Tag Archives: Green Party

Greens and UKIP on course for big gains but no new seats at General Election

polling
The average of the most recent 20 opinion polls put the Green Party on 5% of the vote for 2015 General Election, five times the vote share they secured in 2010. UKIP are also set to make big gains securing 12% more than they did in 2010. Thanks to the current electoral system though, neither are likely to gain more MPs.

The UK Polling Report polling average ‘takes in polls from the last 20 days and gives them weightings based on various factors, including how recently they were conducted, the past record of the pollster producing the figures, the methodology used, the sample size and how many polls have been produced by a single pollster.’

Although the average does not necessarily reflect a greater likelihood to accuracy, it does stop those with vested interests cherry picking the most favourable results to imply an unrealistic support one way or another.

Comparing them to the actual vote share from 2010 also gives a rough idea of how the party’s fortunes have fared over the last 4 years.

2010 result Current polling average +/- %
Conservative 36% 32% -4%
Labour 29% 35% +6%
Lib Dem 23% 8% -15%
UKIP 3% 15% +12%
Green 1% 5% +4%

 

The clear winners are UKIP (although despite this jump in vote share they are still projected not to win any seats – time for electoral reform?) while the clear losers are the Lib Dems (although it is thought that Lib Dems will still hold 30-40 seats – time for electoral reform?).

Despite massively growing their vote share The Green Party is also unlikely to take any new seats but will probably hold Caroline Lucas’ Brighton Pavilion seat (although it is Labour’s number one target for the South East).

The Conservatives show a clear drop but nothing of the magnitude of their coalition partners. Labour, although showing a decent rise are being compared to the lows of the Brown years and are not polling high enough to consider winning a majority (another coalition on the cards?).

All in all regardless of millions of votes switching between Greens/UKIP/Lib Dems – the core 28-36% vote shares of Labour and the Conservative will ensure one of them will attempt to run this country without the backing of the vast majority of voters, let alone non-voters!

With this in mind I think the case for electoral reform has never been clearer.

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If I can vote from Uganda then you can walk to your local polling station

DSC_0155

It’s a simple message, if I can vote from Uganda then you can walk down to your local polling station!

Go on, off you go! Vote.

UPDATE:

Thanks to Andrew Sparrow at The Guardian for posting this photo in their live blog.

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How many MEPs will each party have after Thursday’s European Parliament elections?

These were the headline polling figures from today’s Sun/YouGov poll.

Greens sun poll

How will this translate though into the number of projected seats in the European Parliament?

Put simply, this poll is great news for Labour who would firstly win the largest share of the national vote and secondly see (based on projections from this polling) gain an additional 12 MEPs. This would give them 25 in total.

Although UKIP will be disappointed with not topping the polls they are projected here to win an additional 6 seats in the European Parliament. This would give them 19 in total.

The other big winners are The Green Party who comfortably beat the Lib Dems into 4th place. This would see The Green Party return an additional 5 MEPs. This would give them 7 MEPs.

The big losers are the coalition partners. The Conservatives are set to lose 11 MEPs bringing their total down to 15 while the Lib Dems are expected to lose 7 MEPs leaving them with just 4. For the Lib Dems though this might be  a relief that they have not been wiped off the board as some are predicting!

The other big loser (in every sense of the phrase) are the BNP who continue their decline and are set to lose both of their current 2 MEPs.

However, it is worth pointing out how this poll differs from current trends. As the Guardian noted, if you average the most recent five polls (excluding this Sun/Yougov one) on voting intention for the European Parliament elections UKIP come out on top. Labour come out in second place with 26.6% followed by the Tories who get 23.4%. The Greens are fourth with 8% closely followed by the Liberal Democrats with 7.4%.

Under this uniform swing projection UKIP would have the most number of MEPs (23) with Labour just behind them (22). The Conservatives would slip back to third (18). The Greens would take 4th (6) while the Lib Dems would return just 1 MEP. The BNP would of course still lose their 2 MEPs.

UPDATE:

An interesting chart from YouGov showing how polling has changed through the election campaign:

polls

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Are The Green Party on course to beat the Lib Dems in May’s elections? Part 3

That’s right – I am still not bored of writing about whether or not The Green Party will beat the Lib Dems in May’s elections!

