Readers, the results of by-elections from yesterday that featured Green Party candidates were as follows:
Richmondshire DC, Richmond Central: Richmondshire Independents 236 (35.0%), Liberal Democrats 205 (30.4%, -18.3%), Conservative 156 (21.3%, -6.6%), Green 77 (11.4%, -10.2%).
Dundee UA, Maryfield: (1st preference votes) SNP 1383 (49.5%, -1.3%), Labour 634 (22.7%, -13.7%), Conservative 294 (10.5%, +3.3%), TUSC 142 (5.1%, +3.3%), Green 116 (4.1%), Liberal Democrats 85 (3.0%, -0.7%), Independent 73 (2.6%), UKIP 69 (2.5%).
With five weeks remaining until the 2016 elections in the UK, it is clear the SNP will still be on course to maintain its outright majority in the Scottish Parliament, possibly even if my Scottish Green colleagues manage their best year ever. The result in Richmondshire can be attributed to the fact that the local Liberal Democrats fielded someone who lived some distance from Richmond town itself (the Richmond in Yorkshire, not the Richmond in London!) and this was poorly received by local residents, especially when the Liberal Democrats had tried this before and when the Richmondshire Independents candidate had served on the town council and thus knew the area.
I would like to say on the crisis of the British steel industry that the British government's attitude towards the matter has been disrespectful and inconsiderate to the thousands of people who will lose their jobs, especially when they blocked an EU measure to restrict cheap Chinese steel imports, which have influenced Tata Steel's decision to pull out of the UK (Tata Steel owns the majority of remaining UK steel-making operations). I furthermore believe that it can play a part in helping Britain transition to a green economy even if it is not really green in of itself, particularly since steel can be easily recycled and since it can be useful for constructing some of the necessary new renewable energy infrastructure that Britain needs.
Finally, nominations for Mayor of London for 2016 have closed, and with 12 candidates competing, the race is now on for Green Party candidate, Sian Berry. If you are reading this blog, Sian, I wish you the best of luck, believe that green politics is more important than ever, and believe the green vision for Londoners will work.