In one sense the Greens can walk away from these last local elections pleased. At the time of writing they had a steady net increase in councillors, including high profile seats such as the leader of Warwickshire’s Conservative group. But on the other hand they have once again failed to make significant gains despite so many circumstances falling in their favour.
Let us start with the positive though.
In the words of the party:
This is an achievement and should be celebrated. Once again, Greens are net winners at an election.
Equally, despite the current UKIP media hysteria, the Greens (at the time of writing) still have considerably more elected councillors than UKIP.
As Symon Hill tweeted earlier:
But hey, I guess slow and steady progess doesn’t make the headlines.
Just as this ‘slow and steady approach’ stands as a credit to the Greens though, so it also poses their biggest problem. In my home shire, Stroud (traditionally a Green epicentre) the Greens celebrated holding their one county council seat.
But in the election as a whole they saw just a 0.3% increase in the vote.
Something local Labour activists were more than happy to quickly point out:
Natalie Bennett, the Green Party leader, knows this to be a problem. During her recent leadership campaign she stated:
“A few new councillors every year may be better than moving backwards, but because we gear the party towards these modest increases we are deliberately limiting ourselves. Many party members are working extremely hard, but there’s a lack of clear national direction often leaving local party activists feeling isolated.”
In the context of a further Lib Dem and Conservative collapse (provisional figures suggest that both have dropped at least 8 points even in traditional safe areas) these modest gains have to be understood as a disappointment for the Greens.
I hope that Natalie has the confidence to welcome the few gains, congratulate those who have worked so hard but then to call these elections as they are – an overall disappointment for the Greens.
3 responses to “An initial green reflection on the local elections”
So what do we do as Greens to increase our media coverage. I couldn’t believe the Guardian’s front page after the local eclections with all the UKIP councillors on, and they should be natural Green Party sympathisers.
I joined my local party in Kingston last Sept and it’s a very small cohort. As are the other local parties (Richmond and Hounslow). It’s very hard to get elected when there’s only a handful of activie members.
Do we have a PR officer at a national leve? If not, we should have.
Andree, meet – Zoe Hall, the GP Press Officer, you can ring here on 020 7549 0315 or email on email@example.com
But, you also have a chap in London – meet Ian Wingrove the London Assembly Green Group Press Officer, ring him on 020 7983 4424, 07967 205330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org AND
you have London Co-ordinator: Noel Lynch who you can ring on 020 8340 7759, or email on email@example.com
Hope this helps.
Great post Steve, good to see some balance!
It’s also worth noting that UKIP have a lot of business backing so their campaigning involves a huge media onslaught which the Green’s just can’t afford.