Caroline Lucas – Wildlife MP of 2013

312px-CarolineLucasMEP_Oxford20060411_KaihsuTaiThrough gaining over 600 of the 1546 votes cast, Caroline Lucas was far and away the choice of readers of this blog as the MP who had done most for wildlife in 2013.  Here are a few lessons that might come out of this poll.

First place: Caroline Lucas, Green Party, 39% of the votes cast

From the first vote that was cast (by me) Caroline Lucas was in the lead in this poll – she was never headed.  For a while, in the middle of last week, she had more than 50% of all the votes cast.  Maybe this shows that people will vote Green when they think that the Greens have a chance of winning?  I imagine it certainly means that ordinary people can recognise a hard-working, knowledgeable and passionate MP when they see one.  I’m glad that Caroline won this poll.





By Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs  via Wikimedia Commons
By Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs via Wikimedia Commons

Second place: Owen Paterson, Conservative Party, 24% of votes cast

Owen Paterson came a distant second in this poll.  Some have criticised me for including him at all.  That’s a bit odd, I think.  The point of a poll is to see what people think and the number of votes for Mr Paterson shows that he has a lot of supporters out there.  I’d rather he had come last (although I am perfectly happy that Nick Clegg actually came last) but I’m very glad that he got trounced – which wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been included in the poll!

There is an interesting lesson to be drawn from Owen Paterson’s strong showing in this poll – get your voters out! From Monday through until Thursday Mr Paterson was in third place and languishing far behind.  But then, two things happened: first someone in an NGO forwarded my ‘newsblast’ to lots of their friends which led to a surge of over 100 votes for Mr Paterson in a very short period and a forum on a farming website started drumming up support for the Secretary of State.

All this activity to get Mr Paterson’s supporters to vote, which I admire rather than decry, resulted in the Secretary of State being a distant second in the poll rather than a distant third.

However, on Twitter, Guy Smith (@essexpeasant, NFU Presidential candidate and occasional commenter on this blog) immediately decided that the poll was closing because of the great wave of support that was flooding the poll from Paterson supporters and tweeted ‘Do I get the impression this poll has been closed because people were voting the ‘wrong’ way?‘ to which I replied it was very difficult to know what impression Guy Smith gets or why he gets them.  Guy Smith came back with ‘I’ll keep this simple. Has the poll been closed , if so why?‘ to which I replied that it closed at 9pm because I had to write a blog of the results for this morning and I wanted to go to bed!

This morning the paranoia continued with @Connorfield56 posting on Twitter ‘Interestingly the vote shut very quickly as OP started to gain ground. AW one narrative suits ALL!‘ Now I don’t quite understand that second sentence but the first is most peculiar.  This poll, as most of you know, ran for a whole week and then, yes, I guess, it stopped suddenly – how would it stop slowly? Try turning a light off (or on) gradually!  I do tend to be a bit coy about when polls will finish because I don’t know how well-supported they will be , or how close they would be or how interesting they would be.  Having said that, I posted on both Facebook and Twitter that this poll would end on Sunday which is when it did!

The Paterson supporters who feel they had victory snatched from their grasp should do three things: look at the results carefully (OP was miles behind); take it from me, that at their rate of vote-accrual it would have taken weeks for OP to overtake Caroline Lucas even if voting patterns had remained like those of the weekend; realise that if you had mobilised earlier then maybe you might have got closer – you were very slow off the mark which is nobody’s fault but your own.

Let me say again, I admire the farmers on their forum (and whatever other means they used to generate support) and the NGO staff member emailing fellow supporters (although perhaps using your work email address for party political purposes is borderline in acceptability) because they demonstrated that they wanted their candidate, espousing their views, to win.  And they did something! And it might have worked had not Caroline Lucas not been so overwhelmingly popular with, it appears, a wide range of ‘ordinary’ people.

By Kieran O'Keeffe from Wikimedia Commons
By Kieran O’Keeffe from Wikimedia Commons

Third place: Barry Gardiner, Labour Party, 14% of votes cast

The former Defra Minister was third.  There were signs, too, that someone had been rounding up support for Mr Gardiner as he came with quite a late run at the weekend.  Perhaps a newsletter or email around party members or constituents? I have no idea but Mr Gardiner did make up a lot of ground in a short period of time.










By derivative work: Busillis (talk)  via Wikimedia Commons
By derivative work: Busillis (talk) via Wikimedia Commons

Fourth Place: Zac Goldsmith, Conservative Party, 12% 0f votes cast

Zac was in second place for the first half of this poll.  He was only overtaken by the second and third-placed MPs late in the day.  I’m a bit sorry that he didn’t at least beat Owen Paterson as Mr Goldsmith is the type of Tory whom I would find it difficult to vote against.  He is doing a great job in being an outspoken and green member of the Conservative Party and I’d have liked him to have been placed second (or even first, I admire him so much!)








