Why I’m backing Amelia Womack for re-election
So, here we have it, the final few days of voting in The Green Party leadership and executive elections. Admittedly, due to recent events, I’m sure many of us haven’t given the contest the attention that it deserves, but it is essential that we all cast our vote and have our say. We face big choices in many categories, but I want to focus on one of the most highly contested positions, that of deputy leader. In this piece, I will be laying out why I am backing Amelia Womack for deputy leader.
So why Amelia?
The first reason is, simply put, Amelia Womack is the reason I joined this party. It was her media appearances, in the lead up to the 2015 general election, which drew in so many young people to the party, and it was her work going to universities that formed the very basis of the Green Surge. I first saw Amelia speak in February 2015, at national Student Pride, and she was fantastic; when I got home from that weekend, the first thing I did was to resign my Labour party membership and join the Greens. It’s not just me, either. So many people I ask have similar stories: our party has grown exponentially over the last 18 months and Amelia has formed the bedrock of that growth.
Secondly, she provides a link between younger members and the party leadership. Amelia was first elected deputy leader at the age of just 29! She was still a member of the young Greens at the time, meaning that she has been able to give a crucial voice to younger party members within the leadership. While also showing younger members where a commitment to green ideals and to the party can take you. Amelia, in her media and speaking appearances, is best placed to draw in younger members and encourage them to get more involved. She’s someone we can relate to, she’s passionate, and she’s inspiring.
Thirdly, Amelia has been incredibly hard working, she has been involved in so much, and this has helped to greatly enhance the standing of the party. Recently, Amelia played a pivotal role in setting up the ‘Another Europe is possible’ campaign. It is our involvement with this campaign which has once again seen our membership surging; Amelia deserves great credit for helping to found a campaign which attempted to layout arguments for the positive impact of EU migration: the fact we were at the forefront of making this argument has helped us to attract new members.
A nod to continuity
Change is good; we are, after all, a party campaigning for radical change. However, all change needs to be managed and gradual; it is important not to lose ground behind you as you search for more in front. On that note, there is something to be said for having some degree of continuity within your leadership. This doesn’t mean you don’t change leaders, and it doesn’t mean you elect someone purely on the basis of continuity. However, Natalie’s decision not to stand means that regardless of who is elected leader, we will see a change. With this in mind, it makes sense to keep some form of continuity, someone recognisable, within our leadership. Continuity enables us to manage the rate of change and allows us to keep some form of familiarity within our media profile. Amelia has, over the past few years, built a profile leading to her being one of the more recognisable Green faces, both inside and outside the party. Therefore, in a time of change her presence will remain familiar to potential voters, as a known quantity. This, of course, may prove to be very significant in the event of a snap general election; this being something we should both plan and campaign for.
Further, by our constitution, we have mandatory leadership elections every two years. This is, of course, a good thing; it offers us a chance to review our decisions and ensures that our elected leaders maintain a mandate to represent our party. However, in terms of developing a long-term plan to take the party forward, two years is a very short period of time. Over the past few years, we have seen a convention emerge; our leaders (notably not deputies) have served two terms before stepping down. This convention allows leaders to form longer-term plans, which, of course, aids the long-term development of the party. Primarily, it has allowed voters to become familiar with the main faces of the party, which is valuable in terms of our electoral chances. We should look to establish the same convention among our deputies. Two years is, in many cases, not enough time for anyone to properly show what they can do. This doesn’t mean I am calling for a change in the constitution, I’m not; I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t be too hasty to unseat an incumbent after only one term, particularly not someone as eminently competent as Amelia.
An eye to the future
I’ve already made note of Amelia’s age, but another benefit of her tender years is that Amelia can continue to be seen as the future of this party. I, along with many others, encouraged Amelia to run for the leadership in this election. Sadly, she declined to do so. However, this hasn’t changed my belief; Amelia Womack would make a fantastic candidate for Green Party leader, in future. This is worth considering when we vote: keeping Amelia as deputy not only allows us to continue benefiting from her skills, it enables her to continue to develop them. It is, of course, to the benefit of us all to have someone young who has not only the skills but also the experience to lead us in future.
Alongside this, it is worth considering the regional diversity Amelia brings to the leadership. Sharing her residence between Wales and London she is able to ensure proper representation of the Welsh contingent of our party within the executive. This is particularly significant, as Alice Hooker-Stroud, the leader of the Welsh Greens, continues to decline to take up her GPEx position.
The task ahead for us is clear. We need to continue to offer a radical alternative to austerity while fighting for both social and environmental justice. The best way in which we can do that is to ensure that we have a strong voice, while also seeking to expand our elected representation. Amelia can help us to do that, she has a voice and she makes it heard. In case it wasn’t already clear, I’ll be voting Amelia Womack for deputy leader of The Green Party: care to join me?
A full list of election candidates can be found here. If you’ve decided who you are voting for for one of the positions and would like a chance to explain why, send a pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org