Candidates for Leader: Peter Cranie

We asked the candidates for the post of leader the same set of questions (and quick fire questions). Here are Peter Cranie’s responses:

 

  • Which three policies do you think the Party should prioritise over the next three years?

The Economy, Housing and Climate Change. But more importantly, we need to prioritise linking the current economic and emerging environmental crisis to a holistic view of how we choose to run our society.

 

  • Do you think that we have got the balance right between central vs local control/ownership of the Party, and if not how would you like to see structures (e.g., GPEx, GPRC, local party organising) within the Party change?

I’m certainly not opposed to change, but at this point in the electoral cycle, as we are building up to major national elections, huge reforms that are going to take a massive amount of internal effort are perhaps not where I think our priorities should lie. However, it is absolutely true that our structures were designed in a time before phone conferences, Skype, the internet, Facebook and Twitter. I think there are a number of common sense improvements we should be able to implement with widespread consensus, which will take these changes into account.

 

  • It is often said that there is a wealth of talent in the Green Party, but that we do not utilise it to its full potential. How would you make more of our elected representatives, spokespeople and other knowledgeable individuals within the party in order to get the Green message heard?

I disagree with one part of this statement, which is that we don’t utilise our talent fully. I think we actually overstretch activists and sometimes our elected representatives. We expect them to do far more than a comparable person in one of the red, yellow or blue parties. So firstly I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the people in that category.

There is a wealth of talent in the party, but the key to getting our message heard is very simple, and that is to get more Greens elected. A Green spokesperson is often sought for something with an environmental theme, but how often do we get approaches in respect of benefits reform, Quantitative Easing or foreign aid? Rather than spending a lot of time looking for perfection in our structures, we should be focusing on electoral improvements. Getting 5 or 6 additional MEPs elected should generate far more coverage than the perfect spokesperson system. With that must come better training and support for councillors, MEPs and future MPs, which is an improvement we need to make.

 

  • How would your Leadership differ from those of the other candidates for Leadership? Please describe what you think are the main differences between yourself and the other candidates in terms of a vision for the Party.

I don’t want to talk about our differences but to highlight our common views. We are all passionate about our party, we all have good ideas about how to improve the party through sharing good practice and we all offer ideas about how we can progress in elections. Where I think we differ is in terms of the people we could appeal to.

In this election, our Green members will need to decide which candidate can genuinely broaden the Green message and bring it to people who might never otherwise vote for us. I think that for all sorts of reasons, this is the key element my candidacy brings. We all want a successful growing party, but I’m saying that an important way for us to do that is to broaden our appeal by having a Leader who is demonstrably not from a stereotypically Green background. I’m from a working class background, I grew up in council housing, and I’ve worked on the front line of social deprivation in the North-West. Banishing stereotypes about who ‘can’ vote Green or be involved as a member is one of the key ways we have of attempting to break through to a wider audience.

 

Quickfire

  1. Are you a vegetarian? No. I don’t eat pigs but I do occasionally eat other types of organically farmed meat.
  2. How many flights have you taken in the last 5 years? Our honeymoon in France and Italy was entirely by rail in 2008, but I have taken 1 return flight to Spain and 1 return flight to Greece in that period (I have family living in both countries).
  3. Which UK politician from outside the Green Party do you most admire? Patrick Harvie (or is that cheating?). Leanne Wood of Plaid deserves praise too.
  4. What issue first inspired you to join the Green Party? In 1989, as a sixth former, the Euro Election campaign. A decade later in 1999, Caroline Lucas, Jean Lambert and Robin Harper getting elected.
  5. Where do you shop? We get a veg box weekly from our local wholefood co-operative Windmill, and we are lucky enough to still have the choice of going to our local Greengrocer. Clothes are 90% charity shop purchases. Organic full fat milk for our youngest, however, is only available at supermarkets!
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1 Comment

  1. We speak to the four candidates for Green Party leader « Green Party Elections 2012

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