On the 28th April I wrote an article essentially saying that The Green Party was on course to have a good night at the European Elections and that Lib Dems were going to get a kicking but, significantly, there was little polling to support The Green Party’s claim that they would beat the Lib Dems nationally.

I then followed this up with an article on 4th May when, for the first time, a poll was published that showed The Green Party ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

Any balanced commentator by this point would conclude that the figures were within a ‘margin of error’ and that it was next to impossible to call who will come out on top (between the Greens and Lib Dems).

This, in my mind, is still the only conclusion to reach (combined with the fact that Lib Dems will drop seats and Greens will gain).

But there is something to suggest that The Green Party might just slip past the Lib Dems. This is the trend of polls. While the Lib Dems have the numbers in their favour (more polls have shown them beating Greens than vice-versa) there is a clear recent trend of Greens climbing in the polls as the elections get closer while the Lib Dems seem to be dropping.

As Robert Lindsay on twitter pointed out (click to enlarge):

Green opinion polls
Interestingly, the same ICM/Guardian poll that puts The Green Party on 10% and Lib Dems on 7% is also the second in as many days that have put the Conservatives ahead of Labour (the other being this from Lord Ashcroft).

If you can conclude one thing from these polls for May’s elections it is this: voting under a PR system there is everything to play for regardless of the colour of your rosette.

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Have The Green Party reused an old party political broadcast?

This is a video that I remembered seeing from the London Elections in 2012:

This is a video that is The Green Party Political Broadcast for the English local elections in 2014.

Spot any similarities?

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Labour’s misleading statement on electoral spending

Lab photo
The Labour Party today uploaded this photo to facebook with the inspiring campaigns cliche:

We don’t have the Tories’ money — so we’re going to win this election one conversation at a time. Be part of it: http://labour.org.uk/volunteer-pledge

In it’s literal sense this is true. Labour do not ‘have the Tories’ money’. Not a penny of Labour’s money (that I know of) belongs to the Conservative Party…but (and this is a big but) they do have rather a lot of their own.

Indeed, the latest party political donation figures show that they were given a huge £3,162,980 in the period of Oct-Dec 2013 alone. I should point that is a million less than the Conservative Party who received £4,805,892. 

But you take my point, neither of the big two political parties are exactly short of cash.

If the Labour Party win the next General Election it will be partly because of thousands of people who have donated hours of their lives to campaigning but it will also be because of the formidable amounts of money they have to put into the campaign (mainly coming from Trade Unions).

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats for the same period received £1,311,824 and The Green Party just £115,943. 

My question here is can we have a fair, open and educated democracy when some political parties have so much to spend on ‘getting their message across’ while others have so little?

I think not. That is why I have always supported the system of state funded political parties.

The Green Party hold what I think to be a very sensible policy on this:

The Greens believe that party funding should be calculated and administered on a regional basis, with funds allocated in proportion to the number of votes cast in the region in the last round of proportional representation elections held across the entire region. Parties would need to exceed a threshold of 3% of the vote to become eligible for this funding.

You will not be surprised to hear that both Labour and Conservatives have been feet dragging on this issue to say the least. Not surprising considering the size of their respective bank accounts.

 

*UPDATE: Before a Labour Party activist says it, there is of course a big difference between big private donors and Trade Unions. One is not as bad as the other. But I would argue that neither are healthy for politics.

Second UPDATE:

An interesting tweet that suggests I am not the only who feels like this:

 

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Are The Green Party on course to beat the Lib Dems in May’s elections? Part 2

I wrote before about the Green Party’s chances of beating the Lib Dems (in terms of vote share) in the up-coming euro elections and found little polling evidence to back up the Green’s claim that they will.

It seems only fair then to point out that today a new poll has been released (YouGov Sunday Times voting intention) that puts The Green Party ahead of the Lib Dems.

Greens

As far as I am aware this is the first poll to have these headline figures making it worthy of observation for Mike Smithson over at Political Betting.

More good news for The Green Party came from the 18 to 24 age range which had the Greens on 17% and in third place, ahead of UKIP (11%) and Lib Dems (6%).

