Why I’ve (re) joined the Greens.
UKIP are the face of exclusion. Because most people feel excluded from mainstream politics, fewer people participate in such limited democratic processes as remain. UKIP, appealing as they do to people who are frightened by change, the future, death, have done well. If people don’t start doing actual politics again, then UKIP will continue to gain strength.
The Tories are great at what they do. They are honest, too. They represent the interests of the class whose interests they are committed to defend, and they do it very well. Unless you are a corporatist rentier though, this probably isn’t you or any of your friends or family. One of their greatest strengths has always been in getting people to vote against their interests.
Labour look after this class too, though less successfully, because they retain a nagging sense that they shouldn’t really be looking after corporatist rentiers at all. This nagging sense that they should perhaps promote social democratic policies which look after as many people as possible by means of increased taxation causes Labour to offer sticking plasters to cover a malignant tumour, and their blushes.
The Lib Dems are through; or at least, back to what they were; half a dozen or so seats in the West Country and here in Mid-Wales.
All of these ‘major’ parties share an ideology, which is the efficient management of capitalism in order to maximise growth.
I’ve got two daughters, two step-daughters, and two grand-children. Like any parent or grand-parent, I have made a commitment to the future. So has corporate capitalism, but our commitments are to different futures. Their commitment is to ‘growth’, but ours is to health, happiness, and peace. Isn’t it?
Since unrestrained capitalist growth is antithetical to health, happiness and peace, it is therefore not in the interests of our long-term commitment to our children and grand-children. Political action is necessary to protect their interests. Labour have been neutered, the LibDems have committed hara-kiri. The Tories, representing as they do the Ruling Class, are still best at Ruling, and if you like being Ruled by the Ruling class in the interests of the Ruling Class, then good luck to you. They deserve your support.
Only the Green Party represents any kind of actual mainstream political opposition, and only they come close to sharing the human appetite for health, happiness and peace. They take as their starting point the idea that we shouldn’t shit in our own beds, and go from there. In order to prevent our grandchildren from drowning in our shit, the Greens argue, we need to act urgently, collectively and locally. Social justice isn’t a right, it’s a necessity. Only by increasing the reach of the democratic process, can we carry through our commitment to our grandchildren’s health, happiness and peaceable existence. Infrastructure should be owned by as many people as possible: of course the railway should be renationalised, but so should water. How can you be happy when somebody else owns your water? The power companies don’t need renationalising, because they will wither on the vine, as local communities work out how to generate their own electricity. And so on.
The current Green Party slogan is ‘For the Common Good’, and that seems like a good thing to me, and worth a try. What we need to do is agree on the nature of the Common Good, and then act on it. This might take some doing, but it seems to me a better way to try to build my grand-children’s health, happiness and security than to give our future over to a managerialist political class committed only to the growth of capitalist power.
I first became active in Brighton Greens in 1985, then stayed a paid-up member when I first moved to Mid-Wales in 1987. I let my membership lapse in about 1992. I rejoined for a few years in the Noughties in Devon; but let my membership lapse again. At the recent European elections, there were Green candidates in Wales, but we didn’t get any information through the door. The Lib-Dems are in power round here, and they got plenty of stuff out. The Tories and UKIP got through our letter box, and even poor old Labour managed to send us something. But nothing from the Greens.
And I reckon that’s because there was no one to do the leg work. And I reckon that I can do that. I can post a few leaflets through doors. I can pick up voters and drive them to the polls. I can talk to my students. I can do something. At the very least, I can pay my subs. So I rejoined.
No more moaning about UKIP on Facebook, ever. Time to act, however we best can, urgently, collectively, locally, and in the interests of our grand-children’s health, happiness and safety.
Thank you Rob. I think we never got the questions up!
Welcome back to the Green Party Ian. I loved your book: “The Longest Crawl” and have just found this your website after re-reading your book. Funnily enough I was looking for your list of pub quiz questions because I’m organising a quiz night for our local Green Party in Suffolk. Happy new year.
The people acted….. kind of… Leominster Green Party facebook page has news of one up the backside for a certain IP…. (and we need people… footleather… for working on other wards next spring including Kington ward which is thought a possible)
They (we) might have been a party of protest in 1989 (when thanks to the electoral system we got no seats), but I don’t think so anymore. I think the tide of disgust at the way we are forced to live is rising. And the Labour Party are losing members to the Greens (as are the LibDems of course), because they can no longer see what principles Labour is standing up for.
You seem to be suggesting that the Greens are the new Labour Party. Were they not what UKIP is now – a party of protest gaining loads of seats in Euro-elections as an expression of dissatisfaction?
(I’m not sure I should mention their subsequent performance in UK elections.)