This week a referendum ballot will be sent to all members of the Green Party of England and Wales. The question before them will be whether the Party should retain the posts of "Male and Female Principal Speaker" with no vote on the Executive, or replace them with a "Leader and Deputy" or "Co-Leaders", with responsibility for presentation of policy and election campaigns and a vote each on the Executive.
Yes, it's true, the Green Party doesn't actually have a leader. It's eschewed such things in favour of Co-Principal Speakers, one man and one woman, who represent the Party publicly but have no additional significant responsibilities. The idea is that in an authentically green world, leadership would be shared. Advocates of the current approach also point to the failures of leadership in the other parties. They have a point, the disappointment enduced by the poor performance of the Lib Dems' Kennedy and Campbell and Labor's excesses under Blair don't do much to inspire faith in leaders per se. However, advocates of a yes in the leadership referendum argue that its possible to create a different culture of leadership at the same time as adopting a conventional leadership model, with one or two agreed 'leaders'.
Their chief arguement is that the Party's lack of an identifiable leader is holding it back in general and especially in respect of its public communications. As Caroline Lucas MEP and 29 other prominent Greens argue in today's Guardian "most people relate not to abstract ideas, but to the people who embody and espouse them."
They also point out that the biggest supporters of the Green Party remaining leaderless are not traditionalist members, but the leaders of the other parties who know that a more visible and effective Green party poses far more of a threat than it does at present.
I think they're right, which is why I'll be voting YES in the referndum.