Pictured: Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti
In December, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood vowed, along with the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, and the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, to join forces whenever possible to fight the mainstream parties’ ‘obsession’ with austerity.
Just two months on, and it seems things in Wales have gone sour, centralizing around the Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti. The ex-businesswoman posted a statement on the party website last Saturday, 14th February, in order to respond to online harassment she claims to have been a victim of from Plaid Cymru members. The online posts have been regarding the autonomy of the Welsh Green Party from the Green Party of England and Wales, and more pressing the matter of the Greens taking possible Plaid Cymru votes, which could be pivotal in the election. In the statement she stated that Plaid were ‘terrified of losing Ceredigion’, when the Lib Dems currently hold the seat.
Pippa stated in her statement that during a meeting with Plaid leader Leanne Wood, the Plaid member was not interested in a deal with the Greens, after requesting for the Green Party to stand down in Ceredigion. Ceredigion could be in Plaid Cymru’s grasp this year, after losing the seat in 2005 to the Liberal Democrats. Current projections indicate a Liberal Democrat hold, with a majority of only 1.1%, with Plaid confident they can send an anti-austerity MP to Westminster if the Greens step aside.
Last year, in an interview with Wales Online, Bartolotti admitted that Plaid Cymru’s similar pro-green agenda “squeezes the political space”, restricting her party’s success. In the same interview she noted that it is not essential for the Greens to be voted in, but rather only “essential to us to get this country working in a more sustainable way.”
Pippa Bartolotti insists however that Green Party voters would not necessarily vote for Plaid Cymru, stating the parties have very big differences. While the parties do have differences, their core ideology seems to be very similar, especially concerning the economy and environment, and it seems concerning to Plaid Cymru members that the Green Party leader is putting party politics ahead of ensuring an anti-austerity MP is voted in. The Green Party however is insisting that local election tactics such as not fielding a candidate must be made at a local level, being a key Green Party policy, with Bartolotti stating she is still willing to work with Plaid Cymru despite this policy.
A day before releasing the statement condemning Plaid Cymru members’ actions, Bartolotti took to twitter to show support for left unity, in order to be progressive, while ruling out any pact’s with Plaid Cymru earlier this month that would unite the left vote.
A recent Welsh poll by You Gov gave Plaid 10%, but the Green Party not far behind on 8%.
Despite there being an anti-austerity alliance between the Green Party of England and Wales, the SNP and Plaid Cymru, it seems that in Wales it is easier said than done, and will surely be a tough campaigning period for the parties. In Greece, Syriza, formed of 13 groups and ideologies, have worked effectively together to attempt to end austerity, and here in the UK however it is certainly easier said than done.
Pippa Bartolotti, Leader of the Wales Green Party, is talking at Cardiff University on the 24th February between 6pm-8pm in the Bute building. Click here to find out more.