THE WALES GREEN PARTY has rejected the opportunity to reconstitute itself as a Welsh Green Party, as opposed to a branch of the Green Party for England.
Members of the party rejected the proposal to strike it out on their own in a poll of members.
Current Green Party of Wales leader Grenville Ham was in favour of disentangling from the party in England.
Rather like other political parties –Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrat – the prefix ‘Welsh’ does not denote any separate legal existence from parties England.
Scotland has a separate Green Party, but the Wales Green Party has decided against independence.
Last weekend, the Green Party of Wales held a vote to decide whether or not it should remain a regional outpost of the Green Party in England.
In a poll of the Party’s membership of 1,500 in Wales, 64.8% decided to remain attached to the current party structure.
That figure appears overwhelming, but is rather less impressive when the turnout for the vote is factored in.
Of 1,500 Green Party members in Wales, only 20% turned out to vote.
A turnout of 300 means that around 194 Green Party members held sway over around 106 of their fellow party members in a vote which 1,200 members could not even be bothered to cast a ballot.
Where this leaves the Green Party as a relevant political entity in Wales is open to question; the argument could be advanced that if 80% of its members did not care enough about the party’s identity in Wales to register a vote either for or against forming a party with a specific Welsh focus, there have to be doubts about its long term commitment to formulating policies which address specifically Welsh issues instead of goals shared with the party in England.
Critics of the vote’s outcome have suggested that its result represents a missed opportunity for the Greens in Wales to address two separate problems which have persistently bedevilled the party in recent years: firstly, the perception that the Green Party has a ‘Lady Bountiful’ attitude to Wales and the Welsh; secondly, it’s failure to make any meaningful electoral progress.
On the upside, at least the Greens held a vote.