Whilst I await a bolt from the blue to illuminate me with the Dahlian devilry needed to think of an ending to my latest short story, I shall instead bore you with a short blog about why I decided to join the Green Party. This is in order to better explain my political thought process, as well as a way to try and keep this blog going, which is currently on life support.
So, Oscar, given you've been a member of three political parties prior to this (see this post I wrote years ago on that subject) why do you think the Greens are the best option for you now?
Well quite simply, they are the only intelligent, principled option for anyone on the political left. The previous parties I joined in the past (the Labour Party for six months, and the SWP for a year or so) I joined out of a means of finding my political feet, of testing the waters of each segment of the left. Either that, or more likely my younger self was very fickle. After that spate of party memberships, I vowed never to join a political party again. I could never find one that fully supported my views. I wanted something that was left of Labour, but not delusional or dictatorial like the SWP. I also wanted something that had committed and well-thought out principles, something that I had always missed, regardless of the party.
So why not give Labour another chance instead you may say? I mean Milliband's in charge now, and he's made some changes for the better, right? Now as much as I do like Labour (and having been a member, to a degree, support it) it's incredibly obvious to anyone with even the vaguest inkling of political ideology that they are lot more right-wing than they were. Throughout the past two-and-a-half decades, Labour has slid from being the implicitly left-wing party of Atlee & Nye Bevan, to just a vaguely centrist morass, diluted with populist ideals to the point of not being recognisable as the party it once was. That's not to say the Labour Party doesn't have its fair share of principled and wonderful people, my political idol Tony Benn once said that the "Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England." Decent M.P's such as Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell keep the torch burning for the spirit of socialism within the Labour party, but I realise as much as them (and indeed the vast majority of the party members, which has proven to be more left-wing than the leadership as seen here) do try and tilt the party back towards having some form of back-bone, after years of Blairite damage, it just won't happen within the current political generation.
Far, far better I feel, to support a party whose inherent values and policies speak directly to a disenfranchised and unsupported political class who have been spurned by Labour's need to hawk for as much votes as possible (which has in turn diluted their political spirit) A party which is pro-environment, pro-nationalisation, and is anti-austerity and anti-big business. The Greens have this in spades, and to actually find a party who hold firm, decisive principles is a breath of fresh air. Whereas Labour nervously pipes up now and then to spurn some hateful Tory nonsense, but nevertheless still support these decisions, the Greens have consistently and stridently spoken out against cruel and unnecessary austerity measures. Where Labour has accepted and for the most part acquiesced to Tory party decisions such as the recent privatisation of the Royal Mail, or spending cuts, the Green Party has long been a strident thorn in the side of these policies.
As well as this (the clue is in the name obviously) The Green Party are the only party I could trust to enact environmentally sounds policies. Whilst other political parties tack on environmental issues as a mere after-thought to appease the loonies, the Green Party are the only ones to truly realise that the major issue this century won't be the global dominance of some rising super-power, or globalisation, but the environment. Time after time experts have said we are reaching the point of no return with rising sea-levels or CO2 emissions, that we are consuming more resources than we are replenishing, that growing health issues surrounding pollution and industrial emissions are blighting the lives of thousands. Only the Green Party seems to have thought to themselves, "Hmmm, this actually is going to effect the lives of everyone on the planet more than anything else, we should do something about this." Such forward thinking is sadly absent within most parties at the moment. We may pledge to cut emissions, or we may promise to introduce more renewable energy sources, but are there any well-known policies most people could name that the current or previous government championed in order to make this so?
So why haven't you heard any of this stuff about the Greens? Apologies for coming over all tinfoil-hat-wearing, but most media not only has an inherent positive bias towards the ruling political establishment, but also towards what will get views and attention. For instance, U.K.I.P peddle a heady blend of bigotry, exaggeration and sensationalism posing as truth. These are all political extremes, and because extremes garners attention, much in the way a loud drunken man shitting himself in the High Street garners attention, the media are drawn to it, giving it even more attention and stoking the flames of publicity ever higher.
Because the Greens are sensible, not notorious for publicity gaffes or controversial statements and actually base their policies on fact, (Caroline Lucas's support for homoeopathy notwithstanding) the media passes them by for the loud, brash, political circus of Farage who will no doubt garner more views or hits. But in spite of being mainly ignored by the mainstream media, the Green Party continues to grow in membership size and political influence, experiencing what some commentators are calling 'The Green Surge' (which sounds more like a detergent to me.) With more and more people off-put by 'big tent' politics and a larger more inherent distrust in the political system and leaders, it could be argued that people are being more rapidly politicised than ever. This can be especially seen as protest groups on both the left and right grow in size and popularity. As the existing three party system squabbles amongst themselves and tries to snatch for as much votes as possible from their traditional power bases, only one party can truly lay claim to being the principled choice for anyone on the left. That's why I joined the Green Party.