With the radical shakeup of the political landscape rapidly evolving, the era of two party politics is ending and membership of traditionally smaller parties surging.
Sheffield Central is one of the top eight Green Party general election target constituencies and SRGP’s member numbers are growing rapidly now. So, six months before the 2015 national and local elections there really is everything to play for.
The Westminster establishment is reeling from recent developments including the Scottish referendum being a close call and UKIP polling at record high levels. With their first MP elected in October, a close second in Heywood and Middleton and another bite at the by-election cherry on 20 November, the UKIP pitch for the disenfranchised on both the right and the left looks likely to continue.
A lack of certainty that either of the two main parties could command a majority in the general election also prevails. The Lib Dems still potentially hold the balance of power despite a drop in the polls to around 6% lately, but the possibility of even seeing a minority government magnifies the prospect of a whole new ball game.
Membership of the Green Party overall is up by 80% this year and significantly the party has recently polled above the Lib Dems nationally. Leader Natalie Bennett has said “there is no such thing as a safe seat anymore, which puts a lot more within reach of smaller parties”. In this context getting a radically different message out to the emerging audience looking for an inspiring alternative is crucial.
Successfully reaching the electorate is now all about generating a real sense that their vote will lead to a better future, in particular by talking in ways that people can easily relate to. The success of the Yes campaign, as covered in our October Greener Future newsletter, has led to the SNP having over 80,000 members now. New leader Nicola Sturgeon is commanding high levels of trust and 20,000 free tickets to hear her speaking to new recruits around Scotland were snapped up in 24 hours.
The wide support for inclusion of the Green Party in the general election TV Leaders’ Debates, on the grounds of fairness further opens up this new playing field to us. We can capitalise locally on the opportunities this presents if we communicate effectively using a range of mediums including social media, press and broadcast media, events, publicity materials and in conversations on the doorstep.
Now really is therefore the time to seize the moment. SRGP relishes a challenge and so please do get in touch without delay if is there something that could you contribute as we seek to expand and involve more members and supporters in Team Green 2015.