Natalie Bennett deserves a voice in next year's TV debates

Natalie Bennett

The BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 have proposed television debates for the 2015 election. One problem though: the Greens are excluded.

Under the joint proposals, there is to be one head-to-head debate between Ed Miliband and David Cameron, one also including Nick Clegg, and one including both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.

But none are to include the Green party, who are a legitimate player on the political field.

The TV debates are a chance for politicians to show-case their visions for the country. On one hand, it is a good idea to have a debate between Ed Miliband and David Cameron as those two are the most likely candidates to become Prime Minister next May, however, there should be a series of other debates including a range of party leaders.

The Guardian’s view on the TV debates appears to be the most fair:

‘all the parties should be admitted on an equal basis. If they reach a modest threshold – which can be a threshold of parliamentary seats, share of the popular vote or opinion poll ratings, or some combination – they should be in. This would ensure that no party with a reasonable claim would be excluded unfairly.’

Additionally, the paper made the point that:

‘It would all be far easier if Britain had a fairer electoral system’.

With a more proportional system, smaller parties would have more of a say and would be treated as equals.

The Greens are split in the UK. There is a separate Scottish Green party; there's one for Northern Ireland, and of course the Green Party of England and Wales. In the TV debates the Greens deserve a voice.

Here's just a few reasons why the Greens should be included in a TV debate:

Whilst UK media has focused its attention on the rise of UKIP, they have overlooked the Green surge. The party has done well to increase its vote share in elections in recent years, and has increased its number of councillors.

Additionally, until recently the Greens had one more MP than UKIP. Now, they are both on an equal footing inside the House of Commons.

Furthermore, the Greens performed extremely well in this year’s European elections. UKIP coming first is a reason used to include Nigel Farage in the television debates, but the Green party came fourth - one position ahead of the Liberal Democrats who came fifth. Overall, the Liberal Democrats kept only one MEP, whilst the Greens gained one, meaning Natalie Bennett’s party have three times as many representatives than the Lib Dems in the European parliament.

The party also came third in the London Mayoral race in 2012. True, they did not get even 5% of the vote, but they beat UKIP, the Lib Dems, the BNP and an independent, in order to get third place.

Furthermore, in recent months, even years, they have been on a level pegging with the Liberal Democrats in the polls, showing that they a major party in UK politics.

It is deplorable and completely unfair that the Greens have been excluded out-right from the television debates. Democracy is about hearing all the options, allowing people to make their minds up based on the inclusion of a variety of choices.

The Greens are a legitimate choice in next year's election. Natalie Bennett deserves to be included in the debates. And if the people of the United Kingdom do not vote Green then at least they will have been given the opportunity to hear an alternative option. And that, is what we call democracy.