Working Class Heroes

I was going to write about plastic bags and how there is no excuse for a 5% growth in plastic bag usage as reported by the Guardian today. However I just read an interesting blog by Gary Dunion of Bright Green titled; Greens can either pay their leader, or be led by the rich and I felt compelled to respond.

The blog talks about Peter Cranie’s bid to become the new leader of the Green Party and the rumours that have been circulating that he may have to withdraw from the race if their is no salary guaranteed for the new leader of the party. Although Cranie has since made it clear that he has no intention of pulling out of the race.

The blog cites a demand of the Chartists, Britain’s first modern workers’ movement. Including the below.

“PAYMENT OF MEMBERS, thus enabling an honest tradesman, working man, or other person, to serve a constituency, when taken from his business to attend to the interests of the country.”

It would be a good idea for us to pay attention to the demands of the Chartists. I think this is a real moment of truth for the Green Party; Caroline Lucas being elected as our first MP in Brighton has given us a chance to demonstrate we’re capable making a valuable contribution to parliament. In the 2015 election we should be looking to elect several more MP’s with a target of at least 10 elected MP’s by the 2020 election. As the climate change crisis worsens the first people to be affected will be the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Our policies have fairness woven throughout and these will serve to protect those in the most need when the time comes. With the Lib Dem’s in disarray, Labour not offering any real alternative to the Tories austerity measures. The Green Party should be viewing the next election as a golden opportunity to increase seats.

To have a chance of doing this we need the best leader possible.  I would hate to think we may not get the best candidate as leader because the party was scrimping on the salary. A figure of £28,000 is mentioned in Gary’s blog, which is slightly above the national average. I can say having earned a figure around this a couple of years ago living in London, money was pretty tight and that is as a single person in a shared flat, let alone with a family.

We pride ourselves on being the party of fairness, we need to live by these words and pay whoever is elected leader a salary worthy of the position of Green Party leader. I would suggest using a relatively high level civil servants salary as the benchmark.

I believe we have replaced Labour as the party truly representing workers. We have the knowledge and compassion to implement a green economy which will create jobs throughout society. And we’re committed to reversing the climate change disaster we’re currently on course for. But as someone originally from a working class background, I would be sad to see the party essentially exclude candidates who are not independently wealthy.

I hope whoever wins the leadership contest is paid a wage fitting of the great responsibility the next leader will have in building on the success of Caroline as leader.

Notes:

1) This blog is response to the blog by Gary Dunion for Bright Green and quotes his blog in parts. http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2012/08/greens-can-either-pay-their-leader-or-be-led-by-the-rich/

2) I haven’t decided who I am voting for in the upcoming leadership contests.

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