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UK Green vote quadruples, Tories win with 37% in “broken” two-party system

p caroline lucasIn the United Kingdom’s May 7 2015 parliamentary election, the UK Greens quadrupled their national vote from 265,000 in 2010 to 1,140,000 (4%) in 2015.

Despite this huge increase in votes, the Greens held steady at one seat in parliament, coming in second in four other races. Former party leader Caroline Lucas not only retained her seat in Brighton Pavilion, but saw her margin of victory over Labour quadruple to 15% (42% to 27%).

Party leader Natalie Bennett told the Independent, “The fact that we have achieved over one million votes yet not been rewarded with more MPs draws into sharp focus just how unfair and outdated our winner-takes-all voting system is. The fight for a fairer, more democratic voting system – one which recognises the will of the people rather than entrenches the established order – begins today.”

From The Guardian: ‘”Lucas was swift to point to what she said were the failings of a “broken” electoral system, one that handed her party just one seat for its million votes. She said: “It is only proportional representation that will deliver a parliament that is truly legitimate, and that better reflects the people we represent.”’

The Conservative (Tory) party won 51% of seats in parliament, despite winning a weak plurality of 37% of the national vote. The election was a disaster for the UK’s other main parties, with the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats resigning, and the UK Independence Party leader losing his seat.

Conversely, the Green Party grew from about 12,000 members to about 63,000 in the months leading up to the election, surpassing the Liberal Democrats and UKIP and signaling the party’s rise as a national force.

Highlighting the national frustration with the UK’s obsolete two-party system, dozens of world-reknowned Britons signed a letter supporting Caroline Lucas’ reelection campaign, including “Planet Earth” narrator David Attenborough, folk singer Billy Bragg, UN peace messenger Jane Goodall, actor Jeremy Irons, human rights advocate Bianca Jagger, former Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May, and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.

The letter reads, in part: “Over the last five years Caroline has eloquently addressed many of today’s most pressing issues – from accelerating climate change to sustainable farming, from human rights to a just and sustainable economy. This leadership matters all the more at a time when the mainstream parties are finding it so hard to address these challenges properly.”

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UK Green leader’s election message: Create a humane society that meets everyone’s needs

Natalie Bennett writes in The Independent:

Election 2015: The Green Party can create a humane society that supports everyone’s needs

You have a chance to vote for what you believe in, rather than the old, tired approach of voting for the lesser of two evils

p natalie bennett darren hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This election offers an opportunity for you as a voter. It’s a real chance to change our politics, to support a new kind of society that works for the common good, while living within the environmental limits of our one, fragile planet.

On Wednesday night I was in Bristol West, with hundreds of enthusiastic Green supporters committed to electing Darren Hall as their first Green MP. I’ve heard lots of political correspondents scoff over recent weeks when I said we could win the seat, but they were expressing astonishment last week, when an Ashcroft poll showed we’d added 21% to our 2010 vote. The momentum is running our way, and the excitement on the streets is obvious.

And I’ve seen that excitement around the country, in the midst of a “selfie frenzy” in Sheffield Central, in queues of well-wishers in my own constituency of Holborn and St Pancras, and of course in Brighton Pavilion, where voters have seen the huge achievements of our first Green MP, Caroline Lucas.

It’s the same excitement that’s seen Green Party membership more than quadruple in the past year, making us much larger than the Lib Dems or Ukip.

This is an election like none before. It is a multiparty election in which there’s a chance to vote for what you believe in, rather than the old, tired approach of voting for the lesser of two evils.

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13 Reasons the UK Green Party is Surging

p Natalie BennettAhead of the upcoming UK general election, the UK Greens have been climbing in the polls and surging in members to become the UK’s 4th largest party by membership (after Labour, Conservatives, and the Scottish National Party). UK Green Party member Adam Ramsay touches on some of the reasons for the UK’s Green Surge:

After thousands of new members have joined this week, the Green Parties in Scotland and England and Wales now have more than both UKIP and the Lib Dems. Farage’s party has 41,943, the Lib Dems head of membership tells me that they now have 44,680. On Wednesday, the Greens gained 2,000 members across the UK and overtook UKIP. Today, Thursday, so far, they’ve gained more than 2,000 more. As I write, Scottish Greens + the Green Party of England and Wales are at a combined total of 44,713.

