Green Party rosette - Charles Harris has done a very silly Green thing


I’ve just done a very silly thing.

A few years ago, BBC radio presenter John Humphries said in an interview that he’d “done a silly thing – voted Green!”

Well, if that was silly, what I’ve done is sillier. I’ve agreed to stand for the Green Party in the Frognal by-election in Camden, North London, on May 2nd – an election I can’t win.

The Tories are going to win in Frognal, they always do.

So why am I doing it?

Two words: anger and pride.

Jailed postmasters and sewage

Anger at the state of our nation. At a government who believes that environment is too long a word for voters to understand, and that social justice means having a tipple in your club with a judge.

What more appropriate a metaphor than postmasters being fraudulently sent to jail and our rivers and seas swimming in sewage, so that directors and foreign investors can make obscene profits?

I’ve written a satirical political thriller, but even I’d be embarrassed to invent a story as obvious as that. How do they manage it?

Anger, too, at a Labour opposition leader in the next-door constituency who won’t stand up for what he knows is right, rows back on the weakest of Green promises. And even tries to get the London mayor to backtrack on providing the clean air that saves lives.

But pride, because I live in a country – and a town – where most people actually do support policies that help the environment we live in and wish for social justice.

In blind polls of voters, where they aren’t shown the party names, Green policies invariably score among the highest.

They won’t admit it…

And maybe it’s not so silly. After all, voting Tory is a waste in such a solidly blue ward. While voting Labour will change nothing and anyway what use is another Labour councillor on a massively Labour council?

They won’t admit it, but most intelligent councillors and MPs would actually welcome a strong Green vote. It would mean they could tell their leaders that voters actually do care about the issues that matter. It would give them strength to back measures to improve the environment and social justice.

I’ve always stood up for what I believe in and I believe that democracy needs it.

Across the world – and even here in the UK – people have died to get the chance to vote. We owe it to them, if not ourselves, to use our vote wisely.

The biggest prize

Across the country there are many Greens standing on May 2nd. Some have a chance of winning, some don’t. But I believe that Green votes are the biggest prize of all.

I’ve been a member of the party since before it was called the Green Party and was on the Media committee that first appointed a young press officer called Caroline Lucas. (I wonder what ever happened to her). Indeed, I’ve stood six times here in Frognal, increasing our vote every time.

So in fact a strong Green vote would be the real win.

Of course, politicians will say it’s a wasted vote. They want us to believe that.

But what’s sillier than not to give your vote for what you believe in?

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