Our national politics is in crisis and the nation is divided, perhaps more so that at any time in the last fifty years. A Prime Minister with no mandate has appointed a right wing cabinet, and said she wouldn’t hesitate to hit the nuclear button. And this a few days after downgrading the urgency of tackling climate change. Meanwhile the Labour Party is tearing itself apart, hate crime is on the increase, the economy teeters on a precipice, and all the while Brexit looms like a spectre over our heads threatening the removal of important protections that are needed more than ever..
It would be easy to panic. But this moment is also an opportunity. There's a justifiable anger at the mess we find ourselves in, and an appetite for something new.
We're standing to be co-leaders of the Green Party because we want to seize this opportunity. We believe we are the team best placed to hit the ground running and make sure our party can harness this energy build a new kind of politics.
Time to work together
The EU referendum has laid bare the fault lines. But it's also revealed a clear feeling that the old politics is failing. Whole communities in so called “safe seats” have been neglected by Labour and ignored by Tories. The referendum gave an opportunity: for the first time in years, for these communities who had for too long been voiceless suddenly had a voice. And they screamed discontent.
Now isn’t the time for turning our backs on those who voted differently. It's also not a time for finger pointing. It’s a time for listening. It’s also a time to work together on the things that unite us. Where there are shared values - let's work together to push our vision forward.
That's why, if elected as co-leaders, we would like the Green Party to be at the forefront of building a one-off alliance of progressive parties at the next general election. Led by local parties, this alliance could see more Greens around the country elected as MPs, and crucially, would be bound by a cross-party pledge to push for proportional representation in parliament.
Leading by example
We’re standing as a job share for two key reasons. Together, we have the skills and experience to prepare the Green Party for the opportunities that lie ahead, but neither of us felt we could do it full time.
Jonathan has been focused in Lambeth, south London, where he's transformed the local party. He oversaw the election of one of London's four Green councillors in a traditionally Conservative area, and this year he managed the by election campaign that saw a 29% swing from Labour to Greens. He’s represented the party in the media as work and pensions spokesperson; successfully communicating Green policy on issues like Universal Basic Income alongside key political actors. Jonathan is also father to a disabled son. His caring responsibilities meant that a job share was the only way to give both the leadership role and his family the attention needed.
Caroline is the party's only MP and has proven herself a brilliant spokesperson and campaigner on Green issues. To be able to properly serve her constituents in Brighton and Hove, meet her requirements in Westminster, and take on a leadership role in the Green Party, again, a job share seemed the best way.
While seizing the benefits of two skill sets, we also see this as a way to model the sort of open, accessible politics that we want to work towards.
It’s about sharing power to build power. We want to give a voice to communities from all walks of life and in every corner of the country. That means giving local parties better support to engage members, campaign on issues as well as elections, and to win and hold seats. It also means building on our work on equality and diversity - we want to set up a commission to take forward ideas to engage and build power in traditionally underrepresented communities.
While we are both confident spokespersons for the party, we want to make sure there’s a Green voice in every community. We want the Green party to set a precedent for British politics - actively engaging people, breaking open the systems to welcome everybody, and giving a voice to those who don’t usually get a say.
We believe this is an unmissable opportunity for the Green Party, and for our country. There is a real chance to change the status quo. We believe we are the team with the ideas and experience to make sure it’s the Green Party leading the way.