In 2003, there were around 5,000 signed up Greens across the UK. That’s about the same number as has joined this week. What’s caused this growth, which has now so dramatically accelerated?

1) the debates

There’s something strange about British politics: an obsession with process. A huge portion of people feel that the exclusion of the Greens from the election debates is unfair. For those who vote Green, or were thinking about it, being told that their chosen party isn’t significant is almost a personal affront. Hundreds of thousands signed a petition calling on the Greens to be included. Some clearly decided that they’d go one step further, and sign up. Continue Reading

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UK Green Party rising in polls, attracting young voters

p caroline lucasThe Guardian reports on the recent UK Green Party conference:

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. Continue Reading

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Green Party of England and Wales to find new leader as Caroline Lucas announces her resignation

In some of the most widely reported Green Party news, Member of Parliament and Green Party leader Carolina Lucas has announced that she is resigning her post as top party leader to help push back against the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the current Conservative lead coalition government.

According to The Independent, Lucas is leaving her party post in hopes of raising the profile of other party stalwarts in their races.

Ms Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion, wants the party leadership to be used as a vehicle to boost the profile of other potential Green MPs. The Greens think they can win more Westminster seats in 2015, especially through the disenchantment of Lib Dem voters unhappy with measures Nick Clegg and his party have supported in the Tory-led Coalition, such as tuition fees.

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Green MP Caroline Lucas Speaks Out

The UK Huffington Post has this piece about popular Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas in the United Kingdom. Lucas is the first Green to get elected to Parliament in the UK.

Some excerpts:

Shortly after making history, Caroline Lucas gave a speech on Glastonbury’s pyramid stage, called for drugs to be decriminalised and won the Spectator’s much-coveted parliamentarian of the year award.

It’s been a busy year for Britain’s first Green MP – and she’s not planning to slow down. Her next project is shaking up the green movement, who she admits have “failed a little bit” to engage the public.

[…]

“Until recently I think the wider green movement and the green party included in it were too much focused, understandably, to waking people up to the climate crisis that would be rather than attracting people by painting a positive picture of what a zero carbon economy could look like. And I think fear isn’t a great motivating influence.”

For her, the green movement is about improving people’s lives – tackling the problem of fuel poverty, creating jobs and growth.

“Instead of just saying ‘we’ve got to act because climate change could be dreadful’, we’ve got to act because this could be a way of creating lots of jobs and also insulating lots of people’s homes and reducing their fuel bills so they’re not living in poverty and dying prematurely.

“I think we’ll have a much better job of doing it if we don’t always talk about the doom and gloom and hairshirts. The sense that the climate change agenda is one about doing without and giving things up is a very negative agenda. It turns people off.”

Sitting at a desk crowded with annotated print outs from bill sub-committees she speaks quickly, offering to help clarify quotes if my dictaphone can’t pick up it all up.

The sense of urgency is understandable. For Lucas, climate change has been relegated down the political agenda – and it’s up to her to tackle that within parliament as the most powerful representative of the green movement in the country.

“It’s just crazy”, Lucas says, that the Government aren’t instigating a 1930s style New Deal for green energy.

“We know climate change is happening, we know what is causing it, we know what we need to do to address it. What’s lacking isn’t the technical knowledge, it’s not even the money actually it just comes down to the political will to say ‘this is a priority’.”

She believe it comes down a Catch 22. Lucas thinks the politicians are waiting for the public pressure to act, whilst the public assume if it were serious the politicians would be acting already.

“That’s such a dangerous conclusion to draw because it is that serious and politicians aren’t doing something about it and they’re not doing anything about it because they don’t feel under the pressure from the public.”

Read the entire article here.

