Ofcom rejects the Greens… and the PM steps in
So today has been a busy day for the Green Party, even if they’ve technically had nothing to do. Or rather, it’s because they’re being told they’re not allowed to do things.
While many of us have been lobbying the broadcasters to #invitetheGreens to the TV debates ahead of the 2015 General Elections, Ofcom have been busy deciding that the Green Party are not a major political party and shan’t be classed as such for the election.
What does this mean? Well, as the broadcast regulator, what Ofcom have said is that the Green Party do not merit the same kind of coverage as Labour, the Tories, the Lib Dems and, for the first time, UKIP. It means the broadcasters have a justification for not paying the Greens as much attention as the other parties. As if they ever needed an excuse…
They base this decision on previous electoral performance. What this does is ignore the past five years. It ignores the fact the Greens are now consistently more popular than the Lib Dems (including being consistently beaten in multiple elections). It ignores that the Greens elected an MP long before UKIP. And it ignores the 270,000 people who have asked for them to be included in the election debates, and the fact that 80% of the public want to hear from them. Ultimately, it ignores the changing face of UK politics, and that lets down the British public.
Naturally, this decision is wider than the context of the election debates (though it leaves that decision up to the broadcasters), it could affect how the Greens are seen for the whole election. So it’s important we respond and don’t let this happen.
Luckily, it isn’t final. But before we get to that…
In steps… the Prime Minister?
Throughout the day social and traditional media carried lots of shocked and appalled opinions from across the political spectrum, from writers for the Sun, to Tory MPs.
And then the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that he won’t take part in the TV debates unless the Green Party are included; effectively killing them unless the Greens are there.
This is big. It’s an ultimatum, if he sticks with it. Rarely have so many Greens appreciated the Prime Minister. So watch this space. The chances are, this may kill the debates. If that’s the case, so be it. But if they’re on, the Greens must be in them.
In the meantime, quite rightly, the Green Party are in the midst of a surge within a surge of membership. The party across the UK has just broken through 40,000 members and will soon pass UKIP and then the Lib Dems on current trends, as thousands of people across the UK are appalled at the decision, and want to join the only viable anti-establishment party in the UK. And who could be more anti-establishment than the only party the establishment wants to lock out?
What to do…
So what to do? Well, the decision is only provisional. You can respond to the Ofcom consultation up until 5 February by going here.
Check over the consultation documents, and, perhaps using some of the points above, let them know you don’t think that Ofcom are on, that their decision is flawed, and bad for democracy.
As well as this, the BBC are continuing to consult on their own electoral guidelines, and you may want to respond to that by going to this page.
So let’s get to it! We have a month to change minds, gain new friends, and then keep on at the broadcasters to #invitetheGreens!
You can join the campaign at facebook.com/ITG2015 and twitter.com/invitetheGreens
While I agree it’s a great opportunity for us, I think Cameron’s position is based Purely on his assumption that a higher-profile Green Party will fracture the left vote and allow the Tories to beat Labour in more marginals. But I guess if the outcome favours us, then whether or not his motives are pure isn’t particularly relevant!