Why aren’t we all voting Green?

by Ray_North on April 19, 2014

Unknown-1It doesn’t make any sense really.

Think about it.

A recent survey showed that 97% of meteorological and astro-physics academics said that global warming was real, massively significant and predominately the fault of human beings using fossil fuels.

There have also been recent papers outlining the effect of global warming on the ice-caps, the increasing acidity of oceans, fundamental changes in micro-climate and even the reduction in the height of Mount Everest.

But if academic tomes and papers aren’t your thing – then the weird weather we have experienced, smog that makes some cities unbearable and the slow but relentless destruction of our habitat should make it absolutely clear that we are killing our own planet.

So, what are we doing about it?

Well our politicians are doing pretty much nothing. The Kyoto agreement has now been shown to be far too timid to be of use, and in any event most of the signatories to it have found many ways to by-pass it. Whilst our own David Cameron who once banged on about huskies and trees has now for reasons of political expediency decided to ditch most of the green taxes.

Surely, we the people are up in arms, surely we are either doing everything we can to ensure that the politicians who run our country put the environment first, or at least we are doing what we can to consume less?

Well, no.

Caroline Lucas remains the only Green MP and at the next election, she is unlikely to be joined by any others, indeed she’ll do well to keep her seat; whilst the three main parties are more concerned about votes than saving the environment, and as such the unpalatable truths remain unsaid and the policies about the environment remain essentially cosmetic.

We don’t seem to give a toss and the very fact that the political party that is currently in the ascendency is a regressive one that has at it’s heart a desire to take us out of the EU which could be one of the few institutions that could organise a truly effective campaign to save the environment, is depressing.

So, why aren’t we voting Green? In fact, why aren’t we joining the Green Party and campaigning for them? After all, not only do they have an agenda that is singularly designed to help maintain our planet, they have a wonderful leader in Caroline Lucas, who has demonstrated that, in contrast to most politicians these days, she is willing and able to stay loyal to her principles.

Sadly, it’s because the reality is that we are a nation, indeed a species that is desperate to consume. Each day, we are inundated with stuff, nice stuff, good stuff, fun stuff that we want to buy because we are told that it is the right thing to do – and, deep down, we all know that that unfettered consumption is the real reason why we are killing our planet. We are all to blame, we each of us has the knife in our hands, and it is this guilt that is preventing us from supporting the Greens. We feel that we are somehow unworthy, we feel that they are going to ask to make sacrifices that we will be unable to keep, we feel that the Greens will make hypocrites of us.

Well, we’re wrong. Listening to the Caroline Lucas talking this week about the ways in which alternative fuel sources can be compatible with economic growth was illuminating. Saving the planet may mean cutting down on consumption, but it doesn’t mean an end to progress, it means progress in a different way, a different direction, a different way of thinking, a more co-operative and kindly way of thinking.

The Greens may not have all the answers, but they are the only party that is daring to ask the right question – in future, I’ll be giving them a lot more support than I have in the past.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Killingworth April 19, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I doubt the Greens will be seriously trying to win a second or third seat, but if Balls signs up for Tory spending plans they may well be pleasantly surprised by how many deposits they save…

Reply

Green Christian April 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Mike, we’ll certainly be putting a lot of effort into Norwich South as well as Brighton Pavilion – in the absence of a 1989-style surge, it’s our only other currently winnable Parliamentary seat. Though with Labour’s resurgence it’s unlikely we’ll take it.

Reply

Ray_North April 19, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Green Christian – I wish you every success – but, I fear Mike’s analysis is probably right.

Reply

David Williams April 20, 2014 at 8:35 am

Excellent article, and the Green Party does have an excellent female leader, as well as having the best MP in parliament. Her name is Natalie Bennett.

Reply

Ray_North April 20, 2014 at 9:07 am

David, thanks for pointing out the difference between Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas – I’m glad the article made sense – I intend to invest a fair bit time in Green Politics in the run up to the general election.