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Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2010

2010 was a roller coaster year for the Green Party. Mid-term elections proved voter dissatisfaction with the Democrats in power, but the media-darling Tea Party Movement drove voters to reactionary candidates, not helping Greens at the polls. International Greens saw successes in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other places, while US Greens were moved by the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza under siege by Israeli forces. The 2010 Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum, putting Greens side by side their brothers and sisters in the struggle for social justice in America. In the fall, Greens had many exciting candidates running for office including Jill Stein, LeAlan Jones, Laura Wells, Rich Whitney, Tom Clements, Colia Clark, Julia Willebrand, Farheen Hakeem, Howie Hawkins, Cecile Lawrence, Ben Manski, Fred Horsch, and so many other inspiring Greens.

The following Top 10 Green Party stories are taken from a combination of hits on Green Party Watch and other criteria to build a summary of the year. May 2011 be prosperous for Greens around the World. Time is running out.

Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2010

May 7, 2010 – Caroline Lucas becomes first Green Member of Parliament in United Kingdom – Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, won a hotly-contested race in Brighton Pavilion to become the Greens’ first-ever member of parliament. The Guardian summed it up best: “It’s a massive breakthrough, not only because she’s a brilliant, charismatic, humane politican who will enrich parliamentary life, but also because it proves it can be done, even under our antiquated political system.”

May 31, 2010 Green Party and Cynthia McKinney Condemn Freedom Flotilla Massacre – In May of this year the Israeli Navy attacked a flotilla of ships run by the Free Gaza movement carrying humanitarian supplies to the besieged residents of the Gaza Strip. 19 human rights activists were killed in the attack and 50 more wounded. The Green Party, led by 2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, have been vocal and active critics of Israel’s war on the people of Gaza.

“The attacks on the aid boats is a criminal act of piracy and a deliberate provocation,” said Dr. Justine McCabe, co-chair of the Green Party’s International Committee. ““We demand immediate action from the US, including emergency orders from President Obama to cut off all aid to Israel. The policies of the US regarding Israel and Palestine up to now have convinced Israel that it can act with impunity in committing massacres and massive human violations against Palestinian civilians.”

2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, who was taken prisoner by the Israelis last year on another attack on a Free Gaza ship, said: “I am outraged at Israel’s latest criminal act. I mourn with my fellow Free Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel’s needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.”

June 8, 2010California Voters Pass Prop 14, Top Two Primary Initiative By a 53% – 46% margin, California voters approved adopting a “top two primary” election reform, a system whereby all candidates appear on a single ballot in the primary but only the top two, regardless of political party, advance to the General Election.

California Gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells had this to say: “Prop 14 pretends to be “open primary,” but more accurately should be called “top two,” or party-killer! Only two candidates would be left in November, when Prop 14 would exclude all the independent, alternative political parties like the Green Party, Peace and Freedom, and Libertarian. Prop 14 would favor only Democrats and Republicans that are incumbents or highly funded.”

June 24-27, 2010 – Green Party Annual National Meeting in Detroit in Conjunction with US Social Forum The Green Party’s Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum. The Green Party sponsored several Social Forum workshops and registration was cross-listed between the two events. Many Green Party candidates were in attendance and available to the media. A number of candidate presentations were taped by Green Party Watch and can be found through this link.

June 2010 – Republicans pay to get Green Party on Ballot in Texas, Democrats Livid If there is one thing that drives Democrats crazier than a Green “spoiling” an election, it is Greens getting on the ballot at all despite overwhelming odds. In Texas, a Republican consultant in Arizona arranged for a non-profit in Missouri to pay for Free & Equal to come up with 92,000 signatures to get the Green Party of Texas on the ballot up and down the ticket. Democrats were livid, immediately suing and issuing injunctions against ballot access. The case went to the Texas supreme court before culminating with the Green Party candidates being allowed to remain on the ballot.

The ultimate result of this was that Ed Lindsay, Green Party of Texas candidate for State Comptroller won over 5% of the vote, ensuring that the Green Party of Texas will have state wide ballot access through the 2012 elections.

August 21, 2010 – Historic Election Results for Australian Greens The Australian Green Party performed very well in the federal elections in Australia, with Adam Bandt winning a seat outright in Melbourne with over 36% of the first-choice vote, and the Greens winning about 12% of the vote in the lower house, giving them a share of control over the balance of power in the Australian Parliament.

