I think (explanation later) I have voted Shahrar Ali for Green Party Leader. Andrew Cooper for Deputy, and Liz Reason for GPex Chair.
I had initial reservations on Shahrar Ali. My two grounds for this were an edited video which Breitbart, a right wing website, used to claim that Shahrar, and therefore the Green Party, was extremist. Here is the full video.The other was a doubt expressed on a website that he might not be a team player.
My first concern can be comprehensively dismissed. Yes, the speech was angry and strident, but the context was a rally in 2009, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which had just killed around 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza. The rally was against the BBC’s then refusal to screen a charity appeal for Palestinian civilians.
As long as the Green Party tries to present itself as better than Labour at doing what Labour used to be about, it will be in Labour’s interests to do whatever it takes, fair or foul, to destroy us. The 2009 video has just resurfaced, this time re-publicised by Josiah Mortimer in ‘Left Foot Forward’. In earlier blogs I castigated a gang of ‘Pirates’: really Labour, but their strategy then was to join the Green Party and downgrade its ecological raison d’être, Having been one of those in this (successful) enterprise, Josiah returned to Labour, only to interfere yet again in this Leadership election.
On 13th June 2017 Josiah wrote an article in ‘Left Foot Forward’ claiming that the ‘Progressive Alliance’ had produced 9 gains by Labour or Lib Dems. Actual analysis showed one gain and three seats retained that would otherwise have been lost. This shows a cavalier disregard for fair reporting.
Rather nastier, the ‘Left Foot Forward’ article just published includes a comment from the Campaign Against Antisemitism which smears Shahrar, accusing him of comparing Israelis to Nazis. Nowhere in the impassioned speech does Shahrar make any such link. Would ‘Left Foot Forward’ mind if we made the opposite inference, that their failure to comment on the actions of the Israeli state implied approval (by Labour)?
On my concern about him being a team player, I can only plead with Shahrar, please, please listen to advice, especially from Andrew Cooper, who will almost certainly be one of your Deputies if you are elected.
And this is why I am taking a risk on Shahrar, if that is what it is. To be honest, neither Shahrar nor Andrew Cooper have explicitly distanced themselves from the Party’s current strategy, launched at Bournemouth in March, which totally ignores the reason for the Green Party’s 2017 General Election loss to less than half the 2015 tally. The 4th paragraph above refers to this, but Natalie Bennett spins it as ‘the second best General election result ever’. Natalie, you may have been in Australia in 1989, when the Greens got four times as many votes as in 2017 – mainly in Conservative areas such as the Isle of Wight.
But at least Shahrar and Andrew are not as closely tied to that strategy as the ‘more of the same’ alternative team. Another factor swinging me back towards Shahrar is his better grasp of the Basic (Citizens’) Income. If he looks at my blog on 28.1.18 he will find the basis for a speech consistent with party policy which he can use in campaigns.
I think I have voted. No doubt I am the only one confused this time, but it was not reassuring when the form told me I had already cast my vote for positions as soon as I clicked them. I was given a code, but the form allowed me to compete it without using the link. But when I logged out, it asked me to input the code. OK, but then it just logged me back in. The only way out seemed to be the x at the top right – no ‘Finish’. It says contact the ERO with queries. I tried. It asked me for a password. I gave up.
Any advice anyone? [Thank you. I did vote]
Since publication, two comments suggest I have not made myself clear:
I support Andrew Cooper wholeheartedly. I have one remaining doubt about Shahrar Ali, but this is outweighed by the likely presence of Andrew on the leadership team if Shahrar wins. This will render less likely the otherwise probable repeat of the 2017 Election disaster.