Political Viewpoint by James Vessey-Miller, Green Party candidate for Chalkwell ward.
I AM thrilled to be given the opportunity to contribute to the Leigh-on-Sea News Political Viewpoint column on behalf of the Green Party, and I look forward to supporting our all-important local journalism with hopefully many more! I welcome this publication’s commitment to fair political balance.
The Green Party is widely considered to be one of the newer political parties, but we’ve in fact recently celebrated our 50th anniversary this year.
The Green Party’s founding members saw the significant social, economic, and environmental challenges that are on the horizon, and were disdained by the lack of foresight or action from the mainstream political parties.
For the last five decades the Green Party has led from the front in challenging the status quo, and in recent years has been one of the fastest-growing political Parties in the country. The Green Party now has nearly 600 elected councillors on councils across the UK, who are fighting for their communities and standing up for what matters.
The Green Party will again be fielding a candidate in every ward in Southend in this year’s council elections, and we stand on a record of year-round hard work, transparency, and honesty.
Our candidates are proudly as diverse as the vibrant community we seek to represent, with NHS staff, chartered professionals, educators, local business owners, students, and retirees all standing as Green candidates this year. To my knowledge at time of writing, we’re also the only national Party in Southend to achieve an equal gender-balance amongst our own candidates.
I note Coun Keith Evans’ recent column (Mar 7) mentioning how Councillors from the other parties are “whipped” into voting for or against motions as dictated by their Party line, and how this often stifles important progress. I’d like to reassure readers that Green Councillors are never whipped to vote by their party, and are free to make fair, balanced, and independent decisions that benefit residents.
The Green Party is proud to do politics differently. Unlike others, we outright refuse big donations from people or organisations who seek to influence us, and our principle of local autonomy ensures that our elected Greens only serve the interests of the residents they represent. That’s why our Green councillors in other areas are known for their commitment and hard work, and why we’re increasing the number of elected Greens at every election.
There are many important issues that Southend City faces, and we believe we need innovative responses to them. For decades, we’ve seen the same issues go unresolved at Southend Council largely because we’ve had the same faces in the council chamber for years; is it any surprise they’ve run out of new ideas?
I found it particularly telling when the local Conservative group of 21 councillors failed to bring a single amendment to the recent City Budget citing lack of time, when the smallest group on the council of two unaligned Independent councillors brought several.
Voters know what the Green Party stands for; our evidence-led policies are founded in research and backed by science. Our policy puts people and the planet first, and strives to create a fairer, greener society for everyone.
We believe that the solutions to the current Cost of Living and Energy Crisis are the same solutions as those required for the Climate Emergency.
It’s clear that only the Greens can be trusted to take the bold and decisive action we need to make our city genuinely-sustainable for future generations. Such action encompasses scrutiny and stronger controls on the rampant overdevelopment of the wrong kinds of housing in the wrong places.
It means having neighbourhoods that are safer to walk and cycle in, and having an improved public transit system that is affordable and reliable.
It means investing in education and our Young People, and ensuring that Southend leads in attracting and creating new businesses in the sustainable sector.
It means safeguarding our dwindling green spaces and mature trees, and creating new re-wilded natural areas.
It means bringing new approaches to tackling crime and antisocial behaviour, and supporting our vibrant community of artists, musicians, and businesses.
It means looking after every resident’s health and wellbeing, and enabling everyone to access sports, cultural, and leisure amenities.
Our local Green candidates are already hard at work holding the council to account, working with residents in our communities, and demanding better for Southend. With your support, we will continue this work as your new councillors.
The Green Party are proud to be the real alternative in Southend.
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