Brighton Pavilion

The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, won Brighton Pavilion. But the result was close.

She won 31.3%, which was almost ten percentage points above the party’s 2005 result, but less than three percentage points ahead of the Labour contender. The Conservative candidate won 23.7%.

7 thoughts on “Brighton Pavilion

  1. An outcome almost identical to that of the 2002 Bundestag election in Berlin’s electoral district No. 84 (Berlin-Friedrichshain – Kreuzberg – Prenzlauer Berg-Ost), in which the German Greens won their first-ever constituency seat with 31.6% of the first vote, while SPD polled 29.1%, PDS 21.4%, CDU 13.0%, FDP 3.0% and other parties 1.9%.

    To be certain, under Germany’s MMP electoral system winning constituency seats is a feather in the cap rather than an absolute necessity for small parties (as is the case in the U.K.), but the German Greens have managed to hold this seat with increased majorities in 2005 and 2009.

    I was thinking quite a bit last night about that Berlin constituency, wondering if Brighton Pavilion would come down the same way – and it did.

  2. It’s interesting to trace the professionalization dynamic too, which parallels German Greens. The Greens in the UK built up their local council presence and MEP expsoure, then ditched their old system of a council of leaders and made Lucas a much more prominent figure. I imagine this victory will only accelerate those centralising trends. Although Brighton’s a uniquely gentrified constituency and so it’ll be difficult to replicate those successes for the Greens other council strongholds in Norwich, Oxford, Leeds, and London – as well as trying to hold on to Brighton. Electoral form would be vital for them and at least they’re in a situation where they’ve got a seat, and every seat matters.

  3. A Green MP elected by FPTP is exceptional, so I wonder: what’s so special about the constituency (the voters in Brighton Pavilion) or the Green candidate (or her opponents)?

  4. well, my opinion is that the uniqueness of the candidate is her profile. The party basically shifted around elements of its hierarchy to put her out front. The party website used to proudly boast of ‘not having a leader’, and would have pictures of Lucas alongside Jean Lambert, Darren Johnson, etc. But that disappeared after the last election, and Lucas was made more prominent.
    And the Brighton constituency used to be a strong working-class zone but over the past couple of decades it became almost a nightclub-suburb of London, with particularly gentrified residents.
    The important question for me is whether those two factors are truly unique or whether the Green party can achieve more success in other areas of Britain where they can field a high-profile candidate and post-material values seem to be on the rise. And I definately think they’re on the way to winning more seats in several other constituencies in Britain. it’s also interesting to look at why the BNP – who tried a similar strategy of hoisting Nick Griffin in front of any nearby camera and picking a seemingly viable constituency – didn’t do as well.

  5. The Australian Greens recently won a single-member seat in the West Australian lower house – they had previously won a Federal by-election but only because Labor didn’t stand a candidate. The winner, solicitor Adele Carles, had a high local profile. However, she has recently caused controversy after the media exposed an affair between her and the State Treasurer a Liberal MLA (and former Opposition Leader who was demoted due to his oafish sense of humour) which apparently involved Ministerial charge cards to fund their trysts. Given that the Labor Premier of neighbouring South Australia (himself no stranger to sex scandals) is married to a Green, one can only commend the Australian branch (NPI) for its political ecumenism.

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