Friday, 31 October 2014

While we Greens were away (and yet present on the same day)....

Last night, I am pleased to say Caroline Lucas put on a great performance on Question Time- now BBC Question Time just needs to invite other Greens who would be good panellists, like Shahrar Ali (our male Deputy Leader), Amelia Womack (our female Deputy Leader), and our PPC for Cambridge, Rupert Read.

At the same time, though, there were no Green Party candidates in any of yesterday's local by-elections. But two interesting things did happen nonetheless.

Firstly, despite all the media hype, UKIP did not win the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner after all-even though the previous Labour incumbent, Shaun Wright, resigned over the scale of the child abuse scandal in Rotherham, and the police's failure to properly protect children. Labour's candidate, Alan Billings, won this election on the first round, even though his first preferences were only just over the 50 per cent mark (at 50.02%, no less!)
Amazingly, turnout stayed rather the same-but then again, the turnout of the inaugural Police and Crime Commissioner elections back in 2012 was so low (average of 15%) it could not really get any worse! The Liberal Democrats did not stand in this by-election and both Labour and the Lib Dems have said they want to scrap unnecessary Police and Crime Commissioners-so does the Green Party.

Secondly, the SNP managed to hold in the North Coast & Cumbraes by-election in North Ayrshire,which also resulted in a crucial decline in the Labour vote. Recent surveys have varied in how many seats the SNP will gain from Labour (our fellow Greens in Scotland might gain Edinburgh East if we work at it) next year; one poll even showed that Labour could be down to as few as 4 seats (with the Lib Dems only holding Orkney and Shetland and the Conservatives and Unionists losing their only Scottish Westminster seat) with the SNP ending up with 54 (or 90% of all Westminster seats in Scotland!). Only time will tell how many gains the SNP will make-and whether it could hold the balance of power in the same way Bloc Quebecois could have held the balance of power in Canada (they became the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament in 1993 to the Liberals, partly because the Progressive Conservatives lost so many seats that year).

In the meantime, let us all continue supporting the Green Party and their alternative message, and get them included in at least some televised debates.

Regards, Alan.

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