May 26, 2014

South West England Elects a Green MEP

I watched the BBC's coverage of the 2014 European Elections last night until the results for South West England had been announced in Poole. This is how they looked:

Party Votes % MEPs change +/-
UK Independence Party 484,184 32.29 (+10.23) 2 0
Conservative 433,151 28.89 (-1.36) 2 -1
Labour 206,124 13.75 (+6.09) 1 +1
Green 166,447 11.10 (+1.80) 1 +1
Liberal Democrat 160,376 10.70 (-6.49) 0 -1
An Independence From Europe 23,169 1.55 (0.00) 0 0
English Democrats 15,081 1.01 (-0.63) 0 0
British National Party 10,910 0.73 (-3.20) 0 0

As you can see, the parties that currently comprise our coalition government here in the United Kingdom each lost one seat, to be replaced by Clare Moody of Labour and Molly Scott Cato from the Green Party. The South West's representation in Europe is therefore now more female than male, and the Green Party now have three representatives in Europe, a 50% increase from yesterday. On waking this morning I wondered how the mass media had been reporting these momentous events, so I've been scouring the web for evidence. Here's what I've come up with so far. According to an article in the Exeter Express and Echo, which I reproduce in full:

Dr Molly Scott Cato has made history by becoming the first Green Party MEP for the South West. The Green Party gained 11.2% of the vote in the European Election, taking the 6th seat out of six.

Speaking shortly after the results were announced, Molly Scott Cato said: “It is fantastic that the South West now has a Green voice in Europe. I would like to thank everyone who voted Green on Thursday, and I am looking forward to representing the South West in Brussels.

“The Greens are the only party with a clear and positive message on EU reform, which I think was attractive to voters and translated into the result we see today. Our ‘people before profit’ policies have really resonated with voters who have been looking for a viable alternative party which truly represents their values.”

Greens across the region celebrated as they saw their vote share rise from 9.3% in 2009 to 11.2% in 2014.

Here's a picture of Greens from across the region celebrating!

The BBC has a couple of articles on their web site. The first one mentions the Greens' gains, and states that:

The Green Party of England and Wales has beaten the Liberal Democrats into fourth place in the European elections for the first time.

It got nearly 8% of the vote nationally, and three MEPs, ahead of the Lib Dems which got less than 7%.

The Greens won one new seat in the South West of England and also retained their two existing seats in London and the South East of England.

Party leader Natalie Bennett hailed it as a "good night" for the Greens.

The second one concentrates on the Lib Dems loss. In a sidebar Tristan Pascoe reports that:

Despite UKIP topping the poll, the demise of the Lib Dems in their traditional power-base was the big story of the night in the South West.

Sir Graham Watson has been a Lib Dem MEP for 20 years and before last night, few would have predicted his rejection at the ballot box.

Speaking without rancour or bitterness he said it had been "an honour and a privilege to serve the South West".

UKIP's victorious William Dartmouth led the tributes, saying Sir Graham had given "distinguished, competent, able and professional service for 20 years".

The Conservatives lost one seat and now have two MEPs in the region, while Labour say their recovery in the South West is well on the way

But the biggest cheer of the night went to Molly Scott Cato. The keen apiarist (bee keeper) created a buzz of her own as she became the Green Party's first South West MEP.

The Guardian has had a dedicated "Environment" section for quite some time, but at the moment the only report I can find about Molly's move to Brussels is a small section of their "10 key lessons from the European election results":

The Greens got another MEP, Molly Scott Cato, in the south-west and triumphed over the Lib Dems in many areas. This was despite their overall share of the vote dropping very slightly by 1 percentage point.

Then I scoured Environment Guardian for recent news from South West England concerning the views of a long list of eminent scientists about our rapidly changing environment, but I found none. I also scoured the BBC web site for a report about what Alex Salmond said to David Dimbleby on air last night. This was the best I could come up with:

UKIP's performance has shown the real and increasing threat to Scotland's place in the EU that comes from being part of the Westminster system, but in Scotland, UKIP have come fourth with only around a third of the vote they got in the rest of the UK, where they won the election, and only around 3% of Scotland's electorate backing them – despite the wall-to-wall media coverage of UKIP that has been beamed into Scotland.

I recall Mr. Salmond saying a lot more than that about the BBC's "wall-to-wall coverage of UKIP", all of which brought to mind Ros Donald's recent article for Carbon Brief, in which she reported on Dr. Saffron O'Neill's presentation at the Transformational Climate Science conference, hosted by Exeter University the week before last. According to Ros:

BBC television coverage of the UN's latest climate science reports was the most likely to portray climate science as not 'settled', according to emerging research. Meanwhile, UK tweeters are the most likely in the world to have debates about climate change.

Hopefully the above is more than sufficient explanation for this "Tweet" of mine this morning:

P.S. At least ITV West Country managed to interview Molly. Here's Bob Constantine's report on what she had to say:

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Comments on South West England Elects a Green MEP »

May 26, 2014

Jim @ 9:11 am

P.S. It's now 10:45 and the BBC have just broadcast an interview with Natalie Bennett. She expressed the opinion that:

[The other parties] have been trying to "out UKIP" UKIP. We say "we have to stand up to UKIP".

Jim @ 10:56 am

P.P.S. It's now 12:34, and it has just been announced on the BBC that UKIP now have one MEP in Scotland, whereas the Lib Dems now have none.

Here is Matthew Amroliwala's earlier interview with Natalie Bennett. The quote the BBC have chosen to extract is:

The possibility of change is there – we need to make use of it.

Count how many times Matthew and Natalie say "UKIP" in that interview with the Green Party leader, in which Natalie's opening line is:

I'm very pleased that we've elected Molly Scott Cato in the South West. This is a great gain and a step forward for us.

May 27, 2014

Jim @ 3:43 pm

Here's a video of Alex Salmond's conversation with David Dimbleby on Sunday night:

Note in particular the section starting at around 3:20, where Mr. Salmond says:

We've been doing an analysis of BBC broadcasting in Scotland over this month. There's been four times as many broadcasts about UKIP as about the SNP. Now in the Star Trek original series they used to have a phrase "Beam me up Scotty". UKIP's a party which gets beamed into Scotland courtesy of the BBC.

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