The Green Taliban are on a surge right now as Labour sinks towards their lowest ever result.
But should you be worried that they could make a big play and end up in power?
Well, yes you should if the shenanigans in Brighton are anything to go by.
With the sun shining down on a shimmering sea, children playing on the beach and families thronging its cafes and boutiques, Brighton seems the perfect postcard portrayal of English serenity.
Strolling down the cheerful promenade, the resort’s celebrated blend of raffish charm and Regency elegance appear little changed over the years. It is difficult to imagine this is the home of a civic revolution.
Yet this is the greenest city in Britain, the launchpad for an attempt to reshape the nation’s political landscape – and the result is a dismal farce.
A rising tide of splits, stunts, U-turns, gaffes and divisive industrial disputes has alienated voters and angered businesses here in a city better known for its bohemian tolerance, while outlandish proposals for a ban on bacon butties and plans to use sheep for traffic calming have earned only derision.
The serious side of politics has suffered, too – a demonstration of the dangers that await when protest parties win power. A doomed attempt to impose the biggest council tax rise in the country ended with humiliating warnings that Whitehall could be forced to take over the Town Hall.
Welcome to the Green Republic of Brighton and Hove.
Starting with just one councillor in 1996, the Green Party’s rise to power in Brighton has been unprecedented and rapid. In 2010 there was the election of Caroline Lucas as the MP for Brighton Pavilion – the party’s first Westminster seat – and then came the capture of the city council just a year later.
A clever mix of protest, pavement politics and promises of change proved popular with residents, many of them families forced from London by soaring house prices, students, or those attracted by the city’s liberal approach to life.
In 2011, the Greens ousted the Conservatives to become the largest group on the council with 23 seats. According to their leader Jason Kitcat, this was to be the future of British politics.
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