One of the many parties who are reaping the benefit of the voters’ dissatisfaction with politics as usual is the Greens. I went along to watch the Green Surge in action…


25 February 2015

The Times

Green Baroness deserves a whole show of her own

The Green party campaign launch was an unforgettable Joy. The event, in a small, boiling sludge-coloured room in central London, was chaired by someone who introduced herself as Jenny Jones, a Green baroness.

I stared in fascination, having had no idea such an entity existed. She was a bird of a person, wren-like, with cascades of grey ringlets and a manner that I might, kindly, describe as Stalinist. “You can ask as many questions as you like about our manifesto,” she snapped, “but we are not going to be answering them today. It is not our manifesto launch. It is our campaign launch.”

Jenny peered out, eyes darting. A man raised his hand. “Man in the middle!” she commanded before having an immediate rethink. “Is there a woman who wants to ask a question now?” But there was not a woman. A man (Kevin from The Sun) would have to do.

Green leader Natalie Bennett, fresh from her morning of radio Armageddon, where she had corpse on air, told us all about how the Green Surge was changing British politics. I must admit that I rather like Natalie with her nasal voice and clumping unpolished ways. We also heard from Caroline Lucas, the MP who everyone loves but who induces narcolepsy in me. Tacked on the end of the top table, we knew not why, was a man named Darren, a candidate from Bristol.

When Kevin was finished, Jenny’s eyes raked the room. “Is there a woman?” Thank God there was! A female from Austrian television, of all things, asked about nuclear power.

Jenny moved briskly on: “OK! A man?” Joey Jones from Sky News was exactly that. He asked Natalie about her interview on LBC that morning. “It was fairly excruciating,” he noted (extremely kindly). “I can’t imagine what it was like in the studio. Would you agree you are you letting your party down?”

Jenny, Jumping up, snapped: “She’s not going to answer that!”

Natalie, sitting down, protested quietly. “Yes, I will.”

“No! No! No!” ordered Jenny.

Natalie nodded, numbly. “I will …”

“No! No! No! No!” Jenny was furious, barking, the Mummy Dearest of politics, the Genghis of Green, ordering around her leader as if she were a very, very small dog on a very short leash. We all watched as Natalie, bravely, resolutely arose. “I thank Jenny for her kind attempt to protect me,” she said as Jenny glared. “But yes, it was absolutely excruciating in the studio. All I can say is occasionally one Just has a mind blank. That happens.”

Jenny, colossally dissatisfied with us all now, turned to the room and barked: “A woman?”

We struggled on, boy-girl, until Jenny announced: “One more question. Anyone with a question for Darren? He is very talented!” A man named Adam asked the cost of their Green policies.

“I wish I hadn’t picked you, Adam,” snapped Jenny.

As the event ended — but not before Darren had said something talented — I felt Jenny’s irritation radiate out at us, fizzling frazzling rays from a very frown-faced sun. We the press had let her down. We were all the wrong sex and we had no questions for Darren. We were, simply, not good enough for the Green Surge.

But, as far as I am concerned, Natalie Bennett must never, ever, leave politics and Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb should be given her own TV show, immediately.