Insights from local Green Parties on my Elections Coordinator campaign

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: rob.telford@bristolgreenparty.org.uk

Rob Telford’s statement for the position of Green Party Executive (GPEx) Elections Coordinator

IMG_5240All political parties exist to stand in elections, and the Green Party is no exception. We are one party, driven by a passion for environmental and social justice, but we operate as hundreds of distinct local parties. This needs some coordination!

Proven track record of elections management
As a former councillor and a current ward and constituency campaign manager for Bristol Green Party, I have the skills necessary to help build an effective national strategy for winning elections at both council and Westminster levels. An active participant in the 2015 Bristol West parliamentary campaign which produced our largest swing (26.8%), I have also coordinated target ward campaigns in successive years in four different council wards, standing twice for election myself. This year, I was the election agent for eight of the 10 Bristol West council wards.

Building our national strategy
I am a supporter of progressive parties working together wherever possible, and – as a current council member of the Electoral Reform Society – I am excited by the idea of a pro-proportional representation agreement between Greens, Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and SNP at the next general election. However, the decision of whether to stand Green candidates in elections must be made by local parties, not by our national leaders or executive. With this in mind, I will urgently initiate a comprehensive survey of local parties’ views so that we can develop a practical national negotiation strategy supported by a democratic mandate.

Improving communications
We need a comprehensive, pro-active plan for all forthcoming by-elections, so we can encourage members to campaign in them through email communications. I will establish a shareable local elections calendar, so we develop a stronger emphasis on supporting each other across the country, not just in our localities. We must also find new and innovative ways to communicate our electoral successes to national and local media, and I will work with the External Communications team on this.

Internal committee reform
As its convenor, I will work through Conference to reform Elections Committee so that regional election coordinators are directly involved. I will ensure that the committee meets bi-monthly (via Skype) and will establish regular progress reporting on how local parties’ electoral strategies are progressing, to ensure GPEx, and staff to have up to date data to hand when making strategic and executive decisions.

A presence in your community
I am passionate about helping small, growing and more established local parties to form effective strategies that produce electoral success over four- to five-year periods. I have previously given canvassing training and advice to a range of local parties and at regional events, sharing my understanding of the range of factors we need to master; from data collection to body language. I want to get out and directly help with election campaigns. Natalie Bennett has shown effective leadership at a grass roots level is down to physical presence and tireless work, and I want to follow her fantastic example.

Please give me your first preference on the ballot paper.

Why I am standing for Elections Coordinator

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I’m excited to be able to make this announcement, not least because it gives me something positive and active to push into amidst the chaos that is engulfing the UK’s politics.

The Greens are a beacon of hope. Our presence on the ballot paper is needed. Even if people do not agree with us, they can respect the sincerity with which we hold our views and the honesty that we bring to public life.

I only realised quite late in the day how important elections are. I was 26 when I took the plunge and become a Green Party member, but I (and we) must never forget that electoral success is intricately linked to our activism in the social and environmental movements of our day. I am proud of our development into a campaigning force across this country, and I want to serve the national party as an ambassador for good practice of election campaigns and lead us to greater and more sustainable electoral success in the next two years.

I will flesh out further the ideas I have for this role in due course, but for now, I am keen to hear from you about how we can improve our electoral success, our organisational practices and our national set-up.

Email me: rob.telford@bristolgreenparty.org.uk
Tweet me: @GreenRobTelford
Like me: Rob Telford for Elections Coordinator
Add me: Rob Telford
About me: Rob Telford

LIVE BLOG: Bristol City Council, Full Council AGM, Tuesday 31st May 2016, 2pm

LIVE BLOG: Bristol City Council, Full Council AGM, Tuesday 31st May 2016, 2pm

AGENDA:
https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=142&MId=187
LIVE STREAM: http://www.bristol.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/226262

13.31 ALL CHANGE AT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL
It’s all change in Bristol. 70 new councillors and a new Mayor were elected on Thursday 5th May and all that remains to be seen is who will be elected as referee (i.e. Lord Mayor) for the next year. Bristol hopes to have eight Full Council meetings this civic year (2016/17), but even that is up for discussion today, and in previous years councillors (most notably former Lib Dem councillor Alex Woodman) have amended the meetings schedule from the floor – but the new Labour administration will want today to go without a hitch. It’s new Mayor Marvin Rees’ coronation and there will undoubtedly be a fair amount of applause from excited Labour councillors – both new and old – who haven’t had a working majority in the council chamber since 2002.

