… Still Green

Corbyn is obviously a fan of ours

Corbyn is obviously a fan of ours

Written by Dan Hill, Andover Green Party.                                                

With the election of a red Labour leader, many Greens are feeling conflicted, but they shouldn’t. The Green Party is a party of social and environmental justice. We aim to create a just, equitable and sustainable society. Our goal is to build a society and political system that works for the common good. Labour however, still wish to work within the current system, maybe tweak it a little, but not the overhaul that is needed to get our democracy back on track.

For years it has been very clear for those of us living in Hampshire, that if you want either (and preferably both) of these things then the Green Party is where you pledged you allegiance or lent you vote. Now after many years parading as the lesser evil alternative to the Conservatives, the Labour Party could start taking on policies which a Green Party voter would find attractive. Don’t let it lure you. It may even form a cabinet which could appear be trusted to form policy in that mind-set.

At face value, the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn shares many a stance with us. That is fantastic and we should welcome it, as Caroline Lucas said, it is good news for progressive politics. Let’s list some of those policies:

  • Anti-austerity
  • Opposes fracking
  • Renationalise the railways
  • Scrap Trident
  • Scrap tuition fees
  • Keeping the NHS a public sector provisioned service

Checking his priorities it’s good to see the environment is on there, but, it is all the way down there at number nine on his top ten list. The two paragraphs on the subject doesn’t leave the impression that it will form the integral part of a programme of government that is required to see real change.

His environmental manifesto released last month will have a lot of pleasing things for us Greens. Talk of re-opening coal mines and relying on carbon capture and storage to solve its ills however, betrays the underlying message. Coal is unsustainable as an energy source. Creating a new reliance upon it is a non-starter from a Green perspective.

The growth agenda is still pursued by Corbyn, suggesting his measure of happiness is still on the monetary spectrum rather than the wellbeing one that the Greens champion in everything we do. This leaves him still playing the Tories’ game. Cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion is supposedly the big money spinner. Although this is important, it doesn’t go far enough. Can you remember the last time getting more out of tax dodgers was missing from a Conservative or Labour election pledge? Will this pledge be any more convincing or effective?

At a meeting organised by ASCENT (Ascot Environmental Network) on Saturday, Amelia Womack spoke to Sharon Galliford from the Surrey/Hampshire Border Greens for Radio Woking. She said:

“If you believe in political change and building the future for future generations to make sure that we a have a better kind of politics, then obviously we cannot be concerned about the rise of someone who shares those values; I hope that we can support each other in terms of our vision. With the rise of Corbyn there has been a rise of economists saying ‘you know what, this Corbyn guy is right’; they are saying it will work. They didn’t say that when the Greens were saying that during the election – we now have that backing. Anti-austerity policies have now become the norm in the way that people think and vote – people still want to bold policies the Green party offers.”

Jeremy Corbyn has a lot to offer the Labour party if the old time power brokers are willing to accept the will of the mandate. We very much hope that they do. And we can accept that those who Labour had left behind during their lurch to the centre ground are now re-joining to do everything they can to rescue the Labour Party in this window of opportunity. It is the right thing for them. We thank them for helping to raise the profile of the Green Party when there was no one else to represent them. Their energy and enthusiasm was a great boost, and our doors shall of course remain open should it all go wrong. We wish them well and bid au revoir.

They know they have an uphill struggle. On the first day, a huge chunk of the shadow cabinet decides they don’t want to participate in executing the wishes of their internal electorate and resign. The second day, the deputy leader suggests he may oppose the leader’s position on Trident. And another shadow minister resigns; one who earlier in the month ahead of the result said “we must support our new leader”.

Eastleigh Green General Election PPC, Ron Meldrum said:

“The key message from the Greens has always been sustainability. The Labour party has never taken this seriously. Green party shows that in order achieve sustainability we must have social justice.”

The link between the two is the reason why the Green Party must remain and continue its course; unwavering in its determination to bring about equal, just, and sustainable communities, and to educate the masses about the inextricable link.

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