We were however extremely close to doing so. Another 1-1.5% gain would have seen us gain at least 4 seats, including me getting elected in Eastern Region (where despite an endless persuasive stream of lies from the LibDems that we couldn’t win, we came within 1% of doing so; the FibDems instead let in a climate-denying UKIP MEP).
The dream of an apolitical techno-fix is persuasive, given how hard electoral breakthrough is to achieve: but it will only work if there is a techno-fix that will actually WORK. There is good reason to believe that there is no such magic-bullet: see e.g. http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3126
We came so close in these elections to the long-awaited breakthrough, and performed fantastically well in our strongholds such as Norwich and Brighton. This bodes well for our prospects of a Westminster breakthrough: perhaps sooner than one thinks, given an enticing byelection prospect in Norwich North…
And remember that it took Labour just one generation to go from no MPs to forming its first government…
Despite a significant increase in Green Party vote share from around 5.5% in 2004 to around 9% tonight, the Greens have just failed to win a seat in the East of England.
Green support rose right across the UK with the 2 existing Green MEPs Dr. Caroline Lucas (South East) and Jean Lambert (London) each being elected for the third time, and with significantly increased vote share.
Over 140,000 voters backed the Greens in the East of England, following a campaign that the Eastern Region Green Party began 2 years ago.
Support peaked strongly in the emerging Green strongholds with the Greens in Norwich coming first with about 25% of the vote, a result which was on the cards following the Greens coming first across the city in the County Council elections on Thursday.
The Green campaign covered every part of the region and was particularly focussed on meeting people and finding out what they wanted to see from their MEPs. Green policies including Clean Politics and Green Jobs – with the aim of helping to make the East a European leader in renewable energy.
There is great danger and great opportunity in the current political scandal facing
The up-side of crises, however, is that they present enormous opportunity, and I believe that there really is a once in a generation opportunity in the political upheaval facing this country: there is so much anger, not just about the expenses issue, but about the rotten Parliamentary system it symbolizes. If one looks at how unrepresentative the people are who supposedly represent us in Westminsterfew women and ethnic minorities for exampleif one looks at the many people who just don’t think its worth voting anymore because the outcome of an election is known from the start, one sees a correlation between this disconnect with the public and the abuse of power.
But trifling reforms to the MPs allowance won’t do that, and even grander sounding ‘codes of conduct’ won’t do that; what will start to do it is real electoral reform leading either to the election of politicians who really represent the population or in forcing those currently in office to start addressing those concerns, which of course they should have been doing all along. We need to have a much fairer, proportional representation voting system so that the people in government look more like the people that actually elect them, not just men in grey suits, doing things behind closed doors that people don’t understand.
And we need a political party that can actually make this change happen. A party that is positive and thoughtful. A party open to new ideas and everyone’s views, with the strength of character to stand up for something, not just against everything. We are really the only party to offer this: a positive alternative, a vision for the future, the strength of principles tempered by a willingness to listen. Thus, the Green Party is best suited to lead the root and branch transformation of government, so people can feel proud about it again, so that public life is something honourable again.
Here is a quick primer on some of the key political-reform and constitutional-change policies that the Green Party have been signed up to for years (not, as in the case of the other Parties, merely for days or weeks):
Proportional representation (we prefer Additional Member System (AMS) or Single Transferable Vote (STV))
Fixed term parliament – 4 years, except where government loses vote of confidence
Fully elected Second Chamber to replace House of Lords
State funding for political parties to eliminate corporate buying of politicians
Voting age reduced to 16
Radical decentralisation/localisation of power from
Elected Regional Assemblies
Remove all constitutional powers from monarch
Disestablish Church of England
Register of interests for MPs and senior civil servants
Expenses Transparency, in
Clamp down hard on corporate lobbying
Reduce power of Prime Minister, increase power of cross-party committees of MPs
Citizens Initiative for referendums.
The opportunity to begin this transformation is by voting in the one election that we already have that is run by proportional representation – for the Green Party, today .
YOU HAVE 5 HOURS LEFT TO VOTE IN, PEOPLE!!
Caroline, a passionate campaigner on social justice, green economics, the environment and animal welfare at both the grassroots level and in the European Parliament also won the title in 2007 against David Cameron and Gordon Brown, and is delighted to have been chosen to receive the award once again by readers of the Observer.
Dr Lucas said: “I am honoured that Observer readers have chosen to recognise my work in this way it means a great deal. At a time of serious political malaise, economic upheaval and environmental challenges, the Greens’ positive vision for the future has never been more important. The party’s policies to create up to a million new green jobs, tackle climate change, protect public services and safeguard civil liberties are at the forefront of efforts to create a new political landscape in which people and planet are always at the heart of decision making.
“I am proud to be a member of a political organisation with strong principles and clear ideas, which is driven by a determination to bring progressive, engaging and ethical politics into the mainstream.”
For more information on the Observer Ethical Awards, please visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/observer-ethical-awards.