Interview with Frank Sheridan – GPEx international coordinator candidate
Throughout August, members of the Green Party for England & Wales will be voting to elect members of the next Green Party Executive (GPEx). In all, members will vote to determine which representatives will carry out eleven different roles – including that of leader and deputy leader. There is also a ballot to determine who will be the party’s third member in the House of Lords should the party be asked to put forward another peer.
2019 Doncaster Central candidate Frank Sheridan is standing for international coordinator. They will face the job share team of Alice Hubbard & Sam Murray, the job share team of Alex Horn and Erwin Schaefer and Claudine Letsae.
We asked each of the candidates five questions on their background and what they would seek to achieve on GPEx. Here are Frank’s responses.
What do you think are the main challenges currently facing the Green Party, and how would you work to overcome them?
Focus. We need to create a narrative, with a sense of urgency and hope, that combines our social, economic and environmental justice commitments, in a way that creates a better sense of harmony in the party, and is digestible to the public at large. When I talk, campaign and act for environmental issues, people know I am also discussing social and economic issues (and vice versa), and all people can feel they are a part of our movement, and we can all participate in positive change (believe me, I’ve even done this in Doncaster). To be a Green is to be non-judgemental, compassionate, understanding, hopeful and doggedly determined in fighting for a fairer and healthier world. Being Green isn’t politics, it’s human.
At the international level, we lack recognition for our hard work, and we are not leveraging our international muscle anywhere near enough. A lot of countries have a Green Party of some form, and there is a universalism to green values. In being a Green, by definition, we understand that we are part of a beautiful and complex humano-planetary ecosystem, and that we are enacting this in our communities. We are facing a desperately crucial time. We need the new energy I will bring at the international level, one with focus and leadership, that can unite international Greens, and others, to achieve a Green recovery and success at COP26.
What skills do you bring that would make you an effective member of the executive?
Energy, experience, diplomacy, positivity and determination.
I have worked at the international climate conference level and understand what is required to prepare and deliver at this large, complex moments, with many voices and activities occurring at once. I’ve been living and working abroad for most of my career. I’m a network development specialist – able to leverage connections and skills for success. I’m a communications specialist – able to collaborate, convince and galvanise, and I’m an education and facilitation specialist – very experienced at developing people to give their absolute best.
What background do you have in doing international work for the Green Party?
I’ve spent the past 15 years working with various local Green groups internationally wherever I’ve lived, from South America, North Africa, South Asia and Far Asia. I’ve experience of working for large climate networks at the UNFCCC COP’s. I’ve a huge amount of experience working cross-nationally, cross-organisationally and multi-culturally. I’m a new kid on the block for Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) International, but I will bring much-needed new vision, energy, abilities and experiences to the Party. It’s exciting!!
How do you see the Green Party of England and Wales fitting in to international politics post-Brexit?
We have to work extremely hard to redefine ourselves internationally – and we are uniquely positioned to do this as an international party – as part of a family of parties. As someone who lives abroad a lot (I’m writing this from Italy), I can honestly say that people are absolutely incredulous at what happened with Brexit, and the perception of the UK has been utterly diminished. But when people speak with me, they understand that good, fair, British values still very much exist, and they understand the nuance behind the outcome.
As GPEW, we must live and champion internationalism like never before. We need to work to overcome a fractured international stage, and both represent and act with a sense of urgency and hope to work together, transnationally, cross-organisationally and unite a myriad of groups to build a crashing Green wave that will radically alter our creaking and breaking systems, and create a fair, sustainable world for all.
That is my pledge as international coordinator.
How would you strengthen the Green Party’s international links?
By thinking out of the box. We have an existing international network. We must ensure this is working as efficiently as possible, and that skills, experience and successes are shared effectively. There must be better communication and resource-sharing. I also want to ‘twin-town’ all local Green Parties to create a new web of interaction, energy, solidarity and support that spans the world. Next, we need to go past politics and unite all Green, green, environmental, social justice, youth, indigenous, and more groups from all around the world. With my background and experience, I’m uniquely positioned to do this.
And internationally, there are two ‘moments’ we must unite around, and that will have local and domestic impacts too.
First, we must ALL be fighting for a Green Recovery to the pandemic, in each of our countries, in all of our communities, so let’s join up on this! This is vital, and will be a rallying call that builds the pathways to a sustainable 21st Century. Secondly, we must all unite around action at COP26. This COP could not be more important. There HAS to be a result here. With the UK hosting with Italy, we are in a unique position to rally international movements, and shine a burning spotlight on the UK to ensure there is radical success at COP26.
Our future, and our lives, literally depend on this.
This interview is part of a series with each of the candidates in this year’s GPEx elections. You can find Bright Green’s full coverage of the elections here.
PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.