Lessons from the 2019 election

I am dismayed at the prospect of 5 years of Boris, but is the Green party recovering from the 2017 vote collapse? Here is a comprehensive record of Green progress over the years. However, the recovery to 865,697 is not as dramatic as the Guardian erroneously reports. Our vote in 2017 was  512,317, not ‘about 300,000’.

The Green Party did try to raise the profile of ecological issues on the back of XR’s high profile tactics, but what should be uppermost in everyone’s mind was swamped by Brexit, but there is some evidence that our message was not lost completely .

The Green party has made an inevitable strategic mistake in identifying itself as on the ‘left’ of what should now be the obsolete politicial spectrum. The fault line should now be between those who accept ecological limits and those who don’t. No, these are not the same thing,

What became the Green Party was founded by two solicitors, one of whom had been a Conservative councillor, and an estate agent. They were taken aback by the number of passionate socialists who saluted the flag they ran up in response to the MIT Limits to Growth  report.

Our best parliamentary total was 1,111,603 in 2010. This is dwarfed by our best result ever:  2.299,287 in the Euro election in 1989. This is not entirely amnesia. The Green vote in 1989 was, in England, consistently at least 40 % of whatever the Conservative vote was, and this was not convenient for a left of centre narrative.

Caroline Lucas promptly used the resultant publicity to inform most of those 2.3million that they had been fooled into voting for the enemy tribe. Not quite the way she put it, but for most of the subsequent 30 years that was the message they heeded. Until now?

I await, and look forward to Alan Borgar’s blog for details, but my impression from a general look is that the  2019 vote share average is higher in Conservative elected seats than Labour. I have identified 25 saved Green deposits, 16 where Conservatives won, and 9 in Labour seats.

Four were Green target seats: Bristol West, Sheffield Central, Stroud, and Isle of Wight. The most egregious of these is Stroud, where Green intervention handed the seat to the Conservatives. This is not entirely wisdom after the event. I went to help in the Isle of Wight for the same reason as I went there in 2017: it was our best 2015 result in a Conservative held seat. It still is, Stroud notwithstanding. Vix Lowthion’s 11.3k remains our third best 2019 tally.

Several people have come up to me and said how pleased I must be that the basic income has at last featured prominently in a Green Party election manifesto.. It is certainly a major step in the right direction, but I am exasperated that it remains firmly tied to social justice (of which I approve), but made no connection with its role as a catalyst or lubricant for all the more obvious measures which will be necessary if we are to stop global ecological meltdown before it stops us.

Those 2.3 million votes in 1989 were the unintended consequence of Mrs. Thatcher saying how important it was not to trash the environment. She thought it was a message more likely to be heeded by the affluent than those with more immediate worries.

The basic income guarantees social justice even if the economy has to downsize, as it must. But with security guaranteed, a whole raft of market forces stop being oppressive, and start making ecological sense. Think Zero hours contracts, now, against the backdrop of benefit sanctions, and then in tandem with a basic income.

The effort put into Stroud should now be used in the Isle of Wight – in conjunction with the basic income..

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