The Oxfordshire Green Party launched their manifesto for the upcoming local elections in a virtual event on April 12th. Local elections for the city and district councils will take place on May 6th.
In the online event, candidates Chris Jarvis and Dr Dianne Regisford outlined their plans for the role Green councillors will play in the Conservative-led County Council, and Labour-led City Council. Mr Jarvis criticised the city’s Labour councillors for “acting like Tories”, and said the Greens would hold both parties to account.
The party’s 2021 manifesto, ‘A Real Green New Deal for Oxford’, consists of six main target areas. The party aims to provide affordable quality homes, introduce sustainable solutions for transport, rebuild the economy after the pandemic, and tackle the root causes of health inequalities in order to ‘level-up’ health across the city. They are also committed to protecting and supporting nature, and ensuring that the council follows through on their policy to go ‘net-zero’ by 2030.
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, praised the Oxford Green party for “offering a whole package to local government”. He expressed hopes for the Greens to be running the council in Oxford in the future but said the party has to “work ten times harder” as a result of the base vote barrier and people not believing Green Party members can get elected. Mr Bartley emphasised the importance of Green party members “making a difference to peoples lives on an individual basis” and “transforming lives on the ground”.
Mr Jarvis, candidate for Iffley Fields and St Mary’s, said the three main issues the party aims to tackle are housing, the climate crisis and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. He spoke of plans for a council-backed letting agency, the party’s aim to invest in renewable energy by amending the local plan and his desire to increase public ownership of public resources. He said the party would ensure that “people and the planet are put first” and that they are “constantly representing the city in its full diversity”.
Dianne Regisford, a recent PhD graduate at Oxford Brookes University and candidate running for University Parks and Holywell Ward, spoke about her campaign’s grassroots focus and her slogan “Connecting Caring Communities”. Speaking of Oxford’s large student population, she emphasised her desire to “cultivate a culture of inquiry” into why students drop out of education and remove the “divide between the town and the gown”.
Ms Regisford addressed concerns about student feelings of isolation, the vaccine rollout, housing, low traffic neighbourhoods and green spaces. She also spoke of her hopes to explore “how to create an equitably resourced post for diversity officer” and “reimagine the relationship between the people and those in authority”.
The event was hosted by Green Group Council Leader, Cllr Craig Simmons, who concluded: “Green politics means doing things differently.”
Two student candidates are also running for local election. Kelsey Trevett, is a St Clements candidate and a first year PPE student at the University of Oxford, and Rosie Rawle, a PhD student at Queen Mary University of London and Co-Chair of the Young Green Party, is standing in Donnington city ward and St Clements County Division.