Tag Archives: Natalie Bennett

Why did Green leader Natalie Bennett choose a newspaper apology for a broadcast disaster?

It is both admirable and sadly telling that Natalie Bennett took to the pages of the Guardian today to apologise for her ‘car-crash interview’ on LBC radio yesterday.

It is admirable in the sense that it stands in stark contrast to the political culture of today where the public pushes an unrealistic expectation of perfection that is perpetuated by a media and political arrogance.

Natalie’s apology reads as a genuine breath of fresh air. We all fuck up. She’s embarrassed and sorry that she did on this occasion – an occasion that should have been about her party.

Fine – let’s move on.

That said, it is also worryingly telling that she choose (or her PR team choose) to take to the pages of the Guardian to make this well-crafted apology.

When the going gets tough, this particular political leader resorts to that comfy home-ground for her; the liberal-left leaning print media (and her former employer).

If she wanted to offer both a heart-felt apology and a sign to show that she has the statesmanship to someday rule this country (surely the ultimate aim of any party) then would not a heartfelt TV interview have been better placed?

Her apology is welcome but it does still leave many wondering – can Natalie Bennett do Green Party policies justice when put on the big stage alongside skilled (and highly trained) orators such as Cameron, Clegg and (to a lesser extent) Miliband?

I’m still not sure.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Media, Politics

Listen to the Green leader’s car crash of an interview

It – was – really – painful.

There is no other way to describe it. Throw away comments like ‘a car-crash of an interview’ suddenly seem suitably apt. Natalie Bennett’s interview on LBC this morning was one of the worst I have heard from a party leader – ever!

If you haven’t already and have the stomach for it, then have a listen:

For a long time I have argued that Natalie Bennett has revolutionised the Green’s media presence. Whether this was utilising her experience in the industry – she used to work as the editor of the Guardian Weekly – or whether she has just rode the wave of the ‘Green surge’ is unclear. But the results are clear. There has been much more and better coverage of Green politics in the UK’s print media.

But, that said, there has been a continuous disparity between the consistent, and quite impressive, coverage Natalie has secured in the print media with the consistently below par appearances on broadcast media. This car-crash didn’t come out of the blue – there have been a series of skids, near misses and dented body work that should have warned of the forth coming three lane pile up of a car crash.

Remember this?

With this in my mind, one wonders whether the Green’s hard thought victory of being included in the Leader’s TV debates will be as much a blessing as they might have hoped. How will she hold up to the oratory skills of Cameron, Clegg or, to a lesser extent, Miliband?

Only time will tell.

Finally though it is worth highlighting, just like Guido Fawkes has, that it is refreshing that Natalie at least had the moral and political courage to then apologise to her party for the poor showing – how many other party leaders would have done that?

2 Comments

Filed under Media, Politics

Natalie Bennett re-elected leader of The Green Party

Green party Natalie Bennett
Natalie Bennett has been re-elected the leader of The Green Party of England and Wales after standing for re-election unopposed. She was elected with 2618 votes to 183 (RON).

Former Deputy leader Will Duckworth however narrowly missed re-election in the new system which saw the party electing one male and one female deputy party leader. Amelia Womack was elected with 1598, (to Will Duckworth’s 1108) and in the second round of voting Shahrar Ali was elected with 1314 (to Will Duckworth’s 1277).

Other internal election results include:

Gpex Chair: Richard Mallender was elected 2640 to RON 101

Campaigns Co-Ordinator: Howard Thorpe was elected 2546 to RON 181

Elections Co-Ordinator: Judy Maciejowska was elected 2631 to RON 161

External Communication Co-Ordinator: Penny Kemp/ Clare Phipps/ Matt Hawkinswere elected 2586 to RON 147

Management Co-Ordinator Mark Cridge was elected 2636 to RON 82

International Co-Ordinator: Derek Wall was elected 1416 to Anna Clarke’s 891

Trade Union Liaison Officer: Romayne Phoenix was elected 2639 to RON 94

Policy Co-Ordinator: Sam Riches and Caroline Bowes were elected 1786 to Rachel Featherstone and Anna Heyman’s 839

Publications Co-Ordinator: Martin Collins was elected 2468 to RON 249

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

The BBC today failed to show The Green Party a basic level of respect


The Green Party leader was this morning on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today Programme’.

The BBC radio schedule previewed her appearance with this description:

BBC Radio

Curious then that after the brief introduction, this issue seemed to slip from the whole interview. Instead the presenter, John Humphrys, decided to focus in on the pressing question of whether voters misunderstand ‘The Green Party’ to be purely interested in environmental issues.

Despite Natalie Bennett, The Green Party leader’s, best efforts to drag the interview back on course Humphry’s seemed obsessed with coming back to the issue of re-branding the party.

