On Saturday I hopped on a number 62 bus and made my way to a ridiculously sunny Peebles for a day of campaigning with Scottish Borders Greens. I was heading off to join the great bunch of Greens, most of whom have been in the party less than a year but who have tonnes of passion and determination and who were wonderfully welcoming. The occasion was the launch of Jody Jamieson’s campaign for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale – currently home to Scotland’s sole Tory MP – and the enthusiasm levels were up at 11.
We started off with a street stall on Veitch’s corner in the chilly sun, handing out badges and posters and signing up local people to help with the campaign. We were accompanied with brilliant tunes from Jim Benton-Evans who doubles as a local Minister and Jody’s press secretary. The gang was joined not just by me but by Stephen Dickson, a fellow Green from the other side of the South, all the way over in Ayrshire who’d travelled over specially for the day. He’s great craic and kept us all in good cheer.
In the midst of songs, chats and many a green balloon being handed out, Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie arrived to join us, down from Glasgow to support Jody and the campaign. After the obligatory “quick, everyone get a photo with Patrick” pictures, he and Jody headed off to a book fair in aid of the local peace group.
The rest of us packed up and wandered over to the County, one of Peebles’ many decent pubs, and up the stair to the wee function room which, to our delight was already occupied by a very respectable group of Green members and sympathisers. With the addition of some just generally curious folk, the awaiting crowd heard speeches from Patrick and then from Jody about why tactical voting just smacks of the politics of old tired, broken systems designed to keep the same stagnant parties in power.
We had some great discussion following the speeches, on issues like how we build closer links between Greens and trade unions and on how we reform democracy.
All in all it was a brilliant day and a really positive start to Jody’s campaign.
It couldn’t have happened without Tim Clancey, Cat Hamilton, Jim Benton-Evans and Pauline Stewart (who’s running for the neighbouring Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency). Here’s to a lovely bunch and a great campaign!