Robbie's words, in collaboration with local creative agency, WordHound Ltd.
Now the dust has settled and we’ve all had some time to reflect, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the last General Election with you.
While it wasn’t the result we hoped for, The Green Party had some real success in the election, increasing its share of the total vote by over 68%, the largest increase of any party running. In North Devon, we did even better, increasing vote share by over 125%.
We heard fantastic feedback from you, the voters, telling us how you were switching to voting Green thanks to conversations with myself and my team. Knowing we are making a difference has inspired us, and I know I would definitely consider running again!
Unfortunately this gain in votes didn't win us any new seats, highlighting the most problematic issues with the current first-past-the-post system. Despite getting 2.7% of the popular vote, the Green Party only won 0.15% of the seats. Compare this to the Conservatives, who won 56.15% of the seats with only 43.6% of the popular vote. On average, the Green Party needed 22 times as many votes to get an MP into parliament as the Conservatives.
An upside in the polling results is that the number of people voting for the “lesser of two evils” has reduced. In North Devon, this manifested as a sharp reduction in votes for the Liberal Democrats, with people voting on issues, rather than tactically. This is a trend I hope to see increasing on a national level.
Obviously the headline issue for all of the main parties, and the majority of voters in this election, was Brexit. While we don't support leaving the EU, at least this result may break the political deadlock of the last 4 years. This means single-issue parties and their members, such as Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party, can be disbanded, reducing the level of noise in political discourse.
While Brexit may be a certainty, we are by no means finished talking about it and its consequences. While the Conservatives may have a mandate to deliver Brexit, they must not be allowed to use that to force a ‘hard’ Brexit. There must be no erosion of the human rights of EU nationals, or those in desperate need of our assistance overseas, such as child refugees.
This regained freedom also means there will be time and energy for the nation to put real effort into discussing issues beyond Brexit. The climate was higher up the agenda than it has ever been, and Channel 4’s Climate Debate showed that it is being taken seriously by the media, and by some of the political establishment. We need to keep the pressure on MPs and the government to ensure they deliver on the pre-election promises they made.
Finally, I’d like to thank my team in North Devon. I’ve never been more nervous than I was going into the campaign, and especially the hustings. Knowing I had the support of an amazing team gave me the strength I needed to go out there, and get one step closer to really making a difference.