Giving Ukip and Nigel Farage TV air time but not the Green Party is ‘dangerous for democracy’, warns the party’s parliamentary candidate for Manchester.
Broadcasters have come under fire after it was announced that ITV would hold an election debate with the three main party leaders Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and David Cameron and Mr Farage, despite both the Greens and Ukip having one representative in the Houses of Parliament.
Green Leader Natalie Bennett has said the party are ‘deadly serious’ about launching legal action due to the exclusion.
Manchester candidate Lucy Bannister told MM: “I think the media has a huge part to play in pushing the electorate one way. I think it’s good that Ukip are there at the debates, so should we. We want a valid debate and to let people know they have a choice.
“The idea that we could be moving away from the three parties further to the right to something more nationalist is really dangerous and by, excluding the Green Party, it’s shifting the debate to the right and that’s dangerous for democracy.
“In Manchester, we were the second party after Labour in the local elections, people do believe in Green policies and I do think that is being ignored.”
A petition has been signed by 55,000 disgruntled potential voters, who want the Green Party involved in the debates – they accuse the major stations of continuing their ‘media blackout’ against the Greens.”
The party did well in the European elections receiving 1,255,573 votes, putting them above the Lib Dems at 1,087,633. They also came third in the London mayoral election, again ahead of the Lib Dems.
In Westminster, the Greens have one MP, the same as Ukip, and regularly poll with the same amount of support as the Lib Dems nationally (7%).
The Prime Minister was in agreement with the Greens. He said: “I am in favour of TV debates but you have got to make sure you can come up with a proposal everyone can agree to, and I can’t see how you can have a party in that has an MP in Parliament, but not another party.”
Broadcasters have argued that the inclusion of Mr Farage reflected ‘changes in the political landscape’, but many have used social media to show their discontent with the media’s coverage for the Greens and their apparent ‘media obsession’ with Ukip.
The Manchester Greens candidate said: “There has been a media blackout and it’s something we have had to deal with and I think we have dealt with it quite well.
“Despite receiving no media coverage, our growth has been amazing. We’ve had a growth of 45% with the main body of the party and a 100% rise in the membership of the Young Greens.
“Imagine the rise in membership we would have seen if we had the same press attention Ukip has had.
“People are thinking that the Lib-Lab structure isn’t working and they’re thinking ‘right, I want to look somewhere else’ but the only other alternative the media seems to be showing them is Ukip.
“We want to say, no it isn’t the only alternative. We want a balanced argument. The Greens are there, Ukip is there, see which works for you better because we believe that we have the policies that people want most, and that’s been reflected in polls time and time again.”
The Greens are now proposing that that there is a youth debate with representatives for the other party, that will encourage young people to get involved in politics and provide an opportunity to discuss issues that affect them.
“We need to see some diversity, we need a woman up there and we need a change in background – and Natalie would offer that,” she said.
“People don’t necessarily know what we stand for and that would be a chance to show them in the debates. We haven’t got huge amounts of money like the other parties and there are not many ways for us to get our message out, so that would be one of them.
“If people are saying they want to hear more from us then we should be given a platform to speak.”
Image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.