Tag Archives: Rupert Read

The East of England – Will they elect the regions first Green MEP?

After writing a tactical analysis of the North West looking at the upcoming European elections (The BNP and the tactical battle for the North West) a number of readers have asked what I think might happen in their region. The most popular request came from readers from the East of England. So here it is, a tactical breakdown of the East of England ahead of May’s European elections.

What can I say, I aim to please!

Rupert

Rupert Read – First Green MEP for the East of England?

In 2009 the fine people in the East of England elected 3 Conservative MEPs, 2 UKIP, 1 Lib Dem and one 1 Labour. As with many regions across the UK, The Green Party missed out by just a handful of votes.

Looking ahead to the May 2014 elections, I think it is safe to allocate 5 of the 7 seats. The battle is going to be for the remaining 2.

Although I expect the Tories to drop votes (around a 5% drop) I cannot see them securing less than 2 seats. Equally, I cannot see UKIP’s vote share getting smaller and so I am sure they will return at least 2 MEPs.The same logic is applied to Labour who will return 1 MEP.

The big question for the East then is which party will pick up these remaining two seats?

I am relatively confident that The Green Party will pick up 1 of the remaining 2 seats. Why am I so confident?

Well, Labour (who are expected to do well in the backlash to the coalition) would need to double the Green vote to secure a second seat. In 2009 they picked up 167,000 votes while The Green Party picked up 141,000. Assuming Greens have a bad day (it is assumed by most they will marginally increase their vote) and don’t secure a single additional voter, Labour would need to pick up an additional 113,000 votes to gain that extra seat before The Green Party.

The same logic can be applied to both UKIP and Conservatives – will they secure 3 times the vote count of The Green Party to pick up an additional seat? It seems hard to imagine.

A vote for either Labour or UKIP then is likely to be a wasted vote leaving them stranded well short of the benchmark needed to secure an additional seat.

Assuming The Greens vote holds or grows marginally then, it seems likely they will pick up their first MEP for the region (this would be Rupert Read who tops their list of candidates).

But what about the final seat?

The final seat is much harder to call. It essentially depends which of the coalition partners loses the most votes? On election night the figure to look out for in the East is whether or not the Conservatives triple the Lib Dem count. This may well dictate where the final seat goes.

In summary:

  • Labour – hold very little chance of gaining a seat in the East, but equally their 1 seat looks pretty safe (which I am pleased about as Richard Howitt is in general a good egg).
  • Conservatives – are expected to lose some votes. I personally can’t see them losing more than one seat but some commentators are talking about them dropping to one (with the majority of votes flooding to UKIP).
  • UKIP – are, like with most regions, set for a good night in the East but my money is on them missing out on a third seat by some way.
  • The Green Party – have a very good chance of picking up their first seat in the East. It would take a very small increase in vote share, or a small decrease in Conservative vote share, to finish 4th and secure their first MEP for the region.
  • Lib Dems – as with many regions are going to be fighting tooth and nail to save their one MEP. The sink or swim question though might be not how good Lib Dems are at bailing water from their boats, but how big their holes are compared to the Tories sinking ship!

My advice then is as follows:

  • If you’re considering a Labour vote – lend your vote to The Green Party instead.
  • If you’re a traditional Tory voter – vote Blue to limit the damage.
  • If you’re a traditional Lib Dems voter – vote Yellow and consider a prayer.
  • If you’re a traditional UKIP voter – vote for other parties on their policies that matter to you. Want a referendum? Vote Green. Want to chuck immigrants out, vote Tory etc etc…
  • If you’re traditional Green voter – vote Green to make sure you don’t just miss out like 2009.

The 2009 results can be seen here.

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Filed under EU politics, Politics

The Green Party’s internal democracy has let the party down

Today, the Green Party of England and Wales announced that the former Guardian journalist Natalie Bennett has been elected as their leader.

Upon her election Natalie commented, “[I am] pleased to take on the responsibility of helping us all to move towards promoting our vision of a radical new economic and environmental vision for Britain”. Natalie’s election has already been met in the press to wide-spread support.

The Green Party uses the Single Transferable Vote system to elect its leader – a form of proportional representation. In many ways the Green Party has a model form of democracy – leading by example. It is worrying then that it maintains an unpopular gender rule that many feel is letting the party down.

Gender balance

The Green Party’s election rules stipulate that the deputy leader has to be the opposite sex of the person who is elected leader. As such, with election of Natalie, the two highly competent female contenders for the deputy leadership were automatically out of the race.

Rupert Read, a high profile activist in the party tweeted soon after the results were announced saying:

Never again should the candidate who members voted for a top leadership post (#GPEW Deputy Leader) be prevented from taking up the job“.

He left no confusion to what he meant when he later tweeted:

@WillduckworthGP is elected Deputy Leader of Green Party (after female candidates are eliminated by our back firing gender balance rules)”

Natalie welcomed Will Duckworth’s election in her victory speech saying, “I look forward to working with Cllr Will Duckworth, who has been elected as deputy leader”. I am sure though that Will and the party membership though will remember her response on LBC radio when she was asked if she supported the gender rule and said, “it is the system we have so we have to live with it…I would support a change”.

Three questions remain for the Green Party then as they head to their party conference in Bristol. Firstly, is it right that two popular and competent deputy leadership candidates missed out just because of their gender? Secondly, does Will Duckworth hold a democratic mandate? Lastly, how does the Green Party’s policy on ‘gender balance’ sit with their pioneering and progressive adoption of issues around intersex (imagine if one of the candidates self identified as intersex what would happen then)?

For a party with such a strong internal democracy it seems bizarre that they would prevent a candidate’s election because of their gender. Do I feel an emergency motion coming on for conference…?

UPDATE (13:58 03/09/2012) – Peter Crainie, the leadership candidate who narrowly missed out on election has announced, “This election has identified several improvements we need to make ahead of the next set of leadership elections in 2014, beginning with an end to the gender balance rule that prevents two women from forming the leadership team in our party. I intend to co-sign any motion put forward by Natalie in this regard”.

UPDATE (14:47 03/09/2012) – The now Deputy Leader of The Green Party, Will Duckworth, was elected despite not getting “the quota required”. An internal communication explains:

“3,127 ballot papers were returned (a turnout of 25.1%).

In line with the election rules set out in the Green Party constitution, the Deputy Leader cannot be of the same gender as the Leader and so Caroline Allen and Alexandra Phillips are eliminated and their first preference votes will be redistributed to the highest expressed preference for an eligible candidate.

There were 353 spoilt papers (including papers expressing a preference only for a female candidate or candidates), giving a total valid vote of 2774 and the quota required for election is therefore 1,387.1

First preference votes were distributed as follows:

Allen – not eligible
Duckworth – 1,329
Mallender – 1,245
Phillips – not eligible
RON – 200

No candidate achieved quota, but Green Party rules require that RON not be eliminated, so the candidate with the highest vote is elected”

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Filed under Politics, sexuality