Once again Stroud acts as a barometer for the rest of the country, with a suprise late surge for Labour seeing David Drew sprung out of retirement and into parliament. With dislike of the Tories among Greens at an all-time high, and the Labour / Tory race too close to call, many otherwise loyal Greens felt the need to vote tactically for Labour, which destroyed the Green vote. Ironically, many in the Labour party saw fit to attack us for standing, demonstrating an astonishing sense of entitlement (claiming we were taking “their” votes, when clearly the opposite is true). The end result: Labour (David Drew) 29,994 votes; Conservative (Neil Carmichael) 29,307; Lib Dem (Max Wilkinson) 2,053; Green (Sarah Lunnon) 1,423; UKIP (Glenville Gogerly) 1,039.
Nationally, there is much to be hopeful about, certainly when you consider the Tory coronation that was originally envisaged. Caroline Lucas was returned with an increased majority, although Molly Scott Cato didn’t quite make it in Bristol West. Corbyn has demonstrated that he can gain votes and seats for his party on a proper left-wing manifesto, in a break from the “Tory-light” Labour policies of the recent past. The mainstream media, having shown their small-c conservatism in their treatment of Corbyn over recent months, may have to accept that radical policies such as railway nationalisation are actually quite popular; and that it may not be crazy to suggest that “austerity” is unnecessary. Let’s hope that the right-wing elements in the Labour party are similarly convinced. With a hung parliament, we can also hope that Labour can influence the Brexit talks to make the case for social justice.
Meanwhile we will continue to fight for recognition of the elephant in the room: the environment and in particular, the looming climate crisis.