Green Party

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Cross-Party Campaign Backs 30 MP Candidates Who Have Pledged to Fight for Electoral Reform – and Could Oust Conservatives

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/06/2024 - 8:44pm in

Cross-party campaigners have thrown their weight behind 30 parliamentary candidates in Conservative-held seats, who support replacing Westminster’s winner-takes-all voting system with proportional representation (PR).

The cross-party group Compass and its Win As One campaign aims to “channel support” to the candidates through its network of autonomous grassroots groups to help them unseat the Tories and “kickstart a democratic renewal of our country – starting with changing our voting system.”

The list (shared in full below) includes 11 candidates from Labour, 17 from the Liberal Democrats and two from the Green Party, all of whom have given written confirmation of their support for PR.

There are 30 active Compass local groups in England & Wales, “several” of which have secured these endorsements by working with parties locally and analysing the data to determine which parties are best-placed to beat the Conservatives in certain seats, a spokesperson for the group said. 

Key target seats include Godalming & Ash (Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s constituency), Wycombe (right-winger Steve Baker’s constituency) and North East Somerset (GB News host and former Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg’s constituency).

Local Compass groups will show their support for endorsed candidates with tactics including in-person campaign events, including US-style ‘barnstorms’ (speaking tours in lots of small communities), Facebook ads, street stalls, leaflet drops, phone-banking and door knocking.

The membership organisation says it’s committed to supporting candidates who want to replace First Past the Post voting (FPTP) with PR, noting: “Our current voting system stifles productive debate, promotes short-termism, tribalism and timidity, and blocks us from pressing ahead with the bold and transformative solutions that our age of permacrisis demands.” 

Compass argues that FPTP pushes Labour towards a “narrow route to office” that panders to party donors and media barons, as well as the views of a small number of swing voters in a few swing seats.

Targeting a small number of swing seats this way while ignoring core Labour voting areas “discourag[es] Labour from taking radical and desperately needed action on inequality, climate and public services,” according to the progressive campaign. That in turn fuels voter cynicism that the parties are “all the same” and that “voting is pointless”. 

Compass is aiming to “galvanise the progressive vote” in the UK by uniting people from all parts of the country behind a pluralistic vision for the country’s future. 

The ultimate goal is to enact PR to ensure to stop majority Governments being elected on a minority of the vote – most of which have been Conservative, as the right-wing vote has traditionally been less “split” than that of the left (something that may change this time with a high Reform UK vote).  

Candidates who back Compass’ pledge for change are likely to become “part of a substantial PR crossparty caucus in the next Parliament.” 

A spokesperson for Compass said: “We desperately need to get rid of the Tories on July 4th. But this election isn't just about winning office – it’s about winning a mandate for the change this country desperately needs.

“This change is as much about how people win power as what they do with it when they get there. We're looking forward to welcoming, for the first time, a strong, cross-party caucus of pro-democracy candidates into Parliament who have recognised that only by changing the system will we change the country for the future.”

At least four of the seats chosen by Compass members could prove controversial. In Suffolk Coastal, the group recommends a vote for the Liberal Democrats. But three of seven election models predict it could swing to Labour, compared to four predicting a Conservative hold and none predicting a Conservative win.

However, Suffolk Compass activists will argue that Lib Dem Julia Ewart has enthusiastically backed PR, and it is not officially a Labour "battleground" target seat. Local Labour activists have been encouraged to campaign in nearby Ipswich or Lowestoft.

In Waveney Valley (also in Suffolk), Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay is attempting to unseat Conservative Richard Rout in the newly-created constituency. None of the seven current polling models currently predicts a Green Party win in the Conservative stronghold, but Survation predicts a rare Labour victory. 

And in Tewkesbury, the north Gloucestershire market town, Gloucestershire Compass recommends a Lib Dem vote, though again Survation pitches Labour as the most likely left-of-centre party to take the Conservative seat. 

Honiton & Sidmouth in Devon is among the most difficult to assess, with East Devon Compass again recommending a Lib Dem vote, but polling experts predicting variously a Lib Dem gain, Labour gain, or Conservative hold. Pro-PR voters may end up hedging their bets and opting for the Lib Dems there, though the risk of “splitting the vote” remains a fraught topic.  

The full list of candidates being backed by Compass groups

Modelling data is taken from Peter Inglesby's poll aggregation site.

