I’ve been meaning to write a short election round-up but “events, dear boy, events” have taken over since June 9. Ten days later, once more, such a huge and belated thank you to everyone who voted Green and/or offered their support.
Our vote share fell nationally – with North and South Thanet unfortunately no exception – and with Labour having moved to the left, there’s a lot of existential angst in the Green Party right now, as well as more superficial talk about the party’s “positioning”.
I understand it – Corbyn’s manifesto borrowed extensively from the Green’s 2015 manifesto and was a welcome reaction to an entrenched neoliberalism – but there remain real differences between the parties, over nuclear power, local party autonomy (the Greens devolve far more), electoral reform (something the Greens have pressed for for a long and Labour resisted) and many other issues.
I’m not sold by Labour still: many old socialists that I know personally see environmentalism as a bourgeois affection; Labour’s authoritarian streak (admittedly under Blair, but ID cards, detention without trial for 28 days etc.) also sees little sign of abating under Jeremy Corbyn. This was evident when Labour shamefully expelled three members of 50 years for siding with the Greens and Liberal Democrats to field an independent candidate against Jeremy Hunt. Appalling.
So from my perspective, there remains a real need for an environmentally focussed, progressive party that offers members and local parties real freedom, that offers a real intellectual challenge to mantras of GDP growth as the benchmark of a successful economy and society, which is willing to take a stand against expensive, redundant nuclear power when Labour won’t, and which will continue to shout from the rafters about global warming and rampant biodiversity loss.
Locally, our party is growing and enthusiastic, after several decades during which it was dormant, if not non-existent, and during which it didn’t manage to field candidates during General Elections. We don’t have that established presence and in 2015 our voice was dominated by that of Ian Driver (like or loathe that voice; it was certainly polarising), who has now left the party, but we are building up a really good local presence, even if it is not that visible publicly yet.
We’ll be working on that (slowly but steadily) in coming years, with the aim of getting Thanet’s (and hopefully CCC’s too, at the north end of the North Thanet constituency) first ever *elected* Green councillors into local government, where I think they could do a lot of good. If you want to get involved and indeed stand in the locals next time, just drop me a line. We’re looking forward to putting on some regular events and also collaborating with other local parties where the need arises, on issues like local healthcare where a combined voice is going to be louder (and so desperately needed).
Much more to come. Watch this space. On my blog I’m going to try to continue to regularly put out short pieces, covering local issues but also positive examples of effective Green change and inspiring examples of green environmental architecture, design, energy use, housing and more from around the country.
Cheers – and thanks so much again to those who supported me.