Last year, as a local Green and resident of Redland ward I was pleased to be asked to stand in my local ward. This was both an honour and a responsibility; the campaign, though modest, required me to prepare an election statement, a web page, and ensure we leafletted the ward as thoroughly as possible. In addition I dealt with queries from members of the public who wanted to discuss our policies and my stance on several issues. I was then asked by Bristol Women’s Voice on behalf of Woman in Bristol for a response to their questions, too. We also held some stalls and an event in the ward. I was mainly busy with our successful campaign to get my colleague Daniella Radice elected in neighbouring Bishopston.
The end result was a campaign which saw me come runner up against an established councillor, which was a positive outcome. With encouragement from friends and colleagues I then agreed to stand again and was chosen after hustings and a vote of all our Bristol members.
With just two more votes in each street or block of flats this is definitely a winnable seat, too. I’m delighted to have been prmoised more help from many friends and colleagues this year, keen to see the continued rise in our influential Green voice on the council and a chance for me to represent residents of the ward.
As a democratic and grassroots party I am delighted to be part of a movement that ensures every member a chance to develop policy and ideas, to affect local and national decisions, and to be in a party that does not ‘whip’ or control its elected representatives; on occasion our councillors vote for different positions to reflect our residents’ views and needs. I see a virtue in lively debate and a chance for us to weigh up issues and discuss how we stand on issues affecting our areas and electorate. You’re not voting for sheep after all!
I’m aiming to visit every street and we’ll try to call on every household by the election. I’m already helping shape local services and decisions – from this January I am part of the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership. https://www.facebook.com/groups/bcrnp/?fref=ts This has a local budget and funds and helps decide several local services and the work of agencies like the police. I’ve been active in its local ward Fora for several years and am already familiar with how many local decisions can be influenced. While the NP structures are far from perfect they are a valuable way to ensure local involvement and greater devolution of decision making in the city. http://bristolpartnership.org/directory/neighbourhood-partnerships/ With a single decision-maker in the shape of the elected Mayor we need more powers devolved to local communities where this makes sense. I’ll aim to come back to local services and decision making in a later blog. Meanwhile I look forward to the local election campaign.