Keith Taylor: More power for Greens as people vote for the future

From a speech by the Green Party's principal speaker at their conference in Weston-super-Mare
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This week's Green Party conference celebrates some steady but significant achievements.

This week's Green Party conference celebrates some steady but significant achievements.

In June 2004, we saw a 17 per cent increase in Green councillors in England, on top of a 30 per cent increase last year. In two years our vote in local elections has doubled to 10 per cent. In those two years we've had our electoral breakthroughs onto Manchester, Sheffield and York city councils and we've consolidated existing Green groups from Bradford to Brighton, from Lancaster to Norwich. The numbers are still small, but the breakthroughs are significant.

We also held both our MEP seats with increased vote shares, despite the UKIP media jamboree that distracted much of the attention from a strong Green Party campaign.

A million people voted Green in this year's Euro-elections. Nowadays they're voting for a wider variety of reasons than before. People are realising the terrible potential consequences of climate change, and they're horrified to see their government doing so little about it. The public are increasingly bored with the so-called neoliberal consensus and they're seeing that our policies for social, environmental and economic justice are the right ones as we enter the 21st century.

When the consequences of voting Tory, Labour or LibDem are practically the same it's no wonder that voting seems pointless, and apathy wins. But the Greens are asking people to revalue their vote. It does mean something. Your vote will have an impact if, when you cast it, you're thinking beyond the next election to the kind of future you want for your children.

The Green Party has the passion, the energy, the commitment, and increasingly the experience. If this country is to have a viable future it's up to people like us making sure we grow in influence.