Some of my readers may have seen on Facebook, or discovered through a general Google search, that I am standing in Holywell Ward in Watford as a Green Party candidate. In this post, I’d like to outline some of my personal reasons for standing. They’ll be different for everyone and what follows isn’t official Green Party policy in any sense.
I’m a paper candidate, in the sense that I’m not seriously expecting to get elected – we are hoping to have Green Party councillors in Watford soon, as we have done in the past, but Holywell isn’t a ward likely to produce them. I’ll be going out leafleting with our team on the other side of town. But even paper candidates need strong reasons to stand, because it’s a public commitment and requires some networking and paperwork behind the scenes. I’ve got three reasons I am standing and one reason I reject.
I’m NOT standing against anyone. Some of the other council candidates in other parties are well known to me; one I would count as a personal friend. My aim in standing is not to see other people’s perspectives put down. I certainly disagree with some of them, but I want their voices to be heard equally with mine. The voting system we use here might make it seem like we are fighting one another, but my reasons for standing don’t include this.
I AM standing so that voters in my ward have a wider choice. Having more candidates to choose from, representing a wider range of parties, gives voters in Holywell ward the opportunity to express more nuanced political views and let everyone in the council, whether or not they got the votes directly, what matters to them. In Holywell ward this year we will have candidates from six parties, and to me that represents a healthy spectrum of debate.
I AM standing because justice and the environment are important to me. As a voter, the issues I want to raise are most closely aligned with those represented by the Green Party. I am personally concerned about inequality, climate change and the environment, and having made personal lifestyle changes to reflect this – such as doing voluntary work, not to driving a car, and eating mainly vegan – standing as a Green Party candidate is a next step for me in trying to make changes. To put this in my religious terms, standing as a Green Party candidate is part of my witness to the possibility of a better world and my dedication to helping to create it.
I AM standing because I can – because I have the vote, and because you could be involved too. Anyone can get involved in their local politics and make their voice heard. Voting itself is important, but there are also lots of other options. By standing for the Green Party, I make my views known and help others to do the same. There are lots of ways to get involved – every candidate needs ten nominations, and every party needs supporters, canvassers, fundraisers, and a wide range of other help. I’m getting involved – will you?