September 21, 2010 – Green Party Senate candidate Natasha Pettigrew hit and killed on bicycle Natasha Pettigrew, Senate candidate for the Green Party in Maryland, was riding in the bike lane on a highway early on a Sunday morning by an inattentive driver of a SUV. The driver apparently didn’t realize she had hit anyone until she arrived home. Pettigrew died from her injuries the next day. This (long after the fact) article really captures the influence this story had on people.

November 3, 2010 – Green Party Gains Ballot Access in Texas and New York Election returns resulted in the Green Party gaining ballot access through at least 2012 in two of the most populous states, New York and Texas, however the Green Party lost ballot access in Illinois and Wisconsin. In New York Greens gain ballot status through 2014 thanks to Howie Hawkins earning over 50,000 votes for governor. In Texas Greens gain ballot status through 2012 thanks to Ed Lindsay earning over 5% for comptroller.

November 5, 2010 – Green Party Candidates for US Senate Net Half Million Votes The eleven Green Party candidates on the ballot this year for US Senate netted a combined half million votes. The 510,000 votes is the highest combined total for Green Party Senate candidates since 2000, when Medea Benjamin won 326,000 votes for US Senate in California and Vance Hansen picked up over 100,000 in Arizona. The 2010 results were clearly led by Tom Clements in South Carolina, whose 118,000 votes gave him 9.37% of the total. Clements had the most votes and the highest percent of the vote of all Green Party US Senate candidates in 2010. LeAlan Jones was the second big finisher with 116,000 votes, 3.19% of the total.

2010 – Green Party Elects 37 Greens to Office in 2010 342 Greens ran for office in 2010, over 300 of them were on the ballot in November. 37 Greens were elected, a win rate of 10.8%. All but 2 of the wins were in non-partisan races.

On the November ballot, Greens had strong showings for State Legislative races, but fell short in races for Governor and US House of Representatives. One Green, Ben Chipman, was elected to the Maine State Assembly but was listed as an Independent due to a technicality.

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Caroline Lucas, Green Member of Parliament in England, delivers her first speech to her peers

The text is here, and also available at the party website. H/T to Ballot Access News.

Caroline Lucas delivers maiden speech to Parliament

Mr Speaker,

I am most grateful to you for calling me during today’s debate.

The environment is a subject dear to my heart, as I’m sure you know, and I’ll return to it in a moment.

I think anyone would find their first speech in this chamber daunting, given its history and traditions, and the many momentous events it has witnessed.

But I have an additional responsibility, which is to speak not only as the new Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion, but also as the first representative of the Green Party to be elected to Westminster.
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Caroline Lucas interview: “You can do politics without selling out”

The Independent UK has an interview with Caroline Lucas, the UK Green Party’s first member of parliament:

As far as landmark moments in the green movement go, last Thursday was a pretty big one. The environment featured in the news as usual – there was a report saying the UK could power itself six times over with offshore renewable energy, and activists scaled London’s BP building in protest at the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Both issues are pertinent to the greater cause, but the real sign of progress took place at the Houses of Parliament, where Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party, was sworn in as Britain’s first Green Member of Parliament. Continue Reading

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Caroline Lucas interview in The Guardian

Aida Edamariam at The Guardian has an interview with Caroline Lucas, who recently became the Green Party of England and Wales’ first member of parliament:

Whatever you think of the Greens, it would have been hard not to feel that one of the few truly inspiring moments in last week’s election came at about 6am on Friday 7 May, when, in a hall on the cold seafront, Green party leader Caroline Lucas was declared MP for Brighton Pavilion, with a 1,200 majority. Jeremy Paxman immediately demanded which side she’d back if there was a coalition (neither, necessarily, she replied politely; she would approach all issues on a case-by-case basis), but an amateur video posted on YouTube gives more of a sense of the enormity of what she achieved for her party of more than 11,000 members, in a first-past-the-post system stacked against them: the camera, dipping and weaving erratically around the room, is trained on the audience as well as the podium. When the results are announced, it catches a supporter wiping away sudden tears. Continue Reading