A Greenbelt Party

Now the politics are beginning to be interesting. The Guildford Greenbelt Group has registered as a political party and intends to stand in the local elections in May. So far as I know this is the first time a local group, as opposed to individuals, has decided to stand as a party in an election. (Though Formby Action Group have a councillor)

Don’t miss the significance of this. There is a profound mood of disillusion with the major parties generally. Normally this would result in the vote going to the Liberal Democrats but they can’t benefit this time – hence the growth of UKIP and the SNP.

Specifically local candidates campaigning on one issue can cause an upset – Dr Richard Taylor in 2001 caused an upset campaigning on the closure of Kidderminster Hospital A&E. Unusually he retained his seat in the 2005 General election (largely because the Liberal Democrats did not put up a candidate).

The difference, and the significance, of the Guildford Group is that greenbelt campaigning is local to many places in England. If there is the will this is a political campaign that could focus nationwide concern. There is nothing that politicians will react to more than seeing votes ebb away. I think the Guildford Group are doing something really important. More power to their elbow.

See them on guildfordgreenbeltgroup.co.uk

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