So, exciting times; I am standing for chair of the Green Party’s national Executive. Having seen the rest of the field I don’t expect I’ll win – not least because I am off on a (British) holiday in a couple of days… hurray…!  But the main rationale behind my standing is to draw to people’s attention the unfortunate staff losses the Green Party office has suffered this year, through, I believe, poor leadership from the Executive. I am hoping Green Party members will engage more with the process of electing Executive members, and watching what they get up to once elected, as I do not believe the Executive has enough scrutiny given to it. I also believe the general consensus on the Executive this year has been that communicating their actions and behaviour to the members has been a long way down the priority list, and I am not the first Green Party blogger to have mentioned this. The contest will be decided by postal ballot of the Green Party’s 9000-odd members. The new chair will be elected some time in September.

Here is my candidate statement:

“I am standing for the Green Party Executive in a long tradition of independent protest-vote candidates standing to raise a particularly important issue into prominence.

If elected as Chair my single issue would be to protect, nurture and grow the staff complement of the organisation, and to protect staff members from interference – political, practical and emotional – by Executive members. I have stood for the role of Chair because the Chair has direct responsibility for line-managing the party’s paid Chief Executive/Head of Office, and is therefore the point of contact between the paid staff and the Executive. It is vital that whoever is elected Chair prioritises having an empowered, sustainable workforce.

I believe Executive members must not overstretch the power that the party gives them. No single Executive member is so important that they should “get their way” in a fashion that undermines a paid, professional member of staff. Unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened, I believe, in the last year – not particularly by the Chair – but I believe it is the Chair’s role to ensure that any such behaviour by other Executive members is nipped in the bud. It is certainly the case that by the time you are reading this we will be onto our 5th paid press officer of the year. And since the start of 2009 – under the current Executive – we have gone down from two to one full-time paid press officer.
Indeed, it is my belief and analysis that power has accrued instead to the Executive and inevitably to the External Communications post in particular, where it should in fact be vested in the paid, professional staff.
Paid staff are professionals, picked from potentially dozens of experienced candidates, in order to do a job – day in, day out – come rain or shine, for the party. Executive members – for all their good intentions – are part-time volunteers, and if ever a particularly over-active Executive member uses their power to disrupt the strategic work of paid staff, I believe the party as a whole is bound to suffer, and I believe this partly accounts for our failure – and it is a failure, however much we might wish to gloss over it – to make gains in this year’s European Elections.

About me: I am a member of 8 years, an activist film-maker, a vegetarian, and my next big ambition is to circumnavigate the globe on a low-carbon journey”.

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