Today, one of my Facebook friends posted an article titled: “Brighton (where Greens run the Council) has become an object lesson in why it is a disaster to vote Green – the eco-comrades have experimented with a series of bizarre policies”. Naturally, the reporting was somewhat skewed, but raised enough alarm bells for me to be concerned that the stereotypical loony, liberal, tree hugging, middle class, think they know it all, cloud cuckoo land, blinkered, left leaning loonies are now flexing their muscles, having gained power, majoring on things I don’t care all that much about or even disagree with, neglecting those things which matter.
But for the fact I have been impressed with our (Southend) own local prospective Parliamentary candidate, who argues a strong case, and some good Green Party ideas I have read about in the media, I may well be tempted to discount them for similar reasons as I have done the Lib Dems, although it looks as the Greens might be picking up their mantle, with some Lib Dems having already defected to the Green Party in much the same way we are seeing Conservatives defecting to UKIP – and where I wonder does that leave Labour, although the signs are that some of their supporters may be attracted to the Green’s purer brand of socialism?
I am still chewing over what the various parties are saying about matters of importance and what they will do if elected. I am also carefully noting when they don’t meaningfully pronounce on the things I think are important. Already we see Labour make the NHS one of their main election issues with the Conservatives focusing on the economy, although there are many other issues to add to the mix, not least the position of the UK in Europe to consider. I have yet come to a decision where my support lies, besides which, as it currently looks, I may still end up voting for the candidate I think will do most good, irrespective of his / her politics. On issues like that of transport, the environment and energy, I have felt the Greens might be speaking the most sense. Their ideas on helping the poorest members of our society and their non-beholdeness to powerful special interest sponsors are also factors in their favour.
Interestingly, during the week, I have noted the Green complaint that they have been given disproportionate time and attention in media reporting and platforms for making their case, especially given their well documented gain in popularity, and I have lent my support to this. Along with UKIP, they are serious players in the political melee, and should be taken seriously. Whether my old politically astute friend is right and no parties outside Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem will win seats they don’t already hold, in the 2015 General Election, this remains to be seen. He has yet to take me up on my invitation for a bet, for I think there will be surprises.
What seems clear, it will no longer be a two horse race, Conservative and Labour, with Lib Dems gaining a few seats, possibly holding the balance of power, but rather (with Greens and UKIP) a five horse race. We live in interesting times and the stakes (literally) are high.