The Green party has room to improve after a record general election

Natalie Bennett

The Greens only won one seat, but they got a record share of the vote and can build and expand for next time round.

The Greens came fifth overall in the 2015 general election, but their performance was their best yet. With targeted and concentrated campaigning they could build up and eventually become a significant player with more than just one seat in the House Of Commons.

Obstacles

One obstacle to improving is quite clearly reaching out to people and getting more people to get behind the Green cause, but there is a potential for this. In the ‘State of the nation’ survey last year, an Ipsos-Mori poll, suggested that whilst only 7% of people would identify with the Green party, a total of 43% said they 'might' vote for them. Of course this needs to be put into perspective: 54% said they would never vote for them, whilst 60% said they might vote Labour and 44% who said they might vote Conservative.

But the polling does show that in some situations a potential 43% of voters could vote Green. The challenge for the party will be tapping into that.

The second obstacle is of course Britain’s voting system. The Greens got one million votes in the general election, a figure not reflected in their share of seats.

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But with a Conservative majority government, first-past-the-post is unlikely to be changed to a fairer system such as the single transferable vote. So, as a result, like with UKIP and other small parties, the Greens will have to play the game.

Making gains in the future

But even under FPTP conditions the party has much room to improve. The goal for 2020 for the party is to turn many of their second places into first places and increase overall vote share. It will definitely be a challenge, but with targeted campaigning it could be achieved.

The party came second place in three cities in the north of England. And according to City AM, the party came second in a total of four seats. Compared to the 120 seats that UKIP came second in this is a relatively small number, but it still illustrates that the party has room to improve and could potentially make gains.

Furthermore, according to leader Natalie Bennett’s Facebook page, the party saved over 100 deposits, showing progress and that there is still room to build.

The Greens have a big challenge ahead; going from a party on the fringes to a much larger movement is no easy task. They have obstacles sure, but having done well in the recent election it looks like the party can only go up from here.

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