Reply

Sarah April 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

I’ve been asking people this question for a while and the predominant answer seems to be “because they’ll never get in and we have to keep the Tories out”. But the logic in that is so flawed because the very same people complain that Labour are just as bad a the Tories, so voting Labour to keep the Tories out is surely pointless?! Have you seen the website http://www.voteforpolicies.org.uk ? They’ve set up a sort of quiz where ou select the policies you like best and at the end it tells you whose policies they were, and across the country Greens are coming out on top. Obviously it’s not truly representative because the type of people to fill in these surveys are more likely to be lefties but still…. If everybody voted for the policies they liked instead of voting tactically I truly believe Greens would win. And they’re certainly more reliable and trustworthy than the rest!

Reply

pendantry April 21, 2014 at 8:06 am

Thanks for the reminder about http://www.voteforpolicies.org.uk :)

Reply

Derek Wall April 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

The European Elections are on 22nd May, the Green Party has two MEPs already and we could elect a lot more.

Thanks Ray for your help for the party perhaps you could let people know about the link if they want to join https://my.greenparty.org.uk/civicrm/membership/joining

Thanks for your support, I have been a member since 1980, we have come a long way with councillors, MEPs, MP and a sister party in Scotland with MSPs but we need to grow more, ecological factors especially climate change threaten our future.

Reply

chris April 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

It does concern me. This should be a good opportunity to gain votes yet the greens are on 6% in EU poll (down 2 from last year) and 3% in the general poll. Despite the increased austerity and the fall.of the lib dems, the party is not gaining the support I thought it would get.

Reply

Simon Hales April 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Caroline Lucas is indeed wonderful, but she is no longer Green Party leader (so she can concentrate on being an even better constituency MP). Our party is currently led by the equally wonderful Natalie Bennett :)

Reply

Andrew Dobson April 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Great article, Ray. Thanks very much. The Voteforpolicies website that Sarah mentions is really useful as a way of persuading the sceptical that ‘they are not alone’. And here’s another useful slogan : ‘the only wasted vote is a vote you don’t believe in’.

Reply

Robert Moore April 20, 2014 at 5:33 pm

The Greens are the political organisation of bourgois middle class lefties. It’s not the wish to consume that is causing a failure in Green politics; it is the failure of the Greens themselves to come up with realisitc policies, based on economic sense rather than ideological adherence.

The EU is fundamentally undemocratic, bordering on a Soviet Union level bureaucratic lunacy. When the Republic of Ireland voted against the Lisbon Treaty, the EU leaders forced treaty down their throats.

Reply

Ray_North April 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

‘Bourgois middle class lefties’? Hmm, Robert, have you been reading the Daily Mail again mate!?!
The EU is not a panacea, but leaving it would be a disaster – and as for bureaucracy, there is nothing wrong with it as long as it is a bureaucracy that is underpinned by democracy and is designed to enhance the lives of all people, not just the richest and the strongest – give me untrammelled bureaucracy over untrammelled global capitalism every time.

Reply

Peter Garbutt April 21, 2014 at 8:22 am

Thoughtful piece, Ray.

One of the reasons more people aren’t flocking to support us is the almost non-existent coverage in the media. This is the kind of treatment that used to be meted out to the LibDems, if David Yelland is to be believed.

Another is constant mythologizing, Robert. Can you tell me which party isn’t composed of the middle classes? And have you read our policy document? It’s not perfect, but it is fairly detailed, and it’s democratically decided. If by “realistic” economic policies you mean more neo-liberal hair-splitting, thank god we don’t do that. That experiment has been tried – and has failed, by our lights at least – for long enough. But it means that what we come up with hasn’t been tried yet; and therefore it’s an easy target for the adjective “unrealistic”.

Reply

Ray_North April 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

Peter, thanks for your comment – I couldn’t agree more.

Reply

John Coleman April 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Actually the Green Party membership is pretty low-income. Which is another factor in the Greens’ poor visibility – no money!

Reply

Andy Shropshire April 26, 2014 at 6:45 am

The Greens will certainly be getting my top vote in the Euros. An election where you can afford to vote for who you want rather than against who you don’t want……

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: