In a ground-breaking election, Caroline Jackson became the first Green councillor to lead Lancaster Council. She is also the third Green Party council leader in England and Wales ever.
The Independent highlighted how local Green successes indicate that there are real chances for bigger electoral gains in the coming years. Here’s what they wrote after meeting Caroline:
Now, if Jackson can be a success, it could pave the way for further, bigger electoral gains in coming years. Whatever she achieves here will be held up to voters across the country – specifically voters across Labour’s old northern heartlands – as an example of just what the Greens can do in power.
Which is to say that with Green parties across the world already on a demonstrably upward trajectory – indeed, in Germany, the party sits on the cusp of national power – what happens now in this historic city of 145,000 people could influence the entire UK’s future political map.
So, Councillor Jackson, no pressure?
“Well, when you put it like that, it is rather daunting,” the 67-year-old says. “But it’s also very humbling. We have a really strong agenda here and the chance to put it into reality is very exciting.”
What’s on it? City solar farms, community growing gardens, electric bin lorries, and a canalside regeneration that would see car parks, brown land and historic buildings transformed into mixed city centre homes, independent shops and open public spaces.
It sounds like a utopia of sorts. Can Jackson do all that in the two years she now has as leader?
“Obviously not,” she says. “But it’s about building a consensus that these things need to happen and creating a framework in which they can be progressed.”
“I’m not going to sit here and promise to deliver on one particular vanity project but … what I will do is say is everything we do from now on will have two things at heart: dealing with the climate emergency and listening to our local communities.”