This past weekend's Green Party conference in central London marked a significant turning point in the party's fortunes. We now have a leader after years of noble but ultimately flawed attempts to support a number of alternative structures for presenting the public face of the party, most recently with the two gender-balanced Principle Spokespeople.
Caroline Lucas MEP was overwhelmingly elected as the Green Party of England & Wale's first leader with Cllr Adrian Ramsay her deputy. They have been elected to positions unlike any other leadership posts in British politics: They must be re-elected every two years, with a limit of five terms and are subject to a recall procedure by members. Leaders, yes, but not in the overbearing way of the other parties.
From the moment of the leadership election result being declared on the Friday evening of conference we could see the electrifying impact of the change. Media coverage of the party was much higher with Caroline and Adrian getting significant space on TV, radio and print media. Furthermore an impressive array of candidates, committed to working for the success of the new streamlined party structures, stood for the national party executive.
A rising cost of living, energy costs continually in the news, an unstable climate, broken government commitments to reducing our carbon emissions and increasing concern about the health impact our 'modern' lifestyles are making the Green Party's unique perspective relevant to a rapidly growing number of people.
I hope that this will signal a surge in Green support in the coming couple of years. I'll remember that London, Autumn 2008 was when it took off. You'll be able to keep track of our progress on the re-launched national party website and on the new Green Home blogging centre for Green bloggers both launched at conference.