The media is downplaying Greens and talking up the BNP


9:20 am - May 19th 2009

by Rupert Read    


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Recent polling since the expenses scandal broke shows the Greens have been reaping the rewards of public anger at the main Parliamentary parties. Some indicate we may even receive a result rivaling the 15% highpoint of the ’89 election.

A ComRes poll this weekend put the Tories at 28%, Labour at 20%, the Lib Dems on 14%, below UKIP’s 15%, with the Greens on 11% and the BNP on just 4%. A YouGov poll out yesterday showed that could be the tip of a more radical, positive mood: 34% said they may vote Green at this election.

But here’s the funny thing: the primary focus of the media, and the BBC in particular, has been on the BNP. It remains a party that appears to be falling short of expectations for them.

The BNP are a risk in their key seats, particularly the North West. So why is the BBC talking up the threat? Perhaps they think that the prospect of fascists gaining an MEP is a sexier news story than a whole new swathe of clean, Green politicians.

It might be the case that much of the media have a particularly low opinion of the public, believing, quite wrongly, that just because people are angry they will automatically vote for racists, liars and scumbags.

The irony of an anti-corruption vote going to UKIP has not been lost on many political activists (see link 1, and link 2) – although it is obviously preferable to have a do-nothing UKIPer than a British Nationalist MEP who will actively promote their malign politics.

No one has to vote for the fake patriotism of the BNP in order to help shake up UK politics, but the BBC have already dubbed them the likely main beneficiaries of the sleaze scandal. Even if the polls don’t indicate that.

And anyway, obviously, this election isn’t just about stopping the BNP or Parliamentary corruption – although that is the all important backdrop. When we elect MEPs for the next five years they will be called upon to tackle dangerous climate change and the impacts of Peak Oil in the context of an economic collapse. Half-hearted measures from a comfortable elite or backwards xenophobia cannot challenge social inequality and injustice.

The BBC and many of our newspapers may think the main story is the BNP and tend to sideline the Greens, but the UK is so much more than just the status quo on one side and angry racists on the other.

(thanks to Jim Jepps for helping)

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About the author
This is a guest post. Rupert Read is a Green Party councillor and ran as a MEP candidate in Eastern region in 2009. He blogs at Rupert's Read and Comment is free
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Green party ,Media ,Our democracy ,Westminster

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Reader comments


I think LC is part of the problem on this one.

Where are the pieces about the Green’s European manifesto?

Where are the interviews with pre-eminent Greens about the scandals?

The left-leaning blogosphere has put far more energy into the BNP’s fake leaflets (thereby raising their profile handily) than it has into even discussing the Greens.

Has to be admitted that it is more fun tearing into the BNP and exposing their neo-Nazi undercurrents and pure political mentalism than it is analysing the worthiness of the Green Party!

But of course I sincerely hope that those disaffected with the main parties turn to the Greens rather than UKIP or even the BNP.

Here is an article aimed at lefties about why they should vote to re-elect Green MEP Jean Lambert in London: http://anglobuddhistcombine.blogspot.com/2008/11/re-elect-jean-lambert.html

Mark Thomas endorses the Greens here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhIR8MIxzh8

and explains why former Labour voters should vote Green here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em2kW1AWzE0

This video is by Rupert Read, the author of the article and the lead candidate for Eastern region: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLG4eXHthao

Peter Cranie, lead candidate for North West region, is spearheading a campaign against Nick Griffin with this website: http://www.stopnickgriffin.org.uk/sites/stopnickgriffin

Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party and MEP for South Eastern region, is profiled in these two articles from the weekend:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/may/18/interview-caroline-lucas-green-party
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/caroline-lucas-theres-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-1686291.html

Yeah but evidently not even left-leaning bloggers will give them house-room.

I voted Green at the first London Mayoral elections (after Ken natch) but I remember that around the time of the second set of London mayoral elections there was some discussion going on of one of those reactionary ideas that the government occasionally floats. It was the idea of basically removing NHS cover from fat people and a Green came out in favour of it and right there and then the Greens lost my vote and I haven’t voted for them since.

Have the party’s attitudes evolved? was that politician speaking ex-cathedra or off their own bat? I don’t know, and I’m not likely to know going by the state of the left blogosphere.

Hence my saying that Liberal Conspiracy are as much a part of this media problem as the dead tree press hyping the BNP as the party due to make the most of the current scandals.

Hi Jonathan, I can confirm it is NOT party policy to allocate health care on the basis of personal circumstance but on the principle of universal access. All parties contain people who occasionally say bizarre things that do not hold with either policy or basic principles.

http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/health.html

7. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Nothing new, it’s been going on since the 2004 elections.

This has to be the most stupid post of the month. You are givng the chance to write about the Greens and sell them to the lost souls of the Left on this site. You could talk about the Green’s policies. What do you do? You write about the BNP, and then complain about lack of coverage! What a muppet!

There will be another post soon specifically on the Greens’ policies, so stay tuned!

Check out this new video on the fight between the Greens and the BNP in North-West region, where Nick Griffin is standing to become an MEP:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv0uHWxhLgs

10. Richard (the original)

“A YouGov poll out yesterday showed that could be the tip of a more radical, positive mood: 34% said they may vote Green at this election.”

If they read the Greens’ economic policies they’d probably think twice. They seem to be a recipe for economic contraction and rising inflation.

11. mellowmund

I find the Green party wholly unelectable. They would be better off putting their backing behind green candidates from other parties.

Wouldn’t this bring about a “greener” parliament faster then the current strategy given that the voter could say that so and so candidate has the green backing. That is another point altogether though.

It is right to note the silent commentary about the Green Party in the main stream. Cheers for the piece.

12. Chris Williams

Labour politicos and their cheerleaders would rather point the finger at the BNP, and yell “It’s us or them!” because given that kind of choice (as the French demonstrated) most will vote against the nazi. So they frame the debate that way.

If they were to point at the Greens and yell “It’s us or them!”, rather more of the electorate would respond “So it is. Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.”

Registering a protest vote for the Greens is like threatening someone with a stick of celery.

Harmless unless they turn on you.


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  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    New post: The media is downplaying Greens and talking up the BNP http://bit.ly/hrda6

  2. links for 2009-05-19 « Embololalia

    […] Liberal Conspiracy » The media is downplaying Greens and talking up the BNP | creating a new libera… No one has to vote for the fake patriotism of the BNP in order to help shake up UK politics, but the BBC have already dubbed them the likely main beneficiaries of the sleaze scandal. Even if the polls don’t indicate that. (tags: bnp europeanparliament greens uk politics) […]





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