'How to be green? Many people have asked us this important question. It's really very simple and requires no expert knowledge or complex skills. Here's the answer. Consume less. Share more. Enjoy life.' Penny Kemp and Derek Wall
We posed questions to all the candidates for international coordinator. Here Derek Wall replies to our questions;
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a writer and economics lecturer. I live in the countryside in Berkshire and enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and children. I am keen on cooking, gardening and reading. I have plenty to occupy myself but since I was 14 I have been absorbed by Green politics. Green politics is so important, we can live well without wrecking the environment but we are failing to do so. Since I joined the party in 1979 I have been busy campaigning, electioneering and working to promote a green vision of ecological responsibility and social justice. At present I am a Parish Councillor and I have had nearly ten books published on Green politics including the No Nonsense Guide to Green Politics.
What do you think the priority of the international co-ordinator should be?
To build solid links with Green Parties and the green movement globally. Green Parties setting up in places like Japan or India can learn from us and we can be inspired by them. The green movement is wider than Party politics, so I see a role for promoting solidarity with indigenous people and social movements globally campaigning for change. We should also be supporting global occupy, the Arab Spring movements for democracy and to give one specific example that I am very moved by women in Saudi Arabia demanding basic rights. Communication is vital in the role, putting the GPEW view on issues like austerity and climate change within the European Green Party.
So I would use Green World and Conference to promote our global links, I would strengthen our role in the European Green Party and I would promote practical solidarity with green activists globally.
What experience specific to this role would you be bringing to the job?
I have a long experience in the Party, for example, I have been a member of the Green Party Executive on several occasions. From 2006-2007 I was Principal Speaker, a role I shared with Caroline Lucas. In this role I did a huge amount of international work, for example, inviting Benny Wenda the West Papuan indigenous leader to speak with me at our Swansea conference. I have global green connections and have recently worked with the Turkish, Indian and Japanese Green Party activists. I am lucky enough to have spent considerable time with Hugo Blanco the Peruvian green activist and indigenous leader.
How do you think the international co-ordinator and committee can contribute to winning votes and making our elected representatives more effective?
If I was co-ordinator I could use the role to inspire activists and recruit new members. I recently wrote about the Green Party of India for Green World, informing members about exciting developments in this dynamic but unequal country (http://www.greenworld.org.uk/page336/page336.html). The UK is made up of many nationalities and strong global green links can be used to win votes. I am just back from being the main speaker at El Sueno Existe (The Dream Continues), a festival held in honour of the memory of Victor Jara, a Chilean singer killed after Pinchot’s 1973 coup in Chile. My speech was followed by a workshop by a Welsh Green Party member and used to help start a local party in the area. I think the kind of international work that Caroline Lucas does is a good example of how a global vision can promote electoral success.
The International co-ordinator can also support our elected representatives through research and information, for example, I have recently promoted an Early Day Motion challenging the removal of Paraguay’s President which Caroline Lucas has signed.
What do you think would be the most difficult part of this role?
We need to make more of an impact in the European Green Party. At present I don’t feel we have a strong influence on how the EGP works, we need to think strategically about how we make a bigger impact. Palestine seems to be an area of controversy, we need to be 100% on the side of Palestine and promote green solutions from opposing the arms trade with Israel to promoting shared democratic governance in the Middle East.