I am delighted to announce that we have selected Martin Dobson as the Green Parliamentary candidate for Liverpool Riverside. I’ve campaigned with him for a number of years in Liverpool and I expect him to take our result in 2015 to a new level for a Parliamentary seat.
Martin is a man of principle. A lot of people in Labour were appalled by the actions of the Blair government in going to war in Iraq. A substantial number of people resigned, but not enough to convince the Cabinet to change course. People argued that if Tony Benn and others would try and change things from within, it would be ok for them to stay too. Make no mistake, had people deserted Labour in much greater numbers, we would not have been tied into an American war that cost us over 6,000 dead and injured service personnel. It may not have averted the hundreds of thousands of appalling civilian deaths in Iraq, but the history could have been different.
Martin was one of those who chose to resign and he joined the Green party, attracted by our policies on nuclear disarmament amongst other things. Since then he has been an activist, working hard on many levels within the Liverpool party. More recently he has also been the Chair of the Save Sefton Park Meadows campaign. He and I have both found it amusing that the Mayor in Liverpool attacked Martin because (shock revelation) – he is a member of the Green Party and leading a campaign group! As the new Green PPC for Liverpool Riverside, his role has changed so Martin will actively continue to support this cross party campaign (which includes supporters of at least four political parties), but will make way for another person to act as Chair.
We both share the experience of formerly being in the Labour Party. We both are passionately in favour of social justice, environmental protection and I think that Martin’s selection as our candidate will really push us forward, not least because Liverpool Riverside has been accepted as the North West’s regional target constituency and has applied for national Advance Constituency status. The last time we benefitted from national election support was in 2005, when we saved our deposit. I expect us to make a massive step up from the 2005 and 2010 results.
The Vote for Policies website surveys voters on the basis of what policies they are most likely to support. Unsurprisingly (to us in the Greens) when people are looking purely at the policies we propose, such as renationalising rail, scrapping Trident nuclear weapons and protecting the NHS, we score highly. In Liverpool Riverside, out the 900+ people surveyed, our policies are actually these most popular.
How have residents voted in Riverside since 2010, since which the coalition government has had the effect of cutting the popularity of Liverpool Liberal Democrats off at the knees:
2011 Local Elections
Lib Dem 10.4%
2012 Mayoral Contest
Joe Anderson (Labour) 58.8%
John Coyne (Greens) 12.8%
Liam Fogerty (Ind) 8.7%
Richard Kemp (LD) 4.0%
2012 Local Elections
Lib Dem 4.1%
We can simplify this somewhat, although of course, different people vote in different elections. There is a big difference between Local / Mayoral contests and a General Election, but it is clear to us that in the group of 30% of voters who take part in local elections, we are not just slightly, but clearly the second placed party. The Lib Dems and the Conservatives will have to massively outperform us in the 35% who will turn out for a General Election to finish ahead of the Greens.
So we are setting our sights on Labour, and if not 2015, then 2020 to win this seat in Parliament. I think Martin is exactly the right candidate for us and I expect his personal profile and record to help us do very well win the southerly wards in the constituency. We’ll have work to do in Kirkdale, Central and Riverside, but with national support I expect to see us begin to really start to build support throughout the constituency.