13.43 A GOOD MOVE FOR DISABILITY ACCESS?
Rumours are circulating that the council’s seating arrangements have immediately become more progressive upon the move back to City Hall – well, as progressive as you can be in a 1950s council chamber designed without disability access in mind. Cllr Harriet Clough (Lib Dem, Hengrove & Whitchurch Park) uses a wheelchair and has seemingly single-handedly got the seating positions in the chamber switched so she can use a wheelchair-accessible space. Great work Harriet, but it does raise questions about the multi-million pound refurbishment of City Hall and why the council chamber was not substantially changed with disability access in mind.

13.56 WHO IS JEFF LOVELL..AND OTHER LABOUR QUESTIONS
Labour negotiated with the other groups to take the Lord Mayoralty this time, despite the fact the Greens have not yet held the Lord Mayor position. This begs the question of how the rotation will now work itself out. Logic would say that it will simply go on an annual basis to each political group based on their share of council seats at this year’s elections (Labour, Conservative, Green, Lib Dem), but council decisions are not always based on logic.

Cllr Jeff Lovell (Labour, Filwood) was put forward as the Labour candidate for Lord Mayor, and all parties will say “aye” to him in the next hour’s time – a recognition that each party should get their go at the ceremonial position, seen as “Bristol’s first citizen”.

There has been a recent example of a party’s candidate not being universally popular, when the questionable comments of Cllr Chris Windows (Conservative, Henbury and Brentry) meant he withdrew his application for Lord Mayor. This was a result of campaigning by Bristol’s civic and LGBT+ groups and some Green and Lib Dem councillors, most notably Gus Hoyt and Peter Main – Bristol’s first LGBT+ Lord Mayor.

Labour must also use today to answer some questions about scrutiny and how they will be “responding” to the Labour Mayor’s speeches in the council chamber. Traditionally, there been the space for each party group to do so…but now that Labour’s leader and deputy leader have taken seats on the Mayor’s Cabinet, who will be responding – if anyone?

14.08 Cllr Chris Jackson (Labour, Filwood) says he is pleased to be putting forward a fellow Knowle Wester for Lord Mayor and First Citizen of Bristol. “This proves that you can aspire to great things.” Apparently Jeff’s wife took a bit of convincing that it was a good idea for Jeff to become Lord Mayor, and Cllr Jackson says like all Lord Mayors, Jeff will be “dragged into” the council chamber…!

14.11 Brief comments from Tory group leader Cllr Mark Weston (Conservative, Henbury and Brentry), says Jeff Lovell will have “not only the respect, but the affection of the chamber”. Lovell served as chair of a number of committees and is known for his humour and positive, collegiate style with councillors from all parties.

14.12 Unanimous vote of “ayes”. Jeff Lovell is about to be dragged in as the Lord Mayor of Bristol.

14.17 Full bling attached, the Lord Mayor of Bristol Jeff Lovell begins his speech. “Welcome to the revamped chamber, what a difference it’s made.” Already love this guy.

14.25 Outgoing Lord Mayor Cllr Clare Campion-Smith (Lib Dem, Westbury-on-Trym & Henleaze) will not take on the traditional role of Deputy Lord Mayor, due to her being appointed to the new Mayor’s Cabinet, as Assistant Mayor for People. The role will instead be taken by one of the previous Lord Mayors, Cllr Chris Davies (Lib Dem, Knowle).

