Saturday, 4 April 2015

Red Pepper on 'How red are the Greens?'

The latest Red Pepper, delivered today, has How red are the Greens? as its cover story with additional articles inside. It is edited by Michael Calderbank who is a member of the LRC and a local Brent activist with whom I have campaigned on various local issues.

The cover story by Andrew Dolan is fairly friendly and attributes a drop in Labour support on the left and the support of the young  'in part a consequence of the Green Party's opposition to the austerity politics that Labour has committed itself to. The Green's policies of rail nationalisation, social housing construction, a rise in the minimum wage and free education represent an attractive alternative to a demographic traditionally located on the left and more likely to express dissatisfaction with neoliberalism and austerity than those already entrenched within labour and property markets.'

However he quotes research by James Dennison that on specific economic policy issues those planning on voting Green in fact tend to be less left wing that Labour voters. 'What clearly separates likely Green voters from those of other parties, UKIP aside, is that a far higher proportion express a lack of trust in MPs in particular and UK democracy in general.'

He goes on, 'Accompanying the Green's leftward policy shift has been a new rhetoric comparable to that deployed across Europe. Talk of "the people" , of "us versus them" and even of "revolt" is now commonplace In Green Party publications and speeches and carries some legitimacy when considered in relation to the party's well-publicised support for various grassroots struggles and the involvement of the Scottish Greens in the Radical Independence Campaign'.'

After examining the prospects of the Greens winning more seats and holding on to Brighton Pavilion (according to him not terribly good) he says on tactical voting 'A newly emboldened Green party has little interest in such tactical anti-Tory consideration. Rather its eyes are fixed on the opportunities that may arise should '"politics as usual" and the austerity it entails continue. The party's recent talks with thee SNP and Plaid Cymru, and their stated intention to "unite wherever possible to battle the Westminster parties' "obsession with austerity", hint at the possibility of a changed political landscape: one in which the idea of the "other parties" including the Green Party, transforming growing popularity into power is more than just a pipedream.'

Joseph Healy, billed as a founder member of Green Left and ex GP International committee, writes a pessimistic article suggesting that the Greens chances of not disappointing their supporters if the get into any government are 'not good' based on what happened in Ireland, Czech Republic and France.

Hilary Wainwright in Out of their seats writes 'Caroline Lucas is perhaps currently the one (MP) able to speak most openly and clearly about what is on voters' minds: austerity and is daily consequences, and what is needed is parliamentary terms to end it.'  Quoting Lucas saying that a progressive alliance could do more in the next parliament Wainright goes on: 'Although the 'we' might in parliamentary voting terms be only one MP, in Lucas the Greens have had a real political force in parliament - a force driven not only by her personal capacities, which are immense' but also by a political methodology that could well be adopted by the progressive alliance as a whole. Lucas's effective parliamentary initiatives against fracking and the energy companies, for public ownership of the rail system and for reinstating the NHS have been the result of immersion in extra-parliamentary campaigns and public debates..A bit like Tony Benn, she thereby giver further confidence and strength to the movements in society and their ability to shift public consciousness with a clear and persuasive political message.'

Reviewing Caroline Lucas's recently Published Honourable Friends? Parliament and the Fight for Change, Ian Sinclair having praised the book as 'an absolute joy to read - accessible, fast paced and entertaining - and often funny too'  concludes..'Cogent, rational and humane Honourable Friends? confirms why it is essential all progressives work to make sure Lucas continues as an MP.


  1. Has Michael Calderbank been expelled from the Labour Party yet?

  2. after 48 years of Life
    I think that the Green party was destined to be formed.
    but I think that the Greens came onto the scene Too Late.
    and though most people know that "being green" is fundamental,
    The take for granted attitude is so deep rooted and widespread,
    It is safe to say that it would take a lifetime to change the "anti green" attitude.
    and I disagree that cannabis should be decriminalized.
    The "Let's decide what to legalize for the advantage of the chancellor" is a classic example of irresponsibly on the part of government(s)
    This is why no end of people end up becoming "addicts" of all kinds of things,
    because they are born in a country which thrives on addiction.
    entice people into doing health damaging life destroying things
    and stick a price tag on it.
    such things should have no place in British societies.
    but the fact that such things exist with the full knowledge and permission from successive governments
    shows that though the slave trade was abolished
    it still lives on.
    This is why politicians that talk about "British values" are kidding themselves.
    a country that is truly built upon "sound Principles" does not permit the blatant exploitation of fellow humans.
    any government that allows that to happen are comparable to alcohol intoxicated bus and train drivers
    leading their passengers to danger.
    being truly Green means putting what is in the best interests of the public first.
    cannabis is not in the best interests of the public.
    and all of us can see that tobacco is the same.
    when will politicians accept that the public are not here to be exploited?
    can anyone be safe being born in a country where self abuse and greed is widespread?
    smoking is self abuse and tolerating it is stupid as well as wicked.
    and it is guaranteed that anyone born into a country in which the government(s) decide to make wrong right for the purpose of tax revenue,
    you can be absolutely certain that the public will suffer immensely.
    Britain is such a Lawless country
    it almost defies belief.
    It is no wonder why people are suffering.
    If the green party wants to save Britain from Self Destruction,
    it needs to look again at its blue print and eliminate everything that is linked to greed and exploitation and preventable suffering.

  3. Has Michael Calderbank been expelled from the Labour Party yet?

  4. Of course Calderbank would start promoting The Greens. Communist.