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

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‘What space for a women’s agenda in politics in 2014?’

natalie+bennett

An evening with Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett

Wednesday 16th April,  7.30 (tea/coffee) for 7.45 pm Friends’ Meeting House, Lancaster (next to Lancaster Rail station).

Since becoming leader of the Green Party in 2012, former Guardian journalist Natalie Bennett has spoken and listened to many women’s groups up and down the country on issues ranging from equal pay to female genital mutilation.

Come and hear her conclusions – and tell us your priorities. Everyone welcome at this informal but informative evening discussion.

Q: What do all these parties have in common: Tories, Lib Dems, Labour, Respect, UKIP, Scottish Nationalists, Socialist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, SLP, TUSC, & now ‘Left Unity’?

A: They all have a white, middle-aged, male leader!

Greens must be included in any national election debate

ktKeith Taylor, one of two Green MEPs for the UK, has demanded that the Green Party is included in any television debate ahead of the European Elections, his call comes after Nick Clegg challenged Nigel Farage to a debate ahead of the European Elections.

Mr Taylor also attacked the Lib Dem’s for attempting to brand themselves as a ‘party of change.’

Mr Taylor went on to criticise UKIP for their ‘inability to represent the people who voted for them’.

Mr Taylor represents the same region as Nigel Farage, but has been present at double the amount of key votes in the European Parliament than the UKIP leader.

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for South East England, said:

“It’s clear that voters want to see a change at this European election, and it goes without saying that the Lib Dems, a party in Government, won’t offer anything new. It’s no wonder voters are abandoning Clegg’s party in droves.

If there is to be a national television or radio election debate before the European elections then I fully expect the Green Party, which has representation in both Brussels and Westminster, to be invited.”

“In the European elections we need to see the right kind of change. That means voting for politicians who want to change the EU to make it more accountable to all of us, rather than allowing it to continue to serve big business.

As Lib Dems in the cabinet sit by and watch while the Government offers handouts to fracking firms and cuts the budget of the Environment Agency, it’s clear that they can’t be trusted to protect our environment.

Only the Greens are offering people a chance to make a real change in these elections. We want to stay in the EU, but unlike the Lib Dems we support a referendum so we can all have a say. We want things in Brussels to change, but unlike UKIP we want to continue working with our European Neighbours as part of the EU.

UKIP’s voting record in the European Parliament shows their inability to represent the people who voted for them. They often don’t turn up for the crucial votes that affect all of our lives.

As the UK faces queues at food banks, flooded streets and fracking in our countryside it is clear that change is needed. Greens are the only ones offering voters the right kind of change.”

See more here