Amelia is running for re-election as Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
Two years ago I was elected to represent the Green Party of England and Wales as Deputy Leader on a platform that was based on grassroots activism, increasing our membership base, working to strengthen the links between local communities, and enacting national and global change. Since that time, I have worked to support and develop over one hundred local parties across England and Wales that I have had the privilege to visit, speak to, and work with on a variety of projects.
As the youngest person ever elected to a position of leadership in a national political party, this has placed me in a unique position where I am able to connect with and support young people and youth movements. Having been a member of the party for almost a decade, I have also been able to grow and flourish alongside some of our most longstanding and senior members, and I see it as a vital responsibility to unify members across all age groups to work towards our common aim – a society in which everyone can thrive and no-one is left behind.
The work that I have done so far has been driven by my belief that it is from the grassroots that we build our party and achieve our aims, and my vision for how the party progresses from here is grounded in that same belief. Since the “Green Surge”, we have become a considerably larger party than when I was first elected, and the ongoing challenge is for us to engage and mobilise those new members – particularly in the context of a Corbyn-led Labour Party – without overlooking our longstanding core activists. An effective Deputy Leader must balance maintaining our national media profile with being a visible, engaging presence in local parties across England and Wales, breaking out of the London and South East bubble. I pledge to continue my work in this vein, and actively support local Green parties in their campaigns and election efforts, both in person and by promoting their actions through our media and social media channels.
The autonomy with which our local parties operate is central to the Green ethos, and with that comes a need to respect the variety of issues which affect different areas and communities. From joining Welsh Greens in a mass trespass to shut down an open-cast coal mine in Merthyr Tydfil, to touring local businesses and learning about the impact of austerity-ridden economic policy on Small Business Saturday with Milton Keynes Green Party, I have seen first hand how vast the spectrum of priorities faced by local parties is, and how flexible our party’s approach must be in tackling them. Moreover, it has highlighted to me that environmental justice and social justice are inextricably entwined, and that it is necessary to respond to both, to achieve either.
Government action on the environment has been shameful, and has severely hindered any realistic prospect of achieving meaningful action to halt climate change. With the recent appointment of Andrea Leadsom – a known climate change sceptic – as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the disappearance of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the future looks bleak. Meanwhile, our new Prime Minister is on record as repeatedly calling for the abolition of human rights legislation, and her legacy as Home Secretary is alarmingly Orwellian. In the wake of a hate-filled referendum on our membership of the European Union, and the devastating rise in xenophobia and hate crime which has occurred since, it feels that we are living in increasingly dark and turbulent times.
In this context, the Green message is needed more than ever, to push for a progressive path that involves working with others, building alliances and fighting against neoliberal economics and isolationist attitudes that seek to divide communities and scapegoat vulnerable groups.
We are a party synonymous with the relentless fight for justice; for decades we have battled against societal and governmental structures which benefit the privileged few at the expense of people and planet. It is my hope that the members of the party will give me a further mandate to help grow our party – locally, through a further widening of our activist base, and nationally as we fight for democratic, economic, and environmental reform.
I see Green politics as an expression of eco-socialism in the 21st century; a belief in democratic economics which learns the lessons of environmental and feminist economics. I will ensure the party keeps talking about our radical ideas like basic income, workers’ right to buy out their firms, taking key infrastructure and services back into public ownership, valuing social infrastructure and investing for the future. Most of all, I will strive to support local parties in adapting these messages, making them relevant to the pressing issues in their community and enabling them to be the most effective force for change that they can be.
My vision for the future of the Green Party lies in empowering people to make change happen – whether they are local party members campaigning for council elections and responding to issues in their area, people who’ve never previously engaged with politics newly taking up the mantle, or national activists battling divisive media narratives and Parliamentary matters. Our party must overcome the myriad challenges facing all political activists at the moment, and be a unified force for positive change. My experience so far has taught me that this unity can only come from embracing our diversity and supporting one another, being sensitive to the qualities that define us as individuals, and utilising that power to change society for the common good.