11 April 2013
AS the local council elections inch closer, former Independent MP Martin Bell and local former Labour MP Ian Gibson expressed their encouragement today to Independent candidates and Green Party candidates for Norfolk County Council, at a press conference in Norwich chaired by local Green Euro-lead candidate Rupert Read.
Former Labour MP for Norwich North Ian Gibson said, ‘I have been heartened by the interaction between Independents and Greens, and their attempts to restore democratic process to the governing of Norfolk. I wish every Green and every Independent Councillor-candidate good luck, and I'm positive that there will be more Green Party and more Independent Councillors on Norfolk County Council after the voters have had their say on May 2nd.’
Norfolk County Council is currently dominated by the Conservatives but if the Greens and Independents do well in the election it could push the council into no overall control and lead to changes in major decisions. Green and Independent candidates have heavily criticised the Conservative administration for ignoring the views of local people and trying to push through plans for a waste incinerator and large-scale development in the countryside.
Gibson’s endorsement sends two clear messages: the Green Party is sending a clear message it is willing and able to cooperate with candidates and Parliamentarians from outside its own party membership. And, more importantly, it is becoming more and more obvious that the coalition government and local councils run by the major political parties are not effectively serving the people of the UK, instead often practicing partisan backbiting and acting undemocratically. Such that more Green and more Independent Councillors are needed, to redress the balance.
Mr. Gibson added, ‘We need a group of people who will stand up to those grey-faced people at County Hall. Let’s replace them and get people in who have ambition.’
Adrian Ramsay, national Green Party Home Affairs spokesperson, was present at the meeting this morning. He said: “We believe that the Green Party is a key part of that ‘group of people’ who will oppose excessive development, support democracy and the cleaning up of politics, and support local businesses to build healthy local economies. As such, we encourage Norfolk people to vote for our slate of candidates in the upcoming council elections. And where Greens are not standing, we hope that people will vote Independent.”
As Mr. Bell commented this morning, ‘I do believe we have an opportunity on May 2 to break the mould and Independents are very well placed to do that as they are only answerable to their consciences and to their electorate. The Greens are in the same group as the Independents in the Local Government Association and there is a natural correspondence of interest.’