CandidateConstituencyPartyMost Frequent Poll Prediction (Of 7 Models)Lizzi CollingeMorecambe & LunesdaleLabourLabourTim FarronWestmorland & LonsdaleLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratJames MacClearyLewesLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratFreddie van MierloHenley and ThameLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratSean WoodcockBanburyLabourLabourLuke ChartersYork OuterLabourLabourTom GordonHarrogate & KnaresboroughLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratArnold WarnekenWetherby & EasingwoldGreenConservative – But Survation Predicts Labour GainPaul FollowsGodalming & AshLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratCharlie MaynardWitneyLiberal DemocratConservative – But Survation Predicts Lib Dem GainOlly GloverDidcot and WantageLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratMike MartinTunbridge WellsLiberal DemocratConservative – But 3/7 Models Predict Lib Dem GainHelen WhiteheadHerne Bay and SandwichLabourLabourJames NaishRushcliffeLabourLabourJohn MilneHorshamLiberal DemocratConservative – But 2/7 Models Predict Lib Dem GainRachel BlakeCities of London & WestminsterLabourLabourJoe PowellKensington & BayswaterLabourLabourJulia EwartSuffolk CoastalLiberal DemocratConservative – But 3/7 Models Predict Labour GainAdrian RamsayWaveney ValleyGreenConservative – But Survation Predicts Labour GainJess AsatoLowestoftLabourLabourRoz SavageSouth CotswoldsLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratEmma ReynoldsWycombeLabourLabourSarah GreenChesham and AmershamLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratLiz HindAylesburyLabourLabourVictoria CollinsHarpenden & BerkhamstedLiberal DemocratConservative – But 2/7 Models Predict Lib Dem GainClive JonesWokinghamLiberal DemocratLiberal DemocratDan NorrisNorth East Somerset & HanhamLabourLabourCameron ThomasTewkesburyLiberal DemocratConservative – But Survation Predicts Labour GainIan RoomeNorth DevonLiberal DemocratConservative – But 3/7 Models Predict Lib Dem GainRichard FoordHoniton & SidmouthLiberal DemocratTOSS UP: 2 Models Predict Lib Dem Win, 2 Labour, 3 Conservative Hold

This piece was amended shortly after publication to make clear the endorsements are from local Compass groups, not Compass HQ nationally.

Byline Times is relaunching our VoteWatch project to monitor disinformation, dodgy campaigning, and dark money during the 2024 General Election. Get in touch if you have a tip off or any insights: votewatch24@bylinetimes.com

If you have another political story or tip-off, email josiah@bylinetimes.com.

Conservatives’ Voting System Overhaul Turned Mayoral Elections into ‘Negative and Divisive’ Race, Says Green Candidate

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/05/2024 - 10:53pm in

The Conservative Government’s change to the voting system turned the recent mayoral elections into a “negative and divisive” race, the Green Party’s London mayoral candidate has told Byline Times

Zoë Garbett argues that the switch to First Past the Post for mayors and PCCs encouraged fear-based campaigning about “letting the other side in” if people voted for smaller parties. 

The change, which scrapped voters’ ability to cast a second preference or “back up” vote, was made without significant debate as part of the Conservatives Elections Act in 2022. The Act also introduced mandatory voter ID for the first time for Westminster and English local elections. 

Sadiq Khan repeatedly urged Green and Lib Dem voters to “lend me your vote” due to the perceived risk of Conservative Susan Hall AM slipping in through a divided left-of-centre vote. Garbett tells Byline Times she would have put Khan as her second preference, had the choice not been removed for her. Khan, who opposed the voting system change, would have reciprocated. 

“The whole narrative was around the voting system,” Garbett told this outlet. “It affected campaigning arguments, the manifestos came out really late, and [the debate] was more around ‘don't vote for them – if you vote for these people you're going to let this person in’. So we did well considering the context,” the former NHS worker says. 

The shift in debate is nonetheless “depressing” Garbett adds. But she still secured around 6% of the vote and came within 70 votes of joint third with the Lib Dems on May 2. 

The Greens retained three seats on the PR-elected London Assembly. But Zoë Garbett was fourth on the PR elected list – meaning she wasn’t initially elected.

Three days after the election, longstanding Green AM Siân Berry announced she was standing down, handing Garbett her seat. It led to significant criticism, including from Labour figures, several of whom described the move as “cynical”.  

Garbett tells this outlet that Berry's decision to step down was not planned, but admitted that it had been poorly received by voters. 

“It wasn't a strategy. It wasn't a plan. We wanted to grow our team. We wanted to get me in as soon as possible. It was very much Siân's decision to step aside to get me in now, so that I can work on all this stuff that I've been talking about, and that she can spend more time on the Brighton campaign,” the Green Assembly Member says.  