Either way, as I argued before, The Green Party are on course for a good showing at the European Elections and the Lib Dems are simply trying to avoid disaster!

 

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In praise of The Green Party in Brighton and Hove

Jason Kitcat

Green council leader, Jason Kitcat

After Caroline Lucas MP became the first Green Party MP in the UK in 2010 many within the party half hoped they wouldn’t go onto take control of the local council. The reasoning was simple – with an austerity agenda being forced on local councils by the Conservative led government, the party would have to implement this agenda going against both their own principles and public expectations.

But they did win the council elections. In 2011 Brighton and Hove council became the UK’s first Green council.

Despite the difficult economic climate in which they came to power, the council has had some success. In a less than flattering article in the Guardian John Harris comments:

Thanks to the council’s crusade for better pay, 102 of the 400 private UK businesses that pay the living wage are located here. The local Greens have embraced imaginative policies on housing and regeneration, and officially declared hundreds of acres of council land “open-owned”. Brighton has become the world’s first “One Planet” city”.

In truth the list of successes could go on. If you want more ask the highly responsive council leader, Jason Kitcat – I am sure he would be more than happy to give you a list.

Despite these successes though the local Greens have also taken quite a kicking. A local poll in late 2013 found that the Greens had dropped by 12% from their 2011 high.

This drop in popularity is partly explained through simply being in power, but it also reflects a sad record of in-fighting (quite publicly) and also implementing policies which have, at times, left them on the opposite side of some Trade Unions, local residents and, on one occasion, the local Green MP Caroline Lucas.

To illustrate both the public infighting and anger at some of the policies take the words of local Green Party Cllr, Ben Duncan:

“Jason Kitcat’s policies have time and again betrayed working people, city residents – and the electoral interests of the Green Party of England and Wales.”

Ouch.

But perhaps the most public of grievances came during the bin collection strike – that left piles of rubbish piled up in the streets. Something which even the most a-political of voter would both notice and care about.

This led to calls of the council being in disarray.

And with another round of cuts being imposed from central government (£25 million annually, £100 million over four years), this already difficult situation promised to become even worse for the local Greens. How would they continue to run this council under such tight economic constraints?

In one stroke though the local party seem to have managed to manoeuvre themselves away from this unpopularity and towards a progressive, positive and democratic solution.

Jason Kitcat writing in the Guardian has set out a two-fold policy. The first part of it is his administration’s support for 4.75% increase in council tax (with exemptions for the worst off). This they hope would protect vital council services despite the cuts from central government.

This move has been criticised (almost inevitably) by the leader of Labour opposition as something local residents can’t afford.

Which is a point nulled by the second part of the plan – to hold a referendum on this policy in May 2014. In stark contrast to Labour, Lib Dem and Tory councils this Green led admiration is giving local residents a say in how they respond to this imposed austerity agenda.

If residents feel they can’t afford this tax rise, they can vote no in the referendum.

This move has won much support. In today’s Guardian there was a letter signed by economists, university professors and even a local Labour activist supporting the move. The letter stated:

“The decision of Brighton council to hold a referendum on whether to increase council tax to pay for essential services is a bold commitment to democracy and equality… Everyone is feeling squeezed as a result of the Tories’ draconian cuts to local government and public services, but a political contest over which party will manage austerity more effectively won’t change the terms of debate. Money raised collectively, spent collectively and targeted where there is the most need is essential… As belief in politics withers, here is an example of a local council trusting the people to make a big decision. They should be applauded.

And so I add my voice to that call. Despite everything, well done Brighton and Hove Greens!

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What can we learn from UKIP’s half-baked, semi-coherent, anti-science policies

711px-Derek_Clark
UKIP’s education spokesman, Derek Clark MEP, today made Gove look like a model of modernity and scientific enlightenment by stating that he believed, “all teaching of global warming being caused in any way by carbon dioxide emissions must also be banned”.

To clarify, this spokesman of a supposedly libertarian party, wants to ban schools from teaching about climate change!

UKIP’s main energy document ‘Keeping The Lights On’ claims that there is “increasing doubts about the theory of man-made climate change.” Something which the growing scientific consensus around man-made climate change directly contradicts.

