I have yet to observe the party beyond a grunt level of going door to door. So I shan’t bore you with another rousing explanation of how cold it gets after a few hours in the rain with doors being shut, albeit politely, directly in your face. However, I did get a chance to hear Adrian Ramsay give a lecture last week, so I’ll rabbit on about that instead. The talk was pretty basic, essentially just outlining a general history of the Green Party and their present day goals. Nothing a seasoned veteran wouldn’t already know. Never the less, it was a good opportunity to get some times with the demos. The Green Party has done a good job of interacting with the younger voters, especially with university students. Their Internet and forum based campaigns are more versatile and reactionary than many of the larger, more cumbersome parties out there, and they have a large portion of student or post-graduate based internal support. This support probably comes from the fact that students don’t yet have to pay for actual houses or have severe tax issues. Too that end they’re still doe-eyed and idealistic — they still believe we can insulate all the houses for free. But this seems to be a common thread for many of the smaller parties. When a party doesn’t have actual power, they just promise to give lots of door prizes — just look at the Lib Dem’s campaign.
Despite Green Party’s focus on young voters, I found it strange to see how hard Mr. Ramsay attempted to dissociate himself from our age group. He is definitely older than me, but seven years tops (he was elected in 2003 at the age of 21), which in political terms is practically nothing. He may have been doing this in an attempt to legitimize himself, to be looked up to, or he may realize he needs to be focusing more on the more middle class/middle age votes.
This last idea scares me: we are constantly being driven further to the center. New Labour knew it, Cons definitely know it. The Conservatives will pretty much get every vote right of center withing the first and possibly second standard deviation, therefore, they need to put their policy as close to the center as possible as a means of snatching up as many votes as possible. Labour did this as well, although it later cost them by creating a split into Lib-dems and Labour. I see the Green Party of Britain and Wales becoming more formalized, which is partially a good thing. It means they have better organization, more potential funding and actually have a chance of winning seats. But it also means there is a potential slip in ideological stances; it means the green party could start shifting to the middle and lose its initial purpose. I don’t foresee this truly happening as the green party still relies on wedge issues, but it is a potential outcome.
Does the Green Party really have a chance at winning though? Honestly, I don’t think this time around, which saddens me. I will say this, the Green Party has gone from 1.4% to 7.4% in three election. This could simply be a reactionary movement away from labour, as most of the votes were taken from said party. But you know what, a votes a vote. First passed the post is a war of attrician, greens might not win this time, but i bet they’ll be in the top three this time. The election is potentially coming up soon (May 6th), so I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Also of interesting note: the Sunday before break, there will be a Q&A session with four of the Norwich South candidates, seats are still open if you’re interested, but you’ll also be able to watch it on TV. Check it out, might even spot me!