At every election, somewhere in the country, we experience the thrill of winning a Green seat by just a handful of votes, or the reverse – the despondency of losing out by the skin of our teeth.
Being on the losing side is painful – not just for the campaign team who have worked so hard, but because we know just what a loss it is to a community, and for the planet, to miss out on four or five years of service by a Green champion.
One single Green councillor can make all the difference in the decision-making of a council.
They will work to tackle the ecological emergency, to tackle the inequality that is rife in our nation, for healthier and sustainable communities – and to institutionalise these things so that it’s not just us who benefit, but future generations.
And to help get them elected, one single round of leafleting or having a single one-to-one conversation with a voter can be the thing that gets a Green across the winning line.
That’s why right now – we need you. Every leaflet matters. Every conversation counts. You can make a difference by helping us campaign.
On 5 May, thousands of council seats will be up for election, including every council seat in both Wales and London.
The Green Party already hold an all-time record number of council seats, we are polling well, and running well-organised target campaigns across the country – I have seen dozens of them personally myself.
I fully expect our continued success to be one of the stories of the election. And it’s a good job too, because there’s never been a more important time to get Greens elected.
Every additional Green councillor matters.
Since I was elected Deputy Leader in 2014 we have trebled our councillor numbers – an incredible achievement. It’s been a real privilege to have a front-row seat to this transformation in our electoral performance, and I’ve been proud to play my part in our success.
I’ve watched our campaign teams become effective election-winning machines. I saw the wonderful team in the West Midlands take a good election strategy and refine our tactics to the point it has become something of a fine art, that can systematically overcome the sizeable obstacles presented by first-past-the-post.
That strategy is now being skilfully put to good use across the entire country by our elections staff in the Field Team – sharing knowledge and training our thousands of volunteers has played a key part in taking our success to the next level, and I’m excited that we go into this election with more field staff than ever before.
Let’s talk about how we win. When we first begin campaigning in a new area, voters always tell us three things:
- We don’t know anything about these people standing for election
- Politicians are all the same
- You Greens can’t win
To win elections, we need to show voters how we are different from the stale, old parties. Greens are not the same as what has come before.
We have to make sure voters know just how much we care about them and their community, and that we are serious about making their lives better. That doesn’t mean telling them all about our policies – no, it’s far more important that we tell them who we are as people, by our actions. We have to win their trust.
But even that’s not enough – we also need to show them that we can win. If we don’t, they might think we are lovely people, but when they get into the polling station they will still just choose between the usual old parties.
Now, all of this is a lot to try and get across to people! Which is why leafleting is central to what we do – and why we do so much of it.
As Greens it’s natural to worry about the implications of printing so much paper – is all this paper really needed? Surely we can use online communication instead? New activists sometimes need convincing that leaflets are actually useful.
I can tell you from first-hand experience of hundreds of Green wins – leafleting is vital. If we don’t do enough of it, we lose. It really is that simple.
In reality, the choice we face when it comes to leafleting is between leaving voters ignorant of who we are, and without hope that things can change in their neighbourhood… or showing them why voting Green will be good for them, for their community and for their future.
Now – I am asking you personally, for your help (if you are able to).
We really do need you. If you can spare any time at all, I’m asking you to please sign up and volunteer.
We have target campaigns in most areas, but even if there’s no campaign on your doorstep we would love your help in a neighbouring area. You will be welcomed warmly by the campaign team, and who knows – as I’m visiting so many campaigns this year, maybe we’ll bump into each other… I’ll see you there!