Let’s take the Green Party forward
We need to take the Green Party onto the next stage of our journey. A lot of good work has been done but if we are to move forward we need a new style and approach.
There is a chance that we could end up with 3 London residents in the Leadership Team of the Green Party but there is a real benefit having someone from outside London as part of our Leadership Team.
I have been the Green Party’s Energy Spokesperson for several years to my long career delivering successful renewable and energy efficiency projects. I have represented the Party on many occasions on national media such as the Daily Politics and BBC News 24 and I pride myself in standing up well to sometimes ‘challenging’ interviewers.
In my role as Energy Spokesperson I have been active in the Anti Fracking campaigns in the North of England. Last year I led a 120 mile protest march between the now former Fracking Site at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire and Preston New Road in Lancashire.
This gained us valuable publicity and demonstrated that opposition to Fracking goes way beyond nimbyism.
Giving a voice to the Regions
I’ve been a Green Party Councillor for nearly 20 years now representing Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire. As someone who has actually been elected and re-elected seven times by the public I can speak with authenticity and authority about how Government policies affect those of us outside the capital but also talk about the positive actions being taken by Green Party Councillors up and down the country.
Another real benefit from having a northern based Deputy Leader is the fact is that many of our news and current affairs programmes such as BBC Breakfast are now produced in Media City in Manchester just half an hour down the train line for me. Having a Deputy Leader available to go on the sofa in the morning would give us valuable publicity and raise our profile to a wider audience, helping us grow our party further.
Effectively delivering Green Politics locally
The Target to Win Strategy is bearing fruit with Councillors winning elections across the country. I know every candidate in this election will back continued support for Target to Win but what I want to do is ensure that we provide support for our Councillors once they are actually elected so they are the best representatives for their communities that they can possibly be.
We don’t want people to think they have just elected a Green Councillor but also a great Councillor.
I want to see the Party work with the Association of Green Councillors to develop a Councillor Support Network to coordinate actions such as Council motions linking with our local parties campaigning work.
For example phasing out Single use plastics, already achieved in Brighton, Cannock Chase and Norwich and half a dozen other councils. This is such a hot topic with the public we should be at the forefront of campaigning and policy developments.
Addressing Climate Change
Every new scientific study on the subject confirms the growing threat of Climate Change and the Green Party needs to do much more to show that we have the knowledge and policies needed to address this global threat.
Internationally I am a member of the UK Delegation to the EU Committee of the Regions and because of this I have been involved in the COP Climate Change process for the last 4 years.
Last year I established, in an International Agreement, a new way how Local and Regional Authorities around the world can play their role in reducing carbon emissions by giving them the ability to set their own targets and contribute directly to the Paris Climate goals.
At a national level I have written questions that have been asked in Parliament challenging Government on their pitiful record on addressing climate change.
I have exposed the fact that that national Government has not had one single communication with local Councils about how they can help reduce our carbon emissions.
At the local level on our local Council I have initiated schemes that have provided insulation to over 50’000 homes and helped 100s of Council tenants on low incomes reduce their fuel bills through the installation of solar panels.
I want to help Greens around the country develop practical projects such as these to reduce emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
We need to promote our positive Green policies but also highlight the very clear differences between the Green Party and other parties. We particularly need to show how significantly we differ from the Labour Party.
Labour has refused to back a ratification referendum on Brexit, they continue to support nuclear weapons and nuclear power, they oppose Proportional Representation, a majority of their MPs backed a third runway at Heathrow, they have scuppered progress on the NHS Reinstatement Bill. All this along with their unquestioning support for economic growth at all costs means that a strong and growing Green Party has never been needed more.
So please vote for me as your first preference as the Green Party’s new Deputy Leader and let’s take the Party forward, raise our profile and have another Green surge.
This time we're ready for it.
Councillor Andrew Cooper