14.33 Jeff Lovell says he will have “three visions” for the Lord Mayoralty, but he says he will let everyone know when he knows what they are. And that’s it, onto the vote of thanks for the retiring Lord Mayor.

14.35 Cllr Anthony Negus (Lib Dem, Cotham) proposes vote of thanks, says that outgoing Lord Mayor Clare Campion-Smith knows how to “discipline with authority” and that there are people in the chamber who are “a lot ruder than I am”. Those who regularly watch or attend Full Council meetings will know the councillors he is talking about…

14.40 Cllr Martin Fodor (Green, Redland) says that Clare Campion-Smith only the 9th female Lord Mayor in the city. Thanks CC-S for her patience, keeping order and getting through the agenda in the face of all the different parties waving at you to get heard. Fodor points out that Lord Mayor chairs the Downs Committee – which is a mixture of councillors and Merchant Venturers. (Surely it is time to end this archaic relic of a bygone age?)

14.43 Cllr Brenda Massey (Labour, Southmead) hopes CC-S will continue to work to increase the number of young women who take up the STEM subjects, and help for those who are disadvantaged.

14.51 Retiring Lord Mayor says she has had 700 engagements throughout the year: “Hard work, covered by laughter and joy.” Thanks those in the Lord Mayor’s office who keep the role relevant. Says “today is Jeff’s day” and will support them in their role.

14.52 Vote of thanks for the retiring Deputy Lord Mayor. Cllr Geoff Gollop (Conservative, Westbury-on-Trym & Henleaze) says this is a difficult speech as he has lost Alistair Watson (former Conservative councillor for Westbury-on-Trym) not only as Deputy Lord Mayor, but also as a fellow ward colleague. Somewhat pointedly, he does not mention that it was outgoing Lord Mayor Clare Campion-Smith who took the third Westbury seat off him. Awkward?

14.55 Cllr Mark Brain (Labour, Hartcliffe & Withywood) cites International Trans Day as an important thing for Alistair Watson to support as a Conservative Lord Mayor. A pointed comment about who the Conservatives originally put up: a candidate who was said to have made homophobic comments. Cllr Chris Windows was forced to withdraw his application for Lord Mayor due to a public campaign by the LGBT+ community.

15.06 Alistair Watson goes for the witty speech option, but unfortunately the outgoing Lord Mayor didn’t get one of the references to her wearing of a denim jacket. It’s a remarkable speech in its length and tone. He gets onto how to address people by the correct title, then acknowledges the elephant in the room – his loss to Clare Campion-Smith, and jokes that he will be changing his last name to “Alistair Aardvark” as a result. He reels off a long list of things he’ll be doing to stay in touch with things in Bristol.

15.07 Now we’re onto the vote of thanks for the Lord Mayor’s Consort. In other words, the partner/husband/friend of the Lord Mayor. Cllr Tim Kent (Lib Dem, Hengrove & Whitchurch Park) again mentions the curse of the alphabet (Ian Campion-Smith is to be thanked for her keeping her seat for contributing his high-up-the-alphabet surname). Incredibly brief speech from new Green group leader Cllr Charlie Bolton (Green, Southville), thanking Ian for his work. New Lord Mayor Jeff Lovell asks Cllr Gary Hopkins (Lib Dem, Knowle) to take note (Hopkins is known for long, rambling speeches.)

15.18 Gary Hopkins doesn’t take the advice, but it’s short by this standards. Cllr Steve Pearce (Labour, St George Central) does a short one to say Chris Davies has been excellent on licensing committees. The Deputy Lord Mayor then gets sworn in. Of course, he doesn’t get any bling, but he does get a medal. Frankly, I’d prefer it.

