Posted by Matt | Posted in Green Party, Politics, Worcester Politics | Posted on 09-05-2015
Firstly, it was a good result for the Green Party, especially with Caroline Lucas’s excellent result in Brighton. We increased our share of the vote nationally from 1% to almost 4% and gained a number of Council seats across the country. In Worcester we got over 4% in the general election and we narrowly missed out on winning our second City Council seat. We are in a strong position in the coming years.
Secondly, the post-mortem has begun as to why so many of the undecided voters ended up voting for the Tories. There are, I believe, a number of factors that together meant that the Labour Party could not win.
- The global recession was the fault of the Labour Party. Of course this is nonsense, but the narrative stuck. The Conservatives and Lib Dems, backed up by the right-wing press, repeated the idea that Labour got us into this mess and Labour failed to respond adequately to counter it. Therefore, it was very difficult to regain many voters’ trust that the economy was safe in their hands.
- For Labour to stand a chance to be the next government it was clear from the polls that they needed the support of the SNP. The Tories used this to their advantage, again backed by the right-wing press. Within England, across the political divide, there are many people who believe that Scotland already gets more than its fair share. The thought that under a Labour government the SNP would have huge influence worried them. Labour were clearly aware of this danger, which was why Ed Miliband ruled out doing any deal with the SNP. However, the damage was done.
- It was never clear to me what the Labour Party stood for. As a Green Party member I am very clear as to what our party stands for. The same can also be said for the SNP and UKIP, and to a lesser extent the Conservatives. The only party with less of a clear vision are the Lib Dems and see what happened to them! Some of Ed Miliband’s policies were OK, if not inspiring. Often they appeared to be watered down Green Party policies. More importantly, there wasn’t a coherent vision of how they wanted society to be. Austerity-lite does not inspire.
Add to the above the relative unpopularity of Ed Miliband, the ferocious attacks from most of the print media, a seemingly improving economy and it was all perhaps inevitable. The fact that the SNP could convince Scottish voters that anti-austerity was the way forward shows that it was not a matter of the Labour Party being too left-wing. They were just not in a position, due to point 1 above, to present a coherent case as to why an alternative to the cuts was possible; so they went along with the austerity agenda.
One hope I have from this result is that the Labour Party start to seriously consider voting reform, in particular the introduction of some form of proportional representation. Once they realise that they will struggle to form a majority government for many, many years, they may start to see the benefits. I know many people in Worcester who voted Green locally but Labour nationally to “keep the Tories out”. It probably cost us another 1000 votes and our £500 deposit! Perhaps from now on less and less people will do this and vote according to their principles and beliefs, and vote for the Green Party. Lets hope so.