It has been a year of preparation for the Euro campaign here in the North West. We have raised more money than ever before, but we are still going to be outspent by Labour, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the BNP in this region. However, we have a campaign plan, two paid staff and the ability to win. Today's comment from the widely respect Mike Smithson, the political betting pundit, has raised what I think is a strong possibility, which is the Greens finishing ahead of the Lib Dems nationally. That should come as no surprise to anyone who followed the results in London in 2012, where the Lib Dems finished fourth behind us in both the Mayoral and London Assembly elections.
That is the target I am setting for us here in the North West. There are two contests going on in these Euro Elections. One will be fought between UKIP and Labour to see who wins the most seats in this region, but there will also be the contest to see who will win the last of the seats in 2014. That contest is likely to be between the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and the BNP (who are likely going to focus every single resource into this region to re-elect Nick Griffin). I'll outline two scenarios:
The toughest challenge
UKIP or Labour gain 27% or more
Conservatives gain more than 18%
To win a seat as the 4th placed party if this is the result, we will need to gain 9% or more
The favourable vote share
UKIP and Labour finish with 23% each
Tories finish with 21%
To win a seat as the 4th placed party, we'll need the same 7.7% we gained in 2009
What is likely is somewhere inbetween these two scenarios, which means we must gain 8 to 9% and beat the Liberal Democrats and the BNP. All of us have a responsibility to make sure that we do what we need to make that happen. We can do it.
There are just 142 days left. That is just 20 weeks of campaigning. I'm already busy into the new year with planned visits to Trafford Green Party, Barton Moss, Wigan and Ulverston, but I'd welcome many more invitations to speak with local parties. Our regional newspaper will be with you soon and we've got an immense amount of delivery to do. Let's get started.
My best wishes for a successful new year.