Greens are in feisty mood, buoyed by a good showing in the recent European elections, when they received more than 1.2m votes. Leaders are seeking to reposition the party as a leftwing alternative to Labour, with far more than just their stalwart environmental policies: a higher minimum wage than Labour is advocating; a halt to the “creeping privatisation” of the NHS; and the scrapping of tuition fees, including retrospectively on fees already paid.
“We are the real opposition,” Caroline Lucas, the party’s only MP, will tell delegates on Saturday. She will barely mention the governing coalition, focusing instead on a fight against Labour.
Anthony Pearce of the Stafford and Stone branch agrees. “I was a lifelong Labour supporter, over 30 years. But it became very difficult to see any difference between their policies and the Conservatives. Eventually I left and came to the Greens.”
Terry White made a similar journey from the Liberal Democrats. “It was tuition fees,” says White, 21. “The Lib Dems were not in tune with young people.” The Greens are currently polling at 6.6%, which is neck-and-neck with the Lib Dems.