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Greens Challenge Labour in Brighton

Caroline Lucas greets Labour Party members, who are coming to Brighton for conference
Caroline Lucas greets Labour Party members, who are coming to Brighton for conference • Photograph: Brighton and Hove Green Party

The Greens and Labour are engaging in war this week as both parties choose the city of Brighton as the host for their party conferences.

Presenting a formidable challenge to Labour, the Greens’ sole MP, Caroline Lucas, will be welcoming the party to her seat and attempting to garner support away from the party.

Criticism of the Labour party is only fair. Having helped the UK into economic crisis, the party lost a lot of support, allowing the Conservatives into power. With their horrible policies, the Tories have now forced people up and down the country into increasingly detrimental positions, where families struggle to make ends meet and the most vulnerable are treated like a burden on the state. Of course, the Labour party can’t be blamed directly for the introduction of these abhorrent policies but their recklessness in government played into their opposition’s hands, causing the coalition we have today. To add salt to the wound, however, it appears that the Labour party have few plans to end this reign of terror enforced by the ‘nasty party’ and seemingly want to continue with the timetable of austerity, reversing few of the Tories’ cuts and policies if they were to gain control of Government in 2015.

Additionally, the Labour party seem to be on the path to destruction in the General Election. Despite their high polling levels, a parliamentary majority still remains dependent on their ability to connect with voters, but it’s hard to do that when you have no, at least public, policies. Whether it’s a tactically slow release, or a case of developing policies at the last minute, Miliband’s party are sending their support packing as people struggle to understand what the party stands for. Far from the certainty of receiving the support from their original voter base, Labour seem to be only pushing away votes rather than drawing new ones in.

In the three-way marginal that is the constituency of Brighton Pavilion, Labour are hoping to win the seat from the Greens, as part of their bid to reassert themselves as the people’s party. Yet, it will not be a surprise if they lose the seat again, as they continue down the path they are taking. Despite the public spats the Greens have had in the council and some of their lesser appreciated policies by local residents, Caroline Lucas continues to hold strong support, if only by a margin. With their conference having ended this week, the Greens have voted for policies that the public want, but the Labour party doesn’t (yet) offer: no to fracking, nationalised railways and the reversion of austerity policies, for example. It is on this basis that the Greens will remind Labour party members of an alternative as they challenge the official opposition to the status of de facto opposition. Labour party members will be greeted with this billboard, which criticises their lack of policy and position on the right of the political spectrum, on their way to conference this week:

Although the Greens would be extremely pleased to gain support on the basis of their policies and establish themselves as a true party in Westminster, what is more important is the introduction of their policies. Hence, this argument attempts to work in two ways. The first is that it will persuade Labour members to realign with the Greens. The second that will prompt Labour members to ask their party to introduce these policies to their manifesto.

In order to ensure success and stop the demise of Labour majority governments (which may not necessarily be a bad thing), Miliband and his party members need to reconsider their strategy and begun introducing policy promises that will get people back on their side.

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