I have asked to speak to our local North Somerset party at our next meeting to present the idea of running a GWS pilot in a local hot-spot of unemployment in Weston.
If there is an unemployment hot-spot in your area, and your local Green Party would be interested in looking at what would be involved in trying to set up a pilot scheme I would be more than happy to come and explain what would be involved.
A pilot would be a lot of work:
- we would start by engaging with the local chamber of trade, with green businesses, with the Local Authority and above all, with the people.
- once we have some support from the business community, and the local authority is at least aware of the idea, a public meeting of unemployed people would be called.
- such a meeting would be interesting, but very empowering for them.
- once we have support from the local community, we go on to lobby the local MP, to get her/him to take it to the Department of Work and Pensions.
All a lot of work, but the great thing is that it would almost certainly be of interest to the local press, so it would generate interest in the local Green Party as a party that cares about local people and local economic conditions, and also attempts to do practical thing to help the situation.
This will offset the perpetual problem that we face in being perceived as "good on the environment, and weak on economics". So even if one pilot fails to get DWP approval, it is good for the Green Party.
The more requests the DWP gets, and the more public pressure grows, the greater the likelihood of ultimate success.
It is a pity that the national Green Party is not yet behind us, but I am pretty confident that we can get it passed at the next Conference in Brighton this autumn, and it will take about 6 months to get the preliminary ground work done in any case, so the referral back it is not an unmitigated disaster.
Costing the GWS