Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Seismic Shifts

Well. I thought my "post-election thoughts" post was going to be the last on this blog for a while. But lets face it, I was never quite going to be able to resist just a few comments on what has been happening over the last few days.

Just a few highlights of what we have gotten out of this godawful dogs dinner:

- The Lib Dems have signed up to the unworkable, draconian and xenophobic 'cap on non EU migration' policy. Well done guys.

- We have a promised referendum on Alternative Vote, which is not proportional and (whether won or lost) will probably bury the chances for a truly fair voting system to the Commons for a generation.

- Eric Pickles is in charge of the CLG, which means he is in charge of housing policy. Thousands and thousands of people are going to find it even harder to find a roof over their head which they can afford.

- There are going to be massive, "shock doctrine" style cuts to the public sector, starting almost immediately. The deadline appears to be the emergency budget, which has been declared to be 50 days away. At least £6 billion will go immediately, with a lot more to follow over the next year. That's massive cuts in public sector pay, benefits, public services - and no cuts to Trident, and no withdrawal from the £4 billion murderfest that is our occupation of Afghanistan.

All this will come to pass - if we let it. Because this governent does not represent a majority of the people. Millions of Lib Dem voters thought they were voting against the Tories, not for them. Lets not wait for years to punish these complacent, right-wing 'tighten your belts, we're all in this together' smug hypocrites at the next election. Lets punish them now. Time to organise.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Post-Election Thoughts

So, after a couple of days of blessed sleep - broken only by attending the Take Back Parliament demonstration which demanded that the Lib Dems not sell out electoral reform - I thought I would offer a few closing thoughts on this strangest of General Elections.

Clearly, I was disappointed with the Hackney North result. Both the Green Party vote share and the absolute number of votes we received went down, and we lost our deposit for the first time since 1997. In line with the honest approach I have tried to take on my prospects throughout the election, I'm not going to claim that as a triumph! However, I am also not particularly despondent. This is because the result in 2010 will have exposed two big untruths, which I hope the electorate will remember at the next General Election:

1) "The Lib Dems are poised to win Hackney North".

Oh dear. Regular readers will recall that I called several times for a bit of honesty on this from other candidates, to not much avail. Quite a few people who normally vote Green switched to the Lib Dems in this election, because they thought they were close to challenging Diane. And a few switched to Labour, for the same reason! I hope that Diane's 14,000 majority will now make them think about the argument that I was putting forward - that it is possible in Hackney North to vote for the candidate you most agree with, without having to vote tactically in any direction. If that is a Liberal Democrat, grand. But if you vote Green in every other election, there isn't any need to switch your vote in the General next time.

2) "Vote Labour or there will be a hung council/the Tories will get in".

Double oh dear. I heard both of these arguments at different times in the campaign. Labour now have 50 of 57 seats on the Council, and the Tories, as expected, came a poor third. Again. Hackney is made up of two of the safest Labour seats in the country - no one from the right of politics is going to get in. So, to repeat - you can vote for who you believe in. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Of course, the vast surge in turnout for Labour for the General Election also made the Clissold ward result rather painful reading for me. In both Clissold and Stoke Newington Central our six council candidates got more votes than any Green Party candidate ever has in Hackney. And we lost. By a lot. Frankly, there was simply nothing else we could have done. We knocked on doors every day for months, put out leaflets that spelled out our vision for the borough, ran stalls, worked with community groups - unfortunately, like almost every other Green councillor in London, the General Election and our resulting lack of media exposure did for us.

We are determined to spend the coming years continuing to organise in our community, continuing to help people with their problems, and joining with anyone else in the borough who will be working against swingeing public sector cuts. Unfortunately, they will be imposed on us by whichever of the three establishment parties gets into Government - unless we fight back, nationally, as a movement of people who refuse to allow the public sector to pay for a private financial crisis.

Thanks to all who have read and commented on this blog, and particularly to the thousands of people who cast a vote for me in the Council and General elections. If Hackney Green Party sees fit to select me again - I'll be back!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Why You Should Vote Green

So - the election is tomorrow. I've been busy leafletting, doorknocking, husting and every other election related activity one can think of. But now, of course, it is down to you...and every other voter in Hackney North.

Why should you Vote Green tomorrow? Because we are the only party standing out against public sector cuts, and instead arguing openly and honestly for a significant increase in redistributive taxation. Because we are the only party calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Because we are the only party calling for the scrapping of all of our nuclear weapons. Because we are the only party who have a plan that can credibly put us on a path towards dealing with climate change and peak oil, rather than faffing around with the deckhairs on the Titanic as we head towards the iceberg. Because we are the only party who have based our entire campaign on the disastrous inequality that our country is mired in, and the need for a more equal and just society.

Diane Abbott is going to win Hackney North tomorrow. The only question is whether she will win with a growing and dynamic Green Party snapping at her heels, or if people end up voting for one of the three mainstream parties because "I suppose we have to".

You don't have to. If you believe in Green Party policies, and if you think I am a decent candidate - vote Green on May 6th, and help start the process of changing Hackney for the better.

All best wishes,

Matt Sellwood

P.S. If you are still undecided, the Vote For Policies tool might help you to make up your mind. You'll notice that when people vote for the policies that they like the best without knowing which party they are from, the Green Party wins....