UKIP’s education policy, like that of its energy policy, directly contradicts the consensus reached by the majority of climate scientists.

For some this makes them heroes for standing up to ‘establishment thinking’. For others, this blogger included, this makes them halfwits that put political ideology before evidence whatever the impact this might have on ordinary people.

Disturbingly though, poll after poll shows UKIP are on course to do rather well in May’s elections. They are certainly going to kick the Tories into third and may even beat Labour and finish on top of the pile.

So what does this tell us?

It tells us something which I have been shouting about for a long long time within progressive circles.

The electorate doesn’t worry about little things like policies but they do care about sentiment, feelings, and gut reactions.

UKIP have been exceptionally good at presenting an image of ‘standing up for ordinary people against the political elite’ and ‘speaking common sense’ whilst at the same time having a list of incoherent, half-baked and anti-science policies.

In contrast The Green Party has a list of science-based progressive policies that have been shown to be the most popular with the electorate but have failed to gain a significant vote share because at best they are seen as ‘standing up for the environment’ (something which most people include well down on their list of priorities) but at worst are seen as ‘middle class, university educated elite who are out of touch with ordinary people’.

And so, in the run up to the coming European elections, I hope to hear Greens talk coherently not about ‘the science behind the badger cull’ but about how they are ‘standing up for animal welfare. I hope to hear not about their proposed ‘Financial Transaction Tax’ but about ‘putting people before big business’. I hope to hear most of all not about ‘the scientific consensus around climate change’ but about ‘looking after our planet for future generations to enjoy’.

This might seem like a crass simplification of politics but if there is one thing UKIP can teach us – it is that in a badly informed democracy, gut feelings are more important than policies.

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Labour’s opposition to an EU referendum could cost them crucial votes

Peter Mandelson
Did anyone listen to Peter ‘Mandy’ Mandelson on BBC Radio 4 this morning? Essentially he was there defending the Labour Party’s new policy on not having a referendum on the EU.

Fine. I disagree with him, but if that’s his view then fine.

But…and this is what annoys me…I don’t think it is entirely his view. Have a look at this quote from him in the Guardian in 2012:

“I believe a fresh referendum will be necessary because the political parties cannot reconcile their own differences and come to a final conclusion on their own, and nor should they.”

So why the conversion? Well it could well have been a favour pulled in by the Miliband camp who have watched high-profile figures including Tom Watson and Ian Austin split with the party’s official position in recent months.

Either way – it does at least begin to clarify in the voters mind what their policy actually is (something that was less than clear for the last few years). But one wonders how they have come to this policy? Poll after poll shows that the electorate is desperate for an in/out referendum.

As a result this leaves many traditional Labour voters who want a referendum with a difficult decision. Back Labour and have no say on EU membership, or back another party? If they chose the later they have little real choice with only the Conservatives, UKIP or The Green Party currently offering a referendum.

Still, one has to ask: just how many votes this will cost Labour at the European elections in 2014?

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Letter to the Stroud News and Journal: MP rejects EU referendum and democracy

This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Stroud News and Journal

Dear Editor,

On Monday you reported that our local MP considers now not a good time to hold an in/out EU referendum (Now is not the right time for EU referendum, says Stroud MP 07/10/2013).

Defending his position, Mr Carmichael is quoted as saying, “I think that we need enough time to properly re-assess and renegotiate our relationship with the EU” – whilst at the same time saying he backs a referendum to be held in 2017.

I am curious as to what Mr Carmichael is hoping the UK will renegotiate between now and 2017. The fiasco of the Lisbon Treaty (the UKs last real chance to renegotiate the EU) has only just been put to bed and there is no appetite in Brussels for any serious renegotiations in the coming years.

The worse thing is that I think Mr Carmichael knows this. To me, it looks like he is once again just playing politics. The only difference between now and 2017 is that there is a general election in-between.

Your article finished by quoting Mr Carmichael saying, “We are going to renegotiate, reassess, recalibrate our relationship with the EU.” Your guess as to what that means is as a good as mine.

