Peter Cranie and Alex Phillips are the team to lead the Green Party

Posted on August 2, 2012 by | 19 Comments

The longest economic crisis since the 1870s shows no sign of abating. The great institutions of justice – the National Health Service, comprehensive education and the benefits system – are being slashed and sold off. Inequality is now at a level last seen by Charles Dickens, and, in case you didn’t notice, the climate crisis has arrived. We live in hard times.

Newton’s third law of motion tells us that for every force, there is an equal and opposite force. Would that it were so in politics. All too often, the reverse is true. As the Conservative Party has run to the right over thirty years, the Labour Party has given chase, abandoning any claim it had to represent progressive politics in the UK. The Liberal Democrats have become a comedy act.

And so, as times become tougher than ever, the Green Party must step up. It is in this context that ballot papers are landing on doormats in the first seriously contested leadership election the party has ever had. And the eight candidates for the two jobs mostly seem aware of this.

Pippa Bartolotti – Wales Party leader and former fashion designer – is perhaps an exception. Hewn from the movements of the 1960s, she claims to be neither left, nor right. I am left, and she won’t get my vote. At the other end of the spectrum comes Romayne Pheonix. There is no denying her left wing credentials – chair of the Coalition of Resistance, she is a well known and formidable activist. Natalie Bennett has made important and serious points about the party’s internal processes and the need to diversify our external messaging. By running, she’s pushed party strategy forwards.

But neither of them will be getting my first vote either. Because for me, there is one candidate who has consistently impressed me throughout my time as a member of the Green Party. When I asked Peter Cranie what his political priorities were, he told me that people’s rents and bills are going up: his economic policy is written on the dirty windscreen of daily life.

When I asked him to outline his strategy for the next 8 years, he demonstrated the lessons learned through years in the school of hard political knocks. But unlike many, he didn’t learn to get used to losing. He has planned out how to win.

In an age of technocrats, there aren’t many inspiring politicians left. But inspiration is exactly what we need. And while Romayne and Natalie both have there strengths, Peter matches the former for willingness to battle austerity and the later in strategic depth. I hope he is the next leader of the party.

Alex Phillips, who is standing for deputy, inspires me too.

She is most recently famous as the one Brighton councillor who voted against the city budget once the Tories and Labour had amended it to include cuts. It is all too easy for parties to develop group-think. The cosy world of the Green Party leadership often seems guilty of this. And I want a deputy I know I can trust to politely challenge consensus when needed. Alex’s vote was both principled and, I would argue, the strategic choice. But that’s a longer discussion.

Her opponents have been talking lots about ‘teamwork’. But being in a team isn’t about doing what you’re told – even (especially) if you are young and a woman.

It isn’t fair though to sum Alex up in one vote. She was also key to co-ordinating both Caroline Lucas’ successful election campaign in 2010 and the campaign to win the Brighton council in 2011. An astounding organiser, the party has much to learn from her – particularly her ability to reach out beyond our core vote. We would be fools not to elect her as deputy leader.

When I first met her, she had just been elected to the council for the first time, and was working to reduce teenage pregnancy rates in Brighton. Almost all of the leadership candidates see the need for the party to give serious answers to the economic crisis. But for some, you get the feeling this is a question of strategy. With Alex, it is the calling of a lifetime, and she will have my vote, and what spare time I can muster until polling day.

It is no longer good enough for the Green Party to sit on the fringes. Only through the efforts of us all will we succeed, and each of the candidates in both races has done much to contribute to that. But our efforts will be all the more powerful with Peter and Alex at the helm. If you are a member, please do join me in voting for them.

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19 Responses to “Peter Cranie and Alex Phillips are the team to lead the Green Party”

  1. IlmaNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    “and, in case you didn’t notice, the climate crisis has arrived.” What crisis, unless you mean the Mann (& now Muller) made one? It certainly doesn’t exist in nature.

