In just over a week from now (5th September), an historic Green Party Conference will begin in London: the Conference at which the election of our first-ever leader will take place.
All Green Party members and supporters want a Party that works well, a Party that punches above its weight, a Party that will deliver the successes and the desperately-needed policy-changes nationally that Greens are already achieving all over the country, locally.
A key part of this extension to the national stage is happening now by the very act of our holding our first-ever election for a leader (the election is by postal ballot, and will formally end at Conference). But this, and our growing professionalism across the piste, is not enough. We need a leader who is engaging, inspiring and who can captivate the hearts and souls of the electorate. We need a leader who ouzes warmth and passion, someone who can reach people from all backgrounds in society. We need a leader who can lead us to the national stage with confidence and conviction, with dedication and determination.
Total Politics has been covering the contest, with Daily Politico interviews with Caroline Lucas and Ashley Gunstock, for leader. I’m voting for Caroline Lucas, simply because I believe that she is nothing less than all these things which my party needs. In fact, I believe she is the best politician in Britain today – the most inspirational, the most intelligent, the most passionate, the most on-the-mark – and never mind just in the Green Party.
With Lucas at the helm, our momentum should snowball: and with excellent timing, because the next two years are the biggest opportunity the Greens have had for twenty years. If we get a strong result in the European elections next year (traditionally the election in which we do best, because it is by proportional representation voting), then this will only build. Such clear momentum will give us the platform we need in order to get into the Westminster Parliament for the first time, in the likely 2010 general election.
With Lucas as leader, we have in prospect the chance of converting the strong support that we have enjoyed in local and Euro elections into a Westminster win. A leadership team of Caroline Lucas and Adrian Ramsay (my close friend and colleague on Norwich City Council, who is standing unopposed for the Deputy Leader spot) will, I believe, change the face of British politics forever, by seeing the Green Party’s Parliamentary representation mushroom, in Brussels, and at last come to be, in Westminster.
It is a time for greenwashers like David Cameron and wannabes like Nick Clegg to watch out. I believe that Caroline Lucas will win this election, and that pretty soon it will become evident that she, unlike them, is the real deal: in short, that the most talented opposition politician that there is, waiting to take on Brown, is a Green.