15.19 And that’s it. Tea break time.

15.59 Full Council about to resume.

16.00 The telltale nod: Labour no longer has a group leader?
By convention, the Lord Mayor nods at all group leaders on the way into the council chamber. Cllr Lovell nodded at Green, Lib Dem and Tory leaders, but did not know the protocol for nodding to the Labour group, and Cllrs Holland and Tincknell pointed up to the dais, where new Labour Mayor Marvin Rees is sitting.

16.08 Minutes approved (with small typo amendment) and no declarations of interest given. Lord Mayor’s announcements includes recent deaths of former Bristol councillors. The new Lord Mayor prefers to say “two-oh-oh-nine” when saying 2009. This may be a bit annoying after a while…

16.10 Tribute from Lib Dem group leader Gary Hopkins to Patrick Hassell, and the first Peter Abraham tribute speech of the year (for all the named people). Charlie Bolton (Green group leader) thanks particularly George Micklewright who helped him with advice in his early days as a councillor.

16.27 Cllr Asher Craig (Labour, St George West) pays particular tribute to Carmen Beckford MBE, known as one of the seven saints of St Pauls (the founders of St Pauls Festival, which later became St Pauls Carnival). Carmen trained as a nurse and campaigned to write the wrongs of racial inequality, being encouraged in 1968 to apply for the community and race relations officer for Bristol City Council by the Jamaican High Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer. She was the first black senior officer at Bristol City Council and made a huge contribution to the city’s life, becoming the first black recipient of an Honour for the  in 1982. Emotional speech from Cllr Craig, who was with Carmen Beckford when she passed away. A minute’s silence is impeccably observed.

16.29 Marvin Rees starts his speech: the Mayor of Bristol’s annual statement to Full Council.

16.32 Marvin starts by thanking the incoming and outcoming Lord Mayors. He also thanks all outgoing councillors, everyone who stood in the elections and outgoing Mayor George Ferguson.

16.36 “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” says Marvin. The days of the council being an “all-powerful place-making force” are over. He champions the need for cross-authority working. We are interdependent and must work with everyone to build a better Bristol, says Rees.

16.42 Marvin lists all of his Cabinet members and says what they will be doing. He says he is “honoured” by the Green, Lib Dem and Tory councillors joining his Cabinet. He says Cllr Claire Hiscott (Conservative, Horfield) understands the challenges of the education brief, seemingly an additional point to be made about the NUT criticising this appointment.

16.43 “Environmental and social justice are inseparable”. And Marvin brings one big policy announcement out of the bag – the Hartcliffe Way Recycling Centre will be built.

16.45 Biggest applause is for review of Residents’ Parking Schemes. Rees says he will get Neighbourhood Partnerships and council officers to review. He says that he will freeze RPS permit charges and stop enforcement of blue badge holders in all Residents’ Parking Schemes.

16.46 Rees says he will produce a Bristol Charter for Corporate Social Responsibility and ensure the Living Wage is upheld. He wants all to remember the council’s workforce.

16.50 Rees says he will seek the views of all. He wants councillors to be empowered in their communities. Marvin concludes with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt and says “we are in this together”.

16.55 Mark Weston (Conservative group leader) responds to the Mayor’s annual speech. He thinks housing delivery vehicles and removing 20mph from arterial roads are the top priorities. He wants the tone of the political debate to be raised.

17.03 “Oh my god, I think I’m going to agree with Mark Weston”, begins Charlie Bolton (Green group leader). Jeremy Corbyn being leader has clearly had an effect, he says, and hopefully this will start to affect Labour Party policy. Housing is the first priority that Marvin Rees has to solve, says Bolton, and you will be judged by your ability to do it. Talking inequality is easy, but it’s unclear how this will happen. The cuts are the third problem that Rees will face. We need to radically improve air quality. We do not hope for, we demand improvements in public transport. I would be appalled if 20mph zones were abolished. We will give you a chance, but we will be watching closely.

17.08 Gary Hopkins (Lib Dem group leader) lambasts poor delivery of libraries changes, and happy that Hartcliffe Way Recycling Centre (which he says always included re-use in the plans) will be progressed. He seems very down today. Tony Dyer (who is sitting right by me) says that “reuse” is more than just a five-letter word you add onto your plans.

