Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oh, what is the point?

Iain Dale, top Tory blogger and thoroughly nice chap, has decided to ask rather bluntly, "what is the point of the Green Party?" Apparently it's all a bit pointless now that the main three parties have "largely adopted much of their agenda".

It's a dangerous question for a Tory to ask considering the New Labour habit of muscling in on all the juiciest policies the Conservatives can think of, rendering them rather superfluous, but I'll bite none the less.

I guess the easiest way to answer this is by simply starting at the question itself. Have the main three parties adopted Green Party policies? To that the answer is, of course, absolutely not.

On the environment they know that there is a growing green awareness among voters and therefore they are happy to bend the way the wind blows. Any party that seemed like a home for climate deniers would be rightly viewed as backward and reactionary by the electorate at large so it's a position no one can afford to take in the current political atmosphere.

However, if tomorrow the wind blows against the idea of cutting CO2 emissions (for example) they'll just lean back again. If voters want backward and reactionary - that's something they'll be more than happy to provide. They have no principled commitment to the environment, the Green Party does. In fact, it is due to the committed campaigning of the green movement more generally that there is (now) mainstream near consensus on these issues. Without that green conscience whispering in their ear (sometimes rather loudly) we'd never have seen these parties even pay lip service to environmental issues.

But the Green Party is far more than just climate change and protecting the lesser spotted horn toad. Did any of the mainstream three have an absolute and vocal opposition to the war (with or without the UN)? No. Do any of the three oppose the privatisation of public services or support the renationalise of the rail industry? No.

Whether it's the economy, the arms industry, housing, education, health or civil liberties there is a progressive agenda that is simply not reflected in the House of Commons on any consistent basis. Of course, there are some good MPs (like John McDonnell) but these are outsiders in their parties, they are not amongst friends.

There is a role for a consistent left of centre voice in British politics and the three main parties simply do not provide this. Perhaps, once upon a time, the Labour Party was a radical voice - but those days, my friends, are sadly long gone.

A more appropriate question is what's the point of the three grey parties? When Gordon eventually gathers up his nerve and calls an election they should consider a merger - that way the electorate will get a clear choice - for neo-liberalism tick the grey box and for something a little nicer they could always try the Greens.

1 comment:

Adrian Windisch said...

John Redwood has let out the truth about tory green policies, see

I wrote about it on my blog

Ive been posting some Green ideas on the Ian Dale whats the poin of the Greens blog, is still going if anyone wants to join in.