Green councillors may be hard working bureaucrats but they still lack the ability to campaign on local issues

Luke Walter, as always, puts up a spirited defence of Green councillors in a comment on my earlier post, 83 days to go, and Caroline Lucas continues to be let down by local Green Councillors.  He writes: “I would actually say that the Green councillors around St. Peter’s and North Laine, particularly Keith Taylor, is busy pounding doors almost every weekend, the rest of the time he’s pursing case work. Yes, perhaps they have missed one issue, but you have to remember, the local party is pretty stretched in regards to the campaign.”  He goes on: “I would say Green councillors work hard, one way or another, as the vast majority of councillors do.”

Allie Cannell also comments: “The Green Party makes it very clear that all green councillors have to do a lot of work as part of their role and are not allowed to just sit in the role, as some councillors do…..  They all meet up reguarily with the local party and have to report back on what they’ve been doing to make sure they are complying by these standards the green party demands!!!!”

I have no doubt that Green councillors and Keith Taylor in particular work hard as ward councillor (although I am not in a position to have any first hand knowledge of this).  What my observation is, and has always been, is that the Green councillors, particularly in a ward such as St Peters and North Laine, are poor campaigners.  They appear to have slipped into the habit of Labour councillors of being hard working, dedicated … bureaucrats!  To bring about change, it isn’t enough to be a hard working councillor, you have to campaign. 

On 3rd February, this blog referred to an earlier exchange with local thespian, Ralph Brown regarding the Open Market.  I had said that local Greens had much to learn about local campaigning.  Ralph accused me of being a Tory!  (I have hardly recovered from this slur but am making good progress, as I am sure Charlotte Vere will be pleased to note!).  Ralph said that Keith Taylor had been working on the regeneration of Brighton’s Open Market “for many years”, and that I should, in effect, ‘watch this space’.  I continue to watch and wait, and I all I observe is  further decline in the Open Market.  What Keith and many Green councillors lack is a grounding in grass routes campaigning, and so will lack that cutting edge required to win the Council in May 2011, and will undermine Caroline Lucas’ campaign in May 2010.

I have called on Labour and Lib Dem supporters to vote tactically for Caroline Lucas in May, and I would love to see a Green council elected in May 2011.  I am not a Green Party member, but I hope that supporters and members of that party will see my criticism of local Green councillors as constructive.  Unless the Greens learn to campaign, unless they broaden their support base beyond the Muesli Belt, and until they can understand and articulate issues from the perspective of ordinary people, they will remain a party with mere aspirations for office and may well lose the historic opportunity to demonstrate a new politics by forming an administration in Brighton and Hove.

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2 Responses

  1. have you seen the Green Party get sexy video? I think this is what you are talking about here?

    Even if your not its a pretty funny video about the greens 🙂

  2. Hi BPB,

    I think there’s strong evidence to suggest that the Greens message, particularly in this campaign, is reaching other parts of Brighton, beyond traditional Green areas.

    You can read my analysis of the ward breakdown from December’s ICM poll here: http://bit.ly/aCBboK

    Whilst the poll has it’s flaws, it suggests that the Greens are performing well in Patcham and Withdean (actually out-performing the Tories in Withdean). Whilst there is work to be done in Hollingbury and Stamner, and the Greens need to shore up the vote in Regency, the message is getting through.

    In Hollingbury and Stamner, the Greens need to continue to make the case to Labour-supporting residents that their best bet to beating the Tories is to vote Green, as this blog has advised and rightly so.

    There is no doubt that the Greens can get their literature through the letterbox faster than any other party, and can certainly rely on a kind of national support the Vere and Platts campaign could only dream of. They just need those extra voters to trust the Greens, which we hope they will.

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