In the mass of commentary surrounding the election, no one is talking about emotions. This is pretty incredible, considering how big a factor they are in politics. For most of the electorate the exact policy differences between parties is only part of more nebulous issues like confidence, betrayal, contempt and especially trust.
Amazingly little attention has been paid to the Green’s performance in last week’s elections for the London assembly. Media commentators seem determined to overlook their strong performance as just another maverick element in a maverick contest. But in some areas, the Green vote was almost as big as that of the Liberal Democrats and, for the first time, people appeared to be voting for a “green slate”. This deserves more consideration; it may mark a shift in political perceptions and priorities far more interesting than a story of protest votes and personalities in a crazy capital city.
The Green party will provide a real opposition to the Conservatives – if the voters are willing
In previous elections when I’ve voted for the Greens, it’s been as a protest vote. They had so little chance of success I didn’t need to worry about their unreadiness for political life. In Thursday’s European elections I shall be voting Green in a different frame of mind. With proportional representation, they stand a real chance of getting seats and the worry is no longer what would happen if they entered mainstream political life prematurely, but what on earth will happen if they don’t. So what’s changed?