• Could the Green Party Decide the General Election 2015? And How Would This Affect Our Environment?

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Could the Green Party Decide the General Election 2015? And How Would This Affect Our Environment?

May 05 2015

The Green Party’s standing in the polls has increased in recent years - not enough to storm Parliament of course, but activists once seen as cranks by many have become part of mainstream politics – to the extent that their party leader, Natalie Bennett has taken part in televised debates with leaders of all the other major parties.

Caroline Lucas, their one MP, is also a woman and two out of the three Green MEPs elected to the European Parliament were women – as compared to 55 per cent of Labour’s, 32 per cent of the Conservatives’ and 29 per cent of UKIP's. In an age where young women are much less likely to vote than their male equivalents, how are the Greens managing to attract women to politics?

Lucas says: “Women are interested in the issues that we campaign on. It’s hard to talk about this without making huge generalisations, but women tend to think about what kind of world they’re leaving for their children. It’s not innate, but because of the roles women tend to play.”

So what do they really stand for – and what can you expect if you vote Green? In 1973, its founding members were in a Warwickshire pub and were inspired to form a political party after reading an article about famine and population growth in, of all publications, Playboy.

They didn't get off to an auspicious start, polling rather less than 1% in the General Election a year later. After going through some name changes – from PEOPLE to the Ecology Party - the Green Party emerged in 1985, but it wasn’t until 1999 that Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert became the first Green politicians to be elected to the European Parliament.

Membership has increased dramatically in the 21st century. It isn't just UKIP who have shown that there are alternatives to the three main parties. The party’s three key target seats are Norwich South and Bristol West (both currently held by Lib Dems) and holding on to Brighton Pavilion. Many pollsters believe that they are most likely to emerge with no seats at all, but if they could manage even a couple they help to deny Labour a majority. The main opposition party traditionally benefits from the unpopularity of a government, but another hung parliament beckons and UKIP, the Scottish National Party and the Greens may well have a say. As with UKIP, their greatest impact on the election result is likely to be that they could tip the balance of power in dozens of seats where they have little or no chance of winning. If things should pan out in such a way that either of the two main parties relies on the Green Party for support to form a government, then we are certainly not going to see wholesale adoption of the party's manifesto – but the person who walks through the door of No. 10 is probably going to have to pay a little more attention to environmental issues than would otherwise have been the case.

Further reading

With May 7th approaching there's just time for a quick review of the stance some of the major political parties are taking on environmental issues. A run-down on some of the key areas are covered in this post: 2015 General Election – Where do the Parties Stand on Environmental Issues?

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