The Green Party is the most popular political group in the country but lacks the money and media coverage to translate support into seats, a Manchester Green activist has claimed.
Jake Welsh, the Green Candidate for Chorlton, said that the party’s policies resonate with vast swathes of the electorate but due to lack of financial support they do not get people’s support at the ballot box.
The Greens polled well before the election, coming above the Lib Dems in the final YouGov/Sun poll on Wednesday evening indicating mounting public support.
Jake said: “In online questionnaires asking people about which policies they agree with, we do extremely well.
“We’re the most popular party policy-wise out of the top five but we get the least media coverage.
“We don’t have the trade unions like Labour or wealthy backers like the Tories, Lib Dems or UKIP might have.”
Jake, who came second in his ward with 20.4% of the vote, argued that it was wealthy business owners who caused problems, not immigrants.
He said: “It’s easy to understand UKIP’s message on immigration and that the EU costs us money but it’s really wealthy business owners are the problem not immigration.
“Greens would work on educating people to see past the reactionary message of UKIP and focus on the policies they support.”
The Greens also had support from LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell who told the Huffington Post UK: “The Greens, not UKIP, are the real alternative to the political establishment.”
Manchester Greens were ‘thrilled’ with their best result yet in the Manchester City local elections last week.
Standing candidates in all 32 of Manchester City’s wards they came second in 13 wards – a strong improvement on the 2012 elections.
Jake said: “This is the first time the Greens have come second in Chorlton, this is our best result and best percentage so far.
“The Lib Dem numbers haven’t gone down much, only by 2%, we’ve taken votes from other parties so that’s good.”
It appears that the wards where Greens lost support where the ones that UKIP made gains, such as Charlestown, or in wards where bigger battles were being fought.
Ancoats and Clayton had the Greens in second place in 2012 but they slipped to fourth place this year.
It was a controversial ward as although Labour maintained its stronghold Ancoats and Clayton had seven candidates battling it out in the polls.
These included Manchester’s solo Pirate Party Candidate Loz Kaye, who came sixth above the Lib Dems whose candidate came last with little more than a hundred votes.
Ken Dobson also stood as an independent candidate in Ancoats and Clayton after controversially leaving the Lib Dems when they entered into the coalition government with the Tories.
The Greens also dropped to third place in Withington ward, the hotly-contested ward that Labour targeted to undermine the Lib Dem MP for Withington, John Leech, leaving him with an entirely Labour council.
The Green Party responded to positive public feeling in the North West by fielding 277 candidates across the region and gained their first ever seat in the Wirral.
They are also now installed as the official opposition in Liverpool.
Jake added: “This year we really started from scratch – we knocked on about a quarter of the doors in the ward.
“Next time we’re going to campaign really hard. We’re going to knock on every door to make gains in Manchester.”
Looking ahead to the General Election next year Jake said that although he looked forward to the possibility of gaining more seats, he was cautious about the outcome.
“Next year we’re a little worried as it’s the General Election and at the last one we lost seats in London,” he said.
“As for Europe the Green Party has good support – if it stays the same or higher we have a really good chance of gaining another seat.
“That would be the most amazing news since 2010 when we got out first MP. We would be over the moon; it would be a big boost for a greener world.”
Picture courtesy of Jake Welsh via Facebook, with thanks