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Members reveal Green Party surge in Lichfield and Burntwood

A Green Party surge is taking place in Lichfield and Burntwood, according to local party activists.

The Lichfield branch was only established in Lichfield five months ago and held its first meeting at The Spark Café in January 2015.

The Green Party's Fiona Gomez, Anne Critchley, Rob Pass, Mat Hayward, Simon Partridge and Linda Jones

The Green Party’s Fiona Gomez, Anne Critchley, Rob Pass, Mat Hayward, Simon Partridge and Lynda Jones

Party chairman Mat Hayward explained that the rise of UKIP encouraged him to become more active in politics.

And he believes Robert Pass – the Greens first parliamentary candidate in Lichfield and Burntwood since 1990 – is the only choice for voters on May 7.

Mat Hayward

Mat Hayward

Mr Hayward said: “For many years I’ve looked down my ballot paper and got very scared when I began to see right-wing and far right parties represented on the ballot paper. Yet there was no option on the ballot paper for other radical parties on the left.

“With the general election coming up. I got in touch with Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, who put me in touch with the West Midlands party group. They said there was no plan to field a candidate because there was no local party. I was then asked if I would like to start one, so we met in early January and here we are now.

“As a party we think we’ve done our bit for democracy. Whatever happens on May 7 – we’ve given the people of Lichfield and Burntwood what we consider to be a real choice.”

Anne Critchley, a former nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, says she joined the party because they offer a radical alternative to mainstream politics.

She added that the Greens Autumn Conference last year at Aston University in Birmingham convinced her that joining the party was the correct decision.

“I was looking for a party that promoted an anti-nuclear policy, and the Green Party is the only one in England that wants to get rid of our nuclear weapons,” she said.

“I joined last autumn, just in time for the party conference, which I knew I could get to quite easily. It was a three-day conference, and in my opinion it was fantastic. There was so much energy. There were lots of young people, and plenty of golden oldies – but it was stimulating and I’m wholly committed to the Green Party ideals.

“We’re a party that stands up for what we believe in – not for what is convenient for others. We’ve taken a moral stand on both peace and social issues such as welfare.”

Fiona Gomez, a former artist wants to see radical change across British society starting in Lichfield and Burntwood.

She also believes Robert Pass is the man to deliver for local people on social justice and environmental issues.

The Green Party activist said: “I’ve been longing to vote Green in Lichfield for many years and we now have the excellent Rob standing for us.

“We are going backwards as a country instead of forwards on the issues of health, immigration and human rights.

“I’ve struggled to make a living as an artist so I just gave up and went to work in factories, and I’ve found that the standards of human rights in factories have just gone downhill.

“I worked hard and made very little money even with a degree – the last job I was offered was to clean factories on a low wage. The Green Party offers a basic minimum wage that people can live on and more than what we get now. The party also offers clean air.”

Fiona also urged the people of Lichfield and Burntwood to reject the promises of the other parties.

She said: “I think our party is for people who care about the environment and who are intelligent enough to look beyond the lines from the other parties and to see the truth that the Greens are the only party that wants to tackle climate change.

“I think people in Lichfield and Burntwood are intelligent, friendly and sensitive and I think they will be willing to vote for a party that gives them the truth and wants to protect their planet. So I’m hopeful we’ll do very well.”

Simon Partridge

Simon Partridge

Simon Partridge, 44, is the Green Party spokesman in the constituency and believes the Greens can provide the positive future that his children deserve.

The singer admits he was left disappointed with both the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats, so joined the Greens. He believes Westminster is broken and that many people in Lichfield and Burntwood want a different kind of politics.

He said: “I’m on the left of British politics, and I was disillusioned with both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. I found the Greens approach to politics refreshing.

“I joined the Greens because of issues like the environment and the impact of what our financial system is doing to the planet, and becoming a father of two small children it has really put things into perspective for me.

“The fact the Greens want to abolish tuition fees, keep the NHS public and keep the private interests out of health care, are other areas as to why I will be voting for them on May 7.

“I think the old system of politics is broken and it’s time for a change, and the Greens represent honesty and a kind of straight forwardness that we need to see going forward in British politics – if we’re going to make this country and planet work for future generations.”

However, the old system still requires the Green Party to have a treasurer to manage the purse strings for election campaigning.

Lynda Jones who joined the party recently has stepped up to take on the mantle.

Lynda Jones with Green Party candidate Robert Pass

Lynda Jones with Green Party candidate Robert Pass

She said: “I guess I’m a part of the Green surge that has been reported on nationally.

“Our funds are meagre in comparison to the other parties. We’re not in the pocket of vested interests, so I think that is another reason as to why it is appealing to be Green.

“I think there are lots of people out there like me who want to make the planet safe. I’ve three grandchildren – I’m campaigning to protect their future.”

The future of the Green Party is in safe hands according to 21-year-old Kat Jordan, a personal assistant from Lichfield.

“I’m hoping to become more involved in political activism for the Greens,” she said. “Their focus is on taking care of UK citizens, whether they were born here or not and they strive to protect the land, which is very important.

“But their most important policy in my opinion is their stance on austerity. The Greens want to end austerity, a system that we’ve had for 30 years or more that just hasn’t worked.”

The candidates standing in the Lichfield constituency in May are:

  • Andy Bennetts – Class War
  • Michael Fabricant – Conservatives
  • Robert Pass – Green Party
  • John Rackham – UKIP
  • Paul Ray – Lib Dem
  • Chris Worsey – Labour

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NCTJ-trained reporter with experience in a wide variety of journalism settings.