Election 2015: Manchester Greens aim to Crowdfund way to political victory

The Manchester Greens are the latest branch of the party’s North West contingent to launch a Crowdfunding campaign to raise vital cash for their election candidates.

The party, which has seen a recent surge in popularity in the North West, can only stand candidates able to pay a £500 deposit, which is only redeemed if they receive 5% of the vote or more at polling in May.

A Crowdfunder let’s people go online and commit their chosen amount to the cause.

The Manchester Green Party needs to raise £2500 to stand five candidates, and is encouraging people from all over the city to donate – offering prizes to those who make a pledge.

Kieran Turner-Dave, candidate for Manchester Central, said: “Rather than cosying up to bankers and lobbyists, we’re trying a new kind of political fundraising.

“If Mancunians want to stop the cuts by closing tax loopholes, replace the minimum wage with a Living Wage and renationalise the railways, energy and healthcare – then we’ll stand and represent them.”

The Greens received the second most votes in the Manchester 2014 local elections, and in the last three months their membership has doubled.

Speaking to MM, Lucy Bannister, the Green candidate for Withington, said: “The Green Party doesn’t have the big business backing of the four establishment parties, and refuses donations from unethical sources. We rely on our members and supporters to make donations to fund our campaigns.

“I think people are really looking for a change at the moment. They are fed up with business-as-usual politics. They see what they know our country needs in the Green Party, and this has led to huge growth in our members.

“We often meet people who ask us why they don’t see us more and why we don’t have as large a presence as the other parties. The simple answer is that this all costs money, which we don’t have a lot of.

“We have been fortunate enough to have some great members who are generous enough to donate to the cause, and hope to have an equally good [Crowdfunder] result here in Manchester.”

Miss Bannister also believes that her party – whose policies include action against high levels of child poverty in Manchester and oppose the use of fracking – can play a leading role in the Green movement.

She said: “At the moment we have a one party council. Labour has all the seats in Manchester City Council, which means there is no one to hold Labour to account.

“A one party state is rarely a good thing and we are really hoping to get seats in the local council soon, which will begin the Green movement in Manchester. When speaking to the public in the city I see how many people have the same views as the Green Party – we have the same outlook.

“People in Manchester care so much about the NHS, a fair wage for workers, decent housing and public services – we are the only party truly fighting for these. I really hope that this is soon reflected in how people vote.”

Crowdfunding campaigns have already been hugely successful in other parts of the North West. Tina Louise Rothery, candidate for Tatton in Cheshire, had an initial target of £900 – overfunded to £1,393 by its deadline today.

Emma Van Dyke, candidate for the Salford Greens, believes that online activism has enabled more people to engage with the party, after the Scottish Referendum opened people’s minds on how they could get involved with politics.  

She said: “A lot of the people that hear our policies at least want us to have the chance to stand, which is what the crowd funder is about.

“This is pretty much the only way the smaller parties that don’t take big corporate donations can actually raise those sorts of funds in the timeframe we are looking at.

“I think that if a lot of people who don’t vote or don’t read our policies were to read them, they would turn around and vote for us.”

Both Salford and the Manchester Green Parties have until March to gain enough pledges to fund their campaigns.

Image courtesy of Salford Green Party, with thanks. 

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