The Green Party Have a Credibility Problem

by Charlie_East_West on February 25, 2015


I recently posted an article on All That’s Left stating that I was likely to vote for The Green Party at the General Election. I liked their policies. I respected Caroline Lucas. I felt that a vote for The Green Party was a vote for left wing, liberal progressive politics and a vote away from endless neoliberalism displayed by successive governments since 1979.

Now I am not so sure.

Yesterday, The Green Party suffered a day like a scene from The Thick of It. The Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett gave an interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC. It was the worst political interview I have ever heard. She came across as totally out of her depth. She failed to grasp even the most basically essentials of how to behave in a political interview. It was a stumbling, inarticulate and nervous performance. It was a complete disaster for her and the credibility of her party – on the day they launched their election campaign.

If you haven’t seen or heard the interview, please watch this link from Sky News from behind the sofa…

To her credit, she immediately apologised and faced up to the condesending wrath of the media throughout yesterday. She must have wanted to just walk way and lie and a darkened room, but she faced the music with grace and humility. Sir Malcolm Rifkind should take note.

Natalie Bennett has poor interview form. She was chewed up and spat out by Andrew Neil in a recent interview. Increasingly, she looks out of her depth and over promoted. Sadly, she isn’t up to the job and should be replaced. Unfortunately for the Greens, they have made this much trickier than it should be. While Caroline Lucas is the obvious choice as leader of The Green Party, due to their overly worthy party policy of not allowing leaders to serve more than two terms – she cannot replace Bennett.

So while The Green Party have a set of appealing progressive policies, the performance of Bennett showcases the major problem for them. They lack credibility and gravitas. They have a branding problem.

Like UKIP, the Green Party are basically a protest vote. They present an opportunity for the electorate who are sick of the posturings of the main three parties to vote in protest. But until The Green Party improve their levels of detailed analysis and presentation, they will always remain on the margins of British politics.

So how do I vote? God only knows…

I am now a deeply confused floating voter. As a long term supporter of the Lib Dems, I cannot vote for them because of their culpability in propping up the Tories. I have never voted for the Tories, because they are Tories. Ditto UKIP.

So what am I left with? Labour? As much as I respect Ed Miliband’s fight against big business, Murdoch, foreign policy and tax avoiders, I am still frustrated by the way in which Labour have been outflanked on austerity, and I am deeply angered by the tactics of Labour in Scotland.

I am so confused about the whole thing. I am schizophrenic in my preferred outcome in May. I want the SNP to give Labour a beating in Scotland, yet I hope Labour beat the Tories to win the election. That is a naive and hopelessly confused place to be.

I therefore face three choices in May:-

1. Vote for The Green Party as their policies are still the closest to my own beliefs.
2. Vote for The Labour Party as they represent the only chance of removing the Tories from Government.
3. Spoil my vote and write SNP in big bold letters on my ballot paper. They are the party that I would vote for, but cannot vote for them as I am an exiled Scot living in South West England.

I live in a land of political confusion. Life would be much easier if I just bought some mustard cords, a Barbour jacket and became a fox hunting, Telegraph reading, tax dodging Tory living in the Shires. Because, in the end, the Tories usually win.

To avoid that zero sum game – I should probably just move back to Scotland.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East February 25, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Caroline Lucas is a superstar. Once you get beyond her (and Jenny Jones) though you begin to struggle. Bennett is beginning to have form for this too, so it is hard to put it down to ‘a bad day at the office’.


Green Christian February 25, 2015 at 4:43 pm

The rule isn’t that a leader can only serve two terms – it’s that a leader can only serve a maximum of 10 years (whether consecutive or not) – which totals five terms in office, and Caroline has only done 2 terms/4 years so far. The reason Caroline stepped down was because, gifted and hardworking as she is, she couldn’t manage to be our sole representative in the Commons, be a constituency MP, and be party leader at the same time and do a good job at all of them.


Mike Killingworth February 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Hopefully Green Christian (or someone else in the Party) can explain why Bennett is running against Keir Starmer in St Pancras and not against that silly woman in Islington South. And if the answer is “our rulebook” then the Greens need to grow up and recognise that sometimes rulebooks are meant to be thrown away.


Chris Southall March 14, 2015 at 9:55 am

I am just back from an inspiring Green Party conference in Liverpool. Over 1500 people making our policy between us! We have lots of good articulate informed speakers but the media always wants ‘the leader’ we must fight against their pressures.
Chris (standing in Clacton for the greens)


Laura April 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Goodness, that sounds a lot like how I am feeling at the moment too! :-/


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