‘Progressive Alliances’ in the NE Somerset Constituency

12 July 2019

Greens understand the frustration of voters who want to see an end to this government, particularly in NE Somerset where residents are represented by such a deeply regressive MP. As a snap general election becomes inevitable, there are sometimes calls for the parties opposing the Conservatives to form some sort of pact.

The Green Party has previously stood down for other parties in some constituencies, most recently in the Brecon & Radnorshire by-election where a decision made by the local party and Plaid Cymru to help the Liberal Democrats. In the 2017 general election, dozens of local Green parties decided to take similar action to help both Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates.

These decisions are always made by the local parties. Pacts are not decided by the national party and nobody but the local party can decide what they will do. The Green Party is entirely democratic and decisions are arrived at by all local members.

Greens have sacrificed far more for common goals than anyone else. We almost certainly helped prevent a Tory majority government in 2017. Unfortunately we were given little to no thanks or recognition.

The consequential drop in vote share has cost the party a huge amount of income as we depend heavily on state-provided ‘Short Money’ funding (which is decided by vote share) thanks to our unique ethical policy on donations. The drop in our 2017 vote has even subsequently been used as a reason not to vote for us by the very parties we helped get elected.

Shortly after the 2017 general election B&NES Green Party selected our parliamentary candidates, Fay Whitfield for NE Somerset and Dom Tristram for Bath. We are planning to strongly contest any snap election in both constituencies.

Fay Whitfield said, “We believe democracy demands that people should be able to vote for a party that opposes both Brexit and austerity. Only the Greens are offering them that choice. Yes, many people feel strongly about staying in the EU, but why should they feel forced to vote for a centre-right party with a privatisation agenda to stop Brexit? These voters probably care about our schools and NHS as well as Brexit. They should not be denied a party to vote for.”

Fay continued, “On a more personal level, five candidates are standing in NE Somerset. Four of them are white, middle aged (or over), well paid, heterosexual white men. One - me - is something different - millennial, female, bisexual and working on minimum wage. There are not a lot of people like me in politics. I may not be the most diverse candidate in the grand scheme of things, but I certainly am compared to these candidates, and it is important that we don't lose this representation.”

Dom Tristram said, “I’m tired of suggestions that we stand down for other parties because we happen to share a policy on Brexit. While Brexit is very important, it's only one factor in how people choose to vote. Greens have a unique and long-standing set of policies on climate and social justice which are even more vital now than ever.”

Dom continued, “The days of Greens standing down and receiving nothing in return are over. There is a climate emergency, and it’s vital to get more Greens elected as we are the only party willing to take the radical action needed to address it, as well as our crumbling social services. The only acceptable reason for a Green to stand down is if other parties stand down for a Green elsewhere so that another genuinely Green voice gets elected.”

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