In stark contrast The Green Party has been very clear about where they stand on an in/out EU referendum. They have said they stand for “Three Yeses”:

·         Yes to an in/out referendum

·         Yes to major reform of the EU

·         Yes to staying in a reformed EU

As someone who, on balance, supports Britain’s involvement in the EU, I think it is important that we, the public, get the opportunity to decide if we stay in the EU or not…even if I may not like the outcome of the referendum.

I agree with Mr Carmichael that we are better off in the EU. Where I differ with him is that I think the people of Britain should be given the opportunity to make this judgement themselves.

If Mr Carmichael believes in democracy, he should back a referendum without delay.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Hynd

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Molly Scott Cato: “The Greens are seeing a strong but steady increase, especially in the South West.”

Molly Cato Scott is a green economist as well as The Green Party’s lead candidate for the European Parliament elections in the South West of England. Molly passionately believes that at the heart of our environmental problems is a badly designed economic system. Steve Hynd recently caught up with Molly to find out why she thought standing for election will help solve either the economic or environmental crises we currently face.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you think you are qualified to represent the South West of England in the European Parliament?

I have been working as a green economist for the past 15 years. I have been involved in the Green Party for 23 years including standing in general elections and European elections and I am now leader of the Green Group on Stroud District Council, where we are part of the administration.

I hope that I can use this experience to best represent everyone living in the South West.

What way will a Green MEP for the South West look different to any of the others?

The Green Group in the European Parliament is doing great work challenging the interests of finance in Europe and resisting the increasing inequality between North and South. Oh and of course protecting workers’ rights and the environment!

I would like to be a part of that, helping to Green the Common Agricultural Policy for example. The EU spends a lot of money in the south-west of England but at present it does not have to achieve real environmental objectives, I would be seeking to change that.

Can you explain why the European Parliament elections affect ordinary people living and working in the South West?

There are so many ways. To give just one example, the rules that govern the single market that we operate within are made by the EU so it is vital that we are contributing positively to making sure that they achieve the best for the South West.

When people vote in the European Elections, they vote for a party, not for an individual. Do you agree with everything the Green Party stands for and if not, what will you do if you have to choose between personal beliefs and party policy?

I sometimes wonder if I might disagree, but when I read party policy I find that I agree. I used to be a bit tepid about the banking policy but I worked with a friend to change the policy so it’s fine now–no, it’s excellent!

I think we could do with emphasising the political economy implications of some of our policies a bit more. So for example on immigration we should, of course, be fighting the racist attacks on migrant workers but we should also be arguing for better global protection of workers’ rights in a globalised economy

How do you explain the recent rise in popularity in UKIP and the relative flat-lining of the Greens? Do you think this will be the same in the upcoming election? 

I don’t think you are right to say that the Greens are flat-lining. The Greens are seeing a strong but steady increase, especially in the South West. Our main problem is the media, who focus on the daft, shallow stories about UKIP and tend to ignore our more serious issues. It is incredibly hard to get journalists to deal seriously with either Europe or the environment. A shame on them and a pity for us all. I think Zoe Williams had it pretty much right with her analysis of why UKIP get such attention from the media.

What is the one thing you hope to achieve if elected to the European Parliament?

One thing? You aren’t very ambitious!

I will focus on the stuff where I think I can make the most difference: finance and the single market. It is hard to know how far I can go until I understand the politics better from the inside. I would like to take my understanding of finance into the parliament, because I am not sure how many of the Greens really understand what went wrong with the Eurozone crisis. I also think we should work for more local supply of food and against the endless increase in pointless and energy-intensive trade.

You have previously written on the importance of working shorter working hours and yet you are applying for a job with some of the longest, have you thought about how personally you are going to balance that?

I have thought about this. I think that it would be a sacrifice to be away from Stroud. I think that most politicians make a similar sacrifice and it is one reason that the attacks on politicians are pretty unfair. But there are times when the parliament is out of session when I will be delighted to jump onto Eurostar and come home.

If elected, will you continue as a Stroud District Councillor? 

Absolutely not, the time commitments would make it impossible.

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Greens look to oust flailing BNP from European Parliament

Green Party announces list of candidates to take on far right in European elections while the BNP appear to struggle to find suitable candidates.

