Local elections: reflections

Greens win in Battenhall

Greens win in Battenhall

All the results are in at last from the UK local elections. No great breakthroughs in terms of building a more ecologically sustainable and socially just future, but several small victories.

Perhaps the best results were in Scotland, where the Scottish Green Party went from 2 to 6 MSP’s, including Ross Greer who at just 21 is the youngest MSP. Congratulations to Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Nationalist Party who won 63 seats, just two short of a majority. I can envisage SNP/Green collaboration to pursue some really great policy initiatives taking Scotland on an increasingly divergent course from Cameron’s England.

The other region where the Green Party did well was here in the West Midlands, particularly in Solihull and in Worcester. In Worcester Louis Stephen won the Battenhall ward from the Tories and Neil Laurenson held the St Stephen ward, which means that the Tories lost their control of the council. Labour and the Greens may be able to cooperate to get better policies enacted as a result. In Solihull the Greens have gone from 8 to 10 councillors. A highlight there was Chris Williams increasing his vote share to 75% in a 4 corner race in Chelmsley Wood.

In London the Green Party retained two members of the London Assembly, where Baroness Jenny Jones and Darren Jonhson were both standing down after 16 years as Assembly Members. In their place Sian Berry and Caroline Russell were elected. In the mayoral contest Sian Berry managed to come in third, out of a packed field of a dozen candidates. Labour’s Sadiq Khan becomes mayor. He’ll probably be reasonably good on social justice and human rights issues, but unlikely to take a leadership role when it comes to London’s ecological footprint.

As ever it seems progress through party politics is a slow, patchy and frustrating business. Technological innovation is zooming ahead in leaps and bounds, improving the possibilities for building an ecologically sustainable and socially just future, if only we had the politicians capable of seeing the opportunities!

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