THE issue of whether the Greens get to appear on televised debates before the general election is a national issue, but also a local one for us. If they win a place on the stage it will be Natalie Bennett, the party’s leader, who will be given the platform to impress. She, of course, is standing in Holborn and St Pancras, which she has repeatedly name-checked as a target seat. The Greens were the only party, aside from Labour, to win a council seat in the constituency last May. A bit of prime time exposure for Natalie, as long as it is good exposure, could have a trickle down effect on what happens here. Who knows, it could all trigger a sweeping Bennymania, in the Cleggmania vein of pre-election 2010?
So it was interesting that it was Natalie’s new Labour (new as in he was just selected last month) adversary, Sir Keir Starmer, was jostled on the point during Radio 4’s Any Questions on Friday evening. SKS used the issue to attack David Cameron, who, gawd bless him, has refused to appear if the Greens don’t get a slot. The cynics probably have a point when they say that the PM wants the Green to be there to out-lefty Labour, if he has to suffer the awkwardness of debating with UKIP on the other side of the room. Jonathan Dimbleby pressed Labour’s new man in Holborn and St Pancras for a personal view on whether it was unfair that the Greens should be excluded, and eventually we got something about how Sir Keir is happy to debate with Natalie’s party.