A small bit of sanity from Green party members
An entire branch of the Green Party (Bridgwater & West Somerset's officers and active members) has gone on strike, and its secretary has resigned, because the Green Party's leadership has shown it can easily be 'hijacked' by a single issue group, in this case trans activism. (RipNutmeg)
Here is their letter.
To: Ewan Jones, Guy Poultney, and representatives of Green Party branches in Somerset
Subject: Bridgwater and West Somerset Green Party Strike
Date: March 18th 2021
Dear Ewan, Guy, and everyone
Thank you for an excellent zoom meeting of Green Party Somerset groups on Saturday March 13th. I came away full of enthusiasm for helping with whatever local elections we have in the new Unitary Authority Somerset next year. I reported about this to our meeting of Bridgwater and West Somerset officers and key member activists on Tuesday March 16th, and we were all set to take part in the campaign.
However, on Tuesday evening we received the news about Emma Bateman's suspension from the Green Party, allegedly for making the unremarkable factual observation that transwomen are not female. As I'm sure you are all aware, Emma is / was Co-Chair of the Green Party Women's Group. Her fellow Chair is Kathryn Bristow, who is a man who wishes to be identified as a woman. Because the Women's Group had been forced by Green Party HQ to accept men who wish to be identified as women, Kathryn was able to join the group, whereupon he put himself forward for election as Co-Chair, was elected, and took up the position. Kathryn has been criticised for his role in working for Gender GP, the company that was exposed by a recent Daily Telegraph investigation that demonstrated it was selling puberty blocking drugs to children, with no medical supervision. (The company is run by a doctor who was struck off in the UK and is now based in Spain, and the prescriptions are issued by a doctor in Romania; the only check the company makes on the children is to ensure they can pay.) Kathryn has recently stated that he intends to lie on the census form, which is an offence liable to a fine of £1000. Kathryn is enthusiastically supported by the Green Party leadership. Emma is suspended for telling the truth; Kathryn is applauded for practising deception.
This was the last straw for me.
It follows the debacle of our Spring conference, which demonstrated the catastrophic state of internal democracy within the Green Party. Out of a membership of over 50,000, very few vote in internal elections or at conferences. Fewer than 1% of the members voted at the recent conference. This lack of member involvement allows any determined single-issue splinter group to form the majority of the voters, so they can not only push through contentious motions, they can also elect their preferred officers and control the elected officers whose positions depend on their votes.
At the recent conference, a gender self ID motion was passed: only 493 people voted, of whom 281 were in favour of it. 281 people out of 50,000 have imposed a policy supporting gender self ID on the entire party. What would the 50,000 have said?
A motion proposing that the GP should support women's sex-based rights, in accordance with the United Nations CEDAW agreement (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) was voted down. Only 491 people voted, or whom 289 people voted against women's rights, and the motion failed. What would the 50,000 have said?
Because so few people vote, a splinter group can control elected officers, who need their votes to keep their positions. Whatever their personal views may be, none of the Green Party leaders dare to say or do anything to displease the members of the faction. The views of the non-voting 50,000 are disregarded because the 300 or so members of the splinter group must be appeased.
At a national level, Green Party democracy is so catastrophically compromised that it permits the leadership to be kidnapped and the party hijacked by a single-issue group. The system is flawed: it is vulnerable to exploitation by any such group – just now it is the trans rights lobby, but it could have been a pro-Brexit group, or a pro-nuclear group; anything. One solution to this problem might be to raise the quorum for conferences to a higher percentage of the total membership; there could be campaigns at the local branch level to encourage more members to engage in the democratic process.
Many of you will have read the resignation letter from Dom Armstrong, our only Councillor in Sunderland. I am including it below for those who have not yet seen it because it sets things out with admirable clarity and because I share his views.
As a result of all of this, I am going on strike. Not just me: the officers of the Bridgwater and West Somerset branch, along with those active members with whom we work closely on a day-to-day basis, are going on strike. Our acting Secretary, Tony Seaman, has this morning taken the further step of resigning altogether from the Green Party. We are not willing to represent the Green Party in its current dysfunctional state; nor are we willing to ask others to stand as candidates or to take part in election campaigning for the Green Party. This strike will last until, as a minimum requirement, Emma Bateman's suspension is lifted.
With all good wishes to all of you
Co-ordinator, Bridgwater and West Somerset Green Party
Letter from Dom Armstrong, the only GP Councillor in Sunderland.
It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation to the Green Party.