Two-term AM Siân Berry had previously said she would stand aside if she got elected down in Brighton Pavilion in this year’s General Election, where she in turn is running to replace Caroline Lucas MP. 

“We keep getting asked if it was planned, but you can tell by the way it played out, but it definitely wasn't because it wasn’t managed the best from a comms perspective,” Garbett tells me. 

She also reveals that Berry tried to quit on the night of the count, so Garbett and the two other Greens would be introduced as the three Green Assembly members without major fanfare. 

“She ended up being in office for three days, which obviously isn't [ideal],” Garbett says. I appreciate that it didn't land [well]...but hopefully people can see the reasons that we've done it and can see how willing I am to just get on with it,” she adds. 

Garbett remains positive about the Green Party’s influence on London’s political landscape. She pointed out several key policy areas where the Greens have previously had a substantial impact. "Sadiq [Khan] supports rent controls because of the work of Greens in City Hall. He saved youth centres because of us too," Garbett claims. 

But she appears sceptical that Khan will reach his ambitious 2030 Net Zero target in the capital after Khan ruled out moving to a pay-per-mile, smart road user charging system for drivers – in the midst of stiff Conservative opposition. 

Garbett criticises the Labour administration's reluctance to overhaul road user charging in the capital, a policy she believes is essential for reducing transport emissions in London: "Just how is he going to meet that kilometre reduction and emissions from transport without pay-per-mile charging?"  

The London mayoral election saw the Green Party receive plenty of media attention – partly as the public broadcasters were obliged to give them substantial coverage.

Outside of the dedicated campaign period though, it is often right-wing Reform UK – who picked up their first London Assembly seat this time – who get more attention. 

The media gap is “really, really frustrating for us” she says.

"Every time we're on BBC Question Time or any [program], people take so much interest in us.” Those appearances don’t come around very often – though perhaps they will do so increasingly as the Greens present left-wing critiques of a Keir Starmer-led Labour Government. 

The Greens are also likely to face growing scrutiny, alongside any positive coverage. The past week has seen probes into new Green councillors, including Mothin Ali, who was forced to apologise after saying that securing his Leeds council seat on May 2 was a "win for the people of Gaza". There was also heavy media criticism of him shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest, in Arabic) after he won his seat. The Green Party is investigating but has not suspended him. 

Garbett acknowledges that the party is “definitely” going to get more scrutiny: “We've got more scrutiny locally, and that's really positive. It shows that people are paying attention and that we absolutely need to make sure that everyone we put forward is solid and in line with our values.” 

However, she suggests that some of it has tipped over into abuse, branding recent attacks on Zack Polanski AM, who is Jewish and against the Gaza war, “really horrific.” 

“It’s hard. I've had a lot more abuse in the last couple of months,” Garbett adds. 

Garbett’s profile is likely to rise further in the next few years, as the new deputy chair of the Assembly’s housing committee, and with roles on the policing and planning committees. If there’s a Labour Government in Westminster, the London mayor could be getting more powers, making the role of the scrutiny body more important still. 

Garbett and her two Green colleagues will be both a critical friend, and an occasional thorn in the side of Sadiq Khan as he navigates the next few years. 

Read Byline Times' VoteWatch Coverage

  • ‘I Had to Argue for My Right to Vote’: Voters Report Being Denied a Say in Local Elections Due to Strict Photo ID Law
  • Ex-Army Officer Who Served in Afghanistan ‘Blocked from Ballot Box’ After Veteran ID Rejected
  • Just a Fraction of Voters Who Lack Photo ID Apply for ‘Free’ Identification – In Warning Sign for Mayoral Elections
  • ‘I Had to Argue for My Right to Vote’: Voters Report Being Denied a Say in Local Elections Due to Strict Photo ID Law
  • Ex-Army Officer Who Served in Afghanistan ‘Blocked from Ballot Box’ After Veteran ID Rejected
  • Just a Fraction of Voters Who Lack Photo ID Apply for ‘Free’ Identification – In Warning Sign for Mayoral Elections
  • Spotted something strange or faced issues voting in the recent elections? Fill in our VoteWatch survey. If you have a political story or tip-off, email josiah@bylinetimes.com.

    Caroline Lucas Warns Labour Could Form ‘One-Term Government’ If Starmer Isn’t Bold

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 29/04/2024 - 10:21pm in

    The Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas has told Byline Times she is confident several Green MPs will be elected in the next general election, saying that her party will put pressure on Keir Starmer’s Labour to be “bolder, braver and better”. 

