The Green Party is often seen as white and middle class although, helped by the campaigning of Green Left, its anti-austerity and social justice policies should appeal to both white and black and ethnic minority working class voters. My question focused on this issue:
How can Green Party communications of their policies be made more relevant to the working class (White and Black Minority Ethnic)?
Shahrar Ali (leader candidate)
Let’s make our own-branded campaign materials more representative of society. See our current spokespersons page. There is no visible ethnic diversity – which is frankly laughable, despite the brilliant people who could fill those roles (https://bit.ly/18QFrOS). You also have the opportunity to elect the first BME leader of a UK party.
Jonathan Bartley & Sian Berry (Co-leader job-share candidates)
We think it’s real Green action on the issues that matter to these groups that will win trust, not just communicating our policies. It’s vital that we are strong allies to campaigners on issues that matter to working class and BAME voters, and we should be enthusiastically backing them when they ask for our help, and seeking out ways to help them if they aren’t asking us yet. Our record of action and campaigning shows we are serious about this.
In London, Jonathan and Lambeth Greens went from one to five councillors due to their fierce campaigns supporting estate residents against demolition and fighting for public libraries that many residents depend upon. In the London Assembly, Sian has fought hard to defend injustices that particularly affect people of colour such as getting the Mayor to use name-blind recruitment to cut down on biases, and calling out the police on tactics such as stop and search, spit hoods, tasers and draconian automated facial recognition that disproportionately target Black people.
We also need to be supporting BME candidates to get elected. Jonathan just launched in Lambeth (in Brixton at the Black Cultural Archives in Windrush Square) the Deyika Nzeribe Fund. This was named after our party’s Manchester Mayoral candidate who died tragically on New Year’s eve 2017. We welcomed at that launch the first Green Mayor of Sheffield – Magid Magid and the new Green Mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake a proud Bristolian of African-Caribbean heritage. The fund – overseen by Greens of Colour - will support, engage and develop Green candidates of global south heritage.
Aimee Challenor (deputy leader candidate)
Our communications are relevant to the working class, we see mass engagement with our working class members, this should be celebrated and the hard work continued.
Jonathan Chilvers (deputy leader candidate)
Great question. We need to be a lot better at this. By listening to residents on the doorstep, putting our principles into practical action so people can see the impact. Give people a voice when they feel powerless and make sure it’s their voice not ours.
Andrew Cooper (deputy leader candidate)
We need people to be familiar with the Green Party as part of their everyday lives. Taking up the issues and problems of working class people instead of just talking about them. Growing our Councillor base is a good way of building strong roots in communities and making ourselves relevant to people who often have challenging lives with limited incomes. I work a lot with the Muslim community in Huddersfield and it is by close contact with communities and taking up their concerns that helps build support.
Rashid Nix (deputy leader candidate)
The fact this is the 13th question shows what a priority this is! I’m dismayed at how Greens view working class and bme’s. It’s like we (I am black) are an alien species with peculiar habits and tastes. That’s prob why we lost 25,000 members! They probably joined Labour... TALK IN PLAIN ENGLISH WITHOUT TECHNO BABBLE!
Leslie Rowe (leader candidate)
By listening. When a democratic decision is made, respect it. That migration is not the problem but businesses addicted to a never ending supply of cheap labour not willing to pay the market rate for jobs is. Minimum wage too low, not enough minimum wage inspectors and we need to vastly increase vocational training.
Amelia Womack (deputy leader candidate)
Making sure we’re delivering our message into publications that are relevant to different groups. It’s no good simply getting our message in the Guardian and on Daily Politics as we simply talk to our bubble.
In the past I’ve worked with the Mirror and even Stylist Magazine to make sure our message reaches as broad a community as possible.
Also, it’s vitally important to be on the doorsteps with working class communities with a relevant message that will make a difference to the lives of people in their community. A large part of this is overcoming the rhetoric that migrants are what’s failing the NHS, housing, jobs etc and ensure we stop our government and other parties scapegoating from the issues caused by Westminster