Monday, 26 May 2014
What Happened to the Green Party?
I stayed up last night to watch the results of the European Parliament Elections. It was depressing to see UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party) coming top of the polls in many regions of the UK and in the country as a whole. However it wasn't surprising given the huge amount of media coverage this right wing, single issue party had garnered on TV, radio and most newspapers.
Meanwhile the Green Party had more or less been ignored in the pre-election media coverage (though immediately before the elections there had been a flurry of trending articles on Twitter erncouraging people to vote Green). The election results coverage continued to treat the Green Party with disdain - despite the fact that they gained more MEPs (Members of the European parliament) than did the Liberal Democrats (the party that is currently in Government in a coalition with the Conservatives).
The election day coverage was appalling in its bias against the Green Party:
In one discussion the Green party was described as 'a boutique protest party' and the party for 'people who don't want to vote UKIP but don't like what the main parties are offering'
One of the rolling subtitles during the programme ran something along the lines of: 'Green Party gains two seats, while BNP leader loses his' which could be construed as the Green Party and the BNP (British National Party - a far right party) being linked as equally extreme.
One of the few mentions of Green Party candidates was to poke fun (twice) at one of the party condidates who was knitting while waiting for the votes to be counted.
Even in reference to the Green Party gaining more MEPs than the Liberal Democrats, this was never discussed in terms of the Green Party but always in terms of Liberal Democrat collapse.
I was so angry that I complained to the BBC and I signed the petition to the BBC NEWS to STOP THIS MEDIA BLACKOUT OF THE GREEN PARTY.
The Green Party don't get everything right, and apparently they're not doing a great job of running Brighton council in the south of England. However they are a party with well thought out policies on a wide range of issues (not just relating to the environment) and offer a credible, respectable alternative to the main parties. UKIP on contrast have one policy, which is to take the UK out of the EU and they are widely perceived as incompetent and racist. The huge media coversage they were given almost certainly helped to increase their votes and to get many people to see them as a respectable party.
The EU for that matter doesn't get everything right. However, from an environmental perspective, the EU Natura 2000 Network (which I blogged about here) is a vital element in ensuring decent protection for the most special areas for nature.