The Greens are well placed to have 2 MEPs elected in 2014

Over the next two years there will be two key elections that people in Brighton and Hove will be able to vote in. The first is the election in November of the Police Commissioner. The result of this pan-Sussex vote will almost certainly see the election of a Conservative into what could become a highly politicised, controversial position.

I think it is such a shame that the Labour Party is fielding a candidate since it has no chance whatsoever of winning. I have said before that an independent candidate, such as Ian Chisnell has a much greater chance of producing a shock result than someone from one of the opposition parties.

But the real reason for wanting an independent is that this role should be free from narrow party political influence.

But more intriguing is the election to the European Parliament in 2014. This election is based on a multi-member regional constituency across the South East. 10 MEPs are elected from this region. Last time the parties, all of whom field a slate of candidates, achieved the following results:

  • Conservative 812,288; 34.8%; 4 (total votes; 5 of vote; MEPs elected)
  • UKIP 440,002; 18.8%; 2
  • Liberal Democrats 230,340; 14.1%; 2
  • Green Party 271,506; 11.6%; 1
  • Labour 192,592; 8.2%; 1

No other party polled sufficient votes to have an MEP elected. The British National party, with 101,769 votes (4.4%) came sixth.

The interesting question is what will happen to the Lib Dem vote. It can hardly expect to hold firm. This will be true in every election coming up over the next three years. Some of its vote might transfer to Labour but it is likely that the Greens will benefit most.

The Green Party itself will no doubt benefit from the higher profile that the party has enjoyed following the election of Caroline Lucas to Westminster and the election of the first ever Green Council in Brighton and Hove.

My friend, the Enigmatic Flo, will no doubt tell me that Green support itself will not hold firm, with Labour being the main beneficiary. But European elections are not that straightforward and it gives disenchanted voters from across the South East a positive opportunity to vote for, and have elected, non-mainstream parties. I include the Greens and UKIP in this category. Together they had 3 MEPs elected with Labour returning just Peter Skinner.

The Green Party will almost certainly take over from the Lib Dems in third place and, if the UKIP vote weakens, the Greens could be challenging for second place. In either case, it would result, almost certainly, in the election of two Green MEPs.

The Green Party is in the middle of the selection process for its candidates for this election. Particular interest should be given to who comes second and third, assuming that the current MEP, Keith Taylor, is number one on the Green list. The Green party would be well advised to select a woman is number two on its list in order to present a balanced ticket.

Locally, three candidates have put themselves forward, Jason Kitcat, Ania Kitcat and Alex Phillips. My prediction is that Alex Phillips is most likely to appeal to Green Party members in the region and would be a valuable asset at number two on the Green list. I would anticipate that in May 2014 Ms Phillips will join Mr Taylor in Brussels.

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12 Responses

  1. I do think it is going to be important for any potential Green candidate – male or female – seeking selection for the Euro elections to be able to demonstrate a track record as councillor of some substance. ‘Female’ is not on its own any kind of genuine qualification. Indeed it is patronising.

    Because of the mania for spuriously “balanced tickets”, we ended up with a woman from Chichester for our MP in Hove until she was replaced by Mike Weatherley. Celia Barlow’s selection unbalanced a lot of things!

  2. I think that more than three candidates have put themselves forward locally (meaning Hove and Brighton).

  3. Dear BPB, as you already know the results of the Green’s 2012 MEP selection in the region this post has to be one of your more craven attempts to appear sage.

    Why not just be honest and talk about the results your contacts already have? Your approach is dishonest.

    • Ouch! I have no particular knowledge, haven’t seen how individuals did in the members ballot, and rumours of my contacts/spies are largely overblown. Having said that, as the acting returning officer for the Green Party, here is the result of the selection of candidates for the European Election: number 1 – Keith Taylor, number 2 ……..

  4. Just to say that I am very flattered to be mentioned in the blog, and as such i clearly refute MarzipanTreats challenge to your sageness. However lest I appear to obsequious, you have mispelt my surname which could have a devestating affect on my electoral chances

  5. The full slate of results has now been announced, and, yes, the party listened and took your advice BPB, selecting Alex Phillips as the second candidate. The full list is on my ‘blog here: http://kemptownben.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/greens-select-european-election.html

  6. There’s a typo in your results BPB – Lib Dems got 330k, not 230k.

    At the time of the last European poll in 2009, Labour were at a low point in the polls, between 18 and 22% according to MORI, YouGov, Populus and ComRes: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/voting-intention-2005-2010 This is half Labour’s current rating of 42%. The Lib Dems were on 18 to 20%, which is double their rating now of 8 to 10%.

    There are two years to go before the Europeans, but on current poll ratings Labour would undoubtedly gain one of the two Lib Dem seats.

    There is nothing to base a prediction of another Green gain on. With a poll rating of 2 or 3% there is no evidence of growing Green support outside of Brighton and Hove, and plenty of evidence within the city of Green support plateauing or indeed declining.

  7. I would have thought the more sensible ‘balanced ticket’ for the Greens would have been to select someone who was from somewhere else other in the South East than Brighton & Hove. But hey. Can’t honestly see what Alex has done to deserve this accolade, apart from voting against her party on their own budget, which will have pleased the kneejerk oppositionists I suppose.

    I can’t see any reason to suppose that the UKIP vote will weaken. They will benefit from disillusion with the Tories and I see no evidence that hardline euroscepticism is flagging in the hinterland of the South East.

    The Lib Dem vote won’t fall by as much as may be thought, since the 2009 performance wasn’t that great – that party usually performs worse at Euro elections, being unabashed Euro-enthusiasts. However, they only scraped that second seat last time, so it is reasonable to suppose that they will lose it.

  8. Looks like the Greens will lose their two seats on the London Assembly despite the media’s love in with them. Two Green MEPs? Not a chance. In difficult times people vote for realistic policies not Marxist posturing.

  9. I wonder if fracking – planned for Balcombe, in Francis Maude’s Horsham constituency – could be a game changer as far as the Greens are concerned?

    Roddy: you base your remarks on the London assembly on one poll. I don’t know if the Greens will get two MEPs or even if I will vote for them myself, but I do know that calling them ‘Marxist’ is just childish.

    And anyway you are wrong on the general point – in difficult times voters often do go to extremes. Look at France, where the far left and far right are poised to take a third of the vote in the first round presidential election. And closer to home – George Galloway.

    • oooooh….Freudian slip? Think the Greens ‘extremist’ do you? Why?

      • No, on the whole I don’t think the Greens are ‘extremist’, though in the suffocatingly narrow and right-skewed compass that is present-day UK politics, they do emerge as being firmly on the left. I do not regard that as a bad thing.

        Perhaps the word ‘extremist’ deserves a break, when you consider the damage done by politicians who have professed themselves to ‘sensible’ ‘moderate’ and ‘realistic’, not to mention ‘compassionate’ and ‘caring’.

        You were up late. Hope you weren’t watching Andrew Neil.

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