Young Kingston politician confident Greens will make big progress at next election


Ryan Coley, 20, came fourth in Canbury.


By SWLondoner staff

Media attention is focused on UKIP as the protest vote of choice but the Green Party also enjoyed significant gains in the 2014 Local Elections.

The party claimed 23 further seats nationally, meaning they now have 162 councillors on 56 councils and are the official opposition in five of those.

A seat eluded them in Kingston as the Conservatives won the council from the Liberal Democrats, but Ryan Coley, a 20-year-old councillor candidate for Canbury, is sure his party stands to gain in 2018. 

“The result is an absolute massacre – I cannot see any comeback for the Lib Dems here soon unless the Conservatives really mess things up,” he said.

“Next time around we will get at least one if not two council seats in Kingston.” 

In contrast, the Kingston Greens have prospered by more than doubling both their membership and share of the vote since 2010.

Mr Coley believes their views on over-development, bedroom tax and the NHS have resonated with voters both nationally and in Kingston.

He added the Greens benefit from the consistency of their supporters, who generally vote for the party across local, national and European levels.

“On the doorstep we saw sheer anger at the coalition parties, with people particularly unenthusiastic about voting Liberal Democrat,” he said.

“People are also fed up with the way Kingston Liberal Democrats have bombarded them with flyers and leaflets.”

This repudiation of the former majority party in Kingston Council was apparent in Canbury, where Mr Coley recorded 891 votes to finish a remarkable fourth.

Fellw Green candidate Charlie Redman achieved 839 votes to ensure the party finished second in the ward behind the Conservatives, who claimed all three seats.

Their cause was helped by a significant amount of split votes – where voters spread their choices across different parties.

Mr Coley was delighted with the result and said Canbury had not been one of their main targets but will probably be their focus in four years’ time.

They also had an impressive showing in Tudor, although this success was tempered by finishing bottom in the targeted wards of Coombe Vale and Grove.

These gains suggest the Green Party has moved beyond being simply a single-issue protest vote.

“I am in the party because of their leftist policies more than just because of environmental issues,” said Mr Coley.

He praised the Greens’ support for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, arguing it is clearly what the British public wants.

He said: “We want to have the debate and win the debate, unlike other parties who shy away from engaging with it and the public.”

“If those parties had debated the issue earlier UKIP would not be a strong as they are now.”

This message resounded with sections of the electorate as the Greens received 1.2million votes in the European Elections to increase their number of MEPs to three.

Regardless of their performance on these levels the Green Party appear to be ones to watch in Kingston in 2018.

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