Two vital by-elections.

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Infuriatingly for anoraks (and no doubt candidates) the good burghers of Broadland aren't counting the votes for Norwich North until tomorrow. The BBC will be most upset: they've booked a Norwich venue for Question Time tonight, and will have only speculation, not even any exit polls.

I am reluctant to play the expectation game with the election - not least because I'm an irrational optimist. Having said that, if we don't quadruple our 2005 vote I'll be pretty disappointed. A particular pleasure has been seeing unusually balanced BBC coverage, despite squawks of protest from the Put An Egomaniac Into Parliament camp.

With Adrian Ramsay and the team the official opposition on the local authority, and with Greens winning across the whole of Norwich in the Euros, it would have been hard for the Beeb to do otherwise, but we started from a low base in Norwich North, and I can hear the weasel words they'd have used to keep us out. 

There's a vicious circle that takes in exclusion from media coverage and limits to our electoral success, and we're gradually starting to turn it around. No matter what our successes elsewhere, the vital thing will be to start winning Westminster seats, and there's a second vote today which may make even more of a difference on that front.

There's a Brighton by-election, another area where Greens topped the poll in June, and the most likely venue for a Green victory at the next UK General election. Formerly Labour-voting chums of mine are out with the Green leaflets, while other Labour folk have endorsed us. It looks like it's between us and the Tories, and we could displace them from Council leadership if we win. It'd be an ideal platform for the adjacent Brighton Pavilion campaign, and it can't hurt for media coverage that the local Green candidate is pretty photogenic.

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This page was published on July 23, 2009 4:06 PM.

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