In a comment left yesterday on my blog, Allie Cannell ask if I stand by my blog post of June 13th 2009 “The Greens will never be a national force“. Three comments from me. Firstly, are we being a bit sad reading posts that are almost 2 years old?
Secondly, I stand by the view that the Greens are not likely to become a national force. Perhaps I should never say never, but it is one thing to have an inspirational candidate elected in an extraordinary election, with an impressive campaign that mobilised activists from across the country, in a constituency that has been nurtured skillfully for several years. I think that now she has won the seat, Caroline Lucas will build a substantial personal vote and be very difficult to displace. Hopefully the Greens will make the breakthrough elsewhere, and become a more significant force nationally. It would be good for the health of British politics.
Thirdly, I was wrong about my criticisms of Caroline Lucas. To that extent, I don’t stand by the blog of June 13th 2009 and apologise to her for the observations. In that post I wrote “Caroline Lucas is an impressive leader and a very credible candidate. Her honesty and candour contrasts very positively to the well-drilled, spin machine of Labour”. I stand by that. “Her weakness as a candidate in Brighton Pavilion is her poor record as a local campaigner. When compared to the current MP, David Lepper, who has been a community activist for over 30 years, Lucas comes over as remote and lacking local knowledge. She would struggle to make small talk with fellow passengers on the number 46 bus, if she was ever to catch it”. I stand by what I said about David Lepper, someone who I like and for whom I have great respect. But I was wrong about Caroline. I have seen her at close quarters with ordinary people. She is warm, charming, and engaging. I have even seen her on the number 46 bus (for Chuck Vere’s reference, the number 46 goes from Southwick to Hollingbury).
Caroline Lucas is an exceptional politician, one of the most remarkable of this age. She is also a thoroughly nice person.