First Published on ‘The Road to Batley Market’, 6th November 2011
As I have posted elsewhere , I left The Labour Party recently to join The Green Party.
This decision was made up partly by looking at the 2010 Manifestos from the different parties. One thing really stood out – The Green Party should be much more popular than it is.
Anthony Wells, of UK Polling Report, recently wrote an article  on support for the smaller parties. Using Yougov’s methodology The Green Party is supported by around 2-3% of the population.
The Green Party no doubt suffers from an image problem with many people. The media concentrates on the big three parties, and being outside that tent results in almost zero publicity. I would fully imagine that many electors would consider the Greens a rather strange minority party. Most people would think Greens are basically an environmental issue party, with little else to say on other voters concerns.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
When The Green Party 2010 Manifesto is analysed, I think it is broad and deep. To be blunt, it is a Manifesto that much of The Labour Party membership would have been cooing over.
The measures contained really chime with the view of the progressive left, cast adrift from Labour by New Labour. Due to their part in the Coalition Government we have, the Liberal Democrats are surely a busted flush for the progressive left for a generation. This group broadly sees the root cause of the issues facing the world as a flawed economic system that drives ever greater inequality. This system destroys democratic localism and hands power to ever distant group of technocrats. The second global collapse in recent years, and the inability of the system to fix itself, is clear evidence to a growing number of people who believe a total rethink of how we run our economy is required.
The Green Party has policies based on a critique of the world we live in. Ideas considered fantastical a decade ago are now becoming increasing relevant.
No revolutionary idea was ever instantly popular or accepted by the majority at conception. It takes courage to fight for tomorrow’s ideas today. The Green Party have long campaigned for an economic system based on protecting the world we live in. They have long campaigned for democratic localism. They have long campaigned for increased equality and a fairer society.
If any one doubts there is an alternative to the exploitative, anti-democratic, unfair and environmentally destructive capitalism that runs our lives, take a look at the Greens.
I believe their time has come.
On overall merit, on values & principles, on trustworthiness, on ideas & vision, the Green Party deserves to be significantly more prominent in the political arena and to be higher in the polls.
But the Green Party has work to do re strategy, organisation and building up a presence, locally and nationally.
At least, this is how things seem to me. In my area, in the four Westminster constituencies the Greens fielded no candidate in the May 2010 General Election. The absence of a Green Party candidate means, obviously, that nobody received any literature from the Greens – but I reckon one of those seats could have been contested (for profile and publicity value). Oddly there was a Green candidate in my ward for the simultaneous local election, yet I (and my neighbours) received no informative literature.
btw, I’d be interested to know how many candidates the Green Party fielded regionally and nationally in the last general election.
Also, I’d opine that to make an initial breakthrough the Greens are going to have to make some strategic choices.
Careful consideration should be given to the types of Westminster seat the Green Party could target. I’m no oracle, but some possible factors might be : constituencies with predominantly an educated middle class electorate; relatively few electors of retirement age; a sizeable student population; a left-leaning urban electorate with a Blairite New Labour careerist imposed against the wishes of the local CLP; southern Tory-Lib Dem marginals where Labour is a distant third.
Alignment is important. While putting forward their policies positively, the Greens should imho complement and align to some degree with the Labour Left and the Lib Dem Left (as the latter two should reciprocate, in the best interests of all three). It makes little sense to field a candidate against the likes of John McDonnell or Jeremy Corbyn or Charles Kennedy, as the Green Party did in May 2010.
There’s hope for the future, though, because problems and weaknesses in organisation and strategic planning and local activism can be transient and overcome through determination, intelligence and application.
Thank you for your comments.
I do agree with you. Locally, we have had a green paper candidate for years, yet I haven’t seen one leaflet. I think the Greens have so many policies that would be genuinely popular, such as their position on Europe. Caroline Lucas did vote for a referendum, when the main party Leaders did not. By not actually telling anyone about their policies, they always poll very low (about 3%).
I see the Greens as being part of a left grouping, and this no doubt includes Labour, the left of the Lib Dems and so on.
Unless the Conservatives poll much better in 2015, we could be looking at tight election result. I personally see another Coalition next time.
In 2009 the Conservatives had about 255,000 members, Labour – 166,000, LD – 60,000. Figures show that in 2008 the Greens had 8,000 and UKIP about 15,000.
I see the key where I live as firstly being getting some information to the ward where I live, and getting recruits or supporters on board in time for the next election. Winning will be hard, but we need to start somewhere.
Next the campaign needs to start by getting involved in street level politics – fixing pot holes, mending fences and tidying up tipping sites etc.
Once a party is seen to be succeeding with low level issues, it can then start to get the local support and trust to fight Constituencies.
I guess this needs to be repeated across the nation. The organisation need to get bigger, but the current political environment should be conducive for membership or recruiting supporters willing to leaflet and campaign.
I don’t expect the Greens to compete for power any time soon, but I think their ideas can permeate across politics and become part of the national picture.
in 2010 335 Green Candidates stood.
I think in 2015 Caroline Lucas will hold her seat, and Norwich South looks the next best (albeit long) shot. The LD MP has a 310 majority and will surely be slaughtered next time. Labour look the favourites there.