I have been a member since 2015 and a councillor since May 2019 in Washington/ Sunderland, a role which I will also be giving up.
During that time it has been a privilege to represent the Green Party, especially the last 2 years when we have achieved so much. In Washington, we have campaigned and succeeded in protecting the Washington South football pitches from housing development, we have played a big part in stopping the incinerator that was planned in Washington, and have helped pressure the Council to adopt, and act upon, a Climate Emergency plan. More recently, we introduced a motion on Fair Tax which the council adopted in part. We have also assisted the Council's chief exec and Public Health team in communicating their message and information during this public health emergency.
I joined the Greens, and agreed to stand for public office, simply because I have two daughters. I did hope that through joining the Greens, and fighting climate change, this would be a worthy way to honour them. They didn't always understand, especially when they were younger, why their Dad was working at nights, or at weekends, or posting leaflets in the snow, or responding to emails during holidays. Thankfully, they do now!
During the last couple of months I have become increasingly uneasy about my party's stance on women's rights. I have had discussions on social media with party members and activists, where, because I have politely disagreed, I have been called a transphobe, a homophobe, and worse. I have witnessed female colleagues issued with death threats and threats of rape by trans rights activists, so in comparison, I have only had a small taste of this vile behaviour.
I am also dismayed by the fact that a co chair of our women‘s committee is a biological male, who works for a company (Gender GP) that in 2018 was found guilty of illegally supplying puberty blockers to children as young as ten. The Green Party are not concerned by this, in fact this person holds another FOUR senior party roles, and gloats on social media when some women (who they are meant to represent) feel so uncomfortable about this, they leave the party.
There are many trans extremists who are very active in the party and appear to have the leaderships approval. When an emergency motion was tabled for this weekend’s conference, to discuss the issue of Gender GP’s practices, it was deliberately blocked. There was no discussion. Senior party members indicated that it was a "transphobic" motion, not worthy of debate, and there was filibustering, tactical manoeuvres, and political deviousness which resulted in another motion being discussed instead. This was a motion meant to discuss the safety of children!
Perhaps even worse than this, when a motion to have women’s sex based rights recognised (the day before International Women's Day) was put forward, again the Green Party leadership were horrified, how could women dare ask for safe spaces in prisons, or ask for a fair chance in sport? The LGBTIQ+ group declared that there was no historical evidence that women had been oppressed on the basis of their sex. Women are oppressed because they ‘look like women.’ To say otherwise was declared oppressive to trans people, a hate motion, which deserved to be righteously overcome.
It almost feels like I am making this up, I still can't believe this is the party I've given 6 years of my life to. I witnessed appalling behaviour by the most senior people in the party, many of whom I'd admired for years (apart from Jenny Jones, who was magnificent). The dawning of this reality was quite crushing, but sobering too. What’s worse is the fact that many of our senior figures profess to hold the high moral ground on many issues, but in fact they are as bad, if not worse, than our political foes.
I feel that the party's elite are not willing (or able) to stand up to the bullying, and in this they are complicit. The damage this is doing to the trans community (especially the children) is heartbreaking. And the lack of concern for girls and women is damning. The effects of these doctrines are already being felt; in Brighton, a women’s refuge has been denied further council funding because they insisted on female only safe spaces.
And even in the last 2 days, the party has begun its purge. Senior (mostly, again, female) party members are being harassed, and even suspended, for having the audacity to disagree with the party's dogma.
I cannot stay in a party that puts ideology before women and children's safety. I can't continue to serve as a councillor without the motivation to do so 100%, and in good conscience, take the money that the council pay me, when I know I'll no longer do the role justice.
I'd like to thank the wonderful people I've met along the way, in particular the local Greens in Sunderland, Washington and the rest of the North East, who I still fully believe in. I'd like to also thank Councillors Miller and Farthing for helping me be a part of a team that put party politics aside, and served our local constituents together, as best we could. My fellow councillors in Sunderland who gave me a different perspective on politics, and who represented their parties and constituents with gusto, you have my respect. I’d like the thank the people of Washington South who gave me a chance, and I hope you understand my principles in this matter.
I'd like to thank the Green Party members who will persevere in the party, who won't be bullied or threatened, and will continue to fight against climate change, and extremism. I think eventually people will see what is going on, and you'll have your party back. The bullies will go to another party when they get ousted, they don't care about the Greens like you do.
And finally my friends and family, who couldn't believe I ever did this, have stood by me even when they've disagreed with my politics, thanks again.