Caroline vs. Gimli – UK Green news round up week 17
Caroline Lucas takes part in fiery Question Time debate
This week, Green MP Caroline Lucas was a panellist on Question Time. The show saw a range of topics discussed, including climate change and Brexit. Naturally, Lucas performed well on the former, praising the international school strikes movement and pushing for more government action:
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) April 25, 2019
But while Lucas made strong contributions throughout the show, and came out on top of many of the discussions, the programme will likely be most remembered for the extraordinary performance from John Rhys-Davies. The actor, known for his performance in Lord of the Rings as Gimli, and for his extreme right-wing views made a number of much derided interventions in the discussion. One, directed at Lucas was described as ‘aggressive’ and ‘sexist’ by many – including prominent Greens.
Young Greens co-chair Rosie Rawle condemned the “vile” Rhys-Davies:
…what an absolutely outrageous and vile man. pic.twitter.com/dXSdoY16WZ
— Rosie Rawle (@rosierawle) April 25, 2019
And Green candidate for the South East in the European elections – Vix Lowthion – praised Lucas’ composure and suggested Rhys-Davies’ contribution was characteristic of behaviour of men throughout society:
Full slate of Green European election candidates announced
There’s less than a month until European parliamentary elections. Saving some miraculous change of heart from parliament on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the UK is set to participate in them. And the UK’s Green Parties have now finalised their lists of candidates for them.
In the South East Brighton & Hove councillor Alex Phillips is top of the list. Phillips has been a longstanding Green activist, and stood to be the Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader in 2012. Phillips is joined by Elise Benjamin, a former Lord Mayor of Oxford as well as Vix Lowthion, the party’s General Election candidate in the Isle of Wight in 2015 and 2017. Also on the list are Bernie Sanders’ brother Larry and convener of the Green group on Brighton & Hove council Phelim Mac Cafferty.
In London, Lambeth councillor Scott Ainslie tops the list. He’s joined by Gulnar Hasnain and former deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Shahrar Ali. All three have also been selected to be on the Greens’ list for the London assembly.
Molly Scott Cato is the only sitting Green MEP that is re-standing this time around. She heads up the Green ticket in the South West. She’s also joined by Lord Mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake, along with Lake’s fellow Bristol councillor Carla Denyer.
The most talked about Green candidate is in Yorkshire and Humber. The infamous Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid is the lead Green candidate there. He’s also joined by Sheffield councillor Alison Teal who has made a name for herself through her role in campaigning against Labour’s tree felling in the city. The twice defeated deputy leader candidate Andrew Cooper joins them on the list as the third candidate.
Both Scotland and Northern Ireland also have prominent figures heading up their campaigns. In Scotland, Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener is once again the lead candidate. In Northern Ireland, the rumoured candidacy of Green Party in Northern Ireland leader Clare Bailey was confirmed this week.
Gina Dowding was selected as the North West’s lead candidate a few weeks ago. Last week, Catherine Rowett was chosen to fight the elections in the Eastern region, pipping Rupert Read to the lead candidacy. A 2014 Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader candidate Kat Boettge tops the list in the East Midlands. Ellie Chowns is the lead candidate in the West Midlands. The North East have put Rachel Featherstone at the top of the list. And Wales Green Party leader Anthony Slaughter is the lead candidate in Wales.
Molly Scott Cato slams media approach to the European elections
Now that candidates have been selected, not just for Greens but for other parties too, the campaign for the European parliamentary elections has begun in earnest. Unsurprisingly, the level of media coverage for the Greens has come under criticism.
Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has been at the forefront of putting forward this criticism. Specifically, Scott Cato has called out the extensive coverage given to Brexit Party and Change UK candidates in the South West of England. Scott Cato tweeted:
Airwaves have been full of Rachel Johnson and Ann Widdecombe, both standing for parties with no MEPs
What are the broadcasting impartiality guidelines worth if they aren’t enforced?
— Molly Scott Cato MEP (@MollyMEP) April 25, 2019
This isn’t the first time Greens have hit out at the level of broadcast coverage of their election campaigning. In 2015, broadcasters threatened to exclude the Greens from their TV debates. An online campaign then kicked off, including a 280,000 signature strong petition demanding the Greens be invited. Subsequently, Green Parties in the UK experienced a “green surge” with membership figures sky-rocketing, and the Greens shooting up in the polls.
Greens play a key role in new campaign for Scottish independence
This week Nicola Sturgeon set out the Scottish Government’s position on a second independence referendum, in light of the ongoing Brexit debacle. However, this wasn’t the only major development in the movement for Scottish independence to take place in the last seven days.
A new pro-independence group – Voices for Scotland – was launched. The group is independent of political parties and intends to actively work on converting voters who opted against independence in 2014.
It comprises people from a range of political backgrounds – including Greens. Scottish Green Party co-convener, as well as Bright Green co-founder and openDemocracy UK co-editor Adam Ramsay will both be on its board.
Sian Berry calls out Lib Dem lies on Politics Live
Although largely confined to the depths of #FBPE twitter, much has been made of the failure of pro-remain parties to create an electoral alliance in the run up to the European elections. Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable had previously alleged that Change UK and the Greens had rejected his offer of collaboration.
But appearing on Politics Live Green Party of England and Wales co-leader put to bed the rumours of this offer. Speaking on the show, Berry stated that Vince Cable “did not” approach the Greens for collaboration:
Why are Remain-supporting parties not working together?
Green Party co-leader Sian Berry on claims Lib Dem leader Vince Cable approached her party for EU election joint lists: “He did not – not a true thing”#politicslive https://t.co/RfvKkTgQP4 pic.twitter.com/MKoAOFzsoh
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 26, 2019
Berry also made clear that not only was an alliance not explored, it was not desirable, explaining that the Greens held little in common with the other remain parties. She also explained that the Greens are the only party entering the 2019 European elections that want to remain in the European, end austerity and take strong action on climate change.
Green local election campaign enters final stages
Local elections are taking place in England and the north of Ireland on May 2. This week, Greens have been entering the final stages of their election campaigns. Local parties are fighting hard for every vote.
In Hove, former Young Green co-chair is pushing to win a seat on the formerly Green run council:
In Reading, the South East Young Greens packed out the streets to campaign to increase the number of Greens on Reading Borough Council:
Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader Amelia Womack is in Sheffield today helping out with the Sheffield Greens’ campaign and motivating volunteers:
Speaking now @HagglersCorner to our campaigners, @Amelia_Womack – getting #Greens elected changes how councils operate. More @TheGreenParty councillors means even more change. #VoteGreen2019 pic.twitter.com/5qSnrhz0yr
— Sheffield Greens (@SheffieldGreens) April 28, 2019
And Green Party in Northern Ireland deputy leader Malachai O’Hara has been out campaigning to get elected to Belfast City Council:
✅✅ #GreenMeans Grassroots ✅✅
Session 2 with these superstars. Covering ever more ground in Castle in the final days of our campaign. So grateful for the support from these people. Peter makes 42. on the streets.
Give us 2 hours & make history by electing a Green in Castle. pic.twitter.com/lrtN9hdY5e
— Vote O’Hara #1 in Castle (@oharamal) April 26, 2019
Bright Green is running a series of previews of the local elections. We’ve already published previews for the Eastern region and the South East, with the rest of the country soon to follow. On polling day and May 3, we’ll be running a live blog bringing you all the latest news of the local elections and the fate of Green and progressive candidates.