Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer ran a left wing campaign in Bristol

The Green Party is celebrating after winning four seats at the general election—three more than it held in the last parliament.

But it is as if the party fought two contradictory campaigns in two very different parts of Britain. 

There was joy on the left as the Greens beat Labour in Bristol central, defeating shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire by more than 10,000 votes.

Fury at Debbonaire’s right wing, pro-Starmer politics drove thousands of Labour voters into the hands of Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer. 

The Green campaign in Bristol focused on left wing issues, including the housing and energy crises, fighting inequality and most importantly Palestine.

The slogan carried on their leaflets in the city, read, “Want a fairer future for everyone? Want to get the Tories out and keep them out? Want to send Starmer a message…vote Green”

It was a similar story in Brighton Pavilion, where Caroline Lucas had been the party’s sole MP since 2010.

She stepped down this election, and high-profile Green Sian Berry won the seat. Here again the Greens focused on left wing issues, including opposition to cuts and the party’s demand to tax the rich to pay for services.

Their local leaflets featured former Labour supporters that had turned Green. They spoke out to oppose Starmer’s abandonment of green pledges, his commitment to NHS privatisation, and his pandering to anti-migrant racism.

But it was a different story in rural England where the Greens took two seats from Tory incumbents.

It took North Herefordshire by more than 5,000 votes. Sitting Tory MP Bill Wiggin had a near-25,000 majority in 2019 and must have thought he was safe as houses. 

But Ellie Chowns, the Green candidate, took more than 21,000 votes—a 32-point swing away from the Tories. Her campaign couldn’t have been more different to those of the Greens in Bristol and Brighton.

It focused almost exclusively on local issues, with no mention of Palestine, taxing the rich or fighting for social justice. Instead campaign leaflets carried endorsements from local small businesses and news of the fight against river pollution. 

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay beat the Tories in the new seat of Waveney Valley on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. He won with nearly 42 percent of the vote and got 5,593 more votes than the aptly-named Conservative runner-up, Richard Rout.

Again, the Greens here fought a liberal campaign with no mention of Gaza or taxing the rich. 

The left-right split in the Green campaigns is a reflection of a party that wants to appeal to the middle class above all else. 

Many on the left will have voted Green in revulsion at Starmer’s Labour and to show their commitment to both Palestine and the planet.

In seats where no genuine left wing candidate stood, that is entirely understandable. And in a small number of seats there were Green candidates known to be creditable anti-imperialists, with a track record of activism. Many of them took sizeable chunks out of Labour majorities.

But nationally the party seeks the votes of both right and left wing voters—and tried to damage the left by standing against Jeremy Corbyn, for example. It cannot plausibly describe itself as part of the left.

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