10 days to go… – Green Party leadership election news round up issue 5
Lib Dem Councillor defects to Greens due to Womack-Omond campaign
These round ups are beginning to sound like a broken record when it comes to endorsements. Each week it is reiterated that as the campaign rolls on there is a steady flurry of the great and good from inside and outside the party throwing their weight behind this or that candidate. This week is no different, and endorsements are once again two a penny.
However, Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond’s campaign got an boost from an endorsement a little more out of the ordinary. Nick Stapleton, previously a councillor for the Liberal Democrats in Tonbridge and Malling announced he had defected to the Green Party citing that he was inspired by the Womack-Omond campaign as a driver in his decision. Stapleton said:
I joined the Green Party as a new Green Councillor because I believe Amelia and Tamsin are the new and fresh leadership the party needs. We’re a growing force in local politics and this is the team to reach younger people and take the party forward.
Womack naturally welcomed the news. She said:
We’re delighted to have Nick join us and gain one more Green councillor, standing up for local residents. As leaders, Tamsin and I will double our number of councillors by 2025, building on the party’s huge progress in recent years and inspiring more people than ever to vote Green in local and national elections.
Stapleton joins a number of other Councillors who added their name to the long list of Womack-Omond backers this week. Among those to back the pair were Brighton & Hove Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones and Sheffield Councillor Angela Argenzio.
Big names backing Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay
Endorsements galore! (See introduction to story above for obligatory endorsements disclaimer). This week Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay’s list of endorsements also grew.
First up it was Judy Maciejowska, a former elections coordinator for the Green Party. Writing for Bright Green, she said the pair were the only candidates that “tick all the boxes” needed in a party leader. According to Maciejowska, these are “sound political experience”, “media experience”, “experience of working at local party level”, “internal experience of how the party works”, and “a willingness to listen”.
Also among those to add their backing for Denyer and Ramsay was Andrew Simms. Simms is a co-director of the New Weather Institute and described his favoured candidates as a compelling, confident and courageous team:
— Andrew Simms (@AndrewSimms_uk) September 13, 2021
Candidates respond to pledges from Jewish Greens
Another common feature of Green Party leadership contests is the proliferation of pledges various groups within the party ask candidates to sign. This week, the Jewish Greens published candidate responses to their campaign pledges. The pledges are as follows:
- Would you support the Guidance on Antisemitism being included in the
Framework for Ethics and Conduct?
- Would you commit to the principle of “nothing about us, without us” when
talking publicly about issues relating to liberation groups?
- Would you attend antisemitism training and support its role out across the
The Womack-Omond and Denyer-Ramsay tickets were the only candidates to agree to all three of these pledges. Shahrar Ali signed pledge two and three. Martin Hemingway and Tina Rothery only signed the third pledge, refusing to respond to the first and second pledge because they “do not permit a nuanced answer”. According to the Jewish Greens, Ashley Gunstock was advised by the electoral returning officer “to refuse to answer yes/no questions”.
From the lengthier responses to a wider set of questions posed by the Jewish Greens, it appears that Ali, Rothery and Hemingway did not sign the pledge concerning proposed guidance on antisemitism because they support the Jerusalem Declaration definition on antisemitism, as opposed to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition. The proposed guidance – to be brought to the Green Party’s Autumn Conference – includes both the IHRA and Jerusalem Declaration definitions, in addition to a series of other explanations of antisemitism.
Shahrar Ali issues responses to questions from members
Shahrar Ali has this week been keeping himself busy by issuing detailed responses to questions from members. In a series of posts on his website, Ali published his thoughts on climate and ‘engaging voters’.
In his ‘engaging voters’ post, Ali once again stated that he wanted to appeal to women, ethnic minorities and disenfranchised Labour voters. On the latter, he said there was an “open door” for the Greens under Starmer. He said:
I would be challenging and exposing the lightweight political responses of Starmer and building our profile as the true and main opposition to this government. We have an open door for our eco-socialist policies to find purchase, while Starmer is trying to re-brand his party as centrist.
Ali also said a “key plank” of his campaign was addressing the “worrying trend” of so-called “cancel culture” which he claimed “is having a hugely detrimental impact on our appeal”.
Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay set out their plan for reclaiming the Green New Deal
Another week, another comment piece from a leadership campaign. Writing in Left Foot Foward this week, Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay set out their belief that the party needs leadership that can “take back the Green New Deal from Labour”. The pair wrote:
At the last General Election both parties ran on environmental pledges that were well received. Whilst Greenpeace rated the Green Party’s plan ahead of Labour, Friends of the Earth actually rated Labour ahead, although there were controversies about the process that led them to this decision.
Under Keir Starmer it’s increasingly clear that there is little chance of this happening again.
They went on to claim that the party needs “the right leadership” in order to capitalise on Labour’s cooling on climate policies and the Green New Deal. They wrote:
The dire warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the disastrous scenes of fire and flood should spur action. So should the very many Brits currently unemployed or underemployed, looking for work. We can solve two crises at once, the climate crisis and the jobs crisis.
That will be a huge part of the Green platform at the next election. A clear understanding that environmental and social justice go hand in hand. That levelling up left-behind towns and villages can only be achieved with a Green New Deal, which Boris Johnson is disinterested in delivering.
It’s clear to us that only a successful Green Party with the right leadership team can lead the charge to make this happen. And the thousands of new members joining our movement seem to agree
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond publish manifesto for COP26
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond’s campaign has been filled with a slow and steady trickle of ‘manifestos’ setting out their vision on a range of areas. This week the pair launched a manifesto on climate change, tied to the COP26 climate summit set to be held in Glasgow in November. The manifesto sets out nine policies designed to cut carbon emissions that the pair one to see prioritised. They highlight that this would be policy for each year until the 2030 deadline set out by the 2018 IPCC report. The nine points of the manifesto are:
Introducing a carbon tax and wealth taxes to fund a Green New Deal.
A ‘Global Green New Deal’ to deliver the UK’s share of the £100 billion of funding pledged to the Global South at previous COP summits and climate reparations.
A commitment to net zero emissions by 2030.
Legally-binding carbon budgets set each year.
Carbon reduction focused on stopping emissions caused by human activity, rather than carbon ‘offsetting’.
A carbon tax on all fossil fuel imports and domestic extraction, rising progressively over a decade, rendering coal, oil and gas financially unviable as cheaper renewable energies rise up to take their place.
The creation of a circular economy that cuts consumption in half.
A £1billion annual investment package for nature, to be spent on habitat restoration, protection, and creation and on rewilding.
All future government policy proposals need to be assessed for alignment with climate goals.
Upon announcing this programme, Womack and Omond committed to spend their early days as co-leaders visiting communities developing climate solutions and raise their profile.
On the manifesto’s launch, Womack said the pair’s priority if elected would be “to hold the government to account on its climate promises”. She said:
We now have just nine years to avert climate catastrophe – and yet we are saddled with a government that point blank refuses to take the issue seriously.
As co-leaders, our priority will be to hold the government to account on its climate promises and push it to go much further.
In the wake of the pandemic we need to see a green recovery that puts people and planet at its heart, and our COP manifesto launched today sets out nine key policies that can get us there.”
Omond added that “we must make the most” out of COP26. They said:
The upcoming COP26 is one of a dwindling number of opportunities for the international community to come together and take the real action we need to tackle the climate crisis – we must make the most of it.
I’m so proud to be launching these nine policies today, which are absolutely vital if we are to genuinely set the UK on the path to net zero, while making sure no-one is left behind in the transition to a low-carbon future.
The Green Party is the only national organisation that can genuinely transform our country’s climate impact and get us to where we need to be. With more and more people deeply worried about the future of our planet, now is the time to build the party into the political force for change this country needs.
Shahrar Ali publishes statement on animal welfare
Among Shahrar Ali’s campaign communications this week was a lengthy statement on animal welfare. Stating he is “proud of our party’s stance on animal rights”, Ali set out his views on a range of animal welfare issues including agriculture, fishing and sports.
On farming, he said he would – as leader – “strongly promote our Green Party policy on moving away from animal farming and towards plant-based food production”. He went on to advocate for the promotion of veganism of public institutions, including in schools.
Meanwhile, on fishing he pointed to the damage modern fishing methods have on ecosystems, and said he would:
push hard for the sentience of decapod crustaceans to be recognised, and to ban the hideous boiling alive of crabs and lobsters.
Ali also said he wanted to see the Hunting Act properly enforced and the banning of all blood sports.
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