Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

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The Independent Online

I'm disappointed that there's to be no election. After every election, I insist I'll never stand again, but, as with childbirth, the pain is soon forgotten and at the merest sniff of hustings I am rebooted and ready for action once more. In west London, there is only a tiny handful of active greens, and hardly any of them want to be a candidate for the four constituencies we cover. This means that I can take my pick of constituencies but must still go through the motions of being selected, despite the lack of competition.

I couldn't take selection for granted, though, because despite being the only candidate, if no one wanted me they could vote for RON (Re-Open Nominations). But if they reopened nominations, they'd only get me again, so they were stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. I squeezed in, but it was touch and go. They used to say of Shimon Perez that he was the only man who could lose an election against himself, and I understand how he must have felt.

Being a Green Party candidate in a massive Tory stronghold such as Chelsea is admittedly a hopeless situation – one is practically a charity case – but being a candidate gives you a real buzz and is a temporarily cure for political fatigue. For in reality, it hardly seems to matter which party wins when the big three have merged into an amorphous middle ground.

The current political system is so outdated, and without proportional representation, is deeply undemocratic. If we want people to engage in politics, we should consider the Athenian model of direct democracy, where the populace could vote in regular referendums, as they do in Switzerland. We have the technology to do this, and it would make the decision-making process far more interesting and democratic.

Still, it doesn't look as though the Athenian model will be winging its way to the UK any time soon, so we must make the best of what we've got.

In a bid to be prepared for an election, candidates spent last week writing their election leaflets. As a writer of romantic fiction, I'm used to making things up, but even I was stumped by the suggestion that you could "describe what you and your local Green Party have done to improve your community". The trouble is, we haven't done anything at all. But you'd never know this from my leaflet, which suggests that I'm a cross between Lara Croft, Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Swampy, swooping over Chelsea and single-handedly saving hospitals and school playing fields from the local fat cats.

After all this creative writing, it was a crushing blow when the non-election wasn't called after all. But maybe it's just as well. It will give me extra time to "set out my stall", as we politicians like to say, and save yet more schools, post offices and hospitals from closure. Hopefully this will inspire more people to join my local party. I can't continue to do all this by myself. I'm not Angelina Jolie, you know.

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