Monday, February 28, 2011

Green London Mayoral Hustings: Farid Bakht

London Green Party is selecting who is to be our Mayoral candidate in 2012. There are three candidates for the job Shahrar Ali, Farid Bakht and Jenny Jones who all very kindly agreed to answer some of my questions. Here is what Farid has to say.
If you had to choose one campaigning priority for the Green Party Mayoral Campaign what would it be?

My priority is to widen our appeal to people from all communities and the working class within London. Why is it that white working class people don't generally vote for us?

We need to demolish the myth that we are a white, middle class party interested only in a narrow agenda not in tune with people's everyday lives.

We also need to reach out to the one in three people of foreign origin in London.

I would actively approach ethnic minority communities via their media to link up with leaders and organisations. We need to recruit new, active members who understand how politics works in their communities. We can attract them with our message of environmental and social justice, our support for small businesses, our humane approach to immigration and our commitment to free education & health & our programme to create jobs.

How would you use the role of the Mayoral Candidate in relation to the Assembly Campaign?

As Mayoral candidate, I would use the platform to articulate a vibrant, positive and bold vision for Londoners. Too many people still think we are a one-issue Party. We aren't but we need to talk up our Party, come out of our comfort zone and stake a claim to be a credible alternative to three very similar Parties.

We need to recover from our shattered electoral position in London, beat the Lib-Dems and attract disaffected Labour voters.

We have to be ambitious and overcome the fear that says we might lose an Assembly Member.
We should aim to increase our numbers instead.

I want to work as part of a team, listening to colleagues on setting priorities rather than 'do my own thing'.

We must speak as one with a common purpose.

I am comfortable with the battleground being the media at one level. I would also campaign across the capital to support local Green Party activists, strengthen our grass-roots and motivate neglected members.

How should we political approach the Livingstone bid to become Mayor again?

I understand, am involved in and support the idea of creating coalitions around vital issues: e.g., the permanent wars our country is embroiled in and the anti-cuts movement.

However, I want to fight a determined campaign to raise the profile of the Green Party, move second preference votes to first and rejuvenate our local parties.

“Cosying up to Ken” could be damaging as voters incorrectly think voting for Greens is a wasted vote.

Let's focus on our radical message, explain that we do support some of the initiatives before 2008 but also how we are against the failure to tame an out-of-control financial sector, the failure to build council homes and the failure to build a diversified, greener economy.

We should fight to increase Green numbers. We need to build up our base. If there are any negotiations with parties external to us, we should always do so from a position of strength and nearer the end of the cycle.

What is the most fun part of campaigning for you?

In general, I like getting on the streets & talking to people.

Last year, in Tower Hamlets, I found it shocking at first to hear people say that was the first time they had heard of the Greens.

It turned out to be the best opportunity to persuade people that we were credible.

What would be your top tip to someone who is just starting to get active in the Green Party?

Pick one or two meetings to get involved with as it can be overwhelming - keep active and doing things, that's why you joined up.


Joseph said...

I will be supporting Farid. I have seen him in action over the last few years in the party and he is a serious and thoughtful political activist and campaigner with a thirst for social justice.

I have seen him speak on platforms on the wars, Middle East, ethnic minorities and many other issues. He is alwasy on demonstrations supporting important green causes and for social justice and equality and, unlike some other candidates, is prepared "to speak truth unto power" and well able to handle journalists and the press.

I, for one, would campaign hard for votes for such a radical and committed Mayoral candidate who Green Party members would be guaranteed in putting their trust in.

Matt Sellwood said...

I'm also supporting Farid - I think he will be a radical, eloquent and constructive Mayoral candidate.

Matt Sellwood