I joined Chris Southall and Tendring Green Party in Clacton on Saturday 20 September. We donned our rosettes and went for a walkabout armed with the campaign leaflet. The morning was spent in the town square, distributing leaflets to shoppers and striking up conversations on all manner of topics: NHS, pensions, jobs. I took up the megaphone at one point, “People of Clacton! Meet your local candidate, Chris Southall. Greens offer a positive vision for you! Open air surgery here! The listening party!” The reception and uptake was good. We entered into a steady stream of conversations.
We crossed paths with UKIP early on. Indeed we were going in opposite directions. They seemed upbeat in their assessment of their chances, if not a little arrogant: “Good luck. You’ll need it!” I was struck by how few women were in their team.
It’s true that Clacton has not been a hotbed of Green party electioneering (previous 2010 result) but I was keen to support our local Greens in their determination to offer a positive vision for Clacton at the ballot box. Greens have never just been about standing where they can realistically win, but to have the courage of their convictions to make inroads incrementally. One voter wanted a poster. Others were really upbeat about seeing us. These were all seeds that could be grown. We were operating on a shoe-string budget but Chris was determined to get the word out through local media and the promise of a political hustings.
Quotes from the local press release:
Chris Southall, Green Party candidate for Clacton, said ” Greens across the country are fighting for workers’ and family rights which may be lost if we leave the European Union and for a minimum wage which people can live on. Add the fact that the National Health Service is being dismantled by privatisation against everyone’s wishes and there is much that the Green Party needs to do.”
Dr Shahrar Ali, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, said:
“The people of Clacton have been granted a terrific opportunity in Chris Southall and I am proud to be campaigning alongside him. The Green Party offers a positive vision for society well beyond the next electoral cycle. We will replace the shock and awe tactics of government austerity with investment in Green jobs and public services that deliver a better deal for all.”