Thursday, 24 February 2011

Who am I and why politics? Why did I choose the Green Party?

I remember watching my brother, a man I much admire, being involved in 'Windscale' protests. He was so passionate and hopeful and this has left an indelible mark. A good mark.

I was turned on to 'world' politics again by a song, "Enola Gay" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark sorry if an advert pops up.
The lyrics resonated with me and I realised how a flick of a signature or press of a button can change everything forever.

At the London School of Economics and King's in the mid-80s, (where I took one year of a bi-lingual German and English Law degree, before changing to Psychology at Exeter), I was introduced to the 'bear pit' of debate and cut my teeth there, also being a temporary member of the Union and mooting as part of my course.

I have been involved with the Anti-Apartheid movement, which had both good and bad aspects. I had also experience of the German Greens from having lived in Germany, (then West Germany), for eight years. How forward they were, even in the 80s! Feminist politics was also a large part of my life.

I've worked in Israel-Palestine and at the time Gaza. I did the 'Kibbutz Experience', I lived and co-ran a cleaning business with a friend in Tel Aviv after having completed a religious course, (I was religious for awhile, but now more cultural), and went on to work on peace projects - water projects, circus skills (a failed tight rope walker!), theatre, music, politics. I worked with and observed peace negotiators in some very extreme circumstances - happy to share off blog. I am moved to say, that despite what happened, I saw people never give up and minds changed. I still maintain relationships across the divides and I am sure the situation would be a lot worse without these brave and compassionate people.

Fast forward - Adrian Ramsay and I met via our work on the 'Wright Stuff', then recorded in Norwich. Norwich Greens look away now - they've heard this story a million times, but I never tire of it!). He was too young to stand as a candidate and asked me if I would. Paraphrase and thoughts to myself: 'You must be joking I'm not Green, I smoke, drive a car and drink beer...'. I said I would only do it if I read the manifesto first. He gave me an abridged version, but being thorough and a bit of 'geek', I found and read the whole MfSS.

I realised that I was not 'stupid' or 'naive' or 'silly' for having dreams. Dreams of a future, especially for my little girl. Yet here was a group of people who had the same dreams and the expertise with which to effect that change. Greens weren't organic yak's milk weavers, they were smart, eloquent and above all compassionate.

I rang up Adrian and said something like, 'Yes, I'll be proud to stand for you'. People came from all over the country, doorknocking, leafleting, cooking, laughing, singing. It was amazing and the result? (see photo if I manage to up load it).

We won. I took over from our out going Councillor Sara Ronneke and took my place a long side Steve Land; us two against the rest of the Chamber and the rest is Green history...we now hold the balance of power. I am proud to have been a part of that, a real Green quiet revolution.



  1. Oi Oi!

    "I'm not Green, I smoke, drive a car and drink beer..

    TFFT, I thought I was the only one! But I hope, like me, you don't do them all at the same time.

    I am also rather partial to a toasted bacon sandwich. Do you have a similar vice?

  2. That was a long time ago now. I succumb to tobacco on NGP monthly meetings, but day-to-day, I am a non-smoker. However, I did joke then that if people asked nicely I would do all three at once!
    I enjoy a bacon sarnie.
    The lesson is, if I can be green, anyone can.

  3. Me too!

    Love a beer
    Love a bit of bacon
    Got a smoke-spewing old Volkswagen
    And I bloody hate the jews, me!

  4. Nothing to do with a sense of humour, Steve.

    Blogger is just treating you as spam and removing your comments, you obvioulsy have a reputation?

    I have advised Jessica how to recover them if she wishes.

  5. surely no 'reputation', Weggy old boy as I've only had the handle three days, I'm just sick of the constant focus of some Green bloggers on 'Israel'.

    ...and in a free country, I'm allowed to express it. Even if some bloggers like to control/censor the views expressed by their fellow citizens. Ms Goldfinch seems to be quite fair in this regard though.