Any election count is a rollercoaster ride, and this one has been no different. But as the final results come in, the Greens are five seats up, and have gained enough firsts and new records in Norwich to make Charles Clarke extremely nervous.
Norwich City Council is the first in the country to have a Green opposition, with parliamentary candidate Adrian Ramsay leading the second-biggest group on the council, two seats behind Labour. In the popular vote, Labour have fallen in Adrian’s target Norwich South constituency to third, with the Greens 2000 votes ahead. Greens are also leading in vote share across the whole city.
This is a very similar story to my own constituency of Brighton Pavilion. In each case, Labour votes have collapsed at the almost exactly the same rate as the Green vote has advanced, and since the last general election, we have overtaken Labour in both.
Interesting parallels can also be drawn between today’s excellent result in Cambridge, where Margaret Wright has won the city’s first ever Green councillor seat, and my council win back in 1993 when I became the first Green councillor in Oxford – and only the second Green county councillor to be elected in the UK. It would be great to think that the Cambridge win might spark a surge of voter interest in the party of the kind witnessed in Oxford in recent years, thus breaking the mould and moving towards greater Green representation.
Last night Labour lost out to the Tories in almost exactly the same way as they did in 2004, before going on to win the most boring general election in modern history. So far so inconclusive. But the real story for the sharp election-watcher is the clear indication that the Green Party is on course for its first gains at Westminster.