The results of yesterday's local by-elections that featured Green Party candidates were as follows:
Hackney LBC, Hackney Central: Labour 1354 (75.2%, +11.1%), Green 178 (9.9%, -13.0%), Liberal Democrats 113 (6.3%, -1.1%), Conservative 101 (5.6%, -0.2%), Independent 55 (3.1%)
Reading UA, Southcote: Lab 934 (64.1%, +0.2%), Con 381 (26.1%, +1.3%), Lib Dem 77 (5.3%,-0.9%), Green 66 (4.5%,-0.6%). All changes are since this May.
It is rather unfortunate that there were only 2 Green Party candidates across the 12 local by-elections that occurred yesterday, especially when they came from far and wide across England and Wales. The Southcote by-election showed hardly any change for any party at all, but we sadly fell backwards significantly in Hackney, long an area of good Green support, despite fielding a former Young Greens co-chair (namely Siobhan MacMahon). This is possibly due to the 'Corbyn effect' even amidst the infighting within the Labour Party.
There has been much talk of a 'progressive alliance' being formed against the Conservatives in the media lately, initiated by the Green Party. However, recent events show why this is unlikely to actually occur:
1. Turmoil within the Labour Party that will likely have long-term consequences, and could even split it in two a la the SDP of 1981.
2. Internal differences in core issues might cause it to fail anyway.
3. Not only will Labour and the Liberal Democrats not cooperate with the Green Party or aligned parties in the G/EFA group, they will not cooperate with each other at present.
4. Green MP Caroline Lucas' bill to not only bring in proportional representation in Westminster but also reduce the voting age to 16 was not supported by many Labour MPs; so many abstained but enough voted with the Conservatives (although Ben Howlett, Conservative MP for Bath, actually voted in favour) to get the bill rejected (it was rejected by only 81 votes to 74, with the Greens, Liberal Democrats, SNP and Plaid Cymru united in favour of it). Many Labour Party MPs also ally on the Conservatives on key issues, including the recent vote to renew Trident.
I believe instead the Green Party must do what it can to win on its own and broaden its appeal so it can do so. We won Brighton Pavilion in 2010 with no help from any major or minor political party whatsoever (and from third position in 2005, not second), and our surge was also achieved without help. We also remain united on our core values, have real respect for the British electorate, and can bring a really alternative vision which can bring fairness and prosperity to all based on ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and peace.