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Leader: The Green moment

These are propitious times for the Green Party, which is much more than a pressure group. The Greens enjoyed the biggest proportional gains of any party in the local elections of 2 May, more than doubling their council seats. In some polls the party has been ahead of the Conservatives in the run-up to the European Parliament elections. And the Green Party, once dismissed as the home of cranks and utopian idealists, is worth listening to. As voters reckon with the consequences of global warming and environmental degradation, the Greens are speaking with a seriousness and urgency that the political moment demands.

They are a worthy inheritor of a rich, dissenting tradition too often neglected by the bigger parties. Caroline Lucas, the partys sole MP, is an able parliamentarian who has won respect across the House of Commons. Jonathan Bartley and Siân Berry, the partys co-leaders, are convincing and articulate advocates of a progressive, pro-European politics.

Our wretched first-past-the-post electoral system denies the Greens the Westminster representation they deserve. If the main parties are serious about responding to the challenges of our age, they should appropriate the best aspects of the Greens bold programme for reform.

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