Click the link above to hear Caroline Lucas’ exclusive interview with Hastings In Focus
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas paid a visit to Hastings on Friday afternoon to help local party members cover the ground in the Old Hastings ward a seat they believe they have a real chance of stealing from Labour at Thursday’s borough council elections.
Julia Hilton and Andrea Needham are the party’s candidates in the seat and along with their national leader they believe that, if elected, they will bring a new kind of politics to Hastings, “Too many people believe politics is something that is done to them,” says Ms Lucas, she champions a consultative approach, listening to and working with local people to ensure their aspirations are met.
Speaking exclusively to Hastings In Focus Ms Lucas said: “It would be a tremendous breakthrough to elect a first Green councillor here in Hastings, it would be the start of real Green trend.”
She says the real challenge is to get that first Green councillor, that she says gives people “the courage of their convictions” to go out a vote Green because they can see that Green votes convert in to seats.
“Too often you hear people saying ‘I would vote Green but I’m not really sure’,” and she says once people see that Green votes do count it, “opens the floodgates.”
Green councillors in Hastings would mean local people would have, “a voice on their side shaking up the other councillors who have been there for a while,” says Ms Lucas.
Julia Hilton says she is picking up the message that people like the idea of different voices on Hastings Borough Council: “They like the idea that we will be listening to people and we will be a proper opposition and properly scrutinise the council’s decisions – that doesn’t happen at the moment.”
Andrea Needham says there are concerns about harbour development proposed for the eastern end of the town and says people feel the proposal is being imposed on them and they are not consulted, “and it is out of character for the area and what is its bringing to the normal people of Hastings, people ask ‘what has this got to do with me’,” she says.
Pride themselves in not just have forward looking policies but the way we do politics is far mire inclusive working with and alongside residents rather than thinking we know best.
A team of around 40 local Green party activists gathered to welcome Ms Lucas to the town, she told them they had to keep pushing and that victory in the Old Hastings ward really was within their grasp they just had to get out and speak to enough people and get their message across.
On Hastings Borough Council she accused the ruling Labour group of having become complacent and she criticised the Conservatives for failing to provide an effective opposition. Election of the first Green councillors in the town would be “transformatory” she told local Greens.