Both Labour and the Green Party were crushed a year ago in the 2015 election. Britain’s traditional socialist party had a pretty poor showing compared to its results in the 2010 election, as their influence fell by ninety seats, nine short of the Conservatives. The Green’s did little better, only securing one seat. Therefore which, if any of these parties, can get elected in the foreseeable future?
Labour are perhaps seen as the main challengers for the immediate future, but why?
At present, one of the Labour Party’s major assets must be the appointment of their new leader: Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015. Arguably one of Corbyn’s greatest successes is how he is radically trying to change the nature of how politics is run in the UK, something that Miliband never really succeeded at. His reforms to Prime Minister’s Question Time exhibit this as he has, on the whole, successfully changed the format to a more ordered and productive question and answer format. Corbyn’s achievements are encapsulated by the fact that he has been able to ask his hundredth question to the Prime Minister (March 2016).
Corbyn’s other strengths lie in his personal image and how he is shifting Labour back towards its traditional socialist roots. His image appeals to some voters because his background and life story have not been seamless, as is generally the case for career politicians. For example, he left his sixth form with just two A Levels at grade E! This non-conformity is also reflected in Corbyn’s current activities, such as his role as chairman for Stop the War Coalition (a group which tries for peace in all conflicts). Corbyn’s no nonsense style and appearance are perhaps increasingly needed if some of the electorate are to be re-connected in politics.
Labour’s new left-wing stance post-election are making them more distinguishable, and therefore potentially more electable again. Areas of particular focus are the NHS and welfare reforms. Corbyn is desperately fighting against the privatisation of the NHS, and the new Junior Doctor’s contract. Furthermore, Corbyn’s ideas on how to change welfare (such as more assistance for people on disability and more free child-care) helps add to Corbyn’s image that he is championing poorer, hard working citizens. At a time where Conservative policies seem increasingly business and economic-centric, Corbyn’s stance may allow Labour to regain the support of the poorer half of the electorate.
The Green’s could be another left-wing party that have the potential to be elected, but in the short term this seems unlikely. This is for two main reasons: the fact that they lack a public presence; currently their policies are considered by many to be too idealistic. The first problem is illustrated by the fact that in the last election, even their leader Natalie Bennett was unable to secure her constituent seat in Holborn and St Pancras. Furthermore a large proportion of the Green’s policies seem far-fetched. These currently include: a £10 minimum wage that’s compatible with the standard of living in the UK by 2020; ensuring that 0.7% of our GDP is spent on foreign add; re-nationalising British railways. Although these positive policies attempt to empower, help and favour normal people, in the current political climate many voters deem them as being too radical.
Although the Labour and Green parties share a similar socialist vision for Britain, only the Labour Party likely to be elected in the near future. This is because they are a much more established and supported party, have more achievable policies in the present, and, perhaps most importantly in this age of politics, have a much more charismatic leader in Jeremy Corbyn. Despite this, in my view the Green Party is the party of the future. Their policies are radical enough to fix this broken, business-centric world and to help parts of the society that need government assistance. If Corbyn can get back into power, perhaps the political field would be shifted back enough to the left to allow the Green’s to have a decent chance of getting elected.
[Which party do you think will be able to get back into power?]