Saturday, 24 April 2010

As the General Election approaches

The Green Party campaign in Weaver Vale

I must have been one of the first candidates to arrive at the Forum in Chester to get my nomination papers confirmed. This is an anxious time for candidates because a mistake on the forms could mean that you have to re-submit. That would be no fun for me as I live 20 miles away and had to take a day off work to get there, plus the window - just 4 days between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm - is ridiculously short. I met up with Tom Barker the Green PPC for City of Chester. Our nominations went OK and we retired to a nearby pub for a celebratory drink. Our campaigns had begun in earnest.

So what do you do if you are a GP candidate in a constituency where there has never been a GP candidate before and you have no well oiled party machine to give you support? You make the most of the resources you have. I have had help from the few members we have here and some good local friends and supporters all of whom have made a great contribution by tramping the streets delivering our flyers. But we have only 3000 flyers for a constituency where we could have done with at least 30,000!

My employer has helped by allowing me to take unpaid leave which I will have to make the most of in the coming days until the election. Part of the deal is that I have to resign if elected! Well, I think that is unlikely. So far I have delivered the best part of 1000 flyers myself - thank goodness the weather has been fine - although the barmy June-like weather we are having is only another reminder of climate change. Most of my campaigning has been through the web. Is this the best approach? Should I be spending my time knocking on doors or replying to the many emails I've received ? The simple answer is I don't know. The target I'm setting myself is 1000 votes. Depending on turnout that probably won't be enough to save my deposit but it would be a respectable start.

This is a potentially a momentous election and it's a privilege to be taking part. I joined the Green Party because I believe in its policies and principles. Like many others I used to be a Labour supporter. But when they abandoned their core beliefs - I abandoned them. Ultimately you have to vote for what you believe in. If you want change for the better you have to engage in the political process. Apathy only benefits the ruling elite who have been exploiting the British people for far too long. The Green Party has policies which are fair and just and it is the only party which has the policies to tackle social injustice and climate change.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Now we are underway at last

The phony war is over and we are now in the election proper. here in west Cheshire Green Party members have been working to make the best of our limited resources. We have raised just enough money to pay for the deposits of 2 candidates: myself in Weaver Vale and Tom Barker in City of Chester. Now we have to use all of our remaining funds to get our election flyers printed.

The Green Party doesn't have the resources of the main grey parties. We don't have corporate donors and rich tax exiles like Lord Ashcroft to fund us. We rely on small donations from party members and people who are sympathetic to our cause.

The next job for me as a candidate is to get my nomination papers signed and handed in. This is more onerous than it sounds. Forms have to be filled in correctly, and can only be delivered by the candidate or agent by hand between 10-4pm on weekdays between 15 and 20th of April! For those, like me, who work full time and have no agent this means taking at least 1/2 day off work. This is the worst bit for me because I know if I make a mistake I will have to go back and do it again - taking more time off in the process.

I'll be posting more here about how our campaign in West Cheshire progresses. In the meantime if you want to find out more about the Green Party and its policies follow this link