Thursday, February 26, 2009

Better, more complete information needed about forthcoming European elections

Its really disappointing to see that The Greens/European Free Alliance group of MEPs in the European Parliament was, along with three others, not mentioned in the large Post report about the European Elections this June (‘The Post travels to the heart of Europe – Brussels – to find out just what the EU can do for you’, 24 Feb). The story named only the three largest pan-European political groups: the conservative European People’s Party-European Democrats; the Party of European Socialists; and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Surely people are entitled to and need better and more complete information about EU politics??

The story omitted a sizeable 183 MEPs (23% of the 785 total) who belong to one of the unmentioned four groups or are amongst the 32 MEPs who are without a group. The Greens/EFA group has 43 MEPs from 14 countries in it, exerting significant influence and doing invaluable work on issues such as: healthy food; efficiency and renewable energy; clean air; quality public transport; human rights; sustainable cities, and more! The other groups left out of the report are: the national-conservative Union for a Europe of Nations; the democratic socialist/communist/eco-socialist European United Left-Nordic Green Left; and the eurosceptic Independence/Democracy group, which includes UKIP.

The report also omits to mention that the Greens have a full list of candidates selected to fight the European Elections, as it only names the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP as putting up candidates in the region. Yes Greens are a smaller political party but there has always been a concentrated wealth of talent and experience in it along with badly needed new political thinking! Quality is reflected in the South West Greens list of candidates, topped by lead candidate Councillor Ricky Knight (pictured) - councillors; teachers; lecturers; GPs; business people…Leadership experience and skills feature well, with two of the candidates being former national party Principal Speakers (full details here).

At the last European elections the highest % of green votes outside London and the South East (where two Green MEPs Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas from the UK were re-elected) was obtained in the South West region. Greens do excellent work in the European Parliament, have a good history of success in Euro elections across countries and have been able to work very well together as a group in the Greens/European Free Alliance.


  1. From the Evening Post website on the change of Bristol City council leadership;

    "Read the Bristol Post's political editor Torben Lee's blog on everything happening at Bristol City Council.
    The shake-up at Bristol City Council is also being blogged by Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, the Bristol Blogger, and the Greens."

    "the Greens" is linked to Chris Hutt's blog - Chris isn't even a member of the Green Party!

    It appears obvious that when it comes to politics outside the 3 "grey" parties, the Evening Post simply doesn't have the political knowledge to keep its readers informed.

  2. The Post is often inaccurate in its reporting - and not just on politics. Sometimes its just very poor or lazy journalism. Sometimes its lack of knowledge about politics, especially of smaller parties. The Greens have not helped this situation though - they/we need to send more and better information on a wider range of subjects, more continuously, to the media and to make personal contact much more often.

    On the specific example of the reference to Chris Hutt's blog - if by Greens they meant the Green Party they are clearly wrong! Chris certainly has views that are not Green Party policy (though he clearly is part of the broader Green movement, especially with regard to transport issues). Chris's blog makes it clear that he is not a Green Party member, though I did wonder whether we should contact the editor to point out the issue.


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.