Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

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The Independent Online

Today is polling day and I'm confronted with the appalling realisation that thanks to my bureaucratic meltdown, which resulted in my not getting my nomination papers ready in time, I have no Green candidate to vote for today.

During every election for the past 10 years I've been the Green Party candidate and able to vote for myself, so this time I'm completely stumped. Who on earth would be as good as me?

No one tempts, not even the Hand Party (who I have spotted driving around the borough in a milk float with a hand strapped to the top), so I may go for the anti-war coalition, even though I fear they may be a bit left-wing. Why do people keep schtum about their voting habits? I know hairdressers are told to talk about holidays and avoid sex, politics or religion, so it's just as well I'm not a coiffeur because those are the only things I ever talk about.

At least I am boosted by the polls, which predict the Greens are going to do extremely well. There are already 72 Green councillors in the UK who are having a far-reaching effect on their communities. It's so exciting seeing these councils really walk the talk and doing things rather than just talking about them. When I canvassed during the Norwich by-election last year, I was cheered to see how environmentally aware the voters were. There are seven Green councillors in Norwich who are wildly popular since seeing off an enormous Tesco that would have wiped many small shops off the map.

Greens there also fought developers to secure the future of school playing fields and saved the Wensum conservation area from an unnecessary road bypass.

In other parts of the country, Green councillors have saved local schools, hospitals and created beautiful parks from barren wasteland. In Kirklees, Green councillor Andrew Cooper has ensured that all new buildings now incorporate solar panels and wind turbines. Council houses now generate 15 per cent of their electricity and 6 per cent of their hot water from renewables, reducing pollution, carbon emissions and fuel bills. Hundreds of jobs have been created, with local unemployed people trained up to be solar-panel fitters.

Although not a candidate, I haven't been idle. Indeed, only yesterday Hugo and I spent an action-packed afternoon sitting on deck chairs in the sun in Notting Hill. We wait for people to come to us - at least then we know they're interested. We had even planned a stunt, which, sadly, came to nothing. Harrods is, shamingly, the only shop where fur coats are still sold in our area, so we had persuaded Connie, my occasional flatmate, to walk out of the store wearing a moth-eaten fur bikini. Pretending not to know each other, we were going to throw a pot of paint at her to create a public stir and raise awareness. But she is still in the Turks and Caicos Islands trying to persuade her boyfriend to propose to her. As it is, when you read this, polls will be open and waiting to take your votes. May the best men win!

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