It’s been a very very cold February (colder here, than, bizarrely, the Arctic, which should worry us all). But despite that the hardy folk of the Ealing Green Party have hit the campaign trail. All through the month we’ve been braving the conditions to speak to the people of Hanwell and Acton in our quest to hear the thoughts of the locals and to spread our message that Ealing Council needs a Green voice!
No Wasted Votes
This coming election will be an important indicator of how people feel about the plans that local government has in store for them, and some of those plans, we have to say, are somewhat alarming. From demolishing locally listed buildings to selling off green spaces to constructing “rabbit hutches in the sky”, our council is giving us plenty of reason to be concerned. And we’re lucky that the people who vote in May will have more than one choice – so there is no doubt that giving one of those votes to the Green Party will not be wasted.
One word we’ve been using quite a lot is “accountability”. It is something that is sorely needed in Ealing: a dissenting voice from someone who is not beholden to any party line. It’s all very well saying you should join one of the big parties and try and “change them from within”, but we have seen that people in those parties can be punished quite severely if they do try to defy the wishes of the group they belong to.
It’s been great to see then, that so many people are switched on and share our concerns about what is happening to Ealing. When we saw the plans for the tower block that will be built on the Wickes site on the Lower Boston Road we knew we had to raise our voice in protest, and to know so many people are wanting the same thing has been driving us on through the cold.
There is certainly some interesting sights and sounds on the doorstep – for instance the man who answered the door naked! Of course he was doing the cleaning, obviously. And he was also receptive to the Green message, so that must have been the naturist in him!
The gentleman who worked for the Pakistani consul offered us a cup of tea, and we found out through the course of the conversation that when one of the canvassers speaking to him had problems entering Pakistan once, the visa belonging to the Green campaigner was safely in his keeping! So that was a reassuring turn up!
Of course many people are not feeling very hopeful about the future, and that is to some extent understandable: a feeling of helplessness in the face of a council that has a different agenda to the people of Ealing; a council that appears to be set on its course and seems to give little regard to opposing wishes, viewpoints and concerns.
I asked around for how we could answer points like this positively, and a Green supporter said this to me, which I thought was very wise:
“Tell them that wherever Greens are elected into office they do so because they want to make a change. Green Party councillors don’t answer to any “mainstream” party or follow the consensus agreed by the dominant group in the council. They listen to resident’s concerns and take those concerns right into the heart of the council and they fight for it. They do this because they feel the same way you do, it’s time to change, time to make a difference and that’s why we ask for your support.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself. And we’d love to hear your thoughts!