Vix Lowthion

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.

Current Green Party education spokesperson and three times parliamentary candidate for the Isle of Wight Vix Lowthion is standing for policy development coordinator. This August, she’ll be going up against Mick Gregg, Liam McClelland and the job share team of Peter Sims and Sam Alston.

We asked each of the candidates five questions on their background and what they would seek to achieve on GPEx. Here are Vix’s responses:

What do you think are the main challenges currently facing the Green Party, and how would you work to overcome them?

Whilst we confront a range of challenges in terms of harmonious working together, practical and financial pressures, the most important task ahead is to get more Greens elected. That is our primary purpose as a party – to achieve power and influence and to tackle the social and environmental crises we are facing.

Electoral strategies and campaigns and publications are vital to achieve this, but they are peripheral if we do not have the policies and strength of ideas to convince the voters that we are the best alternative. There is no more important position than Policy Development Co-ordinator to ensure that our policies remain robust, contemporary and progressive in order to properly equip our spokespeople and leadership team to give the Green Party the platform and direction we need.

The party membership have all the power to direct and change our policies, but without clear strategy and co-ordination we can lose our purpose and also lose critical opportunities for our spokespeople to put forward our Green agenda. It is this strength of purpose, attention to detail and working across disciplines and interests which I offer to help us overcome our challenges.

What skills do you bring that would make you an effective member of the executive?

With my experience as a spokesperson and candidate I am in a unique position to understand and bridge the external and internal workings of the Party – which is critical to supporting the development of good policies. As a member of GPEX I would take the responsibility seriously to prepare and inform myself for the issues at hand, the confidence to challenge and the compassion to support the needs of all members.

I have not been involved in GPEX before, nor stood for an internal election until now. It is crucial that GPEX has members who have a range of experience as local party officers, spokespeople and campaigners in order to make decisions which can make a difference for all party members and across all the regions.

What background do you have in the Green Party’s policy development process?

As a party member I have been involved in developing our policies both before and during conference, co-proposing strong policies (which too often disappointingly never got discussed) and changing policy – notably the Home Education ED150 update. I’ve also witnessed first hand and experienced the challenges in convening Policy Working Groups as spaces for discussion for experts and experienced and enthusiastic members, and know how fundamental they are to maintaining robust policy.

How would you strengthen the Green Party’s policy development process?

It isn’t just the process of taking a policy from discussion and debate to successful adoption which needs to be streamlined, but the way in which our Policies for a Sustainable Society and statements are presented. The Green Party has collated the strongest policies and the best ideas, but too often with long preamble and explanation, along with a lack of clarity and structure. Our audience is our members, but it is also our prospective members and voters.

The priority for the next PDC and Committee should be active engagement, clarity and collaboration. There has been some fantastic work already done on this, and I intend to ensure it is taken to fruition.

What is your favourite Green Party policy? What is your least favourite?

The revised Drug Policy from 2019 is a brilliant example of honest, responsible and evidence-based policy making. Yes, it can be viewed as controversial by some but that says more about the skewed societal views of drug use rather than our Green ‘radical’ stance.

Least favourite is the ‘Countryside’ policy: “Major revision January 1990, last amendment September 2011”. Published dates from thirty year ago reflects badly on our Party, as preserving and protecting the Countryside is a keen interest for voters and should be central to as large number of our Policies for a Sustainable Society. Our policies should not be an historical document – as a party we must ensure they live and breathe and influence everything we do.

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.

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