take a stand

How I stood for the Green Party in a local election
Standing in an election can be free, easy, and worthwhile.  In the last 2 local elections I have stood as a Green Party Candidates.  Different boroughs were a different experience.

Because I was quite keen and involved I offered to collect the nominations myself in West Hendon and 4 years before that in Nottingham.

The first time I didn't get the signatures in time because it was Arboretum Ward where most households are students and they went on holiday!  I should have left plenty of time.

The West Hendon, where my parents live, was quite easy.  The first few I got colleagues, and aquaintances to back my nomination to stand.  Then I just knocked on doors with a clipboard and green rosette and asked people.  It took some time because sometimes people were out or said no, but more often than not they would sign if I explained that I just needed signatures to be on the ballot paper and when they voted it is up to them who they support so no committment.

During the campaign I did not have to do anything because our main target was Brighton.  I went a few times to take part in organised action days with the Brighton & Hove Green Party and Young Greens.  Often other candidates would come from around the country and there was the famous soup and a pleasant atmosphere, much more friendly and engaging than meetings.

(from the left) Lisa (engaged to Josiah on the right - congratulations!), Ash (Green councillor in Norwich), Simeon (Green councillor in Norwich), Caroline Lucas MP, Tom Williams, Benali Hamdache, Laura Shepherd, Sam Coates, Siobhan MacMahon, a young green, Adam,Ramsay, me, Natalie Swan (co-chair of the London Young Greens)

The only things I had to do was sign some papers, sign the other candidates nominations in my ward and in my parliamentary constituency, and go to a launch with everyone having photos, wearing a Green Party T-Shirt.  Photographed together, we all held up our oyster cards, and the photo is still up on the Barnet Green Party blog.  The day after the 2010 election the London party organised a victory party in an upstairs room in a pub in Westminster, and all my friends and colleagues from the campaign were there.

When I stood for county council in 2013 I was invited to the count in Hertsmere and Watford boroughs.  The Hertsmere count was quite late at night.  I invited my housemate who gave me a lift as well.  I had a chance to meet the local press and see all the other candidates and as I was the only Green Party member in the room I had a good mingle.  After the Watford count which was in the morning after 3 of us we went for a drink to strategise what next.  In Watford it's not traditional to have them all on stage and photographed.

With the Green Party you often lose but you take part so much more because without our members we would have very few people to actually stand as candidates, so you get much more involved and empowered.  It is quite nice having people tell you afterwards they saw you on the ballot and they voted for you.  It is also very different campaigning when you were a candidate because you start to think of your ward and the boundaries and your opponents.

In London's first 20 mph borough.

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