What this had to do with whether or not The Green Party should be included in the televised leaders debate remains unclear.

In short, the interview was in my opinion utter baloney.

Imagine, if the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, went onto the Today programme on the same pretext, and the interviewer chose to quite bizarly just focus on in on whether or not the word ‘Labour’ really reflects the party’s policies?

It would never happen.

Why? Because John Humphry, and institutionally the BBC, even if they do not agree with Labour’s policies take the party seriously.

The same cannot be said to be true about The Green Party.

Now…ask yourself a further question: Why do people not vote for The Green Party even if they support most of their policies?

Two answers jump to mind. The first is the electoral system (for the General Election) – people worry about voting Green being a ‘wasted vote’. I can’t blame the BBC for that.

The second reason though is that The Green Party is often just not taken seriously. They are perceived to be political lightweights. Ask yourself where this perception comes from and invariably we come full circle. The answer, at least in part, is found in the inaccurate and derogatory political representation they suffer in the media.

While this is frustrating in partisan newspapers, it is simply unacceptable in the nonpartisan BBC.

The reality of this media environment means that The Green Party struggle for serious representation with any outlet other than a handful of sympathetic Guardian Journalists.

I don’t expect the BBC to give The Green Party an easy ride, but I do expect a degree of respect. This morning the Today programme failed to deliver this.

UPDATE:

Interesting from the reaction on twitter I am not the only person to feel like this:

4 Comments

Filed under Media, Politics

The Green Party’s internal democracy has let the party down

Today, the Green Party of England and Wales announced that the former Guardian journalist Natalie Bennett has been elected as their leader.

Upon her election Natalie commented, “[I am] pleased to take on the responsibility of helping us all to move towards promoting our vision of a radical new economic and environmental vision for Britain”. Natalie’s election has already been met in the press to wide-spread support.

The Green Party uses the Single Transferable Vote system to elect its leader – a form of proportional representation. In many ways the Green Party has a model form of democracy – leading by example. It is worrying then that it maintains an unpopular gender rule that many feel is letting the party down.

Gender balance

The Green Party’s election rules stipulate that the deputy leader has to be the opposite sex of the person who is elected leader. As such, with election of Natalie, the two highly competent female contenders for the deputy leadership were automatically out of the race.

Rupert Read, a high profile activist in the party tweeted soon after the results were announced saying:

Never again should the candidate who members voted for a top leadership post (#GPEW Deputy Leader) be prevented from taking up the job“.

He left no confusion to what he meant when he later tweeted:

@WillduckworthGP is elected Deputy Leader of Green Party (after female candidates are eliminated by our back firing gender balance rules)”

Natalie welcomed Will Duckworth’s election in her victory speech saying, “I look forward to working with Cllr Will Duckworth, who has been elected as deputy leader”. I am sure though that Will and the party membership though will remember her response on LBC radio when she was asked if she supported the gender rule and said, “it is the system we have so we have to live with it…I would support a change”.

Three questions remain for the Green Party then as they head to their party conference in Bristol. Firstly, is it right that two popular and competent deputy leadership candidates missed out just because of their gender? Secondly, does Will Duckworth hold a democratic mandate? Lastly, how does the Green Party’s policy on ‘gender balance’ sit with their pioneering and progressive adoption of issues around intersex (imagine if one of the candidates self identified as intersex what would happen then)?

For a party with such a strong internal democracy it seems bizarre that they would prevent a candidate’s election because of their gender. Do I feel an emergency motion coming on for conference…?

UPDATE (13:58 03/09/2012) – Peter Crainie, the leadership candidate who narrowly missed out on election has announced, “This election has identified several improvements we need to make ahead of the next set of leadership elections in 2014, beginning with an end to the gender balance rule that prevents two women from forming the leadership team in our party. I intend to co-sign any motion put forward by Natalie in this regard”.

UPDATE (14:47 03/09/2012) – The now Deputy Leader of The Green Party, Will Duckworth, was elected despite not getting “the quota required”. An internal communication explains:

“3,127 ballot papers were returned (a turnout of 25.1%).

In line with the election rules set out in the Green Party constitution, the Deputy Leader cannot be of the same gender as the Leader and so Caroline Allen and Alexandra Phillips are eliminated and their first preference votes will be redistributed to the highest expressed preference for an eligible candidate.

There were 353 spoilt papers (including papers expressing a preference only for a female candidate or candidates), giving a total valid vote of 2774 and the quota required for election is therefore 1,387.1

First preference votes were distributed as follows:

Allen – not eligible
Duckworth – 1,329
Mallender – 1,245
Phillips – not eligible
RON – 200

No candidate achieved quota, but Green Party rules require that RON not be eliminated, so the candidate with the highest vote is elected”

13 Comments

Filed under Politics, sexuality