Question 9: I am the only active Green Party member in an overwhelmingly Labour town. I've been asked to consider standing in the next local elections but it all seems a daunting task. What advice would you give on how and where to start an election campaign given my situation?
Candidates for Leader
Simply standing shouldn't be daunting. Go for it! With a small amount of support from your region getting on the ballot paper is the easy bit – it's getting the confidence to make the first step that's hard. The key is to use that first election to shift the debate – whether that's on the local pool, new development or buses. That way we can win the issues whether or not we win the ward.
If you have access to the MOSAIC information you can assess where your "highest potential" ward is. Otherwise just get involved locally in campaigns and put yourself forward for election in the area you live or work in. One voice can inspire many others. John Reardon in Carlisle is a perfect example.
First contact GP councillors who have been successful in similar wards. Pick their brains and formulate your own strategy, checking it out with others as you go. Get a small team together (they don't have to be GP members, but there will be a lot of legwork and you will need a lot of legs). Cash will probably be short, so fundraise as much as you can, and work smart; make an impact. Perhaps target issues on a street by street basis. Canvass as much as you can, always leaving a leaflet. Target To Win!
You have been asked to stand - so perhaps there are a few members who are engaged in some organisational tasks ? We all have to start somewhere. Initially you may be standing in order to allow people to vote Green. If you are busy this time you will be able to offer to do this. It is relatively easy. If you want to start a serious campaign you will need a core team to door knock and to deliver leaflets. We can support you with advice on all aspects of this next stage - and we will.
Candidates for Deputy Leader
This was almost exactly my situation three years ago so it can be done! You will need help! This should come from the Regional Party. Start with a short survey to determine the type of problems in the area and to assess the need. There are likely to be significant housing issues and these can give you a way to start helping people. If there are hard working well known local Labour Councillors then you may need to look at a different war. There isn't room here for a complete explanation; I can give a presentation on this with a lot more detail.
First of all, you can do it! The other parties are lazy. By engaging with your local community and working hard you will find you can win a lot of support in a short period. I was the first ever Green councillor in Hove, and a big factor in that campaign was engaging with a local parent-led group named Action4Kids, pushing the council to create more local council-run schools. If you can understand people's needs and get behind them, you'll be showcasing The Green Party and our politics, and getting people on board with the party and your campaign. Ask your new supporters if they'd like to join the Party, deliver leaflets or help door knock.
I think being realistic about the work involved is the first thing. If you don't have a group of supporters willing to help this will be difficult and lonely. Are Green Party members from nearby going to come in and help out? If not then stepping back and looking to build a supporter network e.g. through engagement with local community organisations, may be a better step right now. On a practical basis I believe advice on basics of leafleting, canvassing, running a polling day operation etc needs to be much more easily available for local parties.
No answer supplied