Monday, 8 May 2017

Where do we Go Green from here?

So having just worked up to the County Council Elections we now find ourselves hurtling toward the big one, General Election 2017 (hashtag GE2017!). With our sole defence of the Green Party seat in Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas has worked tirelessly to both be a fantastic MP as well as a figurehead for the Green Party. So what are the options?

Progressive Alliance...
This seeks to make deals with the other progressive, left leaning parties to step aside if this represents the best prospect to take a seat from the Conservatives. This needs to be able to work both ways on an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch my back" basis. This worked brilliantly for the Richmond Park bi-election when the Greens actively canvassed for Sarah Olney of the Liberal Democrats who then defeated Zac Goldsmith (albeit an independent candidate by then having abdicated his Tory seat). Similarly The Lib Dems are not standing against Caroline Lucas. However, this principle is fraught with risk and the potential for one party to renege after the other has given way is ominous. The very latest is this is not going to be Green Party policy this election.

Shifting Sideways...
One of the prominent Green European MEPs, Molly Scott-Cato, is moving across to stand as an MP for Bristol West. Whilst her reputation precedes her and she has a highly visible public profile she is standing against a female Labour MP who turned in a 5,763 majority in 2015. Another example is former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett who will now be standing for the Sheffield Central constituency.

Location, Location, Location...
I have to claim a particular interest in this approach! I am proud to have been born and bred on the Isle of Wight where the Green Party candidate for the island constituency is Vix Lowthion. She secured 13.4% of the vote in the 2015 General Election but that was then behind the now spent force of UKIP (21.2%) and the recently disgraced Tory MP. Furthermore she is riding on the crest of a huge increase in support for the Island's Greens in the recent county elections along with the justifiable anger about the potential of Fracking sites on the garden isle.

Keeping it Local...
I am delighted that our Colchester and District Green Party able to field two candidates as two constituencies cross our patch. Mark Goacher, a relatively seasoned campaigner, stands in Colchester and one of our rising stars, Blake Roberts, stands in the Harwich and North Essex constituency (which covers Mersea Island).

So where do we go from here?

The very good news is that it is looking promising for Caroline Lucas to be returned to the Houses of Parliament for a further term. For some others, such as Vix and Molly, there is a real chance of gaining at least another seat.

Locally, however, it is really tough...

Potentially Colchester is a marginal seat as there may be a strong Lib Dem challenge from Sir Bob Russell. I think it is more likely the Conservative Will Quince will increase his majority. I think both Mark and Blake will garner enough votes to be a worthy component of the Green Party national vote and I commend them to you.


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