    Speaking to this newspaper from Bristol ahead of Thursday’s local elections – where the Greens hope to gain a majority on the council for the first time – the outgoing Brighton Pavilion MP suggested that gains for the party will pressure Starmer to shift Labour's positioning to the left if it wins the next election.

    “There will be a huge amount to do to press a Labour government to be bolder and braver and better because, right now, there is no sign that they are ready to rise to the real challenges of this moment,” Lucas said.

    “This is a really, really critical time in terms of climate, in terms of nature, but also in terms of the broader democratic picture in this country. What's happened under the Conservatives is so dangerous."

    “So many basic rights have been undermined – if not downright removed in some of the rights to strike, rights to peaceful protest, the independence of the Electoral Commission, even the right to vote with the requirement now for photo ID,” the former Green Party Leader added.

    Green Party Co-Leader Carla Denyer, a parliamentary candidate for Bristol Central, hopes to oust Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire in the seat in the general election. This would be dramatically boosted by Greens taking control of the council, as the first administration since Labour Mayor Marvin Rees’ mayoral post was scrapped in a referendum. 

    The Greens currently have 24 councillors in Bristol to Labour’s 23.

    “[We’re] aiming to have a new record number of councillors in Bristol," Denyer told Byline Times. "It's possible we will gain a majority. But it's a stretch target… I am pretty optimistic that we're going to make some substantial gains in these local elections.”

    Green council candidate Rob Bryher said that the party's prospects were the "best I've seen it in 14 years of campaigning".

    Speaking to this newspaper from a café in her Bishopston ward, the party's Bristol Council Leader, Emma Edwards, said the Greens would push for a 'workplace parking levy' in Bristol, should they gain control this week. The move would charge employers by the number of parking spaces they offer to go into a fund for boosting public transport. She noted its apparent success in Nottingham where it raised significant funds for transport improvements. 

    But her first main priority will be getting to grips with the new committee system, which she says will end the “toxic” partisan culture that had emerged between Labour and the Greens under mayor Marvin Rees.

    Byline Times joined Edwards on the doorstep as she pushed to secure commitments from locals. Several voters told her that they would back the Greens in the local elections, but opt for Labour in the general election – a split-ticket situation that appears to be increasingly common.  

    The party has also pledged to lobby for powers to introduce rent controls in Bristol – a power local councils don’t currently have and which Labour appears to have rejected. Greens are also, like Labour, pushing to build more social housing. 

    Councillor Emma Edwards says that the Greens will try to work cooperatively with other parties under Bristol's new democratic set-up, after the powerful mayor post was scrapped. Photo: Josiah Mortimer (edited to remove registration plate)

    However, the party has recently come under scrutiny over a number of local Green councillors opposing new housing developments (as well as some opposing new solar farms). 

    Denyer downplayed such examples, saying: “I'm aware that that's the Labour Party's attack line – it seems to be the best they can come up with, even though it's not very grounded in reality. There's been a handful of planning applications found across the whole country where Greens have voted against the planning application and usually when you actually look into it for very good reasons.” 

    The party says it is focused on building the “right homes” in the “right place.”

    Denyer added: “When Greens were in administration in North Herefordshire, they got the first council housing in a generation built. When Greens had the housing portfolio in York, they got some low carbon housing developments with a high proportion affordable. It was multi-award-winning.”  

    Lucas hit out at Keir Starmer for not being willing to repeal many Conservative changes: “Look at the U-turning on the green investment pledges. They say that the two-child benefit cap is obscene, but they've also said they're not going to do anything about it. 

    “My theory is that, by failing to live up to this critical moment, they will end up being a one-term government. And then the Tories that we might get coming back in at that point could be even worse than and even more dangerous than what we've had so far."

    Asked whether Starmer may be merely toning down his radicalism publicly to secure a majority, Lucas said: “There are very few examples in history that I can think of prime ministers being more radical in office than they were when they were campaigning for office. So I don't think that's terribly likely. And I also think more seriously that you need a mandate, if you're going to do genuinely transformative things.

    “You win that mandate by telling people what you plan to do if you get elected. And so it's very dangerous to somehow think that you can just pull out of your pocket and get all sorts of radical ideas, even if he had that in mind, which I'm fairly sure if he doesn't.” 

    On Starmer’s U-turns, the Green MP added: “You do get to the point where people just feel this is someone who can't be trusted.” 

    However, she still appeared clear that a Labour government would be preferable to a Conservative one. Asked if she was regretful to be leaving Parliament on the brink of a Labour administration likely being elected, she said: “It would certainly be very interesting to be a Green MP under a Labour government.” 

