the team that produces Green World, the Publications Co-ordinator helps with website publications, publications on the members’ website and the branding of the party. The role involves working with External Coms, Internal Coms, Campaigns Co-ordinators and the party’s media teams.There is only one candidate for this role which I know of and am supporting.

  • Jack Lenox - I know of Jack through his work in Cumbria, standing twice as a candidate for Parliament in Copeland. Last year he was co-opted onto GPEx to serve 6 months as Internal Communications Co-ordinator. He has a lot of experience working with digital systems such as WordPress which he helped to set up for the Green Party. Jack has a lot of plans, if elected, for making more publication accessible, such as putting more TTW tools online and to bring back print editions of Green World.
    Jack Lenox Interview - Web Sustainability, The Last Frontier
Trade Union Liaison Officer

The Trade Union Liaison Officer (TULO) role is one that is of great importance to me. I am a union rep for USDAW. Every union I have ever been a member of has hammered on to me about supporting the Labour Party. Unions are an essential part of the wider green movement. For long term success in achieving our green aims, we need the unions on board, and we need to support what they are doing as well. This involves lots of networking, building up our presence in unions. Supporting strikes and working with local trades councils. So having a good TULO officer is vital. I nominated Matthew Hull and Paul Valentine for the role as a job share, and I also nominated Kefense Dennis.

  • Matthew Hull & Paul Valentine - Paul has been the Trade Union Liaison Officer on GPex for the last 2 years and I would be happy to re-elect him. He stands for both Green values and the values of the trade union movement. Matthew who I do not know as well, has been treasurer of the Young Greens and co-chair of London Young Greens. They are both active in their respective unions with Paul being Young Members Councillor for Equity, chair of his PCS branch and a member of USDAW, and Matthew being a rep for Unite. They plan to create a database of union membership and activity within the party, encourage union membership within the party and try to train people on union activity as well as working to bring the Green Party closer to unions. These candidates are on the left of the party and supportive of trans rights.
    Paul Valentine, Actor, Greater LondonMatthew Hull ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ‰ (@mj_hull) | Twitter
  • Kefenste Dennis - Kefenste is a new name to me but his activity in the party includes being a regional officer for Greens of Colour, standing for Parliament twice as well as for the European Parliament. He is also the membership officer for Birmingham Green Party. He wants the party to branch out beyond the “white middle class hippie” image and he would be well placed to help achieve that. It is important to show diversity but also that we can be the natural home for the working class, which is important when we are talking about the largest working-class movement, trade unions. Kefenste signed up to all 8 pledges that LGBTIQA+ Greens have asked all the candidates.
    Queer Question Time planned for Birmingham ahead of General ...
House of Lords

How members of the House of Lords are selected is a complicated process that I do not fully understand. All we need to understand is that sometimes parties get asked to provide a list of who they would like to represent them in the House of Lords and sometimes the Green Party gets asked. Usually it is a very quick process that if we do not reply fairly urgently, we may miss our opportunity. This is the reason why we are selecting a list now. In the past it has caused issues because we haven’t had time to fully conduct an election process for this. Whilst I will be giving my second and third preferences to Molly Scott-Cato and then Andrew Cooper, the only candidate which gets my full endorsement for this role is Amelia Womack.

  • Amelia Womack - For me it has to be Amelia Womack. She is the most progressive of the candidates IMHO. As I’ve said in my endorsement for her as Deputy Leader, I’ve been a big fan of hers since 2014 when I first came across her. An excellent speaker and debater I’m sure she would make an excellent representative for the Green Party in the House of Lords.
    Amelia Womack: I was in an abusive relationship - that's how I ...
Policy Development Committee

As well as electing Leader(s), Deputy Leader(s), 9 other members of GPEx and the list for House of Lords we are also electing members to the Policy Development Committee. The convenor of this group is the Policy Development Co-ordinator on GPEx. There are 5 other members of this committee elected by the membership. 11 people have put their names forward for the committee. Having heard of less than half of the candidates and not able to find their statements on the members’ website I do not think it would fair for me to make recommendations. If the statements get published anywhere I may update this section but for now there’s not a lot to go on.


Members will be able to vote from August 3rd to August 31st. Make sure you've joined the party by 31st July in order to get a vote. Join the party here: https://join.greenparty.org.uk/