Ron Meldrum has been selected to stand as the Green Party candidate for Eastleigh.
He has a degree from the University of Essex, runs his own business and is married with three children. Although he currently lives in Southampton, Eastleigh was his home for almost 30 years.
He is only the second Green Parliamentary candidate to stand in the constituency, previously Martha Lyn stood in 2001 when she received 1.3 per cent of the vote.
This time around, Meldrum believes things will be different. In a press release he said:
“People have become much more aware since 2001, and they are aware that politics has not changed to vehemently challenge the biggest problems in society as is required. People are more disillusioned with politics than ever, which is where we come in. We are the only party that offers something other than the status quo, and the voters are starting to see that.”
The Greens say their membership is surging.
This time last year they had 15,000 members in England and Wales, last week they claimed to have 54,000 – more than either Ukip or the Liberal Democrats.
The Greens aim to have candidates in 90% of seats in the UK – in Hampshire they are fielding candidates in 16 of the 18 seats and say they are finalising the remaining two.
Party leader Natalie Bennett appears to have survived a train-wreck radio interview last week – the latest Sun/You Gov opinion poll put the Greens on 6% while the Lib Dems have slumped to 5%.
The Greens seem to be picking up the votes of disillusioned Lib Dems having outpolled them in the Euro Elections where the Greens gained an extra MEP while the Lib Dems lost all but one of their 12 MEPs.
The Greens are hoping they can triple their number of MPs in the General Election by gaining seats in Bristol and Norwich – assuming their sole MP Caroline Lucas can retain her seat in Brighton.
Labour are also worried that the “Green Surge” could cost them dear, but three MPs does not mean government.
At last weeks Green campaign launch in Westminster when I asked Caroline Lucas if all the Greens could accomplish in seats like Eastleigh,was to split the ‘progressive’ vote, she responded with a fiery attack on Labour’s record in opposition:
“We are going to put progressive policies on the table that simply wouldn’t be there otherwise.
“One of our critiques of the Labour party is that they simply aren’t providing the opposition that it should be, a policy as popular as bringing railways back into public ownership for example, why isn’t labour championing that? Why aren’t they championing a ban on fracking? Why aren’t they saying that spending a £100 billion on Trident nuclear weapons is morally obscene? Why aren’t they challenging austerity? Why did Labour party MPs troop through the lobbies behind George Osborne when he proposed his charter for budget responsibility?
“We stand for progressive policies and we are putting them on the table”.
Meldrum said that if elected he would like to help Eastleigh become a greener town as well as ensure the issues residents are most concerned about are voiced in parliament and added that he joined the Green Party because it is “the only party with sustainability and social justice at its heart”.