Will they capitalise most on the Lib Dem collapse?
While UKIP continues to get most attention in the “others” category the organisation in that segment that has been making real electoral progress is Caroline Lucas’s Green Party.
Unlike the disorganised purples who failed even to get the UKIP party name onto the ballot papers in London the Greens had a very good May 3rd. Their net councillor total went up by 11 and of course, their candidate in the London mayoral race, Jenny Jones, came in third adding even more to the Lib Dems’ misery.
Overnight comes news that the party first and only MP, Caroline Lucas, is standing aside as leader so that the party leadership can be used as a vehicle to boost the profile of other potential Green MPs.
This is part of a big strategy to exploit the opportunity created by the Lib Dem collapse to become the alternative force to Labour and the Tories.
If they are successful it could impact on Labour’s hopes of attracting and retaining disgruntled Lib Dems.
The Greens have a strong local base in several areas on which they can build. Caroline’s victory at the General Election followed years of on the ground activity in Brighton and a council base.
Although they have two MEPs all the media focus has been on Caroline. If they can build her successor as leader into a big figure then the chances of further Westminster gains must be strong.
All this contrasts with the electoral novices at UKIP who have been unable to capitalise on their poll ratings.
In 2010 I did very nicely out of Lucas’s victory at Brighton Pavilion winning bets both on the seat and whether the party would secure its first MP. Maybe 2015 will see the total doubled or even trebled?