#GPConf: Greens back AV!

Green Party Conference has just overwhelmingly passed my and Jean
Lambert's AV motion, thus committing us to backing AV in the referendum
(while maintaining of course our policy that backs PR as our ultimate
objective).
Caroline Lucas herself was among the speakers in favour of the motion.
Am feeling pleased – and excited about the battle ahead in the
referendum itself.


Rupert Read
Green Party Councillor, Norwich.
http://rupertread.net
[If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on rupertread+mob AT gmail.com]

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#GPConf : Leadership election results!: Reflections:

I was interested and (pleasantly) surprised by the Green Party Leadership election results announced here last night. Obviously, Caroline Lucas was re-elected unopposed without a problem. But what was interesting was the Deputy Leadership result. My close colleague and friend from Norwich C'llr. Adrian Ramsay won with a massive 75% of the vote, eclipsing Derek Wall who polled just 25%. Given that in 'the old days' before we brought in the new Leadership model Derek BEAT Party luminaries Keith Taylor (MEP) and Darren Johnson (AM) in successive years to take the Party 'Principal Speaker'ship, and given that Derek ran a vigorous campaign and aimed to win once more, this election result has to be taken as a strong vote of confidence in the electoral success represented by an icon of Norwich Green Party, and as a moving on from days of yore in the Green Party. Like me, Adrian is a radical: he is (as Derek himself pointed out, in a generous concession speech) a man of the Left, and also very radical in areas such as animal rights; but the 'Green Left' would-be-'faction' that _Derek_ represents has I think been knocked back by this unexpectedly decisive outcome.

I think in fact that this may well be the end of an era. The Party has made clear now with this vote that it is a professional Party that is going to elect its best elected politicians to its most senior public-facing posts. In that regard, this has been I think a welcome watershed moment for the Party.

It is too late for factions. Just as it is too late to be a pessimist. Rather than factions or purist pessimism, what our Party needs is to capitalise on and build on its success in places like Brighton and Norwich, and move swiftly to obtain and to exercise real, radical political power with responsibility – before it is too late.

Result of Norwich local elections:

Lab 16 (+1) Green 14 (+1) LD 5 (-1) Con 4 (-1). We came within less than 200 votes of taking a Labour seat in Sewell, and within less than 300 of doing so in Lakenham – but, with neither gain transpiring, Labour ended up having a good night too.
So, as things turn out: no #firstGreenCouncil quite yet…
Now (3 a.m.) bath, and then at last bed. And then Green Party Conference tomorrow. Am taking the 8.57 a.m. train to Birmingham… Gulp (Tired! But happy to be a member of the largest ever group of Green Party Councillors in Britain: 14 of us now, another new record…).

The Connaught debacle: Why the Council should run its own services

In advance of the local elections in Norwich, with 13 wards up for election on 9th September, the Green Party has commented today on the financial difficulties facing the housing services company Connaught, which has seen trading in its shares suspended in the face of £220 million in debts…

Connaught has eight contracts with Norwich City Council for services, such as rubbish collection, street cleaning and housing maintenance, and the firm employs 650 people in the city.

Norwich City Councillor and Deputy Leader of the Green Party Adrian Ramsay said today:

"We asked questions about whether this contract was too good to be true. We consistently argued that it’s better to bring the services back in house and when these contracts come to an end, that it what we would seek to do if we were the largest party at City Hall. We believe this would provide better rights for workers, a better service for residents, and more accountability."

Claire Stephenson is leading the Green Party campaign for the City Council elections which take place on Thursday. If re-elected, it is expected that she will resume her position as leader of the Green group of councillors. Ms Stephenson said:

"Asking private companies to do the work of the council often turns out to be more expensive and means that the council has less control over the work that is done. Green councillors would like to bring some contracts back in house over the next few years."

She added that the experience with Connaught reflected badly on Labour’s ability to run the council successfully.

 

--    Rupert Read  Green Party Councillor, Norwich.  http://rupertread.net   [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on rupertread+mob AT gmail.com]  WHY NOT FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER?: twitter.com/GreenRupertRead 

Cruddas exposes himself as a closet Blairite after all

My opinion of Cruddas has gone thru the floor, with his backing D.Miliband. Thank heavens Cruddas didn't stand for the Labour leadership himself: with such poor judgement, he wld have made a terrible Leader, evidently!
Cruddas says he is backing DM because of some warm words DM has uttered concerning communitarianism. Well, I'm a communitarian too – but that is no reason to prefer DM to the only two remotely leftish and greenish candidates in the race, namely EM and Abbott.

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