The Green Party slogan "For the Common Good" is one we take seriously and because of that we need to avoid narrow self interest in our decisions. Of course, we know that our party has a wide range of policies that would advance the common good, building a sustainable, fairer and happier society. But, with the current government moving in exactly the opposite direction can we afford to wait around or must we join with others in opposing these dangerous, unfair, and short-sighted policies.
At a recent Green party gathering I was discussing the fact that the Green Party always has the best political banners (as seen on the anti-fracking demonstration in Manchester) but doesn’t succeed in getting its message out to people. Since then I’ve been wondering why this is and what can be done to improve things.
However, somewhat pessimistically, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe we just can’t get out message out to any more people – and therefore by extension grow the party. The reason being: that the message is just not what people want to hear.
Although now there is a general consensus that climate change is happening; and being caused or at the very least accelerated anthropomorphically. It is still difficult for most people to face up to the threat of what this will bring and even more so the changes needed to our way of life if we are to turn the tide on climate change. The Green Party is inextricably and rightly linked with efforts to stop climate change and so many people probably fear that if we did get any power we would commit everybody to a world without cars, electricity and other such things.
So people make excuses such as saying that the Greens will never get anywhere, or salve their conscience by arguing that social justice can only be achieved through the Labour Party etc etc.
I think we need to accept that building the party further for the time being is difficult, and whilst I’m not saying it won’t happen, it won’t happen quickly enough for us to gain power and therefore effect the type of changes which the environment needs before it is too late.
So if I’m right on that point; then I think it is incumbent upon us to promote the idea of a Progressive Alliance with its stated aim of electoral reform which would eventually allow Greens to be in government. To argue about the dangers of doing deals with Labour or the Lib Dems is missing the point, without electoral reform there will be no change. Surely, we owe it to all those who voted Green to try and get their voices heard; surely we owe it to future generations to do everything we can to turn the tide of runaway climate change.
Whilst there is an alliance of MPs calling for electoral reform it seems unlikely this will come from a Tory government, they believe they are the party of government and see no reason to change a system
which has stood them in good stead for years, they have governed for 39 of the last 64 years (counting the last coalition). With the proposed boundary changes their majority is likely to be entrenched further.
We have seen what Tory governments think of promoting a Green agenda, reduction in feed in tariffs, lessening of renewable energy and above all promotion of fracking. We simply cannot afford to let them continue. To say that we may be diluting our values, or doing deals with parties we might not fully trust and we’ll lose the support of existing members is all just excuses for doing nothing at a time when we cannot afford to do nothing. Forming and then sustaining an alliance is not going to be easy but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried.
For me it’s the most important step we can currently take to combat climate change