A tale of two mayors – UK Green news round up week 7
Sian Berry announced as Green Party candidate for London Mayor
After a long selection process, Siân Berry – the co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales – was selected to fight the 2020 London Mayoral election for the Greens. Berry received 77% of the first preference votes, and defeated three other candidates in the process.
Berry was also selected to be the lead candidate for the list vote in the London Assembly elections. She is joined on the list by 10 others. Caroline Russell, Zack Polanski and Benali Hamdache making up the top 4.
Upon her victory, Berry said:
This is the most exciting slate of candidates that the Greens have ever put forward for these elections – I’ve worked with many of these amazing, diverse, experienced, passionate, young, talented people – and Greens at last are starting to represent the real diversity of our amazing city – in our people and in the issues we are known for achieving on too.
Our record over the past two decades at delivering for Londoners can only grow with more of these brilliant people in City Hall in the Green Group of Assembly Members.
I can’t wait to start campaigning with all of them and continuing to cement our status as London’s third party.
Magid Magid confirms he’s saying goodbye to Sheffield City Council
While this week saw the selection of one mayoral candidate, it also saw an already sitting Green mayor inform us that he won’t be seeking re-election. Magid Magid explained that he won’t be standing in the local elections in May.
Speaking to the press, Magid said:
As a result and after a lot of deliberation, I have decided not to put myself forward for selection as a candidate for the council elections in May.
Regardless of what I do post-May I will always have my community and Sheffield at the heart of it.
I look forward to working hard as a ward councillor and Lord Mayor for the remaining months of my term. No thanks could be enough to give to all you wonderful people for all your love and support.
Magid’s standing down will be a major blow to the Greens. Since his inauguration as Lord Mayor of Sheffield, he has shot into the political spotlight. In the process, he has become one of England’s most prominent and well known Green Party politicians.
Malachai O’Hara takes on gay conversion therapy
Green Party in Northern Ireland North Belfast rep Malachai O’Hara this week took action against a Belfast church for its promotion of gay conversion therapy. O’Hara joined protesters at the Townsend Presbyterian Church, and hit out at a “damaging” film screening they were hosting.
My particular concern is that by agreeing to show this film, Townsend Church are offering tacit support to the idea that being gay can be prayed away. This is a dangerous and damaging message particularly for the LGBT people that may be part of that congregation. It’s also a ridiculous message – one as silly as the notion that being heterosexual can be prayed away.”
I authored a report in 2013 identifying that one in four LGBT people in Northern Ireland had a previous experience of a suicide attempt. The World Health organisation is clear that addressing suicide and poorer mental health amongst LGBT people requires addressing societal prejudice.
This film reinforces the idea that LGBT people are somewhat lesser or that their orientation or gender is inherently ‘wrong’ and that exacerbates level of risk.
Greens throw support behind striking schoolchildren
This week, the international schoolchildren’s strike swept the UK. On Friday, thousands of students took part in strikes across the country.
And the Green Party came out in strong support for the strikes. Green Party of England and Wales Deputy Leader Amelia Womack wrote an endorsement article for Green World. In the article, she wrote:
The young people of this country are not going to stand idly by while their future is taken away from them. They are rising up and they are taking action. Now it’s for our leaders to take notice. Climate change is not inevitable, but to stop it, we need to take radical action – starting right now.
Green Member of the Scottish Parliament Ross Greer addressed the strike rally in Glasgow:
— Scottish Greens (@scotgp) February 16, 2019
And the leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland Clare Bailey called the strikes “inspiring”:
It’s inspiring to see young people striking to highlight climate breakdown and demanding immediate action.
This strike belongs to the young people and gives them a voice on the lives they want to live, their planet, their future. There is no question that governments at home and across the world have let our young people down through a failure to acknowledge and address climate breakdown.
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