The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

One Green MP, Sitting On The Wall

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 27, 2010 @ 09:49

Caroline Lucas MP

The election of Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion was one of my bright moments of the night. In fact, it was one of a very few for me, given the disastrous result for my party. It’s nice to have a different party in the mix, no matter how extremely unlikely it is her vote in the Commons will make any difference.

There are many amongst the Lib Dems who really dislike the Green Party. They consider their candidates to be spoilers. In 2005, it was argued that the Green vote cost the Lib Dems Oxford East because the Green vote was higher than the ultimate majority of the seat. Norwich South was in a similar boat, but there the Green vote was just short of the majority.

The assumption is that Green votes will transfer to the Lib Dems. Such an assumption will be testable if and when we get the Alternative Vote system. Until then, we go on a hunch…

My hunch is that not much of the Green vote will be heading to the Yellows. We Lib Dems may well be the most environmental of the three main parties, but that’s not saying much. On the other hand, the Greens are seriously radical when it comes to the environment. And by radical, I really do mean rip it up and start again. A severe dose of nationalisation, regulation, taxation and state funding is what the Green Party doctors order.

I read this manifesto and love it. OK, maybe I don’t love the idea of 55mph speed limits on the motorways. But broadly, it’s a much more exciting, ambitious agenda. It actually means something. You can see where they’re coming from. You can feel the values and the ideology behind their statements, even if you disagree with it.

Green Party voters are looking for something very different. They are not quite socialist in the classic sense, but they have a very specific agenda for what to do with the state in order to achieve their vision of society. It is almost agrarian. Local, and surprisingly conservative, with a small c. This is what differentiates them from the socialists.

Is that agenda on offer in any of the other parties?

Is it hell.

So what then of the protest voters – those people who are voting for outsiders because they feel their vote is not valued elsewhere. I strongly suspect they won’t be going to the Lib Dems any more. Not after our little dalliance with power. No longer are the Lib Dems a worthy champion of the protest voter. Now they’ve reached insider status, they simply cannot reflect the hundreds of thousands who want an outsider party.

So Lib Dems will not be “transfer friendly” to the ideologues, looking for a radically different agenda, or the protest voters.

And the more the Lib Dems get used to government, the more their programme will reflect a strategy to keep them there. Making them even more centrist, more normal, more boring than ever.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope my party can survive this period in office and continue to try to think outside the box. I want to see us brave and bold enough to stand up for policies like the earned path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

I just can’t see it happening.

Maybe I’ve enjoyed that Green manifesto a bit too much…

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4 Responses to “One Green MP, Sitting On The Wall”

  1. Graham said

    The British Green’s are an essentially very left-wing, crypto-socialist party, in contrast to, for instance, the German Greens who have had to share in the responsibilities of government for the past 20 years. However I am not at all sure that most of their voters realise this, so trying to ascertain where their votes will go under an AV system is difficult. It is probably the case that the Lib Dem policies on Trident, nuclear energy and immigration were fully exposed to the majority of the general electorate for the first time because of the Leaders’ debates, and for better or worse, probably lost us some support. It is quite possible that the exposure Caroline Lucas will now receive will similarly cost the Greens dear, provided their policies are challenged it the same way as some Lib Dem policies were.

  2. ColinW said

    What a load of rubbish. Why would any LibDem vote for a party whose ridiculous policies include an immediate ban on all embryonic stem cell research & animal-based research, so goodbye life sciences. Or how about funding ‘complementary’ medicine ie quackery like homeopathy & crystal therapy from the NHS budget. Plenty more nonsense there too, and lots of authoritarianism.

    • If you actually read my article, you’ll see that at no point did I say the Lib Dem votes would transfer to the Greens. Though many of them probably would if the policies, such as the ones you mention, are not exposed.

  3. > conservative, with a small c. This is what differentiates them
    >from the socialists.

    Rather the opposite, I’d have thought. Socialism is inherently conservative in its desire to centralise (and moralise) authority.

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