It isn’t every day that a leader of a national political party graces the streets of Shepway.But on Saturday, the Green Party’s young and thrusting co-leader, Jonathan Bartley dropped into Hythe to give his backing to incumbent Martin Whybrow’s campaign for re-election in the forthcoming County Council Election.
Hotfooting it from his debut appearance on the BBC’s Question Time, Bartley was keen to highlight the appeal of a vote for the Green Party against the Conservatives in the vote on May 4th.
“When it comes to addressing the challenges facing the environment in this area, then the Green Party is the only real choice,” he told The Looker. “And by that I don’t just mean the scale of developments, but also issues such as refuse collection, energy-use, pollution and traffic and how all that impacts on the local economy.
“Just look at this brilliant High Street, with all its independent retailers, where people can walk freely without car traffic, and it is great to be able to talk to voters who are already Green and those who are undecided in such a vibrant environment.”
Bartley, who leads the Green Party nationally with Caroline Lucas MP, was keen to make the connection between the economy and the level of social inequality.
“Everyone from The Economist to the tabloids and lifestyle magazines talks about the economy, but whether the GDP is 2.8 or 3 per cent is meaningless if people don’t see the benefit,” he said.
And what did he make of his first appearance on the BBC’s flagship weekly political debate? “It was great when it was over!” he said naturally. “It was, of course, nerve-racking beforehand but it was a great experience – especially as Green Party membership took another surge straight after the broadcast!”
Martin Whybrow won the Hythe seat for the Green Party in 2013 with 35% of the vote, seven per cent ahead of Conservative David Monk. This year, Hythe has been divided into two – East and West with Martin standing in the latter which includes Lympne and Dymchurch. Ross Carter stands for the Green Party in Hythe East.
Make sure you are registered to vote by going to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote by April 13th, whatever your candidate of choice.