In a rare move for a political leader, the Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, is stepping aside to allow someone else to make their mark. Being unfamiliar with any of candidates, I’ve watched some video hustings from elsewhere in the country. I present them here without comment, except to say that the platform includes Pippa Bartolotti, Natalie Bennett and Peter Cranie but not Romayne Phoenix.
Until four years ago, us Greens didn’t trouble ourselves with a single leader at all. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that our relationship with our leadership is somewhat different from the other mainstream parties. We use the leadership to communicate with the wider public, rather than to lead politically. Our constitutional rules are very clear, the party is controlled from the bottom up.
An unusual feature of our current rules is that the leader and the deputy leader must be of opposite gender. I’d like to see that rule binned because it means that the election of one candidate for the leadership can automatically disqualify others from the deputy leadership election. I can’t see how that squares with basic democratic principles. Nevertheless, it reveals something very important about our party: that we take equality incredibly seriously.
Here’s the deputy leadership hustings:
I find myself torn between wanting to vote according to how well I know people and wanting to encourage people in parts of the country well away from Brighton & Hove. We mustn’t fall into the trap that the Liberal (Democrats) did long ago. Until very recently, they were really little more than four strong regional parties, tied together by a common name. Their distinct parts promoted different policies! I’m concerned that the rise of the Brighton & Hove Greens could lead to a scenario where our region and the other strong regions develop separately from one another. That said, our best people are likely to come from where they have learnt the lessons of success.
Given that we are not a party seeking a leader but instead a good communicator, that will be the principal criteria by which I judge the candidates. I’ve watched all the videos above, I know some of the candidates and I’ll be talking about the others with my comrades. I’ll declare my decision here when it’s made.