The Green Party is a single issue party: Discuss.
The single issue tag is a myth, in fact a downright lie. Who would want to spread such a malicious falsehood? Ecology is THE central issue, on which all else depends. Even in its embryonic days, the PEOPLE Party which became the Ecology, and then the Green Party accepted that if the crisis envisaged by Limits to Growth was to be avoided, sustainability could only be achieved either by a ruthless dictator, or if by democratic decision, then social justice was an essential component. On that basis a coherent set of policies could be developed which managed the transition from growth to sustainability.
Until the 1989 European Election result when we polled 15%, it probably was true that those who voted Green thought of it as single issue. Before that time we had not achieved any publicity to explain otherwise. But the publicity we received as a result was used to emphasise our social justice, left of centre credentials. It did us more harm than good, because we lost the droves of prosperous people in Conservative voting areas who were horrified to find that they had voted for an enemy tribe, but our message was lost on those with more pressing concerns than the fate of their grandchildren. Our spokespersons ever since have consistently followed this approach.
There are two groups who might be motivated to ignore or suppress Green Party publicity. The Party comprehensively trounced the Liberal Democrats in 1989, and Labour strategists who did take careful note of our stance would be right to worry if our message got any traction. So these groups would be expected to keep us sidelined as much, and as long as possible.
But following the make-over by Tony Blair in the late 1990s, the Green Party steadily grew, much of the new intake being former Labour supporters who were impressed by the fact that Green Party policies were closer to their own views than was ‘New Labour’. This should have made the ‘singe issue’ jibe even less credible, so why does it persist? It not only persists, but seems to be commonplace among the recent influx of new members in the course of and since the 2014 European election campaign.
There is a group within the Green Party who are either uninterested in, or actively opposed to the original ‘Limits’ reason for its formation. Among other key areas they appear to have gained control of the Party’s website. Anyone visiting it would not guess the ‘Limits’ connection. A simple, prominent statement along the lines of The Green Party was founded in response to the MIT study ‘Limits to Growth’, which warned that indiscriminate growth must sooner or later endanger life support systems’.
If that was there, much Green Party policy could remain as it is, and as it is publicised, but not only did no new member I spoke to knew of the ‘Limits’ genesis, but several said they were under the impression that we were a single issue party until they had taken the trouble to find out more.
Regular readers will not be surprised that I think the Citizens’ Basic Income has a part to play in remedying this situation. Just so that I cannot be accused of hiding anything, I keep putting markers down that the Citizens’ Income will eventually allow a reconciliation, and final closure of the old battle lines between the haves and have nots, and allow us to concentrate on the new, urgent battle between those of us who want to preserve the planet’s life support systems, and those who think growth will go on solving problems.
In the immediate future, the Citizens’ Income is drastically redistributive, at least the version I want to see publicised. The Green Party’s version will be based on the Citizens’ Income trust: a definite step in the right direction, but not tackling housing costs. This is fine as far as it goes, but it can be combined with a more far sighted version, which includes a component for housing costs. Whilst I accept criticisms that this risks some people not understanding the policy, and so rejecting it, that is not true of the widespread areas suffering from workfare. loss of disability benefits and benefit sanctions. The nuts and bolts practical problems can be tackled later. At this stage the idea is desperately needed in the mainstream, and the areas being crucified by this government’s anti-scrounger agenda are where it will first take root. Remember, it’s all there in ‘Dynamic Benefits: towards welfare that works’ (see Publications, Sept 2009).
I guess some reference to Scotland is called for. The overriding need as I see it is for nation states, be it Scotland and England, or the UK in Europe, to avoid splintering. The mega corporations are already too powerful.
Courtesy of Clive Lord