General Election 2015: Susan Ryland (Green)

Post length: 570 words, about 2 and a half minutes.


Full name: Susan Mary Ryland
Party: Green Party


Susan Ryland is a locally based artist standing in South West Surrey on behalf of the Green Party. However it seems that this leaflet does little to convey these significantly positive points to the reader. The whole of the inside is national Green Party policy, and even the front cover carries the same design as a large number of Green candidates standing in this election around the country. A quick search on shows just how many copypaste Green Party leaflets are out there nationally. This is a real shame for a party which prides itself on it’s membership of creative individuals.

The back page carries the candidate’s only personal input: her personal statement. In it Ryland does talk of her local roots, university lecturer profession and local campaigning and goes on to talk, very briefly, about holding local councils to account to ensure they put the local community before corporations. She does also, however, cover quite a few of the same issues as the nationally-produced inside: the NHS, the environment and climate and, in a roundabout way, the economy. The second of these issues is exactly what you would expect from a Green Party candidate and the latter is, in fairness, an issue which Ryland has brought up time and time again by expressing her shock that foodbanks would have to exist in even one of the most affluent parts of the UK.

Internally the leaflet covers everything you’d expect from the Green Party: climate, housing, transport, education, the economy (specifically the party’s well publicised left-wing angle on it); as well as one of the election’s biggest issues, the NHS. It feels like it’s all very much what I’ve heard before — the party’s well trodden line. There is nothing that hasn’t been said previously by the party on the national stage.

The leaflet features Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas, the party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion respectively. These are really the only two recognisable people in the party nationally, but for wildly different reasons — Caroline for her reportedly excellent work as an MP and Natalie for her memorable “brain fade” on the pseudo-national London talk station LBC. It seems to me that Lucas’ success as an MP (she’s widely tipped to be re-elected this year) is down, in no small part, to her work in and for her constituency, and it baffles me that the party don’t seem to have recognised that their strengths come from applying their unique spin to local issues. Of course a number of their concerns are national and, indeed, international issues, but much like love, doesn’t winning an election when you’re a Green begin at home?


The Green party seem to have had a rough time from the media during this election campaign. Arguments about what makes a ‘major’ party made significant waves in the run up to the televised leaders debates. I have some sympathy for this but, for me, some of the support this might have gained Ryland is quickly subdued by the very formulaic nature of her leaflet. Would it really have taken much effort to put together a unique leaflet which addresses local issues with a little bit more pizazz? For a party with no whip this leaflet feels more whipped than any of the others which have dropped through my letterbox to date.

Posted on Thursday 30th April, 2015 at 8:57 am in Obiter dicta.
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