Green success doesn’t mean much

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The upcoming general election has opened up opportunities for smaller parties to emerge, allowing groups like the Green Party to gain a political voice, which people are gradually beginning to listen to. This is, of course, is in retaliation to the growth of extremists such as UKIP, and the mundane voice of the three traditional parties. Reports have suggested that the surge in popularity has placed the Greens above both the Liberal Democrats and UKIP. Undoubtedly, this is fuelled by the lack of trust the electorate have in current parliamentary members.

The Green Party has been slowing growing in popularity over the last decade. Their presence and hard work has only just started to pay off in the last five years, which opens up an opportunity for distinct variation for the electorate. It is clear that UKIP have heralded a big leap in party support because of their established image and outlandish approach.

However, the Green Party have used time to their advantage to advocate policies that will appeal to the left and challenge liberal views. Their approach cannot be compared to the strict, radical manifesto of UKIP, but they have worked hard to persuade people that, from drug policy to climate change, they will change the mess that the UK is in.

Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has recently come under fire for both her policies and her interview conduct
Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has recently come under fire for both her policies and her interview conduct

Since its formation as the PEOPLE party in 1972, the Greens have only had limited success. What has changed this year? In sum, people are bored of the same old jargon that traditional parties recycle year after year, with no real results. Will change really happen this year? The fundamental question remains, as to whether their rise in popularity will really make an impact in the general election, or if the excitement will manifest itself as a gain of limited seats, and their presence established as something as an oddity.

They have worked hard to persuade people that they will change the mess that the UK is in.

This leads onto the question of how many seats the Green Party may gain. Today, one Green Party member stands in Parliament, showing there is definite reassurance that some success could be gained this year. However, the limited presence the Green Party have in British politics shows that change is slow to come by. As change is a progressive task, the success of the Green Party is questionable. Despite encouraging reports outlining that they have more members than UKIP and the Lib Dems, this really means very little in the long run.

Furthermore, David Cameron has pushed for the televised debates to include the Green Party as he stated that he will not ‘take part in TV debates ahead of the general election unless the Green Party is included’. However, this move needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Cameron’s advocacy of the Green Party suggests that he is keen to allow smaller parties to challenge the heavy weights in politics. It is, of course, good that the inclusion of the Green Party has been recognised, yet their impact within Parliament will not be evident this year. They still need to establish themselves as a real threat that may tilt the balance of power in Parliament and not simply as an alternative.

They still need to establish themselves as a real threat that may tilt the balance of power in Parliament and not simply as an alternative.

More recently Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has shown that her gradual success in leading a Party has failed to duplicate itself in her interview conduct. The policies she has put in place in her manifesto have had a devastating reaction, serving simply to solidify the image that the Green Party are not a direct or real threat to the current structure of the main political parties. Her new policies include a very left insight into their political programme, challenging the work of UKIP, but her clear stumbling over numbers and a lack of confidence expels the idea that the Green Party can be a threat in the general election this year.

The Green Party may have advanced from their humble beginnings. Yet, the likelihood of extraordinary success is nearly impossible- it is unlikely, even unspeakable, that the Greens will be a threat towards the three traditional parties and the rise of UKIP. Only time will tell if the Green Party really can achieve anything in the long run.

Emily Roach

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