12 September 2013

Why Electing a North West Green MEP matters

There are two big Green election success stories this week. Adam Bandt has been re-elected for a second 3 year term as Australia’s only Green MP. Despite a drop in vote share nationally in an election dominated by the prospect of a change of government, effective targeting has also mean that the Greens look like they have gained a further seat in the Senate, Australia's proportional representation upper house. In Norway, congratulations should be shared with Norway's Greens, who have won their first seat in the national parliament (under a proportional system) by gaining 2.8% of the vote.

So what does a single Green MP in a lower house of Parliament achieve? In Caroline Lucas we have an MP that has been prominent in raising issues ignored by the other parties. During the passage of the AV Referendum Bill it was Caroline Lucas (supported by a few others) who asked for the British people not just to choose between a bad system (First Past the Post) and a marginally less bad system (Alternative Vote), but to offer us a genuine vote on proportional representation. It is Caroline Lucas who wholly represents opposition to fracking in our Parliament, who challenges the misogyny of page 3, Caroline who opposes Trident renewal, who proposes rail re-nationalisation and who exposes instruments of torture at a London Arms fair. We'll see her in action again tonight on the BBC's Question Time.

In the UK the effect of a single Green Parliamentary seat raises awareness on all the issues we campaign on. It puts an alternative voice to politics as usual out to a wider audience. But one MP in the South East of the country has limited impact on the North West and our upper house will only have one Green Lord, the recently appointed Jenny Jones. In Australia, the majority of the country has Green representation in the Senate, which has enabled the party to build up its infrastructure and professionalism. Our equivalent is the European Parliament.

The difference electing a Green MEP in the North West will make to us is tremendous. Every single person in the North West will have a Green representative, with a staff team working on their behalf, who will be working to make a practical difference on every issue we can. That can make an elected Green Party a reality for voters in every council area in the North West and can help us get more Greens elected at all levels. The action we need to address Climate Change means we have to do our bit as part of a much wider global movement. The Australian and Norweigan Greens have delivered in 2013. Next year it is our turn, so do help if you can.

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