As I blogged earlier in a story that has now been covered by the Liverpool Echo, I’ve just been endorsed by Jake Morrison as the Green candidate for Liverpool Wavertree. I’m therefore going to revisit some key points I raised in my blog post last year when announcing my candidacy.
The Wild Card in Wavertree was Jake Morrison
If Jake had stood, I have no doubt he would have saved his deposit and potentially pushed his result into double figures. He would have had a good chance of finishing 2nd in the constituency depending on how much funding he had raised and how effective he was at mobilising unhappy Labour supporters. Luciana Berger is not loved in parts of the Labour party in Liverpool and while the majority of natural Labour supporters would back her, a significant minority would have supported Jake.
Labour Will be Disappointed with Less than 60% of the vote
The Electoral Calculus website has Liverpool Wavertree as Labour’s 14th safest seat. Luciana Berger should simply have to get her name on the ballot paper and regardless of the campaign, will continue to be the MP for Wavertree for life. The issue for Labour in Liverpool will be whether the Miliband Sun gaffe and a general sense of a party leadership rooted firmly in Westminster will depress the turnout of Labour supporters, or see them make a protest vote.
UKIP will believe they can finish 2nd
The electoral calculus puts them nearly at 15%, close the Liberal Democrats who once viewed this as a winnable seat. Just like Labour though, they are going to be hampered by a leader who is happy to endorse the Sun newspaper.
In fact the only party leader from the biggest five who hasn’t endorsed the Sun is Natalie Bennett. In Liverpool, that has been noted. UKIP will be aiming for double figures in their vote.
Beyond a very, very unlikely hold of Church ward by Richard Kemp, there is little to suggest there will be any serious campaigning by the Lib Dems here. Their candidate is brand new and is a student. There vote will be residual. There may well be messages saying that it was "so close last time" and that "only the Lib Dems can beat Labour in Wavertree". Those messages are simply not credible. Their success will depend on their local results and they may hold onto some votes in Church if the Kemps run a good campaign. I'd estimate a result between 5 and 10% this time.
In what was a supposed Lib Dem / Labour marginal in 2010 the Green vote was squeezed. We had no on the ground campaign in Wavertree. Neither of these things will be true this year. Jake Morrison's endorsement will help in Wavertree ward and beyond. Josie Mullen (a former Lib Dem councillor who resigned from that party when they went into coalition with the Tories) is campaigning for us in Childwall ward. We'll also ensure there is a freepost leaflet going to every home in the constituency (which didn't happen last time either). If that was it, we should expect to save our deposit and not much else.
The big change this time round is that we are less likely nationally to be the victim of a squeeze from the media. We are now punching our weight nationally and the public see us as one of five main parties now. I therefore think we can do better. Social media evens the playing field a bit more, but we'll obviously be dependent on what we can raise in terms of campaign finance, and also how effective our city wide campaign can be, given that Liverpool Riverside is where we are rightly focusing our resources.
Why Vote Green?
What can we offer to the constituency? How Luciana Berger behaves in Parliament may well be influenced by where the next electoral challenge is coming from. If it is UKIP who become the 2nd party here that may have an effect (as it has done already on some northern Labour MPs).
We are proposing that the continued adherence to anti-austerity policies nationally, meaning big cuts locally, must end. Ed Balls and the national Labour team seem to be set in that direction. There are many other policies that will also matter, but our big message must be that voting Green will be a clear vote to end the austerity nationally. The campaign is on.