Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
15 October 2014updated 21 Jul 2021 1:16pm

Could exclusion from the leaders’ debates be helping the Greens?

The furore surrounding the Greens' exclusion from the TV debates could be working in the party's favour.

By Anoosh Chakelian

The Green party being excluded from the TV leaders’ debates could be just the boost the party needs. In the time since the broadcasters’ announcement on Monday morning, it has leapt from being perceived as the sidelined smaller party that never quite found Ukip-style stardom to the unjustly wronged underdog that everyone wants to get behind.

A petition on Change.org called “Include the Green Party in the TV Leaders’ Debates ahead of the 2015 General Election” has had a mammoth number of signatories – reaching nearly 150,000 supporters this afternoon at a drastic pace. The petition, which was set up following the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky announcing their plans for the televised political debates, was receiving 350 signs a minute yesterday, and at one point went from 500 to 40,000 signatures in four hours. 

This outrage at the Greens being sidelined coincides with a boost in the party’s membership (it has gone up 52 per cent this year alone) and seats (it gained 23 in this year’s local elections), which has been dubbed the “Green Surge”. Never before have 150,000 people so rapidly paid this much attention to the party, so is the attention actually helping it boost its profile?

I spoke to John Coventry of Change.org, who told me that this kind of interest in a “purely political” petition is rare. “It’s been incredibly quick. This does happen when a petition is on the back of a big, breaking news story, but this is the biggest we’ve had on a purely political petition this year.” He also points out that this petition is “unusual” because it is so “explicitly in favour of one political party”. 

Coventry adds, “I’d guess they’re [the signatories] not all Green party supporters”, suggesting that such a petition makes people engage with the political process rather than just party political concerns: “It’s less about right and left, and more about right and wrong.”

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

But could this have a long-term boost for the popularity of the Greens? Or is it just people on the internet getting exercised about democracy? Coventry suggests that parties can, “jump on opportunities to use the web to help have long-term engagement with voters”, and predicts that once the petition receives the signatories it needs, it could lead to supporters taking action – marching into parliament or the broadcasters’ television studios, for example.

Content from our partners
Harnessing breakthrough thinking
Are we there yet with electric cars? The EV story – with Wejo
Sherif Tawfik: The Middle East and Africa are ready to lead on the climate

Although the Greens are furious about being left out, and are threatening to get lawyers onto the case, this story could be giving them just the attention they’ve needed for a long time.

Topics in this article :