Open Letter to GPEW Leaders and those in leadership positions

It is difficult to know how to write this letter without using phrases such as “What on earth is going on?” and my mother’s favourite phrase, “Wake up at the back there!” But when multiple WhatsApp groups are on fire until well after midnight using words like ‘trigger-happy’, ‘overreach’, ‘out-of-control’, ‘factional zealots’, plus the inevitable ‘lawyers’, you know all is not well in the presumed genteel world of Green Seniors.

Yesterday evening at the respectable pre-horlicks time of 5pm, Green Seniors held their AGM. 300-odd members had duly received agenda, previous minutes and notice of annual election and 48 members turned up to enjoy an hour’s convivial company. What ensued could only be described as a scene out of Monty Python or at the least a Pagford Parish Council meeting in ‘The Casual Vacancy’, as the appointed ERO, and a last minute stand-in chair attending from his hospital bed, tried valiantly to bring some order to the proceedings. “What on earth could have happened” indeed?

When the eager members finally managed to gain entrance to the zoom, the heroic chair not being entirely au fait with the technology of hosting, we were shocked to learn that the Co-Chairs of Green Seniors, Nicola Watson & Freda Davis, variously described on those pinging WhatsApp messages as stalwarts and grandees of the Party, had been subject to the Party’s now notorious No Fault Suspensions (NFS). Nicola had just returned from a weekend canvassing for Adrian Ramsay in Suffolk. Freda is a veteran of Greenham – if she was unafraid of the might of the US military do you imagine for a minute she will be cowed by ‘overreaching factional zealots’? In addition, quite probably the eldest member of the Party, Eric Walker, Membership Secretary, who celebrates his 99th birthday next month, had similarly fallen on his sword. Anyone who witnessed Eric declining to leave the meeting voluntarily when requested and instead insisting on being ejected, will have been left under no illusion that the ‘factional zealots’ who had brought about this situation have made a very big mistake in targeting these veteran members. The ensuing uproar, albeit conducted in tones of controlled but thunderous outrage (the meeting chat stretched to many pages when saved and analysed later with our horlicks), left us all in no doubt that this attack on the internal democracy of Seniors may well be the last straw which breaks the camel’s back of the corruption which has seemingly now embedded itself in the Party.

The reference to ‘fanatical zealots’ is used advisedly. Witnesses to and victims of the wholesale capture of the Party’s Complaints and Disciplinary system, Regional Council, Standing Orders Committee and the national ERO position *(#hatgate anyone?) can tell you this is no overstatement. Of course, there are numerous honourable members on our governance bodies but they are constantly outnumbered by the said faction, resulting in:

  • Trees hero and PPC, Alison Teal, on a NFS for 16 months
  • Astute and highly-respected Co-Chair of Green Party Women, Zoe Hatch, suspended and GPW closed down
  • Dawn Furness and Emma Bateman, returned after years of suspensions but unable to stand for office and now in determined mode
  • Robbie Spence returned after two years on NFS for a crime which it turned out never existed!
  • The Party’s original whistleblower on the Challenor Affair, Andy Healey, finally expelled after years of persecution
  • Ex-Chair of our esteemed Executive, Liz Reason, now on a four-year suspension
  • And now three stalwart Seniors on NFS – for how long?

Of course no details are known of the alleged crimes and I can hear the cries of ‘we cannot interfere in the complaints system’, and ‘all eyes are on the General Election’. But the media are ready and waiting for internal Party scandals. It is time to recognise the Complaints System is corrupted beyond repair, with requests for NFS from complainants regularly upheld by decision-makers acting on an ideological basis against members they disagree with. There are rumours that the Regional Council is ignoring its own legal advice, and members are increasingly disturbed by the Party’s willingness to sleep-walk into unlawful discrimination. As was posited last night, unless these three septuagenarian, octogenarian and nonagenarian members have turned into latter-day Bonnie and Clydes and embarked on a bank robbing spree, none of us Seniors can see what possible risk they could be to the Party. In our eyes, their only crime has been to champion free speech in the Party, allow open discussion on dozens of subjects including the bete noir of said ‘fanatical faction’, sex and gender.

If anyone amongst the leadership is still in ostrich mode, please be assured the determination to confront discrimination in the Party will never go away. The combined age and experience present last night was in the region of 3000 years. And short of waiting for us all to die off, we can assure the Party that women and men who have spent that many years campaigning for, amongst other causes, the rights of women (‘as a sex’ used to be implicit but now needs to be spelt out) are not about to give up now. Age discrimination has just been added to our grievances.

To be deadly serious, the ‘fanatical zealots’ acting unlawfully to discriminate against members contrary to the Equality Act are on course to bring our beloved Party to its knees, judicially, financially and morally. I now count seven members fully determined to follow in Shahrar Ali’s footsteps in holding the Party to account in the courts if necessary, with the aim not of damaging the Party but of making it the ethical driving force it needs to be.

It is way past time for the Party to end this unlawful discrimination once and for all. For a start:

  • The use of NFS for anything other than criminal acts must be ended
  • Disciplinary Committee and DCRG must be disbanded and all complaints outsourced
  • No members may be allowed to hold multiple seats on governance bodies
  • All in leadership positions must go public with their condemnation of discrimination on the basis of sex and age, within the Party

There are now numerous unofficial groups formed with the intention of holding the Party to account on the issues of sex discrimination and abysmal governance. Efforts are now being combined, meetings are being held across disparate groups. The camel’s back is now groaning with the additional straws.

Other words heard tonight were ‘leadership’ and ‘get a grip’. Now is the time for action.

