As the Greens' European election campaign draws to a close in the South East of England, the party's two leading candidates are approaching polling day itself with an air of careful satisfaction.
"No-one ever knows what voters will do on the day and it's foolish to make predictions," says Keith Taylor, the South East's sitting MP and candidate for re-election. "But we feel that our campaign itself has been extremely positive. Our wonderful old Routemaster bus, powered by reclaimed chip shop oil, has criss-cross the region, from the Isle of Wight in the south to Milton Keynes in the north and from the eastern tip of the Kent coast to the west of Hampshire and Oxfordshire, where we've met thousands upon thousands of voters, explained our policies and received a very encouraging welcome.
He continues: "And I'm not a great follower of opinion polls but they have been uplifting. In poll after poll we've risen throughout May from around 3% or 4% to a high last weekend of 12% in the Sun, overtaking the Lib Dems along the way and pushing them back into fifth place, nationally. Indeed, I believe we're the only party that has risen in popularity like this: far more than the quickly tarnishing Ukip.
"It's up to voters what they'll do in the privacy of the polling booth. But in the polls and on the doorstep, many people are acknowledging that the Green Party is the only party that offers a real opportunity for a change in this election, we are the real alternative. The three main parties are saying nothing new or different, while Ukip has shown itself not only to have some very questionable policies and people but to be firmly part of the establishment that Nigel Farage likes to disown. It's no wonder that voters have been listening to the Greens in such large numbers."
Alexandra Phillips, the Greens No 2 European candidate in the South East and a councillor in Brighton & Hove adds: "The campaign's been quite exhilarating and a tremendous opportunity . Wherever we go with the campaign bus, we're greeted with tooting horns, bike bells and shouts of encouragement. Plenty of people want to talk to us and they like what we offer. They like the fact that we have a full range of policies and manifesto commitments to offer on everything from live animal exports to the economy and affordable housing. We are the only party leading the way in Europe on capping bankers’ bonuses, keeping the NHS free from privatisation and bringing the railways back into public ownership, and more than half the people now agree with our desire to keep communities free of fracking.
"No-one knows how election day will turn out but the polls are undeniably encouraging. We've risen in popularity to overtake the Lib Dems and we look set to increase the number of Green MEPs. Whether I will be one of the new MEPs in Europe is in the hands of voters but it will only take a swing of 2.5% for me to join Keith in Europe as another extremely hard working and devoted Green MEP."
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