Since I joined the party in 2005 I have always been an active member; in Islington and Hackney where I have lived, London and nationally.
I have gained valuable experience and skills in elections, public speaking, policy and internal politics which I am sure will hold me in good stead if elected as Deputy Leader.
Most recently I was a constituency candidate for North East London in the London Assembly elections, where I achieved the top result in London across this very mixed region; consisting of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. We came second in Hackney and Islington North and achieved unprecedented local media coverage. This was a very enjoyable campaign with a fantastic team across London, that led us to a historic third place in the Mayoral and Assembly race.
During this campaign I learnt a lot about election strategy, campaigning and building relations with local media. But I am aware we still have a lot to learn and am currently part of a team investigating successes elsewhere, such as the West Midlands, who we are scheduled to meet.
You can read my campaign blog here. I campaigned on a wide range of issues from housing to air pollution, green space and the Olympics to supporting local shops to name just a few.
I believe we need to do much better at sharing our lessons, we often seem to keep reinventing the wheel. And of course making sure we say ‘well done’ to all those who work so hard for the party.
For the past 3 years I have been on the National Policy Committee.
I am proud of the work I have done in updating and improving our policy, in particular in the areas of Science, Food & Agriculture and Countryside. This has involved long term work with teams often involving disparate views, with the potential for disagreement and argument. However the process of development has been smooth and we’ve come out with policy that is both radical, achievable, inspiring and relevant. We have also started to build positive relationships with NGOs who share our vision.
There is clearly still a lot more work to be done on policy. More broadly I have been involved in trying to improve the process, engage more members and most importantly looking at how we articulate our policies to help us break out of being seen as a single issue party.
I see engaging with NGOs and other Green Parties as key to us improving our policy. I have worked at a European level attending the last two European Green Party Conference/ Councils and contributing to the Green New Deal Agriculture paper. These have been excellent opportunities to learn from other Green parties, both from the positives and the things that have not worked well.
Being the party spokesperson on animal issues has been a great opportunity to present our policies to a wider audience in a credible, compassionate and joined up way. I have spoken at a number of events set up by campaigning organisations such as League Against Cruel Sports and Compassion in World Farming, have produced numerous press releases on animal issues and a new leaflet on our animal policies that has been very well received by local parties and the public.
A highlight was producing the London Animal Manifesto, that gained us support from rock legend Brian May- see what Brian had to say here.
For two years I was one of the London members of the Green Party Regional Council; the body tasked with maintaining the overall health of the party. This was a great chance to learn about the structures of the party, to understand the issues in the different regions and local parties and to consider how we can move forward across the country.
One of the roles of GPRC at that time was dealing with disputes. This gave me an excellent insight into how disagrements develop and grow, therefore enabling me to think more about how we can avoid damaging disputes within the party.
On a more positive note I met members from across England and Wales and was able to work in a constructive and positive way to deal with issues, develop new protocols and support each other.