Friday, 15 May 2015

Some thoughts after the election aftermath: the Greens

The Greens had a mixed election. They stood in many more seats than ever before, but did not manage to increase their number of MPs, with Caroline Lucas remaining their sole representative at Westminster. The Green party leader, Natalie Bennett, failed to get elected in her seat of Holborn and St Pancras.

But they did well in the popular vote, getting over 1.1 million votes and 3.8% of the total, an increase of 2.8% over 2010. Like UKIP, the fact they only got one seat is down to the vagaries of the FPTP electoral system.

The council elections were less positive. The Greens ran Brighton and Hove council as a minority administration, but this year they lost seats and control over the council. In England they gained a paltry 9 councillors (compared to the Conservatives 497).

The question is what proportion of their new support comes from people who are now genuine Green supporters, and what proportion supported them because they found they could not vote for Labour or the Liberal Democrats. The former are more likely to stick with the party than the latter.

The EU referendum in 2015 has to be an opportunity for the Greens. Much depends on Cameron's renegotiation with the EU; but there is a place for an unashamedly pro-EU party. Ordinarily that would be filled by the Liberal Democrats, but they are currently a party in decline. It would be easy for the Greens to accept that torch and run with it.

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