|First of all a little context:
We did not exist as a discreet local party 18 months ago. We have no resources worthy of the name.
We have no army of members or supporters (yet) to call on to canvass and distribute leaflets for us.
In this context we can be very proud of achieving the following at the first attempt (*see below):
There is, of course, plenty to ponder on and learn from, but overall, we can all hold up heads up high. The political scene in Bridgend now knows that we are here to stay and will look to hold them to account and continue to raise the awareness of the people of Bridgend that we are here to offer genuine alternatives to the stale diet of centre right politics offered by the more established parties.
The really bad news from these elections is largely two-fold:
Firstly, the abysmal turnout (unconfirmed – but predicted to be low 30s %) emphasises just how disengaged the general public is with our politics. There is very little trust or faith in politicians in general. This cannot be our fault in the Green Party, but it is our challenge to show that we really are a fresh and trustworthy alternative that are worthy of being elected.
Secondly, given the appalling mess that the economy and so many other policy areas (education, health, foreign policy, etc) are currently in, it was ripe for a swing to the left. We could reasonably have hoped that this would translate itself into big swings to the Greens and Plaid Cymru. After all, who still perceives the Labour Party as a left wing party? It seems that many people in Bridgend still have not caught up with the political realities of ‘New Labour’. And where is the logic in turning away from the coalition parties that are screwing up every attempt to tackle our problems, and turning back to the party that largely created the problems by, in turn, politically aligning themselves to the capitalists and social nihilists of their predecessors – Thatcher’s Tories superceded by Blair’s New Labour.
I repeat my sincere respect for the numerous socialists hanging on in there in the local Labour Party, but I cannot help but worry about the consequences of an influx of new generation New Labour people into the council chamber. In addition, the overwhelming majority now held by Labour in Bridgend is a recipe for complacency and inertia. But this is where we will endeavour to make a contribution – by scrutinising their actions and holding them to account wherever we can, and constructively encouraging and supporting them to do the right things when we can.
These elections mark the end of the beginning for Bridgend Green Party. We will now look to build on this and ensure that there we can provide a legacy that we can be proud to leave to the next generations, rather than the unsustainable mess we are living through right now. If the future is to be bright – it simply has to be Green!
Upwards and onwards.
*All % figures subject to official ratification of the number of voting papers.