17.16 Marvin Rees says that he wants councillors to “drive into” the mayoral office. (I think the Greens will probably cycle.) He makes reference to Paul Saville getting thrown out of City Hall during the tea break and how housing will be a challenge. He also reiterates that the council needs to be working across boundaries. It’s really hard to liveblog Marvin, because he is a fast talker, but also because it’s not always clear where each sentence is leading.

17.17 And the speech, responses and response to the response are over. This blog will end now, as I have to go and meet Caroline Lucas…! Keep watching for the Bristol Youth Council’s annual manifesto…

#TonyFirst: Why you should give Tony Dyer your first preference vote on Thursday 5th May

Why you should give Tony Dyer your first preference vote on Thursday 5th May

I’ve known Tony for quite a while. I can’t remember exactly when I met him, but like many people in the Bristol blogosphere I was impressed by his incredibly detailed writing  for a previous incarnation of the website Bristol 24/7. He clearly puts the time and effort in to understand a subject. It might not seem like a big deal, but Tony reads books, and he learns things from them. I think this is hugely important in terms of the over-arching reasons for voting for him. Intelligence, principle and pragmatism are Tony’s chief qualities – he knows the issues inside out, he knows what the right thing to do is on those issues, and he knows which issues it is realistic to focus on for his term of office.

If you’re reading this, perhaps you’ve already made your mind up about some of the candidates. But if you’re still thinking about who would make the best Mayor, I would implore to look closely at Tony’s proposals, available here: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/mayor2016

Let me tell you more about Tony. Tony is a kind, genuine, funny and down-to-earth person. He is undoubtedly a policy wonk, but he wears it lightly…and anyway, since when was it a bad thing to know what we should do to make things better? When he suggested his idea for an immediate call for George Osborne to allow us to keep our business rates in Bristol (already Osborne’s policy, but Tony would negotiate speeding the process up in exchange for  freezing council tax, a Tory sacred cow), it would  free up millions of pounds he could then use for infrastructure spending. In an era of Conservative government-imposed austerity, we need someone who has genuinely tried to think of alternatives that are achievable and workable, who isn’t just accepting austerity as a necessity, and who knows what he wants to get out of central government.

Tony is well-liked by people, even his political opponents. He is known to be straight-talking with everyone he meets, frames all of his conversation positively and doesn’t belittle others – in fact, he believes he needs people from all political persuasions and none if there is any chance for economic, social and environmental justice to be advanced in any meaningful way. If elected as Mayor, he would be collaborative to a far greater degree than any of the other main candidates, utilising his Cabinet’s expertise in far deeper ways than is presently being achieved, listening to communities first rather than imposing solutions straight away, and – yes, it’s important to acknowledge, given the other candidates’ situations – being consultative with the local Green Party, who will hold him accountable for his decisions on a regular basis through our democratic structures.

The media had formed their narrative on this mayoral election campaign before it even started. For them, it was between Ferguson and Rees again…and they seemed to be ignorant of the large increase of the Green vote share year after year in  Bristol. Another jump, and we will get a Green Mayor. This would cause a national shockwave in a way that no other half-likely result will and will instantaneously make Bristol the most progressive and forward-thinking city in the country.

And just one more thing. You may be aware that the voting system for this election allows you a first and a second preference. That means you can vote for who you really want to win first, and who you would put up with second. Above all, Tony really needs your first preference – so put #TonyFirst!

General Election 2015 Election night result at Brislington Enterprise College for  Bristol South Tony Dyer - Green Party candidate Date: 07/05/15 Photographer: Michael Lloyd/Freelance Copyright: Local World
Photographer: Michael Lloyd/Freelance
Copyright: Local World

Why I am standing for Central ward

It has been an absolute honour to serve the residents of Ashley ward for two and a half years as one of their two Green local councillors. Gus and I have always worked as a team and split the casework pretty much down the middle, even when Gus was the Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods, and also during the last few months when I have been the Green group leader.

