The Day After

Definitely mixed feelings today.

Obviously delight that Caroline Lucas was elected in Brighton Pavilion and that the UK now has its first Green MP. But locally it’s hard to hide the disappointment of a reduced vote after 3 months of very hard work.

Of course, we could spin it and point out that our vote in Swansea West (1.1%) and Swansea East (1.0%) is consistent with the national average for the Green Party (1.0%). And we could add that all the smaller parties, including Plaid and the SNP, got well and truly squeezed by the main parties across the UK. But we still got less votes than last time; and less than both UKIP and the BNP – which is deeply disappointing.

Main (personal) explanation: environmental issues were well and truly sidelined in the election as the main focus was on the economy; and the Green Party is, like it or not, still closely associated with the environment and not yet seen as a party that can deal with economic issues.

Also, following the first of the leaders’ debates, the whole focus was on the three main parties and particularly on the personality of their leaders. Informed and balanced debate about the real alternatives simply went out of the window. For example, at one point the BBC ran a piece about environmental policies, and didn’t mention the Green Party at all!

So, now the best we can hope for is a short term coalition with the main aim of introducing some form of proportional representation before holding another general election under the new rules later this year or early next year.

It all depends on how far Nick Clegg is prepared to push the other two in order to get PR, which the Liberal party has been campaigning for for around 40 years. Will he have the courage of his convictions, or will he bottle it for a share of power?

At the time of writing a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition looks most likely, but all Cameron is offering on electoral reform is an “all party committee of inquiry on political and electoral reform”. Hardly a great leap forward.

On the other hand, Brown favours the Additional Vote (AV) system, which is far from a “proportional” situation.

I fear Nick Clegg is about to learn the meaning of the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true”!

All we can do is wait and see – but don’t be holding your breath!

There’s been some chatter on the lists today about how the Green Party should approach another General Election within a year. This one has cost us around £140,000 in lost deposits, plus the cost of all the leaflets. It’s a sum we can ill afford to spend again so quickly.

Some people are suggesting that we should focus on a small number of target constituencies. But on the other hand, I’ve had two e-mails today from people complaining that they were unable to vote Green because there was no candidate in their constituency.

No doubt this issue will run and run over the next few weeks.

Personally I’m going to take a few days to lick wounds and recharge batteries. So it could be a little quiet on the blog for a while, but we should be back to business as usual by the end of the month.

Catch you later.

Keith M Ross
formerly Green Party Candidate for Swansea West

PS: Quote of the day, “The people have spoken, but we don’t know what they’ve said” (Lord Ashcroft)

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Keith; don’t be too hard on yourself. This was an unusual election where at the business end voters retreated into either feudal instincts, or went for what they genuinely thought would make the difference (i.e. the Tories) in kicking out this discredited disappointing New Labour government. It’s obvious that despite what we might have thought, smaller parties got squeezed. UKIP and BNP are always going to get the vote of disgruntled little islanders because Sun readers don’t understand our party.

    The challenge for the Greens is to demonstrate a move away from domination by environmental issues. While these are important elements, when it comes to politics, people concentrate on core issues (NHS, education, economy, law & order, etc.). We need to show that we are serious in tackling these, especially if as expected many LibDems will defect in disgust at the Clegg/Cameron pact and find their natural home in the Greens.

    Looking forward to meeting up and discussing future ideas at the June meeting.

    Onwards and upward.

    Antony Thomas

    Reply

  2. Posted by Andrew Lainton on May 8, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Although having lived in Swansea for 10 years, I am from Brighton, and I can assure you that many people didn’t vote for Caroline Lucas! She is widely disliked in the Brighton and Hove area (she refuses to live in the constituency that she represents), and has made the most ridiculous comments about immigration; she is on record as saying that any type of border control or cap on immigration is (quote) “Fascist (unquote). It seem that it was students from the University Of Sussex and University Of Brighton who voted her in; Brighton and Hove have too many problems for a political opportunist like Lucas to deal with.

    Poor old Brighton; how sad…..

    Reply

    • What record is this ‘Buttman’?

      It seems you have an agenda against immigration and it also seems this is your only agenda. It’s also interesting that the person commenting above has done so from the same IP address.

      Caroline Lucas has an exemplary record as an MEP and has won several awards. Show me any proof of what you say about Caroline, Buttman. I won’t waste any more time commenting on any more of your immigration rants except to say that the green party is a democratic party with policy that is passed democratically. Read our policy on immigration and you’ll see that it does not support mass immigration or anything of the sort.

      The largest immigration to the UK recently has been from EU countries which we can do little about because we are in the EU. I’m sure that this is just sour grapes because no BNP members won any seats becasue the majority of people are well educated enough to know that it’s a fascist party.

      As far as immigration goes, do you intend to send all the English back to France and Scandinavia? Do you think we should take back all the Australians and Americans?

      Funny that if she was so disliked that she would get over 16000 votes too don’t you think, for Brighton Pavillion. I’ve contacted both unions at University of Brighton and University of Sussex who say they will do a poll to find out how many students voted for Caroline.

      Stop your nonsense Buttman and stop blaiming others for your failings.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Simone Sibbald on May 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I met Caroline Lucas at a Vegan Summer Gathering a few years back; although I support the Green Party philosophically, I do not think she will be a good MP. Like many Green’s, she has an obsessive belief in the ‘benefits’ of mass-immigration, and subscribes to the whole diversity and multicultural agenda. She seemed to me woefully ignorant of the machinery of politics; lets just say that the fact that she has a Ph.D in ‘Women’s Studies’ is glaringly apparent!

    Reply

    • You’re woefully ingorant to Green Party poicies which Caroline Lucas wholly subscribes to.

      Reply

    • It’s a pity that a forum where one would expect at least an element of reasoned debate finds itself -like so many forums these days- hijacked by ill-informed and somewhat derogatory comment. Simone’s invective is very similar to BNP member comments I have seen on other discussion groups, and is usually posted as a means to unsettle left-thinking parties.

      While not ignoring the fact that immigration issues do concern many, there has to be a grown-up debate about it; recognising the fact that as EU members we have an obligation under treaty to allow free trade and access to work across borders. Where is the evidence of Ms Lucas’s ‘obsessive belief’? and where in the MP manual does it state that a PhD in women’s studies is a barrier to being a decent MP?

      If we’re expected to give the benefit of the doubt to a dubious and duplicitous Government coalition that decides the course of our country for the next five years, then surely giving Ms Lucas a chance to prove her mettle as an MP is equally justified.

      Reply

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