    Her advice to the next round of Green MPs – should Denyer in Bristol, and Sian Berry in Brighton be elected – was to “have really good people around you”.

    “[Denyer] won’t be on her own," she said. "She's going to have some other Greens with her. So that will make a world of difference."

    Thursday could prove a litmus test for the party’s chances at the general election. But it is more than that, of course. With nearly 800 councillors to Reform UK’s nine, the party is already – often quietly – plugging away locally. Often, that's holding Labour’s feet to the fire. Very soon in Bristol and elsewhere, that role may be reversed.

    Spotted something strange ahead of the local elections? If you have a political story or tip-off, email josiah@bylinetimes.com or the VoteWatch contact above.

    Presidential Candidate Jill Stein On Gaza, The Two-Party System and US Militarism

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/04/2024 - 1:25am in

    Gaza is the “key issue of our era,” Green Party presidential hopeful Jill Stein told the MintCast today. “Every international law in the books is being broken,” she said, “This is not something that began on October 7. This is the continuation of ethnic cleansing and displacement that began in 1947 and 1948 with the displacement of 750,000 people.”

    While Stein condemned Israel for its actions, she placed ultimate responsibility for much of the violence on Washington, telling MintCast host Mnar Adley that:

    Quite simply, Joe Biden needs to pick up the phone and tell Israel to cease and desist from this war being conducted on Gaza, the blockade, the use of starvation as a weapon, the total violation of international law and the conduct of a genocide, which is going on. There is enormous agency that the United States has here: we are paying for this. We are supplying 80% of the weapons [to Israel]!”

    Stein, a physician by trade, has been involved in the Green movement for decades. She first ran for office in 2002, attempting to become the governor of her native Massachusetts. In 2012 and 2016, she was selected as the Green Party’s presidential candidate. Running against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016, she received over 1% of the national vote. She is the overwhelming favorite to represent the Green Party in the 2024 presidential election.

    Congress, Stein noted, has just approved $3.8 billion in aid to Israel, with another $17 billion pending for “not only continu[ing] its genocide but to expand its wars in the Middle East.”

    Global public opinion is increasingly turning against the U.S., Stein warned, turning both Washington and Israel into “pariahs.” Even inside the United States, recent polling shows that a majority of Democratic voters consider Israeli actions to constitute genocide. And President Biden continues to offer unconditional support.

    It seems this is pushing millions of voters to consider the Green Party as an alternative. Stein described the Democratic establishment as in a state of “panic” over the “widespread revolt” among its voter base, which could destroy the party’s chances of winning elections. She said they are fielding “an army of corporate lawyers to try to dirty trick us, to find little technicalities to throw us off the ballot.”

    This is not a new phenomenon, as the Green Party has long dealt with the Democrats’ attempts to suppress them. However, what has changed, Stein said, is the party’s willingness to announce their intentions to limit democracy openly. As she told Adley:

    There is such a heavy hand of censorship and political repression in this country that it is a struggle to simply participate in our democracy. Voters a clamoring for more voices and more choices. People revile the two zombie candidates that are being rammed down our throats and are very hungry for other options on the ballot.”

    Watch or Listen to the full interview, in which the pair discuss Gaza, the military-industrial complex, and what a Jill Stein presidency would mean for the United States.

    MintPress News is a fiercely independent media company. You can support us by becoming a member of Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and subscribing to our social media channels, including YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Subscribe to MintCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.

    Also, check out rapper Lowkey’s video interview/podcast series, The Watchdog.

    Mnar Adley is an award-winning journalist and editor and is the founder and director of MintPress News. She is also president and director of the non-profit media organization Behind the Headlines. Adley also co-hosts the MintCast podcast and is a producer and host of the video series Behind The Headlines. Contact Mnar at mnar@mintpressnews.com or follow her on Twitter at @mnarmuh.

    The post Presidential Candidate Jill Stein On Gaza, The Two-Party System and US Militarism appeared first on MintPress News.

    Green party’s housing platform

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 17/09/2021 - 6:00am in

    With Canadians headed to the polls next week, I’ve written a 650-word overview of the Green Party’s housing platform.

    Here’s the link: https://nickfalvo.ca/ten-things-to-know-about-the-green-partys-housing-p...

    Green party’s housing platform

    Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 17/09/2021 - 6:00am in

    With Canadians headed to the polls next week, I’ve written a 650-word overview of the Green Party’s housing platform.

    Here’s the link: https://nickfalvo.ca/ten-things-to-know-about-the-green-partys-housing-p...