Womack and Omond have shown they can transform perceptions of the Green Party
In creative writing, “show don’t tell” refers to displaying action to the reader, rather than just describing it. It is demonstration, not exposition.
In this Green leadership election, every candidate and candidate team has stated their intention to break new ground for the Green Party, both in the media and with voters. I am convinced every candidate would do their utmost to try. However, only one team has gone beyond promises of future success and demonstrated they could actually transform Green Party coverage and perception.
Without even being elected as leaders, Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond have shown, not just told.
The pair’s campaign has secured Green Party media coverage on a scale not normally seen outside of general elections, attracting the interest of outlets ranging from Vice to The London Economic. Endorsements have come from the environmentalist and celebrity voices the party has courted for a long time without previous success, from George Monbiot to Carla Delevingne. Perhaps most exciting of all has been the influx of new members joining the party with a new enthusiasm for Green politics, including a councilor who defected purely on the hope of a Womack-Omond win.
As a party, we have long spoken about a moment of breakthrough, when green policies are catapulted into the limelight and those who care about social and climate justice come home to the Greens. The recent explosion of interest in and support for Tamsin and Amelia is exactly what the start of such a breakthrough looks like. If Amelia and Tamsin can achieve this much in thirty days as candidates, imagine what could be done in their first hundred as co-leaders.
There is a dedicated political audience of millions in this country – committed to radical action for the climate, to economic redistribution to tackle ongoing austerity, and to standing in solidarity with oppressed communities, whom Amelia and Tamsin can claim to speak for. In the words of the i coverage of their candidature, ‘‘they want to lure left-wing Jeremy Corbyn supporters turned off by “visionless” Labour under Sir Keir Starmer and “stranded” centrist voters “desperately looking for somewhere they belong”. That huge political prize is within reach – as is the candidate team that can seize it.
My support from Amelia and Tamsin also stems from another way in which they have walked the walk as well talking the talk – their values.
You can tell a lot about a politician from the way their staff talk about them; bad bosses are not unknown in politics and it is striking how often public pronouncements about integrity and honesty clash with the testimony of staff. As a former Green Party staffer, I can vouch for Amelia as someone inspiring to work for – her kindness, understanding and comradeship were always on display, even in the most stressful of circumstances (i.e. elections!). I have not been surprised to see a fair few former colleagues offer their public backing to Amelia, as people who have also worked closely alongside her and come away impressed.
Amelia and Tamsin have also proven true to Green values throughout some of the most difficult discussions this election has dragged up. In 2016, and again at conference earlier this year, the Party membership clearly and democratically voted to support trans rights. Whilst a small minority of people seem keen to endlessly challenge this position, locking us into a Hotel California of debate, Amelia and Tamsin have defended the democratically agreed-upon view of members and highlighted how damaging it is for this policy to be revisited over and over again.
I am a cis man, with all the privileges inherent in that, and can never claim to fully understand the oppression that Tamsin and other trans members face on a daily basis. I can, however, salute the remarkable grace and courage with which Tamsin has faced very personal attacks on this issue. Tamsin and Amelia’s position of affirming the policy that members have repeatedly voted for, avoiding the sapping of party energies on an endless rematch and instead focusing on the climate emergency, is the right path – indeed the only one forward for the party. It is notable that, of all the candidates, only Tamsin and Amelia have published a detailed manifesto setting out how the Green Party can seize the opportunity presented by COP26 to secure meaningful climate action.
I was proud to cast my vote for Tamsin and Amelia, who have already proven that they excel in showing, not just telling. I would urge Green Party colleagues still deliberating to cast their votes for the pair – and for the sea change in Green Party cut-through that their election would secure.
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