Guest writer Adam Pogonowski is a Cambridge City councillor, and blogs at adampogonowski.blogspot.com. Here he explains why he’s backing Derek Wall for Deputy Leader; you can read Adam Ramsay’s case for re-electing Adrian Ramsay (no relation) here.
The role of Deputy Leader is to build and maintain grassroots support for the Green Party, and to engage and activate local parties, whilst also providing a lucid, coherent and powerful national voice in the media. The Deputy needs to be strong, amusing, engaging and complementary to the Leader. The Deputy needs to be in touch with international events too, and be a welcoming port-of-call for all new members. For my money, Derek Wall encapsulates these aspects brilliantly, with more to offer us as a Party too.
When I re-joined the party, one of the first people I contacted for help, information and solidarity was Derek. I had heard of him because of his media coverage and TV interviews from when he was Joint Principal Speaker in 2007-9. To say that I was greatly impressed by his arguments, personable nature and relaxed, easy and calm manner in which he presented his views, is an understatement. This is why I turned to him for advice and assistance.
Derek was very forthcoming in offering guidance to a new member, keen to get involved in Green politics. He helpfully pointed me to books he (and others) had written which are engaging and accessible to people from all walks of life. This is just the sort of person our Party needs to get new members involved in the party’s structures and policies. He also kindly came to Cambridge for the 2010 General Election Campaign, to speak to the students of the University, to engage them in radical green politics. Derek is a committed individual, and perfect for the role of Deputy. He teaches A Level economics, so is well-suited to interacting with the young people in society, and this is crucial to moving forward as a party.
But the bigger picture cannot be ignored: the world is still undergoing a massive extinctive phase; global inequalities, as well as domestic ones, are growing ever greater; consumerism is not waning. Combating ecological and social injustices is what the Green Party stands for. It is what our membership stands for. With 30 years presence within our party, fighting these corners globally and locally, it is what Derek Wall stands for.
We need a Deputy who personifies these goals. Caroline Lucas does this in an exemplary manner as our Leader; Derek Wall will do equally as well as our Deputy, and the two will complement each other perfectly. Derek is involved in fighting for indigenous people’s rights to land and ways of living, working with the renowned Hugo Blanco to fight this injustice. Derek travelled to the Isle of Wight to protest with other Green colleagues at the closure of Vestas. Derek has been extraordinarily active around the UK helping local parties get Greens elected, and helped out in Caroline’s election in 2010. The local, and the global, is seen in Derek’s activism.
Derek’s publications underline the core Green philosophy of economic localism and the promotion of people and planet living in unison. His work speaks of the imperative of reaching out to the workers of this country, calling for unity and pushing through the economic and social changes to bring equality about. Derek is a very human person; he can speak with, listen to, and laugh alongside anyone. That certainly is one of the outstanding qualities I have seen in him. Really activating the majority of the UK’s electorate is vital to the Party’s success, and the man best placed to do this is Derek. A move away from consumerism will not happen unless the Green Party leads people in our country away from it, and the destructive influence and practice of big business. If anyone in our party understands the need to do this, Derek Wall is definitely one of them.
Our Party is at a crossroads. We finally have an MP, yet we were battered in local elections this year. The grassroots support needs to be built on, and this is a matter of urgency if we seek to implement our political philosophy. We need a Deputy Leader who represents the majority of Party members. We need a Deputy who has the time to be totally involved in building this grassroots movement throughout England and Wales, not just in the South of England, where most electoral success has happened. We’ll need a Deputy Leader who can travel all over the country at short notice to do this. Derek is not an elected official of the party, and consequently has the time and dedication to carry out this role. He is also a national media presence, and this goes some way to helping disseminate our message. To give our members the voice they need, with the time to lead the party whilst not concentrating on being an MP or a Councillor, Derek has to be the logical choice. Our members need a voice for them, all of the time.
Derek, to my mind, embodies the party’s eco-socialist philosophy. He has tirelessly spent years building the party, representing the party and getting new people, like myself, fully involved. I don’t think I would have been elected this year, at my young age, if it were not for Derek’s views and kindness shown. The passion that Derek has is overwhelming, and he is a true inspiration to many, not just me. For a Deputy with time to dedicate to the position, for a deputy who is a fantastic public speaker and is able to engage with young and old alike, for a deputy who possesses the Green philosophy in abundance, vote Derek Wall for Deputy Leader.