Yorkshire and Humber Green Party have today announced their list of candidates that they hope will kick far-right MEP Andrew Brons (former BNP) out of the European Parliament.

The Green Party’s lead candidate for Yorkshire and Humber seat will be Cllr Andrew Cooper, currently national energy spokesperson and a Kirklees councillor for over 10 years.

The standing MEP, Andrew Brons, last year resigned from the BNP after a public row with the leader and fellow MEP, Nick Griffin.  The BNP’s quest to find an alternative candidate looks increasingly desperate though as they put out one appeal after another for candidate applications – each time extending the deadline.

The BNP picked up some 120,000 votes (9.8%) in the 2009 election while the Green Party narrowly missed out on gaining a third MEP with 104,000 votes (8.5%).

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Drunk leafleting

Running the leaflet gauntlet in Stroud town centre

I have recently embarked out onto the town centre of Stroud on a Saturday night to do some leafleting for the Green Party.  The idea being, I would catch groups of people in-between bars and clubs and ask them if they would like a leaflet or a chat.  Opinion is divided about whether this is a good idea or just asking to be bottled.  I would appreciate your feedback!

The response I got in town was mixed.  About half the people I approached told me to “please go away for I am out on a jolly tonight” (or words to that effect).  The other half however, was genuinely really pleased that I had bothered and was really receptive.  The sorts of people who are out on a Saturday night are not the same ones who get our leaflets during the day in Stroud (go into Stroud on a Saturday morning and it’s a bit like running a gauntlet with all the leafleters).  Some people had never considered voting before, while others had very strong views on certain issues.  Overwhelmingly however people were supportive of what the Greens stood for.  Those who stopped to talk had real passion about political issues.

I left the town centre with a sense of optimism; if these opinions I encountered could be translated into votes, the chance for progressive politics to grow in this country is massive.  The Warehouse proudly claims it gets over 1000 people through its doors every Saturday, if half of these guys voted on their beliefs the Greens would instantly be 500 votes better off.  If half of Stroud town centre (1000-2000) all voted, the Greens would be well on their way to seriously challenging this seat.  Thus, this is a rallying cry…if you are the sort of person who goes out on a Saturday night into Stroud, please vote, and please vote for what you believe in.

If thousands of people in Stroud were this receptive, just think of the possibility for Gloucester, Cheltenham or even Bristol?

As a final thought, just think how funny it would be to have a few old boy Tories on the Streets of Stroud trying “to win over the young”.  Now that would be a sight worth seeing!

If you fancy coming along this Saturday just join the facebook group and get in touch

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New Labour, New Tricks

David Drew's confusing advert in the SNJ

New Labour is famed for its spin-doctors and deceit.  Their 13 years in government will be remembered for misleading the public over the case to go to war, for covering up the BAE scandal and most recently for trying to convince us that police officers spend 80% of their time on the beat. Recently however, our sitting MP looking for re-election, David Drew, has also been peddling his own kind of deceit.  A full-page advert has appeared in the Stroud new and Journal along with its sister paper the Gazette (see photo).

The advert, which at no-point mentions the word “Labour”, starts by saying, “Dear Green (and other) voters in Stroud…if you want a “Green MP” who campaigns against…”.  It is, in my eyes, a cynical attempt to miss-lead and/or confuse the voters. Local Green Party members have been furious thinking it was the Green Party is telling them to vote Labour! Green tinged voters have been baffled when they have seen Green activists on the streets (“I thought you were telling us to vote for David?”).  There are a few points that should be drawn out about this advert.

One, this is part of wider campaign by David Drew to distant himself from his party.  He is enough of a politician to spot that after 13 years of deceitful politics the word “Labour” is toxic in the voters mind.  He is pushing for his loyal supporters to come out and vote for him despite his party affiliation (if there is one thing that defines Drew’s 13 year stint it is his constituent case work).  On this front however, this advert has to be considered an own goal.  David presents himself as an ordinary chap, who does not sink into these sorts of “nasty” politics.  I think a number of voters will be severely put off by this latest move.

