John Harris

Journalist & Author

The Green party surge and why its coming from Bristol and all points west

Polls this week put the Greens on 8%, overtaking the Lib Dems for the first time in a decade and providing a clear challenge to Ukip in the east

As a display of political activism in difficult circumstances, it looks very noble: in the midst of grim weather, a dozen or so members of the Green party, gathered around a street stall in the middle of Bristol, doing their best to make the case for a £10 minimum wage by communing with people whose main priority is to get back indoors, as quickly as possible.

Every now and again, however, someone stops for a chat. James Collins, 25, is working as a court usher for £7.50 an hour, and is returning to work clutching a baked potato in a plastic box. With no prompting, he lets rip about the Greens exclusion so far, anyway from plans for next years televised election debates. Im just annoyed that Ukip are included, and theyre not, he says. The Greens got an MP ages ago, didnt they? And it wasnt even in a byelection. The whole things a joke.

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