Tag Archive | Green Party

Politics is a dirty game

Ballot Box (Green Cross)I find myself in a quandary over whether to vote tomorrow.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to something Russell Brand said (I think to Ed Milliband; quoted in last Sunday’s ‘Independent’):

It is not that I am not voting out of apathy. I am not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations.”

Of course he seems to have changed his mind in the last few days, and is now advising people to vote Labour unless they live in Scotland or Brighton Pavilion; but the argument remains compelling.

In the 30+ years since I began voting I’ve always voted Green when I could – when there was a Green candidate to vote for – with one exception.

About 10 years ago I found myself unable to support a local Green candidate due to my concerns about his personal veracity.

That individual subsequently withdrew from active involvement in Wales Green Party, but has recently re-emerged and taken up his erstwhile strategy of flinging mud around at anyone and everyone who disagrees with him or has a different viewpoint.

Yesterday I was given details of a recent facebook post in which this person attacked not only me but also a close friend who was until recently a very active member of Wales Green Party.

The attack is completely unfounded, cowardly and extremely distasteful, the more so as it comes from someone who purports to represent a party that claims to be different and above the dirty tactics of the other parties.

The fact that both my friend and I spent years working hard for the Green Party, campaigning, canvassing, funding our local parties (in my case from my own pocket) and standing in elections at all levels – much of the time with scant help from anyone beyond our local parties – obviously counts for nothing with this particular individual. It seems that, for him, commitment and hard work do not earn credit unless you’re working to his vision of the world.

This incident has further dented my already shaky faith in Wales Green Party, and led me to wonder if the Welsh Greens are anything other than just another political party.

My quandary now is can I vote for a party that gives voice and perhaps even credence to such an unpalatable individual?

When it comes to it I’ll probably do the right thing and vote Green, even though a good result for the local Green candidate will almost certainly be used as another stick to beat me with (because I was the previous candidate, and lost my deposit (which I remind you, came from my own pocket!)).

But my vote will be a tactical vote, rather than a vote for either the party or their candidate.

I’ll be voting for electoral reform, because only then will we be able to form governments that truly reflect the people of the UK and the way they vote.

If the smaller parties get more votes but no more seats in this election, it will add authority to arguments for electoral reform.

Politics is such a dirty game, but I live in hope that somebody will eventually stand by their stated principles and begin the long overdue job of cleaning it up!


There is an alternative

Labour Leader Ed Miliband has today launched the Labour Party campaign for the General Election with a promise to lead a “crusade to change the country”.

In recent years we’ve learned not to put much faith in pre-election promises (Obama and Guantanamo Bay; Clegg and Tuition Fees; Cameron and ‘The Greenest Government Ever’; just about everyone (except Caroline Lucas) and dealing with Climate Change).

The last five years have seen the virtual completion of Margaret Thatcher’s grand vision of the corporate capture of government at all levels within the UK.  Even at local government level, the needs of business take precedence over the needs of the community almost without fail.  And Labour has been complicit in this from the day Tony Blair was elected as Leader of the party.

Even if Ed Miliband is sincere in his promise, so long as his party and their policies prioritise the needs of capital over the needs of ordinary people and communities, there is very little hope for any real change.

The financial deficit is not the real problem – the real problem we face is the political and democratic deficit.

History teaches us that change does not come from politician’s promises but “by the dynamic force of real events alone.” (Ferdinand Lassalle in a letter to Karl Marx; 1854)

If we want change then it is going to be up to us to make change happen.  Labour will not change unless they are forced to change; and we have to create the force for change by doing something different at the coming election – and persuading our friends and neighbours to do likewise.

There is an alternative to the old, grey parties of the Centre Right.  All we have to do is choose it!

Plaid in Wales; Green in England; SNP in Scotland.


Plaid Logo  Green Party Logo  SNP Logo

Do your homework Ioan!

Councillor Ioan M Richard really needs to do his homework better (‘No need for this scheme’, South Wales Evening Post, 3 April).

If he believes the Green Party advocates “a backward economy where we revert to lighting our homes with candles and abandoning vehicles and industry” he has obviously never read a Green Party manifesto.

His claim that “geologists” say there is no shale gas in the area contradicts information supplied by Gerwyn Williams, director of Coastal Oil and Gas (and UK Methane) to the Assembly Environment and Sustainability Committee last month saying there is enough shale gas lying under South Wales to supply the whole of the UK for the next 16 years?

Being an urban dweller does not exclude one from concern for what happens in the countryside.  Nor does Councillor Richard have a monopoly on technical advice or knowledge.  Both Friends of the Earth and the Green Party have been in the business of environmental campaigning for over three decades and have ample access to high quality research to support their public statements; as evidenced by the Friends of the Earth submission to the same Assembly Environment and Sustainability Committee.

CBM1Even if activity in Mawr is limited to coal bed methane extraction, this will still require a network of wells over a wide area, connected by new roads, pipelines and compressor stations. Additionally the huge quantities of contaminated water extracted from the coal seams will require significant numbers of lorry movements to dispose of it.  And that’s just what’s happening on the surface, without considering the very real risks to local water and air quality posed by this process.

I’m sure the electors of Mawr will be pleased to note that their local councillor is relaxed about the prospect of this happening in their backyards!





What Will MPs Do With the Welfare Bill?

Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett writes on the Huffington Post Blog (full article here).

Now would be a really good time to take a step back and ask why the welfare bill has kept rising. That’s been because more people are making benefit claims due to the recession and as a result of rising rents and living costs, not because of overly generous uprating.

“And take the longer view, it’s because Britain has moved towards being a low-wage job market, with insecure, unstable employment (including the obscenity of zero-hours contracts, with business taking an increasing share of GDP in profits, while the share available to workers has fallen by around 10% over the past four decades.

What we need to do in the longer term is change the direction of the British economy – bring manufacturing and food production back to Britain, restore strong, diverse local economies built around small businesses and co-operatives paying decent wages on which their staff can build lives and communities.

That’s a longterm project – but today we can think about the British people – the nurses, the soldiers, the teaching staff, the local government workers, and yes, the unemployed – and say no to the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill.

That’s what Green MP Caroline Lucas will be doing in Westminster on Tuesday. What’s your MP doing?

Still waiting for the change to come

Many of my Labour supporting friends are ‘cock a hoop’ following Ed Milliband’s speech to the Labour Conference.  It was a rousing speech containing much promise, but my problem is this.

Twice in my life I’ve seen Labour governments in an ideal position to implement the founding principles of the Labour Party, and twice I’ve been desperately disappointed.  The first time through a cowardly failure to stand up for those principles (Wilson and Callaghan); the second time through wilful abandonment of the principles (Blair & Co.).

I find myself seriously doubting whether we can change anything by simply swapping a bunch of Tory millionaires for a bunch of Labour millionaires.

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