Conference vox pops

Following June's general result, Green World asked delegates at the Green Party Conference in Harrogate how they felt the Party should move forward strategically in light of the apparent return of two party politics

Peter Sims, Chiltern Green Party 

I think a key need is for the Green Party to try to distinguish itself from the other parties. It has distinct policies but, because of the changing political environment, we need to change what we focus our public messaging on. 

We should do two things to the message we present. At one level, we need to do a lot of joined up systemic thinking to prove to the people that are interested in this sort of politics, who others listen to, that we have a strategic plan that joins up, is practicable, and is financeable. 

On the other hand, we need to simplify, clarify and refocus a lot of our public facing policies and our offer, so that it chimes with people with whom it possibly wouldn’t have before, perhaps focusing on rural areas, for example. 

 

RoseMary Warrington, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, Green Party Women 

We should emphasise our green credentials. We’re the only party that is standing up for the future, the only party that is working for a world that is fit to live in both now and for future generations. It’s about people having a decent place to live, an income on which they can build a life, and we should really be emphasizing that. We are the only party looking beyond the next general election. 

We also need to tie that into the issues on the doorstep. It is really important to get local councillors elected and more elected representatives in general. We do need to be very disciplined in how we use our limited resources - time, energy and money - and share best practice. That means practising on each other, asking each other difficult questions, and practising talking to the media and being recorded so that we get better at it! A return to two party politics is incredibly boring and we have the opportunity to provide something different. 

  

Molly Gerlach-Arthurs, Green Party Internal Communications Co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales, Co-Chair of Green Party LGBTIQA+ 

I think that the Green Party, within a two party system, is most effective as a pressure group. So a lot of the policy that we’ve pushed and worked for has been adopted by other parties who may have more power to make it happen. So I think we really need to take a real policy-forward approach and develop ground-breaking new policy and push that, rather than viewing our own election as a priority. 

 

Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales 

I think it’s interesting that you ask this question as we’ve just come out of a discussion on Grenfell Tower where a community has been let down by the Conservatives, but also been let down by Labour. It’s been Greens that have been organising in the community, that have got things like translation services provided for people who don’t speak English and who, in a tragedy, don’t want to be speaking their second or third language. When a high proportion of those victims speak Arabic, and there was no access to information for those people, it was an absolute failure on the part of the government. As campaigners, we hold councils to account. 

We’ve been consistent. Our policies don’t change with our leadership. Whether it’s anti-austerity, whether it’s tackling climate change, whether it’s making sure that our environment’s protected for future generations, we are more relevant than ever. We cannot forget that, actually, at the general election our vote was the second highest we’ve ever had, and that, just a few months before, we were the only party, apart from the Conservatives, to make gains in the local council elections, and since then we have gained two more seats in by-elections in areas we had not won in before.

The only way is up!