Sunday, 4 April 2010

Greens Advance in Haringey

The above graph illustrates the steady progress that the Green Party has made in Haringey over the last four years. In the 2006 council elections we polled 9.7% borough wide. In the 2008 London Assembly elections our vote rose to 12.7% and in the 2009 European elections we got a spectacular 17.4% of the poll across Haringey, beating the Conservatives.

There are, I think, a number of reasons for this advance by Greens at these elections.

The 2008 and 2009 elections were proportional voting type ones, where voters know that they have more chance of electing Greens than in the traditional first past the post system, so people are more willing to vote for us.

The green agenda has been getting more publicity in recent years, what with man made climate change in the news regularly, and a consensus building that we need to do something about it. At the same time, concerns are rising over the possibility that we are close to the ‘peak oil’ scenario, where oil is now running out quicker than new sources are being found. Energy security is also an issue, with many of the fossil fuel supplying countries in unstable parts of the world.

There is a general dissatisfaction with the main political parties, centred mainly around financial scandals, whether it is spurious claims on the public purse, or offers by MP’s to take payments for lobbying on behalf of commercial organisations. The impression is of a bunch of people on the make, and a desire from the public to protest. Let’s face it, there is plenty to protest about.

The Green Party nationally has been trying to broaden its appeal by highlighting our social policies, which focus on social justice, fairness and equality. I think this has had some success, although there is much more to be done in this regard, as many still view us as a single issue, environmental party.

Locally, we have canvassed thousands of people in the borough, and delivered tens of thousands of leaflets over the past few years. For a party short on financial resources, we don’t have the backing of wealthy businessmen or trade unions, this has been a fantastic effort, and I’m sure has played a significant part in our rising share of the vote in Haringey.

Now we have the local and General elections almost certainly both on 6th May this year. Again we are back to first past the post elections, but my feeling is we will maintain our progress, and we have an excellent chance of making an historic breakthrough and having Greens elected to the local council for the first time. In Stroud Green, our target ward, all the signs are that people are ready for change, for the kinds of policies and energy that Greens will bring.

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