There are many areas in which we need to build and improve to make the gains we so clearly need in local and Euro elections in the next two years and beyond.
As Deputy Leader there are areas where I can play a role directly, for example visiting local parties and speaking to the media, but I recognise that most projects will only be successful if they get the support and buy-in of the whole Green Party Executive team and beyond.
As Deputy Leader the ability to work as part of a team is perhaps the most important skill. I hope my endorsements reflect that I am an excellent team player, but my job is where I really learnt these skills. As a vet I know that without a team of nurses, receptionists, cleaners, managers etc the practice just couldn’t function and you certainly couldn’t deal with a critically ill animal. The skills learnt in this environment are surprisingly relevant to the political world.
Support local parties to grow and succeed: We must ensure we share best practice across parties, while also understanding the very different circumstances and challenges in different regions and between urban, surbuban and rural environments.
My time on GPRC (the Regional Council) gave me a good starting point on the perspective of different regions and in policy work I have always consulted far and wide. I couldn’t have led on Countryside and Agriculture policy without seeking out many different viewpoints and listening to those directly involved and affected.
While I live in London I’m not Londoncentric; there will be advantages to me being able to more easily meet with the national media, but I know that a London and South East domination is not good for the party or the country as a whole. A fair allocation of resources is vital to success across the country.
We need to provide parties with the resources they need to succeed, from successful election strategies through to the nuts and bolts of how to put together a leaflet. There is so much expertise in the party, but we keep it too much to ourselves.
We must be ambitious, we need to be aiming for MEPs across the country and more than just a few new Councillors every few years.
Make policy more relevant and get it out there: We have some great policies, many of which are highly relevant to the current crises we face. But many of the public still see us as a single issue party or don’t think we are credible on wider issues. We must change this situation urgently.
I have started a process of building a database of policy experts within the party and have put a motion to conference on this and also on improving the spokesperson system which is opaque and unaccountable. Last conference I ran a fringe on improving the policy process, with emphasis on how to get more members involved.
We must push ourselves forwards, we have the talent in the party and should be supporting those who want to in developing the skills and confidence to put themselves in the spotlight. What we have to say is urgent and vitally important.
Expand our members and supporters and make them feel valued: Promoting a positive message and improving our media presence will increase our membership. But we need to be aware of our supporters too, many people will be willing to help in a campaign without actually joining. We need a strategy to address and understand this and look at how we communicate with supporters. We must also value our members, ask them what they are looking for and ensure that they don’t just drift away because we assume we know what they want.
The diversity of our membership is improving, but we should be doing better. Sharing our policies widely and ensuring diversity in our spokespeople and elected members are key to accelerating this trend. I am sure I wouldn’t be standing for this role now if I hadn’t been inspired and encouraged by female politicians in the party to whom I am very grateful. I want to pass this encouragement on. We need to actively ensure this kind of mentoring is happening in the party.