It has been great to work with him and with residents. Even during a period when local government has been under attack by successive Coalition and Tory governments, we have been able to help people on lower incomes to get their housing issues resolved or their benefits situation reviewed, as well as leading in the challenge of getting clean streets and the resources to keep them that way. Amongst all of our work, I have been particularly pleased with the new Albany Green improvements, and I look forward to a huge increase in the number of bike parking spaces in the Stokes Croft/Picton Street area in the next few months.

My term as Ashley councillor will be coming to an end in May and I recently made the decision that I would stand for a different ward, the new Central ward, which stretches from Stokes Croft and the Dove Street flats in the north, to the University of Bristol in the west, to Temple Way in the east, to the New Cut in the south.

I have taken this decision for a few reasons.

Firstly, and after 2.5 years, it has become clear to me that electing a gender-balanced pairing is better for residents – particularly for women who may need a female councillor to represent them on particular issues. I am convinced that the Green Party’s new Ashley council candidates (when announced) will be a well-balanced team and will serve the communities of St Pauls, St Werburghs, Montpelier and St Andrews with dedication and perseverance if elected in May.

Secondly, I am excited about a fresh opportunity, that of standing alongside Ani Stafford-Townsend to make Central a fully Green ward. The approach Ani has taken in her first year as a councillor has been fantastic – leading on crucial issues such as small business support, the homelessness crisis and the protection and improvement of the city centre’s green spaces. She has excelled herself in chairing a Development Control committee and is available for face-to-face meetings with residents, which is the first job of a good local councillor.

Thirdly, I have realised that two of the biggest challenges we face in making Bristol a Green city – sorting out a transport system that still does not do enough to de-incentivise motor vehicles, and ensuring we create safe, warm, low energy affordable homes – are being played out in Bristol City Centre. I am particularly energised by the idea of the centre of Bristol becoming much more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, with the four-year goal of closing more streets to through-traffic. This is an undeniably Green direction to take, because it would not only improve our air quality, but also improve social conditions – the centre would be more liveable, legible, and far more open to local traders and businesses. Our centre promenade often doesn’t feel like a “location” in the same way other cities manage with their central squares – and I want to work to make this happen.

The city centre has undergone big changes in the last decade, not least in the number of people who have come to live there. The task of bringing together diverse, sometimes isolated communities as one city centre community is one I relish and I can’t wait to get out and listen to the views of residents on what would improve things.

The recent political history of Cabot ward is not lost on me. George Ferguson and Stephen Williams, both purveyors of economic neoliberalism, have both been councillors in the central ward in the past. If elected, I will look to challenge this outdated economic consensus that they have both, in their differing ways, chosen to comply with – and provide an alternative Green vision of economic prosperity for all.

I’ll get to know a lot more about residents’ needs in the coming months, but I think one of the first challenges in Cabot/Central is to get more residents registered to vote. Cabot has had a worryingly low response rate to the Household Enquiry Form, which is in part because of the large student population, but with wider impacts too. We know that Individual Electoral Registration has caused a huge democratic deficit in the UK, with millions of people falling off the electoral register, and it is, alongside the council’s Electoral Services team, mine and Ani’s task to ensure that people are able to use their democratic right – whether they decide to vote for us or not. My overarching passion remains reforming our anachronistic and discredited electoral system so that power at the ballot box is given to people, not parties – and I will continue to work for this at all levels, not least in my current role as a council member for the Electoral Reform Society.

As always, I remain contactable on rob.telford@bristol.gov.uk if you have any questions.