Fifth place: ‘none of the above’, 5% of votes cast

I’m glad this candidate didn’t do better, but I’m sorry he (or she) did this well. There really is no point in voting for ‘nobody’ when ‘somebody’ has to win.

Joan Walley from her website
Joan Walley from her website

Sixth place: Joan Walley, Labour Party, 5% of votes cast

Joan Walley is doing a great, though largely unrecognised, job chairing the EAC.

I’m sure she is too busy to notice or care about the number of votes she received.

I was pleased to be able to give her a bit of profile through this poll.





By John_brigden_and_nick_clegg.jpg: Tyh8 uipd derivative work: Maximus0970 (John_brigden_and_nick_clegg.jpg) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By John_brigden_and_nick_clegg.jpg: Tyh8 uipd derivative work: Maximus0970 (John_brigden_and_nick_clegg.jpg) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Seventh place: Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat and Deputy Prime Minister, 3% of votes cast














Just for the record, I tweeted news of this poll to a range of wildlife NGOs, to the NFU and CLA, to Conservative, Labour, LibDem, Green, UKIP and SNP political parties, to Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent newspapers, to a variety of magazines including the Spectator and New Statesman (and Private Eye) and a to a few celebrities.  My aim was to make this poll as widely known as possible rather than it be very restricted to the regular readers of this blog.




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20 Replies to “Caroline Lucas – Wildlife MP of 2013”

  1. Well done to Caroline Lucas I hope you've let her know. An MP widely recognised across Parliament. Integrity, passion for what she believes the sort of MP we all deserve. Unlike OP (and apologies for going here again) whose integrity is manifest in his preferred candidate as chair of Natural England (Andrew Sells) who has donated serious money to the Cons party. Democracy hey!
    I hope C Lucas questions this in Parliament this week. Looks like it breaks Defra rules if you scrutinise the appointment process. But then when has the process stopped this Govt?

  2. What have we learnt here? (other than what we already knew about Mark's love of partisan division of those concerned with the environment). We learnt that, when asked via a wildlife and environment blog, people will vote for the MP who is most vociferous on wildlife and environmental policies. A fantastic 'no shit sherlock' experiment.

    1. Gordon - you must make a fortune on betting! Of course, the result is relatively easy to predict after the result is called. Well done!

      1. Yeah fair enough. But my point was really about what conclusions we can draw from this - and I think the answer is: very little. Still, it was a bit of fun.

  3. Am I missing something here but after I voted, I wasn't able to see (or at least didn't think it was possible) to see the running vote talley. Therefore, how could anyone complain about the vote ending before O-Patz could 'win'?

    What strikes me about this vote though is the low turn out. Voter apathy remains alive and well. Which may mean that any candidate who suddenly got a flurry of support (say from the investment banking sector) could do well.

    Let's hope the voting distribution is reflected in the next election. Hopefully many Tory MPs will come 2nd, though unfortunately, probably not in North Shropshire.


    1. "What strikes me about this vote though is the low turn out. Voter apathy remains alive and well. "

      There may be other polls with rather more riding on the result doncha think?


    Wildlife MP - 2013


    Pathetic Response - even with Mark's prior effort

    'Nobody' cares – enough – but those that do care remain ineffective

    'Nobody' understands enough

    Everybody's kidding themselves (well most are)

    It takes a threat to kill half of the diseased Mr Badger population to stir up 300,000 'protestors' to click on a link to save-them – 300,000 people getting it wrong – why should you expect them to get it right?

    Badger Trust 'milks' the situation whilst the likes if IFAW / PAL have also got its business model right – go over the top with the graphics and appeal to the ignorant masses – and don't be a charity – go offshore taxwise!

    Even the 'Tiggywinkle' Charities won't fault the badger – and LINK (who) indulges itself

    RSPCA business model is also just so wrong – a great sadness – possibly the worst example – and it should be the best!

    RSPB too cosy – too close to Govt – 120 m t/over - time for change

    and on and on and on

    Don't blame our MPs or Ministers – they only represent US !

    The Traditional Conservation Business Model ain't working – do not pass go – do not collect

  5. The really disappointing thing is that almost 60% of people on a conservation-oriented blog voted for what amounts to the status quo, pretty much. Zac Goldsmith is "the type of Tory who is hard to vote against", Mark? I can understand where Russell Brand is coming from when our conservation spokespeople say such things.

    I see little point engaging with these mainstream parties any more as they've had more than enough chances and have shown virtually zero willingness to attempt to solve our current problems. Climate change needs addressing immediately and only the Green Party seem remotely serious about that.

  6. "Pathetic" is a word that sums up the LibDems and has always done so, and the Liberals before them. They should have been beware of getting what they wanted, viz, power. In about 18 months they will be no more.


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