Standing for Mayor and Assembly 2016
I am the Green candidate for Mayor again for 2016. Find out more about my campaign here: sianberry.london
The Green Party
I first got involved in politics in 2001, when I helped the Green Party with their website for the general election. I joined the party soon after and, the following May, found myself standing for Camden Council and coming within 40 votes of being elected.
I have been hugely busy at both a local and national level since then, standing for the council, Parliament, London Mayor and Assembly, being Campaigns Co-ordinator on the national executive and spending a year as national Female Principal Speaker.
Local politics in Camden
In 2006 I stood for the Council twice in my new home of Kentish Town ward (once in a by-election) and in Highgate ward, where I was first a candidate in 2002, I was elected to the council in May 2014.
On the council, I am the only Green with 40 Labour councillors, 12 Conservatives and one Lib Dem.
I sit on the Resources and Corporate Performance scrutiny committee and, from there, have raised many issues around funding local services and conditions for local workers, particularly the Living Wage.
I'm also working on getting better planning policies and reducing air pollution, raising this at a London level too by demanding a more effective low emission zone and better facilities for bikes.
I am currently pressing for the Council not to give in to proposals from developers to cut the affordable housing requirement for the huge Kings Cross Central area, and I was very pleased when the first motion I put to the council was passed in November 2014. As a result there is now a £1 million reserve fund to help prevent local community centres and libraries from closing.
Check out Camden Greens and my work on the council here:
- Contact and surgery details
- My tumblr for hyperlocal news and events
- Sian Berry on twitter for more political stuff
- Facebook page
- Camden Green Party's councillor achievements page
As well as helping run our local effort in the 2004 London and European elections, I was also press officer for Camden Greens for several years and the general election candidate for Hampstead and Highgate constituency in 2005, where I retained my deposit with 5.3% of the vote.
London Mayor and Assembly campaign 2008
In the 2008 London elections I was the Green candidate for London Mayor and number four on the party list for the London Assembly.
Our campaign centred on showing that green policies also lead to a more affordable city, with lower transport fares, more affordable housing, free insulation to reduce bills and living wages for the lowest paid workers.
We aimed to reach beyond the usual 'green' issues and to increase our vote on the London Assembly, while improving on our previous seventh place in the race for Mayor.
Coming fourth behind Boris, Ken and Brian, was excellent progress - more than one in six London voters gave me one of their two votes, and my candidacy won the backing of the pre-election editorials in the Independent and Observer newspapers for first choice votes.
Our Assembly vote also stood up extremely well to a high turnout and a major Ken/Boris squeeze, and we increased the number of Green votes by 43,000, keeping our two Assembly Members (unlike the LibDems, who lost two of their AMs).
- Independent leading article - "Sian Berry, for the Greens... has been an articulate, imaginative and effective advocate for her cause."
- Observer leading article - "A respectable score for Ms Berry, an intelligent and articulate advocate of her cause, would send a clear signal to whoever wins the mayoralty that London cares about environmental policy."
- Financial Times pre-election comment - "she has succeeded greatly in raising her party's profile during this campaign"
- Campaign backed by the Federation of Small Businesses
- AA Gill gives me a thrashing - not literally
- Q&A with the Guardian
- You ask the Questions in the Independent
- Influence of the Greens in London - John Vidal looks at the environment and the election
London election results in detail from London Elects
Lots of campaign videos on my videos page here too.
Campaign website archived on WayBack Machine (no css): www.sianformayor.org.uk
General Election 2010
The Greens' two best chances for winning seats in Westminster were in Brighton Pavilion and Norwich South.
I helped both the campaigns, putting together a new website for Caroline Lucas in Brighton, and making a 'winning here' style video for Adrian Ramsay in Norwich. I also helped to look after Caroline's site until the swish new re-election campaign started in 2014.
Why Adrian is the best choice to beat Charles Clarke...
European elections - June 2009
In this election, the Greens had both Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert re-elected with much higher votes than in 2004, and increased their national vote by more than 40%. But we failed to gain MEPs in two more regions, the North West and the East of England, both by *tiny* margins.
I worked mainly for Peter Cranie in the North West, who was in a particularly important race - fighting BNP leader Nick Griffin head-to-head for the eighth and final MEP seat in the region. A separate Stop Nick Griffin website and a short YouTube video and advertising appeal that raised £6000 helped to make the case, but in the end we were 0.3% short of the BNP's total and lost the seat to Nick Griffin.
How the Greens can stop Nick Griffin:
National Green Party
I joined the Green Party national executive in 2005 as Campaigns Co-ordinator, after the party noticed my work for the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s.
A year later, Caroline Lucas suggested I stand for Female Principal Speaker while she took a year away from the role. A very exciting 12 months followed as I was thrown into the deep end of being one of two national spokespeople for the party - the closest thing we had to a leader before a party referendum changed the constitution last year.
Highlights included appearing on Question Time and many times on Newsnight, arguing our case on issues from bins to prostitution, and I also worked hard to make sure our social policies got more attention. I stepped down in September 2007 to concentrate on the London campaign.
From July to November 2008 I also worked as Press Officer in the national party office, where I organised a project to deliver new websites for the national and regional parties, in preparation for the European elections.
Stopping damaging roads
Since 2011 my day job has been as a roads and sustainable transport campaigner at the charity Campaign for Better Transport
My work has mainly revolved around opposing the government's many new road-building plans and supporting local communities and campaigns. We've had some success in stopping and delaying individual schemes, while the budget for road-building has kept rising, despite all the evidence that new roads create new traffic and fill up again very quickly.
I pop up regularly on radio and TV speaking in support of local and national campaigns, and attend a range of boards and meetings with ministers, advisory groups and senior civil servants.
- Stopping a new generation of privatised roads.
- Winning £500 million for a 'green retrofit' of existing main roads, to reduce the impact on communities and wildlife.
- Helping to get the first ever law guaranteeing long-term funding for walking and cycling, through a cross-party amendment to the Infrastructure Bill.
- Getting the Department for Transport to review its approach to making traffic forecasts, which currently underlies their argument for new roads.
Still working on…
- Opposing several huge new road crossings in East London (watch my talk to local campaigners here)
- Saving the Stonehenge World Heritage Site from a too-short road tunnel that will cause huge damage
- Helping people expore the issues and the data with a new maps website
- Persuading the new government to spend the £30 billion roads budget on something more useful!
Alliance Against Urban 4x4s
I helped found the original campaign against chelsea tractors in 2004. More than 250,000 fake parking tickets were sent out to supporters for putting under the windscreen wipers of offending vehicles, and many local campaigns started up.
Over four years we gained a huge amount of attention for the issues, changed social attitudes to gas-guzzlers and persuaded Ken Livingstone to introduce a higher congestion charge for the most polluting vehicles... then Boris cancelled it.
Reheat Britain - boiler scrappage campaign
An idea so brilliant they had to do it! This campaign was inspired by Mick Williams, a plumbers merchant whose Downing Street petition caught my eye. A few Twitter messages later and I was his official campaign manager. Victory came just a few months later when the Labour government announced a scheme that meant 125,000 people were able to claim £400 off the cost of a new boiler during 2010.
We are Futureproof
The next phase of the 4x4 campaign. Cars still weren't as clean as they should be so, with the new group, we aimed at car information and advertising, and promoting clean technology.
We won a big success in 2008 when a legal challenge led to new rules that CO2 information has to be added to all car adverts, including billboards.