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Gaps for Growth: Where the Green Party can grow

By Luke Walter. Luke’s blog, The Plural Progressive, can be found here.

Much recent discussion has taken place over how the Green Party intends to grow and expand beyond our current level of support, including responses to the potential cost of doing so. However, far less has been said about where we can expand, where we could become the first choice party for progressive voters.

In the 2009 European Parliament elections the Greens finished ahead of Labour in two regions, the South East and the South West. In the South East, Labour was lucky to retain their MEP, Peter Skinner. In the South West, Labour lost their sole MEP but, the combined Green/Mebyon Kernow vote would have been enough for us to gain our first MEP in the region.  And, in the East of England, we were just 20,000 votes short of picking Labour off, and even less votes off taking the final seat, which eventually went to UKIP.

What all of this tells us is that the Labour vote in these regions is incredibly flaky. Further, the results from the General Election in these regions – Labour only having ten MPs across all three – tells us that the progressive vote was reluctant to turn out for Labour to off-set the threat of a Tory Government. And, as we all know, Labour’s safest seat in the South East region, Brighton Pavilion, turned Green, leaving Caroline Lucas as the only opposition MP in Sussex and Kent.

Whilst our Euro vote in London increased, the Tory threat played into Labour’s hands during the General and Borough elections, nearly causing a complete Green wipe-out despite many more people voting Green in the capital. Our Euro result in the North West was incredibly hard to stomach, being pipped to the final seat by the despicable BNP, and falling just 5000 votes short.

So, it seems clear to me that the Green Party should set its sights on displacing Labour in the South West, South East and the Eastern regions. Over the next year we can look forward to seeing both Norwich and Brighton strike it out in a bid to become the largest parties on their respective councils. We can also hope for Cambridge and Bristol Green parties to chase disaffected Lib Dem voters and expand representation on their councils.

Of course, as a party, we’re only as good as the policies we pursue, the campaigns we lead and the publicity we receive off the back of those two things. Established local parties in the regions, therefore, have an obligation to actively support smaller parties, and to provide knowledge, skills and, if possible, resources, to ensure those parties run successful target to win campaigns to establish ourselves on every County and District council in the region.

This doesn’t mean giving up in the Midlands or the North, quite the opposite, it means doing the same as in the South. But, if we are to become an obvious choice for progressive voters, we must work to finish Labour off in the South.

If we want to see Green politics in action, we have to go it alone, and challenge Labour for the bulk of the progressive vote. As a target ward candidate in Brighton for next year’s locals, I know we can only do this by thinking big and understanding the scale of such a task, by outflanking Labour in everything we say and do.

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2 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BrightGreenScotland and BrushYourTeeth, Broad Left Blogging. Broad Left Blogging said: Gaps for Growth: Where the Green Party can grow: http://wp.me/pXkBd-2a […]

  2. […] more here: Gaps for Growth: Where the Green Party can grow « Broad Left Blogging This entry was posted in Green Politics and tagged Auto Green, Green living, Green Politics, […]

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