Stop…. hustings time! – Green Party leadership election round up issue 3
This article is part of a weekly round up of news in the Green Party of England and Wales’ 2021 leadership election. Every Monday until voting closes Bright Green will be bringing you a summary of all the twists and turns in the campaign.
Leadership candidates face first hustings
Voting will open in the Green Party’s leadership election in three day’s time. Members are now getting a clearer sense of what the candidates are offering as hustings have begun to take place.
The first of these took place on August 23. While cordial for the most part, there was clear disagreement between candidates on trans rights, progressive alliances and antisemitism. You can read a summary of the hustings here.
This was followed by a similar hustings three days later for the Yorkshire and Humber Green Party. As is often the case with these things, the second hustings was in much the same ilk.
There will be plenty of opportunities for members to ask questions of the candidates, with more hustings in the pipeline. On Thursday September 2, there will be a more public facing debate hosted by LBC.
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond release liberation manifesto
It’s not just through hustings that members are learning more about the candidates’ platforms, however. The candidates are continuing to release detail on what they’re promising to deliver.
Among the big announcements this week was Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond’s vision for liberation within the party. Branded a “liberation manifesto”, the pair made a range of commitments. These included pledges to:
- establish a panel of representatives from the party’s liberation groups to advise the leaders
- develop a programme of education within the party on issues facing Jewish, Roma, LGBTQIA+, refugee, women’s, disabled and BME people
- strengthening internal processes – including the disciplinary procedure – to tackle hate speech within the party
Writing on the manifesto in Left Foot Forward, Womack said that this was about “supporting people to learn”. She wrote:
Supporting people to learn is something that happens over time, and Tamsin and I are committed to enabling this process throughout our leadership. At the same time, though, we know that urgent action is needed to diversify our party and put an end to what we sadly know to be a culture of transphobia existing within some pockets of the party. We need to improve our disciplinary process to ensure that hate speech is properly addressed and held accountable – or we risk seeing passionate activists pushed away from the party by transphobia or other forms of bigotry.
Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay set out their plans for tackling discrimination in the party
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond weren’t alone in setting out their plans to tackle discrimination within the party this week. Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay did the same.
Striking a similar note to their opponents, the pair wrote in Pink News that they “believe political education has a huge role to play.” In their article, Denyer and Ramsay said they wanted to work with liberation groups within the party to run training and education sessions that “help our members understand each other”. They wrote:
Currently the UK is in the grip of too many bitter culture wars and the Green Party is sadly not immune. Trans people now face bigotry and vilification in their everyday lives. Misinformation and false fears stoked on social media, in our political parties and in the press are so harmful and divisive.
As leaders we would see it as part of our responsibility to fix this. To fight for equality and champion social justice, as much as we champion environmental justice. We believe political education has a huge role to play. Giving people the space to hear LGBTIQA+ voices and experiences.
Three candidates have in-depth interview with Bright Green
As part of the extensive coverage Bright Green is offering of this year’s leadership election, we’re interviewing the candidates over on our YouTube channel. First up was Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay. We spoke to them about their vision for the party, their understanding of a Green New Deal, tackling transphobia and much more.
Next, we spoke to Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond. They covered how they want to win more MPs, why they think the party should have big ambitions and who they think the Green Party can be appealing to.
Finally, we interviewed Ashley Gunstock. Among other things, he implied that he was best placed to lead the party because he is a white cisgender man.
Bright Green is hoping to interview the remaining two candidates.
Tina Rothery and Martin Hemingway set out vision in interview with London Green Left blog
Bright Green aren’t the only ones that have been interviewing candidates this week. The London Green Left blog published an extensive interview with Tina Rothery and Martin Hemingway.
Throughout the interview, the pair made clear that they wanted to focus their energy on fighting the climate crisis. Rothery said that their priorities if elected as co-leaders would be “working to save all life on earth and preserving and enhancing the natural systems that will nurture it”, and Hemingway argued their leadership “would seek bring the Party together to tackle the climate emergency we are facing”. Later, when asked about how she thought the Greens’ should be positioning itself in the run up to the next general election, Rothery said “we are the ONLY Party that tells the truth on climate, that holds the government to account and doesn’t shy away from being honest for the sake of votes”.
Elsewhere in the interview, the pair were asked about the dispute in the party in which a minority of members have sought to overturn the Greens’ position in support of trans rights. Rothery said that this was “the cause of deeply damaging division, huge upset and anger within our membership”. She added, “it’s a matter of urgency that we put a plan in place and enact it, before more harm is done to individuals and Party reputation”. Hemingway’s solution reiterated his call for a “member’s assembly” on trans rights, to bring together “different positions on the spectrum of the debate”. He said:
in the best tradition of such assemblies that selects participants at random from the entire membership; that checks on current views on a set of questions, that seeks expert informants from different positions on the spectrum of the debate, and concerned with different aspects of the debate, and that seeks to produce a document that agrees what that policy means in detail.
More people show support Womack-Omond and Denyer-Ramsay
Endorsements are still flooding in for this year’s leadership election. This week saw another flurry of people both within and outside of the party expressing support for the various leadership contenders.
Early in the week, model and actor Cara Delevingne shared an endorsement for Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond on her Instagram story. Womack and Omond have also received the backing of more Green Party Councillors this week, including Brighton & Hove Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty and Burnley Councillor Andy Fewings.
Meanwhile, Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay have been backed by former Wales Green Party deputy leader Mirka Virtanen. Councillors who have come out to support Denyer and Ramsay include Brighton & Hove’s Amy Heley and East Suffolk’s Elfrede Brambley-Cranshaw.
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond rack up more interviews
In their Vice interview, the pair reiterated one of their core campaign messages – tackling discrimination and diversifying the party. Omond said they believed that Green Party members wanted an “anti-transphobic” leadership. They said:
The Green Party that I know and that I’ve been a part of for ten years is young, progressive, and excited to work for change, and they want a leadership that is anti-transphobic. More than that, the country needs a Green Party that is clearly signposting its anti-transphobia, that is standing alongside marginalised and oppressed people and saying, we will build a political machine that is able to take power so that we don’t leave anyone behind in this time of massive vulnerability. The climate crisis is one such vulnerability.
Womack added that this work would see them “promoting diverse voices”. She said:
We want to ensure that we’re working at listening to and promoting diverse voices. For me, a lot of that work is about removing the barriers as to why people don’t engage in politics. So one of the things that I’ve done in the past is ring fencing money during general elections for diverse candidates to stand because there are so many barriers as to why they can’t.
In The London Ecomonic the pair emphasised their vision for the party as one of radical social justice. Womack said:
The Greens have to be that bold voice standing up for those nurses on the frontline of the pandemic and putting policies like a Universal Basic Income in place to ensure we are addressing the biggest issues of our time.
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