March has been a pretty good month for the Greens. We’ve taken our third town council seat in less than a year in Totnes , an amazing feat for any local party. I’m prepared to say that Totnes might even become a potential Green target seat in 2014 and might well be the party’s best chance of taking a Parliamentary seat off the Tories. Time will tell, of course.
However, last night saw Mid-Suffolk Greens take the Haughley and Wetherden council seat off the Tories with a whopping 61% of the vote, a 33.2% net swing from the Tories since the 2007 local elections. The Independent has called it a “bombshell on major parties”, whilst The Evening Standard hailed the win as a “shock” to the main parties so close to a General Election. Jim Jepps has the full breakdown of the results.
The Mid-Suffolk district council win comes off the back of the Greens getting a second Councillor Dean Walton after a Babergh district councillor resigned the Tory whip and joined the Greens. Quite the conversion and not one we’re particularly used to, but a welcomed addition to the growing ranks of Green councillors in the country.
On April 1st, less than a week away, voters in the John O’Gaunt ward in Lancaster go to the polls to elect a new city councillor following the resignation of a Labour councillor. Ian Chamberlain has been selected as the Green Party candidate and is keen to join fellow Green and current John O’Gaunt councillor, Jude Towers. If the Greens win the by-election they will become the largest party in the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency with a total of 13 seats. However, Lancaster and Fleetwood is a Labour ‘must hold’ and a Tory ‘must win’ if they wish to form a majority Government.
The by-election represents the last challenge for either Labour, the Tories or the Greens, to throw down their marker at this election. A Green win will only reinforce the idea that many voters are tired of Labour and the Conservatives and are seeking a different kind of change to the one being talked-up by David Cameron. A Labour win would give the party a much-needed boost of morale before an election is called and for the Tories, a win would represent a turn around in their recent misfortunes.
In the words of Greg Wallace, “it doesn’t get much tougher than this.”