Best Green wishes

Mandy Vere

Liverpool Green Party

Hatgate: In an internal Party election for multiple roles last year, well-known advocates of gender ideology were listed top for every role. On enquiring of the ERO which randomiser had been used, the astonishing answer was “We kept it classic and drew the names out of a hat. The hat was a 1950s refurbished chestnut brown peach loom felt trilby and the paper was the back of an old agenda paper.” This became the subject of a speech on the Conference floor and subsequently went down in Party lore as #hatgate. Needless to say the ERO uses they/them pronouns.

Statement of solidarity with Green Seniors Nicola Watson, Freda Davis & EricWalker, and endorsement of the Open Letter to the leadership by Mandy Vere.

19 thoughts on “Open Letter to GPEW Leaders and those in leadership positions”

    1. No fault suspensions? What an absurd notion, made even more absurd by the idea that someone can be suspended without knowing why or who is making the allegation(s). How can the GPEW be taken seriously as fighting for democracy, voting reform etc with such clearly undemocratic procedures? I warned after attending Conference in Bristol that it’s conference procedures were open to abuse. It appears this also applied to other aspects of the Green Party. This type of action is reminiscent of the early Soviet Union.

  1. This is a clear and perfect response Mandy, thank you. It’s an astonishing lack of judgement. These three Green warriors have decades of activism, can evidence solid, consistent, important work for GPEW and were there from the beginning of this movement. And they are being scythed – for what? It’s shameful.

  2. I mean this is now farcical, it’s almost funnier than Father Ted. Though, obviously it’s not at all funny that Green Seniors such as these three have been treated like this. It’s creepy that ” someone ” thought it ok to spy on green seniors. ( Just BC you can, dosent mean you should…)Were they turned down by MI 5 ? ( Or whoever recruits spy’s these days)

  3. It feels limp and vacuous to say things like ‘outrageous’ or ‘shocking’. The persecution of experienced, dedicated party stalwarts seems relentless, but it shall not succeed. I’m exhausted at the brazen way Green values are being trampled on by a small minority of those in control. Who will be next?

  4. No one is safe unless you completely follow the message. Even then you will probably trip up, as it’s not based on any truth or reality, so constantly changeable

  5. It’s a great letter, Mandy, thoughtful and clear – exactly describing the appalling situation we find ourselves in. The flagrant use of NFSs to shut people up is an absolute disgrace.
    But it’s encouraging to see people coming together from different perspectives, all determined to counter what’s currently happening. Undemocratic GPEW governance structures and processes are being questioned and more members are waking up to this chilling atmosphere of censure. We need to come together, speak out, think hard and reach out widely….

  6. It is ironic that I have been suspended partly for ‘transphobic’ statements (which the junta are refusing at this moment to tell me the wording )when I have been publishing sympathetic films about the plight of genuine trans people since before some of these zealots who now control our party were born. Only yesterday I made a royalty payment to Kristiene Clarke a transwoman wellknown in the documentary film world.

    1. I find some of your demmands confusing and here is why:

      – A criminal act is a fault, a NFS is specifically for issues where the person has not done anything wrong but are not aligned with the philisophical basis of the party.

      – If we dispand and outsource our complaints proceedure who do we outsource to, how can we ensure there is no external influence to damage the party from the group outsourced to and how much will this cost?

      – Does the party have the capacity and commitment level from members to be able to ban each person from sitting on multiple commity seats without this making these commities less effective?

      – Surely all in the party believe that any kind of discrimination is wrong?

      1. The complaint against me by the former complaints manager was investigated externally, as was my whistleblowing complaint, which was partly about him, and resulted in an apology. But no action was taken against him and the £8,000 investigation was abandoned, probably as he wasn’t happy, and after all that, I had to submit an internal complaint against him, and it was investigated internally and thrown out. The evidence against him was ignored and his complaints against me, upheld.

      2. Discrimination is wrong which is why we want to stop NFS being used as a political tool against those with different views.

  7. Thank so much Maddy for such a clear account and exposition while keeping a wry sense of humour. We in Sheffield are on the case, Horlicks mugs at the ready.
    In the meantime, to add to the corruption any normal communication channels between the party and members seems completely haywire- the members website having turned into something vacuous called Spaces?! This is all no coincidence at such a crucial time when we have so many cogent battles to fight with Sunak and Starmer- so many real emergencies. In the media we Greens have been successfully de-platformed.

    It could make us weep – but if you want a laugh a change of scenery and a happy ending I recommend Poor Things which I saw today a riveting 2 hours 20 film foregrounding the clitoris.
    And much power to our collective elbows!

  8. Great letter. I like the humouress style. Appalling to suspend three Green Party veterans and especially one who is 98. The Green Party bangs on about inclusivity while discriminating against seniors and gc members.
    I’m finally back in the party after a two year, no fault suspension which should not have happened given my whistleblowing status and apology from the CEO.
    The apology was for the way I was bullied and thrown out of conference after the former complaints manager had fabricated a complaint against me, but he has never been held to account and was even allowed to sit on GPEx, so I had to submit an internal complaint but it was dismissed, despite the evidence and a report from a former barrister, commissioner by the party. Another stitch up.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk81IzyLDTk

  9. It seems that the youth cult wants to destroy Green Party like its destroyed Green Party Women.

  10. I omitted a word from my previous comment. I meant, it wants to destroy Green Party Seniors. And for the comment before that, I meant commissioned, not commissioner. But there’s no editing facility.

  11. This is fascinating. And shocking.
    I’m a ‘senior’ Green Party member. How can I join the Seniors?

    1. Hi Helen. Membership of Green Seniors is open to all GPEW members, tho only those 55 and over can vote or stand for office. To join email greenseniors@greenparty.org.uk altho, with the co-chairs being suspended, it’s possible that it may be hard for other committee members to sign you up! There is also a very lively email discussion list for GPEW Seniors members but is independent of the Party which you can sign up to. If you email me mandyvere@phonecoop.coop I can pass your details on.

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