My view: 'Across the country, growing Green groups are constructive voices'
Cllr Sian Berry AM, Camden council and co-leader Green Party
- Credit: GLA/PA Images
Green Party co-leader Sian Berry on the success of the Green Party in the local elections on May 6.
Greens again won record support in local elections this year, and I believe this represents a sea change not only in support for particular policies, but a desire for a more positive and collegiate kind of politics.
In 14 councils, from Folkestone to York, Greens are now part of shared administrations between more than one party. Almost all of these are combinations of Greens, Labour, Lib Dems and independents, and one new agreement, in County Durham, includes Conservatives alongside independents and Lib Dems.
In Lancaster, the new Green council leader is Caroline Jackson, whose rainbow cabinet now includes Labour, Ecosocialists, Greens and Independents from Morecambe Bay. She told the Financial Times last week: “here in Lancaster we are trying to create something that is a new politics.”
In opposition too, across the country, growing Green groups are constructive voices standing up for areas that have become ether effective ‘one-party states’ suffering from complacency and neglect, or where local politics has become dominated by destructive internecine conflict between two parties.
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And I won’t forget here, in my first column since the London elections, to thank every voter who helped elect more Greens into the London Assembly and put us in third place for mayor for the third election in a row. We are so grateful for all your support.
In the London election campaign, there was evidence too of a more positive and collegiate approach from our re-elected mayor, Sadiq Khan. In debate after debate he credited my work and the Greens in the London Assembly for being a ‘critical friend’ of his administration, pushing him to go further and bringing new ideas, without negativity and a ‘with us or against us’ attitude, of which people are becoming very tired.
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This example shows how Labour members don’t need to feel threatened by Green success, but can embrace it as a positive influence. I hope more of them will follow the mayor’s lead down the path of welcoming our growing challenge, and will avoid the path to the playground politics of yesterday.