Two, David Drew is not a “Green MP”, in the sense that he neither truly represents an environmental agenda nor a full political agenda that the Green Party does.  Lets be clear, a man who supports Nuclear Power (and holds no answer to waste) and who voted against including shipping and aviation into the climate change bill cannot be an environmentalist.  Equally, he cannot be considered a “Green” (in the Green Party sense of the word) as he supported the war in Afghanistan, supports ID cards, has opposed equality by voting against progressive legislation on LGBT rights and obviously, is a big supporter of Nuclear power.  This is not a “GREEN MP” by anyone but Ron Baileys standards!

The Green Party continues to make a case for change.  As good as any MP is (and lets be honest Drew is one of the better ones) they cannot bring about change when they work in a rotten system.  David is still obliged to follow his party whips (the Greens do not have party whips), David is still tied to a party who refuses to bring about real electoral reform (a promise from their 97 manifesto).  Only the Greens can truly bring about the change this country needs.  This is why it is so exciting that the Greens look like they will be getting their first MP’s this May.  It is time for people to start voting for what they believe in, I want Green, not Grey!

SNJ have produced this follow-up piece

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Video Launch – Green MP for Stroud

The Green Party in Stroud has launched their official campaign video.  It is a short overview of what the Greens in the local area have done, and what they aim to achieve through the elections.  More importantly however, it is an attempt to reach out and engage with potential voters who feel disconnected with conventional politics. 

With 57% of 17-25 year olds are not even registered to vote.  It is more important than ever for political parties to embrace youtube, facebook and twitter (generalising massively).  More importantly though, it is essential that politicians embrace these forms of media with a more genuine approach to politics.  People are being turned off conventional forms of media because of the spin and lack of honesty.  With instant forms of communication such as twitter, politicians have the opportunity to lay their thoughts on the line.  We have seen the “airbrushing” of most media forms; in the world of facebook and twitter we have a chance to tell it how it is. 

We can also see some politicians using it just because they have been told to by their PR staff who have just finished reading about Obama’s success story.  We should approach this with caution.  It is better to not tackle the world of You-tube at all, than it is to post tired and uninteresting comments.  Equally, we can see some politicians chucking up tweets every week or two (probably after a nudge from their PR guru).  No-one should be forcing politicians to come talk to us, they should have the will and the insight to understand that this is the battle ground for the “young” vote, not the high street.

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Vote for what you believe in

Caroline Lucas, the Odds on favourite to be elected at the General Election

I have just filled out the survey on the “vote for policies” web site.  It said I should vote Green.  I could have told it that before I started.  What is amazing though, is that it is telling 30% of the other 11,000 users to vote Green.  It breaks down the common misconception that the Greens are just about the environment.

Over and over again, I hear people who will talk about politics and agree with what the Green Party stand for.  They agree with us when we say we must raise the state pension to £170, they agree with us when we say we must scrap Trident, and they agree with us when we say we must raise the minimum wage and invest heavily in job creation schemes.  Yet, at the last General Election in 2005 the Greens averaged about 1% of the vote across the country.  Why?

In Brighton in 2005 22% of the electorate voted green.  They came third. Yet, at this election, all the pollsters are putting Caroline Lucas and the Greens as odds on favourites to win.  Why? The pollsters know, that most people agree with Green Party policies, all they need is to have a circumstance where they do not feel as though they are “wasting” their vote (this would have happened if New Labour had lived up to its promise of electoral reform in 97).  This is why we can see at European and local elections, Greens consistently do well, thanks to the PR voting system.  If at this 2010 election, the Greens pick up one, two or possibly three MP’s, it will spread hope and belief into constituencies around the country. 

At this election, if you vote in Brighton, Norwich or Lewisham, vote Green and you might well end up with a Green MP.  If you live elsewhere, you can vote to build for the future.  You can vote to give others the confidence to vote Green in the future. More to the point, you can vote for what you believe in. You do not have to back the other grey parties.

If you do not vote Green, you will tacitly be giving your support to the politics of the status quo.  You will be saying that you are happy to keep thing as they are.  If you do not vote, do you honestly belive things will change? The Greens represent the change that this country so badly needs.  It represents the future. If you do not believe that change is possible, we are in a pretty bleak situation. You have to believe that change is possible.

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