A still from the music video of Europe's The Final Countdown

Last dash for endorsements

As the Green Party of England and Wales leadership election enters its final stretch, candidates have been making their final dash for endorsements.

Team Womack-Omond are going out with a bang. This week, they bagged support from London Assembly member Caroline Russell. The pair also picked up support from two more Green MSPs – getting the backing of Ross Greer and Gillian MacKay. Previously, Maggie Chapman was the only MSP to endorse a candidate in the leadership contest. With three Scottish Parliamentarians behind their campaign – nearly half of Green MSPs are backing Womack and Omond.

Following this, the pair continued their trend of gaining support from prominent figures in the arts world. This week, the rock band The Subways added their name to the long list of Womack-Omond supporters. The band’s guitarist/vocalist Billy Lunn said “every member” of the band were backing the pair.

Other candidates have ended the campaign with more of a flicker, although Carla Denyer and Ramsay have added another Councillor and another member of the party’s executive to their tally of endorsements. East Sussex Councillor Johnny Denis backed Denyer-Ramsay, as did the Greens’ trade union liaison officer Kefentse Dennis (no relation).

LGBTIQA+ Greens publish candidate responses to pledges

Just as the great and good endorsing candidates is a staple of leadership contests, so to is groups within the party asking would-be leaders to sign pledges. Last week, the Jewish Greens published their pledges. This week it was the LGBTIQA+ Greens’ turn.

The LGBTIQA+ Greens asked candidates to commit to:

  1. Campaign with the LGBTIQA+ Greens to protect all LGBTIQA+ communities
  2. Promise to recognise non-binary identities are valid and promise to ensure they are recognised in internal processes and in wider society
  3. Support a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’, including that affecting trans, ace* and aro people with no exemptions.
  4. Support increased LGBTIQA+ representation at all levels of government
  5. Support gender-affirming healthcare for Trans youth
  6. Call for proper funding for Trans healthcare in the NHS
  7. Actively support increased LGBTIQA+ inclusion both within and without the party
  8. Campaign against medically unnecessary surgeries on Intersex children

Womack-Omond and Denyer-Ramsay were the only candidates to back all eight of the pledges.

According to the LGBTIQA+ Greens, neither Ashley Gunstock, nor Tina Rothery and Martin Hemingway responded to the pledges.

Shahrar Ali committed to pledges 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8. On the first pledge, he stated that he does “not always see eye-to-eye with LGBTIQA+ Greens’ political statements” and that he “reserve[s] the right not to proactively campaign on matters where reasonable disagreement may occur”. He consequently ‘conditionally’ agreed to this pledge. On the second pledge, Ali said that he would “welcome a conversation in which we could define our terms and clarify the meaning of this pledge” before committing to it, adding “it is not obvious to me that everybody has a gender identity either”. Finally, on the fifth pledge, Ali said “gender-affirming healthcare is *not* Green Party policy as such and arguably some current medical practices framed by this approach are contrary to our pre-existing policy”.

Politics.co.uk release feature on the leadership contest

Although there was an unprecedented wave of coverage in the opening weeks, media interest has begun to subside in this year’s election. Despite this, Politics.co.uk has today published a nine minute video feature on the race.

Somewhat hyperbolically titled The Battle for the Green Party’s Soul, the video includes interviews with leadership contenders and discussion of some of the key issues in the debate. Central to this is their stances on trans rights. Little new is learnt, but the piece nevertheless brings the conversation bubbling away within the party to a wider audience.

Tamsin Omond sets out their journey from direct action to leadership candidate

Candidates are in the process of setting out their final pitches to party members before voting closes on September 23. This week, Tamsin Omond fleshed out more on their journey from a grassroots climate activist to standing in this year’s election.

Writing in Bright Green, Omond said that the climate movement had “forced us all to wake up to the climate crisis”, but that the Green Party was now needed “to begin to build the future we desperately need”. They wrote:

now we are in a situation where more people than ever before are worried about the emergency and desperate to do something about it. 2019 was an alarm clock: a year when the prophetic voice of Greta combined with an IPCC report that said we have 12 years left, and the movement that I helped found (Extinction Rebellion) interrupted people’s lives and forced all of us to wake up to the climate crisis.

We’re no longer in the situation of needing people to wake up. We’re awake but, increasingly frustrated by the limits of ‘personal action’, we’re at a loss of what we should do next.

Enter ‘The Green Party’ – the only national political organisation that has the infrastructure and the policies to take power and transform our society. The Green Party is ready to be the political party that is honest about the challenges we face and offers everyone a place to belong and to begin to build the future we desperately need. A future that leaves nobody behind.

Expect a final flurry of comment pieces from candidates in the coming days – including from Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay in Bright Green (watch this space!)

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Image credit: YouTube screengrab