Tuesday, 10 April 2012

'Greens cannot continue to put saving the planet ahead of local business, tourism and jobs'

Sometimes I worry that the best way for people to engage in party politics to make their world a better place is by joining or supporting a party that's actually likely to win an election - and shape its policies 'from the inside'.


There are few places (admittedly, an ever-growing number) outside Brighton and Hove where the Green Party has a realistic prospect of election at any level anytime soon.


I know many Greens in London, for example, who are thinking hard about the logic of the scare tactics suggesting they vote Labour in the forthcoming mayoral elections, fearing that a Green vote will be more likely to return Boris Johnson than Jenny Jones to City Hall.

Obviously they believe that Labour is a party whose policies are unlikely to deliver the change they want to see, but that it will do lot more good - or less harm - than the Conservative Party, the only credible alternative.

I've always thought this a fairly defeatist, and short-termist attitude: parties don't win power at their first election and changing our world is a bit of a long game. After all, it was 27 years between the election of the first Labour Party MP and the party's first foray into government - and they'd never have done it if all their supporters voted for the then much more credible Liberals in horror at yet another Tory victory.

But I say 'fairly', and I'm always sympathetic to those who hold that view.

Every once in a while though, a figure in the Labour Party says something so silly that I remember why I left the party in the first place (something I had to do when the party abandoned Clause 4 of its constitution, and effectively, the principle of socialism), something that redoubles my commitment to the Greens - and makes me more convinced than ever that if I were I Londoner I'd be voting for Jenny.

This time, it was the turn of local Labour deputy leader Warren Morgan (pictured).

Commenting on an Argus story about parking charges here in Brighton, he said:

... Greens cannot continue to put saving the planet ahead of local business, tourism and jobs...

Really? So Warren, a hard-working councillor who (usually) commands my utmost respect, would put the interests of tourists, businesses and jobs above that of 'saving the planet'?

Talk about re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic!

Suddenly, supporting the Labour Party seems a little more short-termist than before. He sums up neatly one of the biggest problems of politics that rewards policies for the next 100 days over policies for the next 100 years.

Isn't the best support we can give local businesses, tourists and jobs to adopt policies that mean they are likely to exist into the long-term?

2 comments:

  1. Thought it was some kind of not very funny April fools "joke". His comment shows how green issues are just tacked on to his and Labours thinking and not actually u7nderstood. Am furious at such stupid sloppy thinking, I have a niece and grandaughter and am scared for their futures, only the Green Party gets it re climate change ect.

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  2. "I know many Greens in London, for example, who are thinking hard about the logic of the scare tactics suggesting they vote Labour in the forthcoming mayoral elections, fearing that a Green vote will be more likely to return Boris Johnson than Jenny Jones to City Hall."

    In London we have the Supplementary Vote system (effectively AV but with only two preferences) which allows us to both vote for Jenny and Ken. In fact, it makes sense for Labour supporters to give Jenny their first vote in the off chance we may beat the Lib Dem candidate into third place.

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