Thursday, August 06, 2009

Which of the others deserve support?

It may come as a surprise to some readers but the Greens are unlikely to form the next UK government after this coming General Election. Call me a pessimist but I don't think we'll even scrape through.

In fact I'm not even sure we'd form the government after next. Long is the tearful road to Parliamentary dominance.

Given that some Parliamentary seats will be filled by non-Greens I thought I'd speculate as to who I'd like to see keeping our seats warm. For example David Howarth, Cambridge's Lib Dem MP, has a very irritating habit that when you lobby him he not only agrees with what you have to say but generally has a list of achievements on the issue to show he's not just saying whatever you'd like to hear.

I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to vote Lib Dem but certainly my experience of Howarth on climate change, nuclear power, Iraq, civil liberties and international development have been wholly positive, unlike my experiences of the Labour candidate who seems to be the worst sort of authoritarian you could imagine.

Then there's MPs like Plaid's Adam Price who appears to have an excellent record pushing for left social democratic policies and in opposing the various wars New Labour have launched over the last decade and a bit.

Independent candidates like Jan Jananayagam in Harrow will be raising important issues and should poll well, although she'll find it difficult to win the seat, obviously. She did get 11% of the vote at the Euro elections in Harrow though so it would be wrong to think she wont be mounting a strong and highly charged campaign.

Let's not forget Salma Yaqoob in Birmingham. I'd certainly like to see Salma being given the support of the local Greens (although that's up to them obviously). She's been an inspiring figure in many ways and I've been a fan of hers for a number of years. I'm sure we disagree on a number of issues but then what's life without a little bit of friendly friction?

John McDonnell isn't the only Labour MP who has a more than decent record but he's among an ever decreasing circle of hard left Labour members who are slowly shuffling out of the Commons. I say let them shuffle a bit slower.

Which reminds me of people like Dave Nellist who were once left Labour MPs but found themselves on the wrong side of the Star Chamber of internal democracy. He's still a formidable councillor in Coventry and will probably having a crack at one of the seats. You can't say he wouldn't make the place much more interesting!

I feel a little out of touch with where other significant left challenges are likely to come from, for instance in Scotland are there any seats that the SSP are likely to get a creditable vote? Are there strong challenges in any constituencies from other left forces that I've missed here for instance?


An Activist President said...

I think Adam Price, and other Plaid candidates, deserve the backing of the Greens in Wales. The Greens are a long way off, perhaps more so than any other region, of winning a parliamentary seat, whereas Plaid represents the best alternative for left-wing and progressive voters.

Adam himself, from my own understanding, is very keen to see a joint list between Plaid and the Greens come the Welsh Assembly elections in 2011. I think measures of good faith, by the Welsh party and the national party, should begin with the General Election.


Jim Jay said...

Personally I'd like to see that and I'm moving a motion this conference to remove the constitutional barrier to standing joint lists with other parties - so we'll just see how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Dai Davies of Blaneau Gwent Peoples Voice and Dr Richard Taylor, both very good independents.

Jim Jay said...

Good call: I've heard Taylor is very good in committees and things, I believe he's also good (ie I agree with him) on immigration - or so I'm told.

I do remember at the last general looking at their slate for the council election though and being mildly horrified.

You never hear much from Dai Davies do you? Doesn't mean he's not got his head down and doing good stuff but I wouldn't mind hearing a bit more from him (and Trish Law).

Strategist said...

What about George Galloway's tilt at Poplar and Limehouse? He can win, but it will need a lot of work.

An Activist President said...

I'm very much hoping that motion passes, Jim. I for one will be supporting it. It can not come soon enough.

Apparently Plaid members (with the full blessing of their National Executive) approached the Greens about having a joint list in the Euro Elections but because of the stupid barrier the Welsh party had to reject the move. If we had a joint list with Plaid Cymru and Mebyon Kernow then all signs suggest that we would have had four MEPs rather than just the two.


Jim Jay said...

Thanks Luke!

Strat: as you know I have warm fuzzy feelings for Galloway but my impression is that he wont stand in the end because, sadly, he wont have the momentum to beat Jim Fitzpatrick - and we know Galloway doesn't like losing elections.

The area doesn't have the base and the political circumstances are less favourable to him than at the last general.

If he stands then good luck to him but I don't think there's the organisation on the ground for that pre-election work to happen - although people should feel free to prove me wrong on that.

Strategist said...

I'm not sure I understand "the area doesn't have the base" - the East End is still predominantly working class and votes Labour on the misunderstanding that Labour is their party. Galloway has an audience if he can get his message through.

Galloway expresses it as two Scotsmen fighting it out for an East End seat, one in the tradition of Keir Hardie, the other in the tradition of Ramsay Macdonald. This is exactly correct, and if that case can be got before the voters, I think they will get the message.

He does have an organisation on the ground, although it is certainly much depleted by the departure of the SWP, and there is a danger that we will see working class people voting against Galloway on ethnic identity grounds.

I would like to think that the whole independent anti-war left would see that Galloway is one of the few real champions we have and rush to help his campaign, but I'm not holding my breath.

But I would be gutted if the Green Party stand a candidate against him and I would like to see action taken to ensure that won't happen.

Jim Jay said...

By base I mean identified supporters rather than potential audience (which obviously exists in many many places).

I believe no candidate is selected for the area - although what the reasoning for that is I'm not sure, so don't read too much into that.

Whilst getting a core left vote is obviously good - winning a constituency takes a real operation, if its there then that's all to the good although that's not my impression (don't live there though obviously so could be completely wrong about that).