25 July 2016

Why I'm Backing John Coyne for GPEx Chair

It’s GPEx election time. Due to the fact that there are at three deputy leader candidates that I hugely admire, and can’t honestly say how I will vote, I’m going to do an endorsement for the candidate for Chair. I can’t emphasise enough, that John Coyne is the right person for the party right now in that position.

Firstly, a little bit of a back story. When I helped reactive the mothballed Liverpool Green Party in 2001, we set out with a strategy to stand in local election seats across the Riverside constituency. However, when we as members discussed the issue, it became clear that no-one wanted to stand in the Dingle ward, which was a marginal ward between Labour and the Lib Dems, because the 2002 candidate for the latter was John Coyne. One local member described him as “greener than me”.

As a result we didn’t stand a candidate against John in 2002 (and 2003) and he became a Lib Dem councillor. Fast forward to 2006 and John was faced with a dilemma that all politicians will encounter at some point. The pathfinder government initiative on housing was leading to the demolition of many homes in Liverpool at great personal and emotional cost to many who lived in them. John could either complain quietly, keep the safe Lib Dem seat he gained in 2004 after the boundaries were redrawn, or make it clear that on principle he could not remain a member of the council administration that were pushing this through. He chose the latter route, to become firstly an independent, then to join the Greens, knowing he would be up for re-election the following year.

John was re-elected with 38% of the vote in 2007 and then over 50% of the vote in 2011 as a Green councillor. His successor, Anna Key, was re-elected with 50% of the vote in 2015 and this year, Sarah Jennings gained 60% of the vote for our party in St Michaels ward. So John is a politician of principle, he knows what is required for electoral success and finally, a key element to success as Chair of GPEx, is the experience of having been in a previous role beforehand on the Exec. John fulfils all three criteria clearly.

I would like to invite other Liverpool members to comment in relation to John’s positive impact in our city and I’ll endeavour to post these up as soon as I can (as I write I’m currently up a hillside in Cumbria and tomorrow I’ll be relocating to a hillside in Scotland), so it may be that this may only go up as I return to Liverpool. For anyone thinking of voting for a Chair, please look at the experience and ability John offers.

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