The Southend Green performance

This year the Green Party almost fielded a full slate in the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council elections. Here is how their candidates got on:

Westborough 4th 11.7% 6 candidates
Leigh 4th 11.5% 4
Milton 3rd 10.9% 5
Kursaal 4th 9.6% 5
Victoria 4th 9.0% 5
Prittlewell 5th 8.8% 5
Chalkwell 5th 8.3% 5
Eastwood Park 4th 8.1% 4
St Laurence 8th 7.6% 10
Blenheim Park 5th 7.6% 5
West Shoebury 8th 7.0% 10
Shoeburyness 4th 5.6% 5
Belfairs 6th 5.1% 6
St Luke’s 5th 4.8% 7
West Leigh 5th 4.8% 5
Southchurch 5th 4.3% 6
Thorpe 4th 4.2% 5

Whilst this is the most candidates they have put up, they have been a presence since 2001. So far their impact has been as a spoiler, by and large.

In many wards it was the Liberal Democrats who spared them from last place. This was not true in Leigh, although it is true that the Green vote appears to have been drawn largely from disaffected Lib Dem supporters – and enough Lib Dem switchers delivered the surprise of a Tory victory in Leigh.

I have already written about the Milton result. This ward gave the Greens their highest finishing position, although quite some distance from success.

The number that surprised me was the Westborough vote share. Whilst I have no wish to be rude, the Westborough Green candidate did not have a good hustings and gave every impression of being unprepared for a councillor role. Perhaps that is what attracted the one in nine Westborough voters who chose Green – they wanted a candidate unencumbered by ideas of what he actually wanted to do if elected.

You would expect a large Green presence next year, as Southend-on-Sea, electing by thirds, has another round of local elections. Whether the borough-wide 7% attained this year can be reached or bettered we shall see. There will be no TV leaders debates to boost the Green profile, but then again the absence of a General Election should allow smaller parties in lower turnouts to prosper.

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