Bright Green’s guide to the Green Party Executive (GPEx) elections 2015
With elections for the Green Party Executive (GPEx) coming up next month, here is Bright Green’s exclusive guide to the election and the candidates standing!
GPEx meets around 10 times a year, and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Green Party of England and Wales. The positions open for election are the following: Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator, Policy Development Co-ordinator, Finance Co-ordinator, Internal Communications Co-ordinator, Publications Co-ordinator, and Local Party Support Co-ordinator.
We have asked all of the candidates standing to give a brief statement about themselves, why they’d be good for the position, and what their vision is for the role. They have all responded and you can find their statements below, along with links to their websites and social media accounts.
Voting will be conducted both online and by mail. It will open on Monday 3rd August, and will end on Friday 28th August (with the last post for postal ballots, and by noon for online ballots). All members of the Green Party of England and Wales will receive information about the ballot by email or post once voting opens.
All of the candidates’ emails can be accessed here (Green Party members only).
Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator
Charlene Concepcion and Manishta Sunnia (job share)
We are dedicated Green Party activists with a commitment to equality and diversity. We must ensure everyone has fair and equal access to engagement and that we support members to take a lead. Equality and diversity should run through everything the Green Party does.
Manishta is a member of the Equalities & Diversity Committee. She has worked on improving party policy, delivered training and founded Greens of Colour.
Charlene is a member of Conferences Committee working to make Conference more inclusive and accessible. On Young Greens National Committee she oversaw huge growth whilst organising activist training days, 30 under 30 weekends and handling complaints.
We want to:
1. Develop and implement an Equality & Diversity strategy: We will listen to members and work with relevant committees to identify gaps and understand how to improve. Our plan focuses on diverse areas & supporting local parties to retain and engage members.
2. Support self-organised groups e.g. Disability Group & Green Party Women: We will promote these groups and ensure they are well-resourced & trained. We also want to see class represented along with other self-organised groups.
3. Ensure local and regional support: We will create practical guidance on making local parties more inclusive and accessible, including facilitating peer support opportunities for exchanging ideas.
4. Diversify our national and international voice: We will ensure the party is outspoken on its progressive policies and empower self-organised groups to be vocal.
Please elect Charlene and Manishta as your 1st choice for Equality & Diversity Coordinator.
I am a trade unionist who has moved from being a branch secretary to an employed officer with UNISON and now with Royal College of Nursing. I have spent all my adult life striving for a society that is fairer and respects all regardless of differences we all have.
Unfortunately we still live in a society where women, those from BME or LGBT communities, the disabled and religious groups face discrimination due to lack of understanding. The list goes on to include many others who are not treated as equals because of some aspect of their lives or culture.
The Green Party has a range of excellent policies on equality and diversity and I want to get out to all local groups to support us building relationships with our wider communities and helping to break down barriers that cause prejudice in others.
In May I became the first parliamentary candidate to be open about my AIDS diagnosis in an attempt to reduce the stigma and if elected I will be proactive in ensuring the Green Party continues to put equality and diversity at the heart of all it does and build that effort to be an inclusive and diverse party.
Policy Development Co-ordinator
Samantha Pancheri and Sam Riches (job share)
We’ve both had a lot of experience in the arena of Green Party policy, with Sam R working as Policy Development Coordinator for the past 18 months, and Sam P as a party spokesperson since January. We each had input into the 2015 General Election manifesto, which was acclaimed by many, both within and outside the party, as the strongest ever. Sam R previously served on Lancashire County Council, and was involved in the successful campaign against fracking in the county. Sam P is a newer party member, but very quickly got involved with her local party in Milton Keynes, and is now a Parish councillor.
Our experiences and discussions with other members have given us a sense of the potential for improving the methods for forming and managing our policies, and we are very excited about combining our experience and enthusiasm to rejuvenate our policy process.
The Green Surge was an exhilarating time for the party, and now that we have almost 70,000 members it’s vital that we reassess our procedures to make sure that our policies are soundly based and well written whilst the democratic ethos we value so highly is still central to our process. Our policy process needs to be truly accessible to all our members and also produce positions that are defensible in the media. We will use the outputs of the recent online consultation to inform these changes, and we aim to see many more members engaging with creating policies of which we can be proud.
I’ve been a member of the Party since 2010 and Treasurer of the Yorkshire and Humber Region for the last couple of years. I was co-opted onto GPEx as Finance Co-ordinator last year.
I have spent much of my working life in the third sector, working for various charities and community organisations. I set up Co-wheels CIC, a social enterprise car club provider, in 2008 and steered this environmentally focused organisation to a strong position before stepping down in 2014. I volunteer at my local Citizens Advice Bureau one day a week. This helps keeps me aware of the difficulties faced by people at individual and community levels.
I currently work as Business and Finance Manager with a charity which aims to enhance the life chances of BAME people by tackling discrimination and developing potential through vocational training, education and career opportunities.
If elected as Finance Co-ordinator my priorities will include:
- Safeguarding the long term financial stability of the party
- Supporting effective governance of the party and accountability to members.
- Ensuring donations to the party are in line with our ethos, ethics and rules.
- Working with others to explore and promote ways to make the party more representative of society.
Internal Communications Co-ordinator
I’m standing for Internal Communications Coordinator because I passionately believe the Green Party is at a break-through moment. So many people desperately need a voice to stand up for them, and we have the opportunity to truly change politics forever. I want to give everyone in the Party the tools to get involved, and a voice in what we do.
As the Co-Chair of the Young Greens for nearly 2 years, I’ve supported our growth from 1,300 members to 23,000+. With so many new members across the Party it’s going to be vital to make sure everybody can get involved.
