Tuesday, 11 May 2010

When was Lewisham Tory?

Just seen on the BBC news that Labour have taken Lewisham council from the Tories. Blimey, I didn't know I was that out of touch!

While we all know that our electoral system is not wholly democratic but I'm not sure that the handful of councillors the Tories had for the last four years, no matter how effective, could actually be deemed to have been in charge of the council.

Thought I'd take a screen shot for posterity.

Currently at this link;

Labour of course has taken the council from 'No overall control' at the expense of the Lib Dems and Greens.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Results in: thanks to everyone

Well, the results are now in for the elections and the Greens have both happy and sad news.

At last we have achieved that historic first with Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavillion with the first Green MP in British history. More people voted for us across the country than had ever voted Green in a general election before and outside of London we are welcoming new Green councillors in areas we've never had them before.

In London though there has been a massive surge to Labour that has managed to sweep all before its path in the council elections. The Guardian's Dave Hill describes well the scale of Labour's resurgence winning back councils and seats that many had long thought were long lost.

For Lewisham this has meant that Labour has won seats from all the other parties on council including the Greens who have gone from six councillors to just one, Darren Johnson in Brockley. If the elections had been on different days we may well have been looking at an increase in councillors not a near wipe out, and more people still voted Green across the borough than have ever voted Green in Lewisham council elections before, but it wasn't enough.

Here in Crofton Park we fought a strong and honest campaign and I'm really proud to have worked with my fellow candidates Hati Gunes and Roger Sedgley as well as our campaign rock Anne Scott without whom we would have been totally lost.

Although more than a thousand people in Crofton Park voted Green at least once we came a disappointing third place. That's life, but it doesn't mean that the Green Party is just going to disappear.

On Monday we're having our first party meeting after the election and over the next few months we'll be reassessing how we move forward from here to fight for a fairer society, against privatisation, low pay and climate change, to build a stronger movement that gives communities a real voice and direct say regardless of who is and is not in the council chamber.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Mayoral election: second preferences

One of the three elections you'll be able to vote in on Thursday is that for Lewisham Mayor. It's not a brilliant way of organising local government because it leads to too much power in one person's hands, less collaborative decision making and far less accountability. If we ever get the chance the Greens would like to see us dispose of the directly elected Mayoralty and return more power to our directly elected council.

We've got a great candidate for Mayor in Dean Walton, who is currently a Brockley councillor and has built up a good reputation of working with others and, as the Green's national treasurer, his head for figures and prioritising budgets is second to none.

I'm enthusiastic for Dean and hope to see him get a great vote.

The way the system works of course is that you get two votes, first and second preference. This allows you to vote with your principles for first choice and then the 'lesser of two evils' for second. It's quite a neat system which, for London Mayor, allowed the Green Party to promote our excellent candidate Sian Berry without harming Ken Livingstone's campaign to keep Boris Johnson out.

Lewisham Greens are not taking a position on who to vote for second preference at this election, but there's no reason why, in the spirit of mature politics that refuses to demonise the opposition we shouldn't have a personal preference on who to vote for in second place.

Personally I'll be voting Dean Walton [1] and Steve Bullock [2], not because I love Labour or think that there is a huge gap between the policies of the three old parties but because there is a question of weight and seriousness.

Steve Bullock, as Labour's Mayor, has shown time and again that he takes difficult decisions seriously and, whilst I definitely do not agree with all of the decisions he's taken, his priorities are about the effects these decisions have on the people of Lewisham not on the size of his vote.

In contrast the Lib Dems have simply never shown an ability to see politics as anything other than a vehicle for their own propaganda and Chris Maines, who seems to be a very nice person, seems extremely thin politically when placed against his Labour rival.

For me I'm glad of the opportunity that I can vote for a radical Green vision that fights against cuts in services and for decent wages for the lowest paid *and* be able to express a preference on who I'd like to see as Mayor of Lewisham if Dean doesn't quite make it. For me that second choice is Steve Bullock, although as I say there's no 'line' on this from the Greens and some will no doubt be voting for other candidates as their second choice.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Women candidates: national and locally

I was pleased to see that the Green Party is leading the way with the number of women candidates at this election. At this General Election 21% of the candidates from all the parties over all are women.

This is up from 20% in 2005 and 19% in 2001, at this rate they'll be 50% of the candidates in a mere 150 years time.

However, 33% of Green general election candidates are women. This compares well with the others parties who stand at;

30% for Labour
24% for the Tories and
21% for the Liberal Democrats (which surprised me)

This means a substantial increase of Tory or Lib Dem MPs at this election would probably mean a reduction in the number of female MPs. link

Locally we have 54 places for councillors in Lewisham.

The Greens are fielding 26 female candidates
The Lib Dems are fielding 23 female candidates.
Labour are fielding 21 female candidates.
The Tories are fielding a shockingly low 14 female candidates.

Interesting stuff.