“I’m not in politics to play about”. Green MP Caroline Lucas' recent affirmation on the seriousness of her party’s platform suggests that the Greens are in it for the long game, and gearing up for a hard-fought election battle.
With the popularity of small parties on the rise and Green Leader Natalie Bennett’s appeal increasing for the left-of-Labour, the young and the environmentally conscious, it is no surprise that her party has been dominating the news of late.
This comes alongside a surging membership count which was last reported as exceeding 55,000, taking the Green Party past both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats. These headline-grabbing statistics provided a strong base for the party to stake its claim to a place at the televised leader’s debates.
The Green Party seeks to resolve what it sees as the problems caused by austerity, environmental ignorance and low standards of equality in Britain. The Daily Telegraph has gone so far as to brand it the “UKIP of the left”. This election gives the party the ideal springboard to launch such an alternative agenda, in light of growing electoral dissatisfaction with mainstream party politics.
However, it’s not all clear skies. The Greens have historically been plagued by poor performances in elections, and their hope of extra seats rests on a handful of little-known candidates.
Furthermore, the party is facing growing criticism about both the party's leader and its economic competency, in a scenario that in many ways mirrors the trials and tribulations of its Labour rivals.
In terms of electability, PPC Lesley Grahame of Norwich South is under particular pressure to succeed as she has a fighting chance of becoming the party’s second MP. However, other new faces may appear in Westminster if the wind blows in their favour, including Darren Hall (Bristol West) and Jillian Creasy (Sheffield Central).
Considering that her party has continually been polling under ten per cent, Ms Bennett’s conclusion that the Green Party Spring Conference was “energising” reveals a cautious optimism that this election may be its lucky break.
Indeed, for a party that is as grassroots in its policies as its campaigning, Green supporters will be quietly confident that they can follow the example of UKIP and prove that it is time to treat their minor party as a force to be reckoned with.
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Isaac Turner is currently studying towards a degree in Geography with Politics and Classics from Durham University. He has previously contributed to the publications of the Fabian Society.