I want to look at all existing internal communications and see how we can be more engaging. I want to work alongside Greens of Colour, Green Women, Green Disability Group, Young Greens, Green Seniors, the Trade Union Group and others to make sure our communications are accessible and representative.
To have good internal communications means we need good tools – I want to re-look at the usability of the members’ website, the accessibility of Green Activist, and the mismatch between local, regional and national communications.
I believe that with effective internal communications we can increase our activism and involve thousands more.
Have you ever joined an organization only to feel you are not really a proper part of it due to no one wanting to communicate with you? I am standing for the Internal Communications Coordinator as I believe that I can make a difference in the way the Green Party communicates.
I work in Web Design and I understand the need for alternative communication formats having worked with people who use languages other than English. Equality in the way we support the members of the Green Party is essential and an equal level of communications is an essential part of equality.
I support the use of, amongst other languages, Easy Read format, British Sign Language videos, audio files and the Welsh language in all communications. I recognize that I am not expert in all the languages that we need to use but would work with others who use the languages that we need to communicate in, I often have to do this in my day job.
In the last year I have been working hard to get accessibility of communications for all members of the Green Party, this is a basic right for anyone.
Fiona Costello and Jennifer Marklew (job share)
Have you had a leaflet through your door or handed to you and thought, “Yes! That’s a great leaflet”?
We’re Fiona and Jenny, and we want to put those leaflets in your hands and through the doors of millions of people. We are standing for publications co-ordinators and we have lots of ideas about what we’d like to do.
Supporting local parties should be at the heart of what we do. Jenny is very involved in her local party, standing in local elections and at the general election in Milton Keynes North. We will create a dedicated space that is easy to find and accessible, containing templates and style guides amongst other things for local parties and members enabling them to create high quality publications of their own.
We will also work closely with the other people to improve the accessibility to our publications. This would include multiple formats and languages, as well as targeted leaflets for groups like young people and trade union members. Fiona has a lot of experience of working within the party on a national and international level, being a member of the Young Greens National Executive Committee (helping them grow from 1,800 to over 23,000 members) and working in Brussels as project officer and deputy finance officer for the Green European Foundation.
Our publications have the power to reach people. Let’s enable local parties to create great leaflets, and then let’s take a step further and create publications that will help us create real change!
A strategic, inclusive approach to print and online publications can help strengthen the Green Party’s relationships with existing supporters and reach new audiences. We have fantastic, important things to say to all sections of society, from those in power to communities suffering under austerity measures.
Listening is as important as telling. We can use our communication channels to give voice to people who have points to make and questions to ask.
I have over 30 years’ experience in print and digital publishing, initially as a journalist for national and international news organisations, including the Guardian, Observer, BBC World Service and Time Magazine. I launched Red Pepper magazine and worked for Channel 4 Television, before holding senior communication and campaigning roles with Amnesty International, Oxfam, Unicef and University of the Arts London, among others.
I was the Green Party 2015 General Election candidate for Tottenham and came third with 9.2% of the votes. We collaborated with other London Green Parties around common issues, such as disability, housing, race, immigration and international affairs.
As an active member of Camden Greens, I convened a new social media group and am London Fed Representative. I have leadership experience in local, national and international organisations.
Local Party Support Co-ordinator
Hello, I’m Alan Borgars, I’m 24 years old, I live in Ware, I have autism, and I have been an active Green Party member since September 2012. I have stood in local elections for the Green Party three times, twice in Welwyn Hatfield in 2013 and 2014 , and also in East Hertfordshire in 2015. I was also the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hemel Hempstead in the 2015 general election.
I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a degree in psychology in 2014 and since I graduated, I have been working as a note-taker for students with disabilities in Cambridge and London, and also as an exam invigilator in London.
I believe you should vote for me to be Local Party Support Coordinator because I have been Hertfordshire County Coordinator on behalf of Eastern Region Green Party since October 2014, and also because I helped revive East Hertfordshire Green Party in the same year. If you elect me as Local Party Support Coordinator, my main promises will be to ensure that every area in England and Wales will have its own local Green Party and to help smaller local Green Parties to get more equitable and fair support nationally.
I’m a green socialist, passionate about human and animal rights. I was a Green Councillor and South Thanet parliamentary candidate in the May elections. During the 1990s I was a Labour Councillor and served on my trade union national executive.
I’m married with 3 daughters. I used to manage Thanet Citizens Advice Bureau but gave up work to care for my autistic daughter. I love music, am learning to play the guitar and to DJ.
I believe in open government and campaigned against secrecy at Thanet Council, resulting in me being gagged by a High Court injunction. I’m a campaigner against the barbaric export of live farm animals from Ramsgate Port and campaign against fracking and other threats to our environment.
I’m standing for the executive because I want to work with members to turn the Green Party into the major centre-left political force in England and Wales. By focusing on community campaigning in our villages, towns and counties we can continue to grow in size and influence and present a powerful and credible alternative to the establishment parties and their discredited politics of austerity.
It’s happening in Scotland, Greece and Spain so why not here?
When a local party is active, exciting and well run, it can engage new members and keep activists busy working locally for years. I joined the Green Party because I want to see a sustainable environment and a fair society. With strong and active local groups we can campaign against fracking and TTIP, protect the NHS, and end austerity. My local party is my first port of call for my activism, where I go to get involved.
The skills I learnt from mobilising Young Greens to come to Brighton to get Caroline Lucas re-elected, I will put into getting activists out for campaigns. The experience I have gained from working on regional and national committees supporting local groups, has given me the ability to support local parties and help the fantastic current groups with the new challenges of the next 5 years.
Key Manifesto Points:
1. Expansion: Supporting new parties to develop year round activities to build towards regular election activity.
2. Mobilisation: More funding for regional and local parties, for staff and campaigns.
3. Retention: Skill matching our Green Surge members on a local and regional level to empower new members to keep them active.