The past month cannot have been amongst the easiest to get through in the life of Natalie Bennett. A series of bloodbath interviews, which amongst the most notable should have been the Andrew Neil Daily Politics one at the end of last month, but which has now been well and truly eclipsed by the LBC (insert transport accident cliché here) of yesterday, in which the Greens leader said the plan to build 500,000 new council homes would cost £2.7 billion. I’ll save you having to do the maths: that works out at £5,400 per home. This provoked Nick Ferrari to memorably ask: “What are they made of, plywood?”
What’s amazing is that Natalie had already given a terrible interview on the Today programme earlier the same day, one that I had to leave the room in the middle of. Another confession: I couldn’t sit through all of the LBC interview either. A bit like how some people react to David Brent, I just find it impossible to sit through another Bennett mangling. I just feel so sorry for her, I can’t take it.
While all this has been going on, Caroline Lucas has been busy making things notably worse for Bennett, who let us remind ourselves is the leader of the Green party after Lucas voluntarily relinquished the role herself, citing the need to focus on keeping her seat. The MP for Brighton Pavilion has done this via an extremely unhelpful interview of her own on the Today programme (a considerably more accomplished interview than Natalie’s but that wouldn’t be difficult); unhelpful in the extreme to both the Green Party itself and definitely to Natalie Bennett – but perhaps not to Brand Lucas, which I’ll come on to in good time.
In regards to the citizens’ income that Bennett has been taking massive amounts of grief to defend (not in a particularly accomplished way to say the least, but still), Lucas had this to say:
“The citizens’ income is not going to be in the 2015 general election manifesto as something to be introduced on May 8th. It is a longer term aspiration; we are still working on it.”
If I was Natalie Bennett, I may very well be busy fashioning a Caroline Lucas voodoo doll right now after that little comment. I’m stretching my mind to think of something more unhelpful Caroline Lucas could have said in terms of the Greens’ ambitions outside of Brighton Pavilion, but other than “The Green candidates other than me suck – vote Labour”, I can’t think of anything.
Later in the same interview Lucas even went on to claim that the Greens were a “small party” and basically only really existed to put pressure on Labour to be “more progressive”. Again, a kick in the pants to the party she seems to be trying to distance herself from, rather inexplicably I might add. If she thinks her party are that toxic to her re-election hopes, why not just defect to Labour and assure herself of keeping the seat? At least there’d be some honesty there – and poor Natalie wouldn’t have to deal with a quasi-deputy in the wings making life even more difficult for her.