I must admit that a while ago (it was probably pre-Brexit-referendum) I was looking for facts about the European Parliament. I know that for this body, the UK votes proportionally, but only really based on a "list" system.
I think with this system, the devil is in the detail. Imagine if the proportion of votes cast elected 5 of your delegates - you'd be pretty upset if you were Delegate #6 on the list. So I think how you build your list in the first place is pretty crucial. Historically, the largest parties are no good, because their list is passed down from their party hierarchy. So, basically, if you're a safe pair of hands, well-in with the leader, then you're going to be seen far more favourably than a rabble-rouser.
I thought the Greens might be different (another reason to vote for them). So I posed the question via an email. This was to their central greenparty.org.uk email address, so presumamly went to someone at head office. I waited, and eventually got a response. "It varies by region", they said, and helpfully gave me a contact email for the south-west region. So I tried again, but this time didn't get a response. Strange, I was even in the Party at the time, so if that's how important your supporters are....
Anyway, I let it go. What else could I do?
Then, again, a month or so ago, I found the local branch of my Green Party on Facebook. Last week, somebody posted one of these "party political broadcasts" to the group. It was a poster which reflected how Green activists had been involved in thwarting fracking - I think members were supposed to nod approval, and carry on. For me, though, the issue is interesting because the government have obviously given their permission to go ahead, and yet local people (I assume it's local people) have tried to use direct action to stop them. So for me, it raises the bigger question of when we'd find it permissible for local protesters to defy the government. So I asked that question. Several days later, I'd had just one response to the question, despite it being seen by around 20 people. That disappointed me. I might have offended people in the way I asked the question, although I tried not to. You can judge for yourselves, by reading some of my posts, whether you think this might be the case. Or (worse), people didn't think we should be asking questions. But I think that's perfectly acceptable - how else does a child learn? Or (worse still) maybe none of the viewers knew an answer? A lot of people interested in politics behave like sheep, I think, but I'd always thought the Greens to be more thoughtful than that. Perhaps we just naturally think of "our" party as better than the others, but that's just perception? Maybe everyone who read the post just agreed with the respondent? Possibly, but there were no visible signs of that. I'll have never met any of these people, as I'm not able to get a bus at night, so maybe they don't want to engage with a stranger? But I'm happy to, and I'm the guy who doesn't communicate as well as I used to, I'm the guy who had the stroke.
It's already been 18 months since I paid any subscription to the Green Party, I guess I need to consider my links severed.
BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation. I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any terms which might be ambiguous, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me. Lastly, you'll find typos here, although I do my best to correct them. There are reasons for this, which you'll discover as you read.