Green party support is surging – but the media prefer to talk about Ukip

By Zoe Williams

The Greens’ successes go unrecorded by commentators who would rather have a few rogues to liven up things

Polling data hardly means a consistent thing from one party to another, does it? If you say you’re going to vote BNP, it’s like saying you’re going to set fire to a pub. You’d have to get as far as the front door with a can of petrol before anybody would believe you.

A stated intention to vote Green, on the other hand, doesn’t have the ring of merry threat or bravado; it has the ring of sober consideration. To test that theory, however, you would have to look at a result and compare it with a poll. This is made exceedingly difficult by the fact that the Greens are habitually called “other”, lumping them together with the BNP, along with the more like-minded but factually incorrectly named Animals Count (animals cannot count) and the properly barmy Christian People’s Alliance.

“Othering” actually has a sort-of specific meaning, in sociological terms, placing a person or a thing outside the scope of normality and acceptability. However, the meanings collide: when they put a political party in the “other” category, this “othering” is, by happenstance, the result.

Polls as a ranking tool are pretty boring. Maybe I’m being trivial and trying to turn psephology into Emmerdale, but I don’t just want to see who wins and who loses; I want to see who wins from whose losses. In 2009 Labour was down nearly 7 percentage points (anybody who thinks they’re unpopular now just has a very short memory), but those numbers weren’t showing up in support for the Tories or Ukip, still less the Lib Dems, who were themselves down 1.2 percentage points (and people still liked Nick Clegg back then. Imagine!). The Greens, though, had picked up 2.4 percentage points, which, since it increased their vote share from under 6% to over 8%, was pretty significant.

However, you would have had to wait until the weekend after polling day to find that out.

This time around, the Greens are polling higher than at any point since 1989. Their share went from 3% to 8%, in a poll whose results were interpreted, by every paper apart from the Evening Standard, as testament to the fact that voters hate everybody (to put that in Westminster terms, it’s a “war of the weak”). Imagine if Ukip’s poll ratings had nearly tripled what manner of political flurry we would be in then. Imagine if the Lib Dems went below the Greens, which they very nearly have (in this same poll, they were on 9%); in a YouGov poll last week asking about voting intentions for the European elections, the Lib Dems were two points behind the Greens, who reached 12%. Continue reading

The Left Must Unite to Kick the BNP Out of Europe

article by Peter Cranie reproduced from Huffington Post62399036_peter_cranie_high1

Last week Left Unity, the new ‘radical political party of the left’ held its founding conference. What does that mean for politics to the left of Labour? And what could be the electoral impact of a new left organisation? I’ll put my cards on the table early on. I was the lead candidate for the Greens in the North West region, where in 2009 we lost out by 0.3% to Nick Griffin and the BNP. Why is that relevant? Well the combined vote for socialist parties in the North West in 2009 was 3% and every one of those ballot papers was a missed opportunity to stop Griffin getting into the European Parliament. What Left Unity decides on as their electoral strategy could have a huge impact on whether we succeed in removing him this time.

Politics is never simple, and not every socialist would have chosen to back the Greens, but arguably the figures speak for themselves. If different choices had been made, Nick Griffin would never have been elected. Many in Left Unity are keen to take a new approach to politics and are urging co-operation, rather than confrontation, with the Green Party in the run up to the European Elections. I believe Left Unity must focus on uniting voters on the left to kick the BNP out of the European Parliament once and for all. Continue reading

Euro elections 2014 – 200 days to go


NW Chart 2009


In 2009 we were less than 5,000 votes away from winning our first
European seat in the North West. With 200 days to go, that means we
need 25 votes per day if we are going to win our seat and make sure
that Nick Griffin and BNP lose their foothold in British politics.
Continue reading