After the election… The Green Party…

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One of the few consistent dynamics in the elections north and south was the success of the Green party. In the south the party’s Euro candidate, and former minister of environment Eamon Ryan, is probably kicking himself that he didn’t also run for a seat in Dublin city council.

That a minister from the last very unpopular administration was so close to becoming an MEP is testimony to two things: one, the change in the general mood; and two the glaring contrast with the terminal fate of the PDs.

You cannot kill an idea etc etc.

Aside from that Ryan is by Irish standards a pretty unshowy, and unpolemical politician and the very antithesis of the populism so evident right across the southern state in the last five to ten years. Competing so keenly in the newly three seatered Dublin seat ought not to be underestimated in that regard.

Voter volatility has been the principle characteristic of the Irish polity since the onset of the banking crisis. And in that time it has favoured oppositional and independent voices. Ryan’s near success may be an indicator that voters may be beginning to look for ‘solution finders’ almost as much ‘wreckers’. Alternatively of course it may just be a convenient port in the ongoing storm for middle-class Labour voters.

As far as the northern party – and former poor relation in the family business – is concerned four counsellors into two contingent super councils is a great deal more than I and many others would have predicted five or six years ago when pretty much all they had was a single MLA.

Our peculiar PR system insists that parties build from the ground up John Barry is topping the poll in Holywood with 1500 votes was in its own modest way a remarkable testimony to working the ground assiduously over and over again.

RPA and the re-organisation of local government was always going to be as stiff test for such small parties. But it is something that the Green party has been preparing for since around 2006 and 2007. Nothing comes quickly or easily under STV.

An heroic recovery which probably underlines the idea that there is always space for the Greens even when we don’t have them.

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  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “four counsellors into two contingent super councils is a great deal more than I and many others would have predicted five or six years ago when pretty much all they had was a single MLA.”

    Here are the votes for the Greens in LE:

    2014 – 5515 – 4 councillors

    2011 – 6317 – 3 councillors

    2005 – 5703 – 3 councillors

    and in the EP elections:

    2014 – 10598

    2009 – 15764

    2004 – 4810

    and in the Assembly elections:

    2011 – 6031 – 1 MLA

    2007 – 11985 – 1 MLA

    2003 – 2688 –

    The figures convey an overall impression of ascent and descent at all three levels.

    There was no Greens candidate in the Causeway Coast and Glens despite the local concerns about fracking.

  • Johnny Boy

    Would Agnews profile benefit from getting publicly involved in the Anti-Fracking movement in GB?

  • Charles_Gould

    Can see Greens winning an East Belfast and a South Belfast MLA on a very good day.

  • http://www.e-consultation.org/ davenewman

    It is the geographic distribution of votes that matters in getting councillors elected, rather than the total vote, even under STV.

    So the NI Greens have started to target-to-win, like parties in England: but starting from a lower membership.

    I can call on over 400 members in Oxfordshire to canvass 5 wards 3 times, and deliver 4 or 5 leaflets from January to May in just those areas. (We lost 1, held 1 and gained 2 councillors.)

  • Floreat Ultonia

    @Nevin- “There was no Greens candidate in the Causeway Coast and Glens despite the local concerns about fracking”

    Good point, although shouldn’t be confined to the North Coast, as there are similar environmental issues everywhere.

    14 Council Candidates across the 80 DEAs (I assume this is the one-sixth minimum which triggers regional media coverage). At a recent meeting with some of them I wondered aloud why not more paper/ nominal candidates. No convincing answer, although I realise that trekking up and down either side of Duncairn Gardens, say, to collect 20 signatures for Castle and New Lodge poses problems that it wouldn’t in the Black Country,or Oxfordshire.

    @Johnny- Agnew already has a strong media profile, Ross Brown’s is growing. Getting arrested at a Fermanagh Frack might publicise it further, I suppose. Fracking isn’t the biggest issue over here though, that is probably housing.

    @Charles- that’s encouraging ;)

    @Dave- ditto on yr number of activists

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    The fair point is raised above that, although the Greens are to be applauded for effective targeting and some excellent candidates, actually their vote is declining – particularly outside North Down. I’m not sure that’s a “success” (though I wouldn’t call four seats a failure either, to be clear).

  • Floreat Ultonia

    Shall we agree that overall it’s a consolidation then?

    There must be scope for regaining some of the lost Euro vote if NI21 fades quickly, or even disappears.

    There should be (my preference, not prediction) a candidate in every greater Belfast DEA next time, just to give all potential supporters the chance to vote.