Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greens stand aside in Birmingham for Salma Yaqoob

Over the last couple of weeks Birmingham Green Party has been balloting its members on whether to stand a candidate in Birmingham Hall Green, the target constituency for Respect's Salma Yaqoob.

Last night the executive committee met and ratified the decision of the members in the constituency who voted 83% in favour of stepping aside.

The very small minority who were opposed to the move argued that the involvement of hard left groups who believe in "armed revolution" and the (undoubted) fact that Respect and Green Party diverge on a small number of key policy issues was too great a barrier for us to take this decision.

To stand aside, they argued, meant to endorse everything they stand for and everything every faction of their organisation stands for. The majority of members saw things differently.

The fact that Hall Green is neither a national nor local target for the Greens means that our resources would be better spent on those areas in Birmingham where we do expect to do well. Most Party members also recognise that, as a small party, the Greens need to work with others from a number of political perspectives in order to be most effective. It's no use simply arguing (as the 'no' side did) that if a candidate wants our support they can always join us.

So, for example, the fact that both Caroline Lucas and Salma Yaqoob have indicated that if both were elected to Parliament they could work closely together was extremely persuasive. Salma's support for Green candidates in the North West and West Midlands at the recent European elections trumped concerns that others in Respect campaigned against us.

It was this history of friendly relations, going well beyond nice words, that made it possible for those arguing to stand aside for Yaqoob to win the debate. In my view Yaqoob would make an excellent MP and she has a serious minded, long term campaign that means that her election is a possibility. I for one wish her the best of luck.


Dave Riley said...

That shows the far left a thing or two about reach out, left unity and political partnerships.

Joseph said...

Green Left welcomes this decision and will be issuing a statement today. This has given a historic boost to anti-sectarianism and unity on the progressive side of British politics. Never was this more necessary with the impending series of savage cuts about to be implemented by one of the neo-liberal parties and the rise of Fascism.

Peter Cranie said...

The way in which this was done makes me proud to be a Green, with a democratic decision made by local party members. I think their really positive endorsement reflects a national mood to try and transform the way the left does politics.

Derek Wall said...

Excellent news, I am going down to leaflet for Caroline on 7th November and I certainly intend to help Salma.

Lets get focus on electing these two excellent women to the House of Commons.

I would urge the blog commentators to join me and do some practical election work.

Good that the decision was made locally and democratically and of course a credit to ecosocialist in both political parties who have been calling for practical work and unity where possible.

Well Elinor Ostrom for the Nobel Prize and this vote, sometimes things do go the good way.

Strategist said...

Good stuff.
Derek is right; now is the time to start pounding the streets for both these two worthy party leaders.