In standing for Elections Coordinator, I thought it was crucial to contact (at the very least) the coordinators and election coordinators of each local Green Party. Greens believe in the principle of subsidiarity, so our local parties are our lifeblood and the outworking of how the Green Party campaigns and presents itself around the country.
Here are the insights I got back, which I hope – regardless of the upcoming result – will be worked and acted upon by the next Elections Coordinator and Green Party Executive.
Amongst the responses from local parties, I found that there was…
• Acknowledgement of the challenges in terms of improving our overall organisation and communications since the Green Surge (which quadrupled our membership numbers).
• Desire that any changes nationally continue to respect and support the autonomy of local and regional parties, and scepticism of the trend towards increasing centralisation.
• Desire for the timing of information and resources to be improved (i.e. good stuff too late doesn’t have the desired impact), and the national party to dramatically improve its listening to data, insights and perspectives from the regions.
• Gratitude that I am campaigning for local parties’ views on the progressive alliance idea to be taken into account, and emphasis on the importance of local parties making decisions regarding the standing of candidates in an alliance situation.
• Scepticism that a progressive alliance will ever happen, or that local parties have a clear idea how it would work – and the importance of giving people clear information on several options before asking their views.
• Concern that if some local parties were asked not to stand a parliamentary candidate, then this would (to some extent) disenfranchise GP members/supporters by denying them the chance to vote Green, and we would lose the raison d’être and energy of local parties.
• Desire for Green Party to prepare for a snap General Election in which we stand in all seats and for the national party to offer advice and updates to local parties to practically help them.
• Keenness on my idea to reform Elections Committee to include representation from the regions.
• Dismay at the party’s record in by-elections and a view that these should be de-emphasised to focus more clearly on our present target to win (TTW) strategy, but a desire that local parties should be kept up-to-date with by-election results from across the country.
• Need for more professional targeting and campaigning at all levels.
• Highlighting of the difficulty of TTW in some areas, and the need to recognise and identify alternative strategies that can be adopted.
• Shock at the lack of any robust selection procedure for parliamentary candidates.
• Need for practical guidance on mobilising inactive members (ie most members) in many areas.
• A clear interest in the idea of parties twinning where they can learn from each other, as parties may be geographically separated but in a similar position electorally.
If you have any further views on these or any other electoral matter, I’d be interested to hear your views, either here, or on email: firstname.lastname@example.org