It’s been a good week for the Greens. We started off with a poll from Yougov showing that, by a majority of 3 to 1, the Scottish public wanted to see the Greens represented in the TV debates. It’s up to the broadcasters to take heed now.
Then there was that Scotsman poll, again from Yougov, showing that the Greens were outpolling the Liberal Democrats: the first time ever that a poll has put the Greens in fourth place. Personally, I am cautious about that. Polls will come and go in this election. But it is evidence that the Greens are very much on the radar and that is welcome.
Because behind the ebbing and flowing of media headlines the reality is that votes have to be gained one at a time. There’s a story of Bill Clinton criss-crossing the USA in his 1992 presidential campaign. His car gets delayed at roadworks deep in rural USA. Clinton, on spying the 8 roadworkers, says “There’s 8 votes” and gets out to seek to persuade them to vote Democrat. Votes: one at a time.
So this week, it’s been another flurry of hustings, visits and working with my own local team on getting the message out. Persuading people one at a time. I’m finding, even at this early stage, a sense of weariness with the messages and gimmicks of the traditional parties and a willingness, at the very least, to listen to alternatives.
Take this conversation with a friend of mine. I am paraphrasing a little, but only a little:
“I voted SNP in 2007 because I thought we needed a change. I still think that was the right choice then and I probably think that the SNP has done at least as well as a Labour-led government would have done (which, okay, is not saying much). But I can’t understand why SNP ministers have sucked up so much to Donald Trump. And I know that liberal-minded SNP friends of mine are deeply uncomfortable with being bank-rolled by anti-gay tycoon, Brian Soutar. It seems that over the last 4 years the SNP has lost a little bit of that fire that they had in 2007 and has moved a little bit closer to the establishment that they used to disdain. I might – might! – still vote SNP with my first vote. But my second vote goes to the Greens.”
There’s plenty more like him.