The Party Without People

Caroline Lucas again again. In the New Statesman today, talking about the Green Party’s upcoming leadership contest, she says,

There is another crucial reason why Britain needs Green leadership now. Voter turnout at all elections has been falling. Fewer than one in four people vote in many local elections. Most people simply can’t see any difference between politicians from any of the three main Westminster parties. Minor divergences in economic management emerge from time to time, but the paradigm of privatisation, liberalisation and free market dominance has killed off many progressive policies.

Funny that Lucas should talk about low voter turnout. The motor-mouthed miserablist has benefited enormously from voter apathy, as the results from the last two European elections reveal.

 
1999
2004
Party
Votes
% vote
Seats
% Electorate
Votes
%Vote
Seats
% Electorate
Conservative
661932
44.42
5
11
776370
35.2
4
12.8
UKIP
144514
9.7
1
2.4
431111
19.5
2
7.1
Liberal Democrats
228136
15.31
2
3.8
338342
15.3
2
5.6
Labour
292146
19.61
2
4.8
301398
13.7
1
5
Green Party
110571
7.42
1
1.8
173351
7.9
1
2.9
 
Electorate
6023991
Turnout
24.73%
Electorate
6034549
Turnout
36.78

As we can see, she took 7.42% of the vote in 1999, which amounts to just 1.8% of the electorate. In 2004, she increased her share to 7.9% of the vote, amounting to 2.9% of the electorate. No landslide. And yet it was enough to raise her profile well above any other European MP.

The poor showing at the European elections show how uninterested the public are in the EU. It is because so few people registered their vote that Lucas got a seat. And it is because people are so turned off by mainstream politics that the Green Party poll at all. And it is because mainstream parties cannot connect with the public that they have all turned to environmental concerns. The claim that the major parties are turning to environmentalism because it’s a vote winner defies the cold hard stats: it ain’t a vote winner.

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