The Greens in Bristol broke records this year, and are now the joint biggest party with Labour in Bristol city council. Newly elected Green councillor Yassin Mohamud spoke to The Guardian about what’s behind Bristol’s Green surge:
‘Four days on from one of the most eye-catching results in England’s local council elections, Yassin Mohamud, the new Green member for the Bristol inner city ward of Lawrence Hill, still has to stop every few minutes to accept the congratulations of residents, neighbours, shopkeepers and taxi drivers when he walks down to the shops.
“It’s very exciting,” said Mohamud. “I can’t wait to get on with the job. This area has been neglected for too long. There is so much litter, drugs, air pollution, antisocial behaviour. Things must change.”
Mohamud, a 49-year-old administrator who came to the UK from Somalia 16 years ago, used to vote Labour but began knocking on doors for the Green party in November 2018. “Labour wasn’t doing anything for this area,” he said. “People wanted a change and they could see we wanted to listen to them.”
The Greens went into the elections holding 11 of the seats on Bristol city council and ended with 24, making them the joint biggest party with Labour, who slipped from 37.
Green candidates won not just in Bristol’s leafy areas but also took seats in what were thought of as Labour strongholds, such as Eastville and Lockleaze in the north, Bedminster in the south and Lawrence Hill, one of the most deprived wards in south-west England, in the east.
Jon Eccles, who just failed to win a second seat for the Greens in Lawrence Hill, said a lot of the party’s success in Bristol was down to sheer hard work. He said when he joined the Greens he was struck by their “method”. Candidates were not required to sign up to a certain ideology, he said, but were expected to commit to a certain amount of work.
“Work means knocking on doors of residents, finding out what they think, putting things they talk to you about in leaflets. They see you are paying attention. Then when you talk to them about the climate they are more likely to listen.”’
Read the full story at The Guardian.