Greens announce that 83.4% of its candidates are NOT gay

In a shock statement by the Green Party, it announced that 45 of its 54 candidates in May’s local elections are not from the LGBT community.  Actually, what the Greens announced was that nine of its candidates are gay.  That’s just 16.6% of its candidates, a lower ratio than the LGBT population in Brighton as a whole.

Political parties should be careful about making proud statements without thinking through the unexpected consequences.  On this occasion, the Green Party is making much of a modest boast.

Having said that, the Greens do have a strong track record on LGBT issues, on issues around domestic violence and community safety.  But then, so does the Labour Party which (from my knowledge of various candidates) might just be fielding more LGBT candidates than the Greens (although I am not about to out them).

I look forward to a time when Brighton and Hove has matured to the point where it no longer is necessary to mention the sexual orientation of candidates.

However, here is what Phelim Mac Cafferty, Chair of National LGBT Greens and Green candidate in Brunswick and Adelaide, had to say: “I’m delighted that the Green Party has selected nine LGBT candidates to fight for the Green Party at the council elections.  It speaks volumes about Green values that we are standing so many LGBT council candidates for the elections in the LGBT ‘capital’ of the United Kingdom.  The Green Party in Brighton and Hove has a proud history of standing up for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people.”

For the record, the LGBT Green candiates are Anthea Ballam, Central Hove; Dave Walsh, North Portslade; Stephen Watson, South Portslade; Martin Ashby, Hangleton and Knoll; Stuart Hay, Rottingdean Coastal; Geoffrey Bowden and Steph Powell, Queens Park; Mike Jones, Preston Park; and Phelim McCafferty, Brunswick and Adelaide.

7 Responses

  1. ‘I look forward to a time when Brighton and Hove has matured to the point where it no longer is necessary to mention the sexual orientation of candidates’. – so says Brighton politics Blogger!
    I fully agree. The combined ‘left’ just do not see that this is not an issue anymore (well not in our party). Try NOT to live in the past.
    After all there are more openly gay Conservative MP’s than all other parties put together.
    For the record and before the criticisms start – 100% of the Conservative candidates standing in East Brighton are openly gay. – Peter Booth -Conservative candidate East Brighton.

  2. The other evening, I had a first: canvassing-wise: a naked woman.

    Albeit somewhat masked by a half-glazed door. And this was not in the seclusion of a block but a basement opened directly upon the rain.

    Naturally, in this sophisiticated metropolis, I did not wish to appear fazed by this, but then, in that split-second of her seeing the rosette, she came out with the immortal line, “Oh, I was expecting somebody else…”

    I did not like to say, “have a good evening” as that might have sounded salacious, and as I went back up the perilous steps I wished that I had replied, “well, I trust that he’s not a LibDem.” Pleasure is all very well but that would be the giddy limit.

  3. Interesting points.
    Re political parties announcing candidates from minority groups, you need to remember they are talking to people in those groups probably more than to the wider ‘world’.

    Were we to enter some kind of prejudice free paradise where minority groups could feel safe and valued (we haven’t quite yet in the case of LGBT people despite many legal advances), it would still be important for progressive political parties to engage with and showcase their commitment to them.

    Announcing candidates who identify from these communities is a big part of that.

    Rather than see it as a defensive reaction against prejudice, progressive commentators should take pride in the fact that all the local main parties are courting these groups – it’s what makes local democratic politics tick.

    You suggest that LGBT population is more than 16% in Brighton & Hove.

    There’s no verifiable demographic measurement, obviously, but if you challenged me to a wager, I think 16%, as a finger in the air take, is about right.

  4. Green policy making = finger in the air

  5. I do not know if any of the Labour candidates are gay, and suspect that the party has to take who it can find. The selection meeting was as recently as the Saturday before last, and Celia Barlow was spotted outside the office on Church Road: perhaps as a member of the selection panel rather than a candidate…

    Simon Battle’s wife/partner told me that she could be standing in Westbourne, and she could bring a lively show to a campaign, but will, I suspect, not revive his mantra of “if people don’t like it here, they can always move”.

    Even so, I should not be surprised if the Green vote overtakes Labour’s in Westbourne. A view with which some in Labour agree.

  6. I don’t know exactly, but Labour is likely to be fielding around the same number of candidates as the Greens who are LGBT, as well as some BAME candidates. Whether they want to make that a point of their candidacy is up to them.

    Notably we have James Asser, national co-chair of LGBT Labour as one of our candidates in Regency alongside Dan Wilson.

    Our full candidate list will be out in the next couple of weeks once the last two selections are complete, obviously quite a few have been known for some time and have been campaigning for many months.

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