Greens aim for gains in 2015: electoral reform is a must

House Of Commons

Speaking to the Observer this Sunday, the Green Party leader said that her party is looking to make major advancements in Westminster next year.

The Green Party of England and Wales has seen its membership increase in recent years. The same goes for its Scottish counterpart.

The party has also done well in the polls, often drawing with the Liberal Democrats at around 7%.

In the interview, Natalie Bennett said to the Observer that the party was looking in the direction of eleven other seats, building on their success in the last election when the party gained its first seat in the House Of Commons.

It is highly likely the Greens will do well next year, with increased membership, good performances in local elections and their successes in the recent European elections. But whether they can gain more seats will be up to numerous factors in the constituencies they will be fighting in.

The problem the Greens face is the same that UKIP face - the UK’s first-past-the-post system - which unfairly disadvantages smaller parties, and helps larger parties such as the Conservatives and Labour.

If 2015 comes around and the Greens increase their share of the vote, along with UKIP, but only gain a handful of seats each, then the issue of electoral reform could be brought back into focus.

A situation could emerge where a Labour majority is formed with only 35% of the vote. In 2010, David Cameron’s Conservatives achieved 36% of the vote, but did not get a majority of seats. It was even higher than the 35.2% Labour got in 2005 where Labour formed a majority government under Tony Blair.

A fairer electoral system is needed to show the changing face of British politics. The UK now has a multiparty system, with Labour, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens, the nationalist parties and many more, having the ability to shape the outcome in seats across the country. A FPTP electoral system, which works best with two major parties, does not quite make sense when the country has a multiparty system.

A fairer electoral system will give the country governments it votes for and reduce tactical voting, allowing individuals to express their true feelings at the ballot box.

UKIP’s rise often dominates the headlines, but the new presence of the Greens on the political block has not gone unnoticed. If 2015 produces a parliament where the share of the vote for the three main parties is at an all time low and the smaller parties make some breakthroughs then it is without a doubt possible that talk of electoral reform, for a more proportional system, could come back into the spotlight.

The interview with Natalie Bennett can be found here: