Friday, 22 April 2011

Local Elections 2011: Delivering Green credibility

For those of us with political nerd tendencies, we are two weeks away from a particularly fascinating set of council elections. Whilst I’ll be scouring the results nationally to see how other Green Parties have fared, you’ll not be surprised to learn that I’m going to be especially keen on seeing what the results will mean for my local party, Brighton & Hove!

For this blog to be relevant, I’m keen to try and locate my views as much as possible in a real life context. As well as being a general member of Brighton & Hove Green Party, I was lucky enough to be the Secretary of the local party here during the recent General Election, so am hoping my analysis reflects a number of different perspectives. And remains constructive!

As you may be aware, we have achieved a great deal here in successive Council elections: from three to six to twelve Councillors and a final thirteenth as a result of a Hove by-election. This support is mainly concentrated in the central part of the city. The hard-working records of our elected representatives went a long way towards proving our credibility during the historic election of Caroline Lucas as the Green Party’s first MP.

Buoyed by this recent success, yet mindful of the mountain to climb, this has been our strongest and most ambitious campaign so far. It has given us to the confidence to try and move our message out to the outer wards with a vision that is realistic, progressive and feels like a positive road map out of financial insecurity. It has also been really heartening to see a number of our new candidates developing in confidence throughout the campaign and working as a counter-weight to front-line service cuts.

On the downside, we have a Conservative administration pushing forward the austerity agenda, a local Labour party that is rapidly regrouping and mounting unemployment in the city. The Liberal Democrats are an exceptionally small presence here, so their current unpopularity will have very little concrete impact.

After the dust settles on the election in the next two weeks, I’ll be coming back to look at the results and give my reflections as to what we can learn from the outcome nationally, as well as lessons particular to Brighton & Hove. I’d also love to hear your views too, so please get in touch!

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