Sunday, 25 April 2010

You can't believe everything you read

Have you seen the 'Election address' editions of Labour News that are doing the rounds for the council elections? The Herne Hill one has the grand headline 'TWO HORSE RACE IN HERNE HILL - Only Labour can beat the Tories', accompanied by an unreferenced graph, with no scale, suggesting that in Herne Hill Ward Labour have approx 45% of support, the Tories around 40% and the Liberals around 15% (my estimates, based on the sizes of the 3 bars) - and no mention of the Greens.

I'm one of the Green Party candidates in Herne Hill. In the last local election we got 36.7% of the vote (aggregated over 3 candidates), to Labour's 37.3%, and one of our candidates (Becca Thackray) got elected with more votes than any of the Labour candidates. The Conservatives came a distant third with just 16%.

We've asked Labour for an explanation for where they got the figures from and why we're not even featured on their graph.

So far we've received two different stories. First, they tried to tell us the graph was based on the results of the London Mayor election, but then we pointed out that in Herne Hill Ward 58% of people voted for Ken and only 21% for Boris - hardly a tight 'two-horse race'. Now their election agent has told us the graph is "an illustration of our view of the respective strengths of the three main national parties in this area." In other words, they've made it up!

At risk of engaging in boring old Punch-and-Judy politics, these Labour lies really are breathtaking. Not only are they pretending we don't exist - which you'd think was brazen enough seeing as we've already got one councillor in Herne Hill Ward - but they're also fabricating data. The reason? To mislead voters.

No wonder people despair of politicians.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Record number of Greens to vote for in Lambeth

Just a few days after the news that a record number of Green candidates will fight the General Election, I’m very happy to report that we’ve also achieved our own mini milestone here in Lambeth.

On 6th May, there will be 63 Greens standing in the local elections in the borough – our first full slate of candidates.

It may sound like quite a small triumph, but the Greens are not like other parties – we don’t have enormous sums of money to spend, and although we have many hard-working and dedicated members, this doesn’t automatically translate into having 63 would-be councillors ready to put themselves forward for election.

What does it mean to have a full slate? Well, it means that we can now test ourselves in a direct head-to-head with the three main parties.

In the last European elections we came 4th across Lambeth, but had we polled just 1.6% more we would have come second, ahead of both the Lib Dems and the Tories.

And in the last local elections we came second in 5 wards out of 21 and a close third in many other areas. With 63 candidates we’ve every chance of doubling our vote, pushing the Tories into 4th place borough-wide, and – who knows? – even giving the LibDems something to think about.

Of course, we’re not just interested in being triumphant runners up. The big picture for us is about how many councillors we can get elected. We’ve been targeting Herne Hill and Brixton Hill wards, where we’re getting a fantastic response from local residents. I think people see us as a breath of fresh air and something, finally, to get excited about in local politics.

If you’d like to get involved, or to hear more about our campaign, please do drop us an email.