Recent polls have shown the Green Party is on the rise. They are regularly polling around 10% and have moved ahead of the Liberal Democrats into fourth place. They are popular with younger voters and have seen a large increase in membership. So what is behind this rise and can they maintain it?
The Greens can claim with some justification that they are the only anti-austerity mainstream party standing in the next election. The policy may not be economically sound but it remains attractive to a proportion of the electorate. With the Labour Party already signed up to a programme of cuts after the next election this has left room for the Green Party to exploit.
In a world where all publicity is good publicity, the greater exposure received by the Greens has undoubtedly helped them. This was largely created by David Cameron’s insistence that they were invited to the leader’s debates. This is a stance that has definitely helped the Green Party. The Greens have also successfully run a campaign challenging their exclusion from the debates which gained large support from the public and has led to new debate proposals from the broadcasters with the Green Party invited.
The Green Party is a natural home for many protest voters who previously may have voted for the Liberal Democrats and still remained unconvinced by Labour. As seen by the rise of UKIP there is a discontent with the main political parties and therefore significant numbers of voters are looking for alternatives.
The electoral system in this country remains very much against the smaller parties and makes it hard for them to breakthrough in a significant way. They currently only have one MP and may struggle to add to this at the General Election. With greater exposure comes greater scrutiny and this adds a new dynamic and more pressure to the party.
There is a good chance the Green Party will do well in the upcoming election, perhaps even polling ahead of the Lib Dems in fourth place. However, that is unlikely to translate into more Commons seats. The real impact of the Green Party could be that they take voters away from the Labour Party enabling the Conservatives to win more of the marginal seats. In what is already an unpredictable election, it makes calling the election result that much harder again.
Article by Mike Hough
Photography – The Telegraph