    If you can show, with impirical & observational evidence that the recent run of weather events is unprecedented, i.e. unmatched in history (going back hundreds & thousands of years), AND show a testable & therefore falsifiable causal link between human CO2 (which is NOT a pollutant) and global temperature, then so be it, but no such evidence of the weather’s unprecedented nature nor a demonstrable (testable/falsifiable) causal link exists. In fact, there is much documentary evidence of past floods, droughts etc. that show the opposite, that today’s weather and temperature is entirely within the bounds of natural variability.

    And before you retort with “consensus”, there is a document quoting 1,000+ scientists who reject the global warming hypotheses, and a collection of 1,100+ peer reviewed papers that also do not support it (in addition to the many hundreds of papers that demonstrate the clear existence and global nature of the Little Ice Age, and the Medieval Warming Period – that was Warmer than today).

    So, again, what crisis? A dead-duck policy if ever there was one.

  2. SebNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 10:31 am


    You’re commenting on Bright Green, not the Daily Fail…

  3. IlmaNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    Seb, I know, and that’s the point, that the Greens are asking people to vote for a policy that’s a blatant lie and needs to be challenged! The Greens continually talk about “the science”, but when ‘the science’ speaks, e.g. the new Anthony Watts paper on US surface temperature stations, and is an ‘inconvenient truth’ (not the Al Gore variety), it is ignored and the Green’s religion of CAGW still pushed to unsuspecting voters who don’t do their own examination of their policy claims.

    I urge everyone to do their homework, and not take any politician’s claim at face value, whatever the party. I am naturally sceptic, and will challenge and question all parties on anything, it’s called engaging the brain.

  4. DougNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    “She is most recently famous as the one Brighton councillor who voted against the city budget once the Tories and Labour had amended it to include cuts.”

    Surely you mean “yet more cuts” because the unamended Brighton budget had millions of pounds of cuts in it.

  5. Derek WallNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    lol you have the climate trolls on, amusing in a way but when they muddied the water over smoking in the 1950s to 80s they ended up killing millions of people.

    Flat earth people with threat to those of us living on planet Earth….

  6. Jonathan KentNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

    I think we should welcome the trolls – after all where better for them to waste their time.
    1000+ scientists? Quite right. There are hundreds of professors of dentistry, food researchers, mechanical engineers, biologists and associated hangers on with a Masters in nail technology who think climate change is bogus. Yay. It’s just there aren’t many accredited climate scientists who’d agree with them. A few climate scientists have questioned some of the hypetheses within the wider field but if Ilma wants to name check us 20 serious climate scientists who are genuinely sceptical I’d be very impressed.
    Meanwhile Ilma – perhaps you could recommend a health enhancing brand of cigarettes with which I can dazzle my friends.

  7. Jonathan KentNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    Oh….and Anthony Watts is a TV weatherman empoyed by the Fox network. FFS. I expect there’s a topless weatherman somewhere who doubles as a hen party act who’ll take Fox’s money to spout any only rubbish they want – senior climate scientists please Ilma – ie attached to a reputable academic institution – not people who wear toupees and move symbols around charts for people waiting for some right wing talk show.

  8. Jonathan KentNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    ….and he gets money from the Heartland Institute! You must be able to do better than this.

  9. AlasdairNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  10. Phil Di PalmaNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

    We need to broaden our appeal by getting across the message that we’re not just about the environment and climate change. Peter and Alex are the best chance for us to do that, and I’m excited about the future of the Green Party once they’ve won.

  11. steven durrantNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

    I’ve started to get annoyed about this whole ‘we need to be seen as not just about the environment’ thing.

    I have never met a GP member who doesn’t know that and work on it. It’s the mainstream media that see us as virtually single issue, they are intellectually lazy, wantonly simplistic and assume their audience to be stupid. Look how asleep at the wheel they were over banking fraud and crime for years.

    There’s little we can do to change that beyond what we already do – ward work, campaigns…Caroline has been top drawer for changing the perception.

    In fact, eco issues have very much dropped off the agenda since late 2008, but we have continued our slow but steady growth. Political animals know we are broadly social democratic, less political animals sense it. Only reactionaries generally present us as ‘back to the caves’ ecofash.

    Anyhow, Adams choices are strong and frankly likely to win by my vibe detectors.

    I have kept my head very low through divided loyalties – pleasing neither. I may well give no 1 to other strong candidates according to specific tribal loyalty, to boost confidence of those who deserve it without effecting result. Those loyalties involve the strongest overt commitment to socialism (not that other candidates aren’t necessarily strong) and animal rights. I must say the choice of deps is especially impressive for the role and hard to choose from.

  12. Derek WallNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    Good post Adam, for similar reasons I have voted for Romayne Phoenix, love her energy, humour and experience as chair of COR but I have second preferenced Peter.

    If you first preference Alex and then second preference Will Duckworth or the other way around, the effect is the same due to the gender rule.

    Both committed socialists and winning councillors so no problems choosing for deputy.

  13. Adam RamsayNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    Thanks Derek and Steven. Derek, yes, indeed, I’ll give Will my second pref and as you say, which vote is used will depend who wins leader.

    Steven, yeah, almost all greens I know campaign on lots of things. To be honest, I think Natalie, romayne and Peter all come from the left, I could live with any of them as leader. But for me, there is a way of breaking out of that bubble, and that isn’t really about issues. As you say, even our core vote isn’t really an environmental vote. It’s about the language we use, the people we speak to, and about being seen as representing specific other things, not just “the environment and other stuff”. I think Peter and Alex are best places to do that.

  14. JacobNo Gravatar
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

    Alex Phillips published an endorsement from a writer from l’Humanite, a mouthpiece of the French Communist Party and therefore of the Soviet dictatorship when it existed. Of course Ms Phillips cannot be blamed if fascists (or their ideological first cousins, Communists)endorse her – but her decision to publish the endorsement is not a good sign.

  15. SebNo Gravatar
    August 3rd, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    Stevan, I disagree. I know many Greens who all too often slip into the comfort zone of talking about ecology.

    This is the case with GPEW, but especially the European Green Party, which is something I’d like to work on if elected International Coordinator (self promotion alert).

  16. Jonathan KentNo Gravatar
    August 3rd, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    I’m supporting Caroline for Deputy rather than Alex as I think Caroline is far better suited to the role and because I’d like to see Alex concentrate on runing the Euro campaign in the South East so we get two SE MEPs – including her.
    However I hardly think that writing for an outlet is a sign you endorse all their current positions let alone their past ones.
    I’ve written for the Telegraph in the past but I could never be said to share the paper’s politics. There are very few Telegraph columnists I have time for (though I do like Peter Oborne and occasionally Charles Moore can be a good read even if I generallly disagree with him) but much of the reporting is very solid.
    Damning Alex for getting an endorsement from a write from l’Humanite seems silly – unless the writer in question is anti-democratic. That said I’m not sure what value a French endorsement has in an election for the deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales – after all voters in the South East in general and Sussex in particular need little reminder that we need to keep a close eye out for the French lest they invade again. ;)

  17. james?No Gravatar
    August 4th, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    adams endorsement to peter and alex is persuasively written if i was them i would ask to publish it on my website.

    I think one thing that has to be cleared up for gp members who think that we will appeal to more working class people based on choosing a working class candidate is that the working class people i work with would not identify with any of the candidates just by being in a party they have cut themselves off culturally from the working class. it is only by standing working class candidates in working class communities that you might do this and even then your on an up hill struggle. midddle class lefties have been no more succesful at building support for the left in middle class comminities. I think will duckworth is a good candidate because he has won in a working class area.

  18. NicoleNo Gravatar
    August 4th, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    Since when do we have to be from the working class to gain political support from working individuals and their communities? This is patronising “workerism” of the worse kind.

    This is why I will not vote for one particular candidate for the leadership of the GP who makes such a big thing of having a great grand father who was a miner, a grand father who was a miner and a father who was a miner when he himself is cleary middle class.

  19. john matthewsNo Gravatar
    August 8th, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

    It is not for me to comment on where ilma’s brain is situated when it is engaged but i would refer you to professor richard muller of berkeley earth surface temp a former sceptic who now calls himself a converted sceptic his views having gone a total turnaround.
    o well time to engage the brain ,now where did i put it.