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Thursday, 23 July 2020

Response to Rosi Sexton's bid to become Green Party Leader

An Hereford & South Hereford Green Party colleague has been the only Green Party of England & Wales member to draw my attention to Rosi Sexton's candidacy as prospective Green Party Leader.

Here is a long interview with Rosi Sexton, followed by a much shorter campaign video from Rosi.

I shall outline below a few points and include this posting's link reference as comment in the 'comment space' on Rosi's interview video.The early August deadline for voting in Green Party Executive Elections is fast approaching, and I can edit the below in the meantime.

Response to Rosi from Alan Wheatley

Hi, Rosi I have reached about the 47 minute mark in this video, and while I intend to get back to it later want to input a few points here.

Green Party in relation to Labour Party and 'Socialism'

One is that while I have been a Green Party of England & Wales (GPEW) member now since late 2005, I have also been a member of Green Left for almost the same length of time. Green Left members generally describe ourselves as 'eco-socialists' rather than 'socialists'.

Internal barriers to Green Party standing for inclusion

Another point is to ask you how you feel GPEW can be more inclusive in its internal workings? My previous experience experience as alternatively a GPEW Spokesperson on issues such as Disability, Social Security and Social Care is that it does not do nearly enough to address disability equality issues internally, and has becoming far too centralised and 'single issue' in its messaging under the 'Leadership' vs 'Principal Spokespersons' system.

Such lack of support for disabled volunteers tends to contribute to the 'twee' image and corporate mindset of GPEW. Advocate of neoliberal, workfarist welfare reforms David Freud -- now Lord Freud -- used portrayals of Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill as exemplary 'disabled people as achievers who don't stand in their own way'. Yet income and social class are major factors in turning an impairment into a disability.

A Hereford & South Herefordshire Green Party colleague has drawn my attention to your leadership candidacy in terms of boosting inclusion/inclusivity and portraying GPEW as 'more than a single issue' party.

'Target to Win' electioneering in relation to street campaigning

Re 'Target to Win', my experience is that its advocates generally take their authority from 'focus groups' and oppose 'meet the public' street stalls. Green Party outlook on Target to Win, as someone else has argued, has changed from being a 'method' to a 'philosophy'.

But I am beginning to like what you say about working with it.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group, by contrast to those who oppose street stalls, has grown and taken people on board through use of street stalls. We stood outside jobcentres and disability benefit assessment centres with loudhailer and placards as icebreakers for contact with a 'hard to reach group' where they felt most vulnerable, and they came to our meetings for support.

'Scientific method' vs Complementary Medicine and pro-compulsory vaccination?

You advocate 'scientific method', but that is too often used to 'debunk' complementary medicine -- including homoeopathy -- that has benefited me. Would your advocacy of 'scientific method' also make vaccination mandatory? 

You support nuclear power? I don't!

Though I will append further detail on my background, I close here with regard to my strongest objection to what I've heard about you, which is that you support nuclear power.

I believe that the dangers imposed by existing nuclear waste and the capital-intensive nature of nuclear power would prove intolerable burdens on society as things are.

I look forward to your feedback on the above.

Something of my background

I believe it takes all sorts to make Green Party of England & Wales truly inclusive, and so here is a little about me and my background.

For most of my time in GPEW I was a Londoner -- before moving to Hereford in 2017 --- and got to know Shahrar Ali (your opponent for Leader of Green Party role) quite well through campaigning together against the centralisation of GPEW that was heralded by the shift from 'Principal Spokespersons' to 'Leaders/Co-leaders', and also through his involvement in lobbying for and then his proofreading the Green Party to Labour's 2008 'welfare reform' green paper that Anne Gray of Haringey Green Party co-wrote.

I was a GPEW Spokesperson on Disability and then got that reframed to spokespersonships on Social Care and Social Security, through liasing with Policy Co-ordinators.

I found that GPEW had a shortfall on supporting disability access, and I could not address 'disability issues' sufficiently because of my own slow productivity compounded by my feeling that it would be hypocritical for me to speak out for the Green Party while it had issues to deal with itself about disability equality at Green Party HQ, for example.

My background has been as a disabled jobseeker, consistently lacking bargaining power against an increasingly cruel system that fails to implement the Social Model of Disability, and thus I respect the incisiveness you can put in from your council Social Care background. I have also been a member of Social Work Action Network (SWAN), and a supporter of Carer Watch, as well as activist-led Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group.

SWAN campaigns against the 'marketisation and managerialism' that began to take hold in social care under New Labour and brings together social work academics, students, practitioners and service users.Notably, SWAN countered Michael Gove's comments about Social Work training loading Social Work graduates with a load of idealistic left wing dogma about social inequality. That was when Gove was Secretary of State for Education, Children & Families in 2013. Later as Justice Secretary, he went on to making the courts even more unfair.

Since then things have got much worse, and the Department for Work & Pensions harasses vulnerable people to death through its disability benefit assessment retesting regime, despite coroners' pleas. Current Green Party Co-Leader and Spokesperson on Work & Pensions has spoken out about much of this in his Twitter feed so I've been told, and in the presence of John Pring of Disability News Service, but why is there a dearth of reference to it on the Green Party of England & Wales website?

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