At university I remember hearing the hustings (pre-vote questioning) for one of the college's Environment Rep. Durham is not a big city and can easily be walked across in 45 minutes. If you want to travel further there are buses and trains very close by so very few students have cars, unless they do sport or activities which mean they need to carry lots of kit around. So, when someone asked "what car do you drive?" it was almost a joke questions. But the two candidates answers set the tone for the voting later. One said "I don't need to drive in Durham and if I have to I borrow my parents car at home". The other ".... a Land Rover". I have no idea if the second girl had a particular reason for her car, she might have had a very good one, but as often happens it's not the fine details that are remembered just the headline.
Similarly, with the current Green Party Leadership elections I doubt many who aren't closely involved will remember much about Pippa Bartolotti other than her quote:
'Yes I drive a Jaguar – but why should that stop me leading the Green Party?'
One the plus side, she's got more public coverage than her opponents, but this isn't really the sort of coverage you want to have when running for leader of the greenest political party. I hope this election doesn't become a single issue one, particularly because the Green Party isn't just about the environment. It's about social justice, about running the country better and working as a community to make the UK better. But for many on the outside the green-ness (lower case g) of the candidates will still be important, as it should be for all politicians really.
It's hard being green, but I think it's even harder being green in the public eye. I'm glad there's no-one watching when I make the occasional lazy drive to the shops rather than walking, or when I spend 7 minutes not 4 in the shower on a cold winter morning. And so, because it's hard even when you're not being watched I'm going to try and cut politicians some slack when they occasionally slip into un-green moments because no-ones perfect and we could all do better. And that's worth remembering about myself before others.