Ani Stafford-Townsend, Rob Telford, in Redcliffe, Welsh Back to rear
Ani Stafford-Townsend (L) and Rob Telford, Green candidates for Central ward, May 2016

LEADER’S BLOG: October 2015

A monthly look at what assorted Green councillors in Bristol have been getting up to…

Jerome Thomas (Clifton councillor)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=28

Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Clifton
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGnAN_THWdwQLNlSUduIe7A
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bristoljerome
Jerome@RegAt a City level I have been working with the Green Party Transport Group to propose Transport policy and campaigns for 2016. With that group and with the Green Party councillors we have been looking at Air Quality in Bristol and have  proposed our approach for the launch of a low emissions zone in central Bristol. We will be consulting on that with Green party members in the coming weeks. In Clifton we have been progressing an enhanced role for Clifton Library. On Tuesday 6 October we held a very well attended Friends of Clifton Library meeting. This was led by local Green Party member Paula O’Rourke.

I’ve been working with John Grimshaw (founder of Sustrans) on his proposal for a zebra crossing on Jacobs Wells Road and better access onto Brandon Hill. I’ve also met with the council’s cycling officers about the unacceptable life risks to cyclists on the Jacobs Wells roundabout and have proposed a number of measures, some of them very low cost, which will reduce those risks to acceptable levels.

Gus Hoyt (Ashley councillor)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=91

Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Ashley
Blog: https://greengus.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrGreenGus
Cllr Gus Hoyt
The main issue locally has continued to be the Carriageworks (Westmoreland House – the derelict building on the corner of Ashley Rd and Stokes Croft). The developer Fifth Capital London has worked closely with the community liaison group (CAG) since their planning application was deferred at committee in April. This leads many to believe the development is likely to go ahead despite 25 years of set-backs.

The main concern is that there is local representation on a future management committee so that future use is in keeping with the Community Vision. The decision is going to planning committee on the 14th October. Following on the housing theme, I was the only councillor not on Place Scrutiny to attend an excellent full day for the Bristol Housing Enquiry where we explored the situation in Bristol and looked to other authorities and organisations to see what they are doing around the country to solve the housing crisis.

Prior to this I joined other councillors and members for the formulation of the Green Housing Policy working group which met for an evening to discuss what our short, medium and long term goals need to be within the city. This will feed into the Mayoral Manifesto for next May’s elections.

Earlier this week I also met with local campaigners who want to solve the growing problem of homelessness faced by the city. The aim is to creating temporary shelter leading to continued support to those who have found themselves in the downward spiral of homelessness. The main problem at this stage is lack of suitable buildings available and I will be working with Cabot Cllr Ani Stafford Townsend as this issue crosses both our wards.

Likewise litter, fly-tipping and the general rubbish on our streets is continuing to be the number one complaint, and rightly so. Lower Montpelier and St Pauls are continuing to be blighted by a dismal street-scene and it is hoped that now the waste contract is brought back ‘in house’ that some progress can be made.

Interestingly, we are being approached by residents in St Andrews asking for an extension to residents parking as the displacement of extra and commuter cars are spreading further north now the zone is active in Montpelier.

Carla Denyer (Clifton East)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=30
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Clifton-East
Twitter: https://twitter.com/carla_denyer

CarlaRather than summarising a whole month, this time here’s a day in the life of Cllr Carla Denyer. This was 7th October, slightly busier than the average day, but far from unusual.

9:30am-10:30am – Emails (backlog = 378, as I was at a conference last week)
11:00am-12:00pm – Met a business-owner in my ward to address waste collection and fly-tipping issues on her property, complicated by neighbour relations. One of them did not take kindly to being asked well-meaning questions… sometimes being a councillor entails being a counsellor too. I am now following up on the issues with the Waste Services team.
12:20pm-2:00pm – Lunch and scheduling
2:00pm-3:00pm – Budget briefing from the Finance Service Director at Bristol City Council to the Green councillors
3:00pm-4:00pm – Jointly drafted the Green councillors’ contribution to the West of England Spatial Strategy (how and where to build the tens of thousands of new homes needed in Bristol)
4:00pm-5:45pm – Emails
5:45pm-6:00pm – Grabbed a quick supper
6:00pm-7:00pm – Meeting of the Environment Sub Group of my local Neighbourhood Partnership to discuss how to spend delegated money on environmental improvements. (Left 1 hour early to get to…)
7:00pm-9:00pm – Meeting of Bristol Green Party to discuss policy proposals and campaign ideas
9:30pm – Home

