Nominations closed today for the South West region of the UK. For the first time in any Proportional Representation European Election in the SW region, there is no other "left of Labour" party standing. In 2009, the NO2EU, SLP and Fair Play Fair Trade parties took 1.7% of the vote there. The Greens were short of winning a seat by just 0.7% and it is our next most winnable seat after the North West based on the results last time.
So where will this left of Labour vote go? My view is that it will split between the Greens and Labour. My great hope is that it will see Molly Scott Cato win in the South West region. For anyone in the Trade Union movement or on the left, Molly's excellent report "Can't Pay, Won't Pay: Debt, the Myth of Austerity and the Failure of Green Investment" is essential reading. The Greens present an alternative to failed austerity without a reliance on the false assumption of "growth is good".
What is the explanation for NO2EU not standing? Both the SLP and NO2EU had declared last year they would be standing everywhere again, as in 2009, but my understanding is that the SLP are only going to stand in Wales. My contacts are suggesting two possibilities:
- That NO2EU is going to only focus on a couple of regions in a new strategy, and money is being redirected back to TUSC and their election efforts
- That this is in error and they have been caught out by the early deadline in the South West
In either case, I am really hoping that they won't be standing here in the North West. We do need to ensure that the BNP are dead and buried as a political force after this election, and for the reasons I've outlined in previous blog posts, this would be helped by NO2EU not contesting this region. We'll know when nominations close for all the other regions on Thursday.