25 May 2014

Will European Election count deliver success for the Greens?

So as Green Party of England and Wales International Coordinator and a European election candidate, I have been working hard over recent months.

We worked to get a European Green Party manifesto we were happy with and a strong anti-TTIP policy from the EGP.

I also supported the always impressive Adam Ramsay in writing a first draft of our own manifesto and had a sneak preview of the ground breaking 'spot the badger' political broadcast.

So what constitutes a good result for Natalie Bennett and the rest of us Greens when the dust has settled and the counts are over.

For the BBC, however many MEPs we elect, we will for them, have largely failed, UKIP are their focus.

For us, I think we can say in contrast we have already succeeded.

Membership is growing at 50 a day, we made gains in the local elections and our perspectives especially on diversity, austerity and climate change have been advanced.

The Common Good contrasts with the neo-liberal, everything for the billionaires, gravy trickling down from the chins of the super rich vision of Conservatives and Labour.  We are, in the difficult climate of UK politics, moving forward. Above all, we provide a broad ideological alternative, a narrative, if you like.  I think it is fair to say that this is gaining traction.

I think we will easily retain our present two MEPs in the South East and London.

We won't win in the East Midlands constituency or in the North East, with just three seats it is clearly our of reach for the moment.

Our sister Party in Northern Ireland who have made local elections gains this weekend but will not win a seat, I also feel it is unlikely we will win in Wales, although Pippa Bartoletti will poll very strongly.  Personally I would argue that it would be good for Plaid and Greens to talk, given that Plaid are in the Green group in the European Parliament.  However this is a matter for Welsh party members not for me and eve of poll urging of Greens to vote for Plaid seem mistimed. 

The likely success or other wise of Plaid is not significantly a function of Green performance in Wales, to my mind.

In all the other euro constituencies we could make gains. In the North West Peter Cranie was narrowly beaten by Nick Griffin of the BNP in 2009, with Greens doing well in Liverpool and coming second in the vote in Manchester, I think he will probably win this time around.

The South West, Eastern and Yorkshire and Humberside are all regions where we have polled very strongly in the past and may will make gains.  Molly Scott Cato, Rupert Read and Andrew Cooper have engaged in very energetic campaigns.

It is possible that Alex Phillips could join Keith Taylor as MEPs for the South East constituency.

It is also possible that Will Duckworth in the West Midland and Maggie Chapman from our sister party, could win in Scotland.

Its very difficult to call.

The D'Hondt system of counting where the largest party wins an MEP, their percentage is then halved and is any party has more votes than the half it is elected, and so on produces unpredicatable results.

If we can beat the Lib Democrats that means D'Hondt makes it much more likely we will new MEPs, the same percentage vote but behind the Lib Dems will be less likely to deliver MEPs.

The 13% vote share for the Lib Dems in the local elections looks a little out of reach for us, however we tend to poll better in European Elections which are proportional representation.

We have won big on social media among young voters but they are less likely to vote than older voters.

It is also interesting to speculate whether Mike Nattrass's An Independence from Europe Party will confuse UKIP voters, it may take a few percent and take the edge from UKIP.  They are the first party on the ballot paper and UKIP are the last, so could cause confusion.

So difficult to call, in short, we could beat the Lib Dems and elect as many as 8 MEPs or stick with our present 2, it will be interesting to see.

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