Martin Fodor (Redland)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=74
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Redland
Blog: http://martinfodor.com/
martin-fodor-bristol-2013Redland councillors are now grappling with continuing problems over the Bristol North Baths Redevelopment (a new library, medical centre, flats and toilets above the car park on Gloucester Rd). Since the Medical Practice serving most of Bishopston announced they will no longer seek to relocate there many questions have come up.

While the plan adopted was controversial and some residents are saying now is the time to revisit the shape of the project, with a close to completion development it makes sense to get the best from the investment, protect the council’s interests as freeholder, and ensure local medical services are not jeopardised. We want our local library to open and Drs to have a base with more facilities.

We are pressing hard for the long awaited proposals on review of the new Residents Parking schemes to be published so that those affected by the commuter parking around our current zone get a solution, and the proposed minor changes to the existing scheme can be implemented. There is widespread support for the scheme now in place and many outside it are very keen to see parking managed. We’re committed to getting as many local residents and traders’ ideas incorporated as possible so the scheme is shaped by people using it.

Months ago the Gloucester Rd and many other local streets were resurfaced. We are still pressing for reinstatement of all the markings which still fail to restore the cycle tracks that provide some protection for cycle users on the city’s busiest cycle road.

Daniella Radice (Bishopston councillor and Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods)
Councillor page:
https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=82
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Bishopston
Blog: http://bishopstongreencouncillors.info
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenDaniella
daniellaAlthough I haven’t had any major papers to take to cabinet this month, it hasn’t been that quiet. I seem to get about 100 e-mails a day, a variety of issues relating to my portfolio, dealings with officers and of course ward work.

This week I spoke at a conference on rethinking parks, attended a celebration of the Playing out charity and also chaired a meeting of the partnership advisory group for Muslim women which is planning a conference for Muslim women next year. As part of my role in Sports I am helping convene an open space session to help start a women’s sports strategy for the city next month. Part of my work involves being part of the sports commission shadow board which is setting itself up as a community interest company. I am also now the Green representative on the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership that runs the festival of ideas.

Steve Clarke (Southville councillor)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=29
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/about-stephen
Blog: http://votegreeninsouthville.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/southvillesteve
photo-cllr-stephen-clarkeI have attended a number of council and commission meetings (including a cabinet meeting on 6.10.15 where I asked a question about the environmental sustainability of the Arena). There was a very informative Housing Inquiry Day (with four separate briefing meetings beforehand) where councillors, experts and officers discussed innovative ways for Bristol to try and tackle the housing crisis.

I have also had a busy month dealing with a number of urgent local issues. Regarding the stadium parking, we now seem to have engaged the Council’s senior leadership team (including Assistant Mayor Simon Cook and Transport Service Director Peter Mann) in a meaningful effort to try to come to some worthwhile solutions regarding the parking and travel issues. They seem to be talking to Bristol Sport again and we we will watch closely where that goes. Unfortunately, there looks like little danger of City getting promoted in the near future in any event so we may not feel the full impact of the 27,000 seater stadium for a while…

I met an interesting delegation of citizens from Hanover (one of Bristol’s twin-towns) and discovered that they have many of the same problems that we do; public transport, air-quality, lack of really affordable housing etc. I enjoyed meeting them and they loved Bristol.

Finally, myself and Charlie Bolton (co-councillor for Southville) are continuing with our initiative to talk to the voters in the nine tower blocks in our patch by having regular surgeries. The biggest issues are dog-free blocks and illegal tenancies. Generally the residents are very pleased to see us as they have been ignored and forgotten for a long time.

Green group