Comment: Greens solidify their reputation as the only real alternative to Labour


Tonight I will be attending a meeting of Kate Hudson and Andrew Burgin’s new Left Unity project, which will debate the question: why is there no party to the left of Labour?

Green partyIn the traditional sense, they have a point. The two major projects of the last decade to unite the socialist left as an alternative to New Labour – the Socialist Alliance and RESPECT – never really got past old animosities and internecine squabbling.

But the question – perhaps a little too colour blind in its search for true red – ignores the rise of the Greens as far more than a party for beardy hippy eco-activists and the most successful left of Labour party the UK has seen.

At the weekend, the Green Party took a formal step forward to solidify that position, as their spring conference in Nottingham voted with a majority of 71% to amend its constitution to commit to social justice and the “transformation of society for the benefit of the many not the few”.

The party’s constitution will now call for a move from a “system based on inequality and exploitation” to “a world based on cooperation and democracy”.

But for those who have been immersed in Green politics for any length of time, this will only be a formal recognition of a much longer struggle.

“The Green Party has never been a single issue party,” Caroline Lucas, the Greens’ first MP and former leader told me in 2009.

“We’ve always been a party of social justice, and believe that equity has to be at the heart of a sustainable society. We’ve also always made the case that the best way to protect the environment is to transform the goals and direction of the economy to make it genuinely sustainable.”

Green activist Peter Tatchell says that for more than two decades, the Greens have had a very progressive social agenda.

“Unfortunately, the media tend to cover us only when we campaign on environmental issues,” Tatchell told me.

“That is beginning to change. As a result, more and more voters recognise that we have imaginative policies for a fairer society on a wide range of issues.”

Socialists should be working closer together on their common causes to resist the Conservative onslaught on Britain’s poor, whether that involves coming together to found a party to the left of Labour to help steer the national debate, or working within Labour to push for it to provide a more radical alternative in keeping with its working class roots.

But no one should forget the positive work being done by the Greens, not just when it comes to the environment, but on equality and social justice as well.

Their constitutional amendment should help strengthen their position as the only significant party to the left of Labour.

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  • Newsbot9

    Nukes on Britain, since I’m a British citizen. I’m sure you want to kidnap me, too. Typical thug threats.

  • Newsbot9

    Traditionally. Not today. They’ve actively rejected the left.

    But keep denying what’s going on with Labour’s lost left-wing voters…they’re not voting for anyone at present.

  • Newsbot9

    Nope, unlike you, I’m not a user of a spam program. How dare I talk about what you’ve said. And no, unlike you I’m British, and my English is fine. I just use that pesky “cause and effect” thing.

    I debate reasonably with non-trolls. Sadly for you Keep trying to smear it on the walls!

  • Newsbot9

    Because you’re trying to suggest that there’s no alternative to Labour, when Labour have rejected the left. They’re a broad church of the centre with some incidental leftists.

    Fighting the concept of the badly needed broad left-wing party is NOT the act of a left-winger. So you might well be centralist rather than right wing, okay, I admit I may have overreacted there. But you *are* rejecting an organisation which isn’t in line with your views by default.

  • Newsbot9

    Good :)

    I’m personally no kind of socialist. I’m a mutualist. I don’t have any love for the sort of stateist policy which comes with socialism, BUT if there was a broad-left party which adopted some socialist policies as part of it’s platform I’d live with it as long as those policies were debated.

    The points I care most strongly on are housing and fair wages, for instance, as a mutualist. While not identical in approach, I’m sure we could come to an agreement on them.

  • Ash

    …well of course I reject organisations that aren’t in line with my views by default. Don’t you? Not even the Tories?

    I wasn’t so much fighting the concept of a broad left-wing party, just suggesting that such a thing would be unlikely to hold together and gather support. But as it happens, yes, I do think it would be counterproductive to build a popular party of the Left outside Labour. Given that we have a first-past-the-post electoral system, we can’t afford to split the vote. Look at the pickle the Tories are in thanks to UKIP.

  • Newsbot9

    The difference is the left are not voting for anyone right now.

  • Mick

    Laughs aplenty in your answer there, Newsie. You’ve still got the comedy bug.

    And the Tories are in power. You’re not.

  • Mick

    Did I say the island had to be this one? Could be one in the South Pacific, nice and safe for that good Newsbot fry-up.

    And if I kidnapped you, I’d soon realise my mistake and even pay the ransom myself to get rid of you again! Funny little Newsbot!

  • Newsbot9

    Nope, unlike you I’m not “funny”. And yes, and? That doesn’t mean I need to shut up and go away.

  • Newsbot9

    Ah yes, you’d just murder me, thinking that excuses kidnapping. Keep calling everyone just like you, funny in the head. And of course you’re making excuses now you realised you called for nuking Britain. Run Mick, run.

  • Mick

    Oh no?

    POOR LITTLE NEWSBOT: ‘Yes, I’m sure you call the blood on the faces of the people you attack as their fault.’

    The cause is your bad English. the effect is the mess I’ve just quoted.

  • Mick

    ‘I debate reasonably with non-trolls.’

    I’ve yet to see the evidence.And good to finally see confession that you troll. Which is probably why somany of your comments have been deleted in the migration topic.

  • Mick

    It probably explains why you’re so sour. Tories and Labour are those in power doing the wrong thing for you. But the mutualists never get that chance.

    Always the bridesmaids and never the brides.

  • Newsbot9

    Again, you attribute your sourness and top-down command freak mentality to everyone else.

  • Newsbot9

    No, unlike you I’m a perfectly good British citizen. Keep trying to brush the blood off so nobody will notice, keep claiming that your targets being Jewish justifies your crimes. And keep claiming everyone is small and poor like you.

  • Mick

    You’ve got all the jargon haven’t you. And funny you seem to have all the answers when your own people couldn’t even get a job painting Number Ten, never mind ruling from it!

  • Mick

    Tax credits were still a reliance on the State, which suited Brown when Labour would hint that the Tories would take it all away if they got back topower.

    And of course, Labour did give people too much tax credit and then threaten with jail if they didn’t get it back.

    At least tax credits were something but they were truly different from genuine tax cuts. With those, you kept your money to start with.

  • Newsbot9

    Nope, I just call them as they come. And keep on demanding that everyone behave as you do.

  • Newsbot9

    Keep on ignoring what I type. I just mock you, troll. And no, that’d be most of YOUR posts and a few of mine which only addressed those.

  • Newsbot9

    Of course you have to come here to troll, because you managed to get banned back at your previous forum, You even admit it, as you have admitted spam.

    You’re simply a troll here to disrupt discussion.

  • Newsbot9

    That’s right, if they’d cut tax they have needed to produce far more JSA, housing benefit, etc . – tax credits would never have got off the ground in the type of depression which we’d have had – like the one we have now.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, your rich get to keep your tax in that system.

  • Newsbot9

    It’s also not a UK-wide party. No offence.

  • Mick

    Aaah, frustration. Calm down dear, to quote our esteemed Prime Minister in the House.

    And it’d take a troll to know one wouldn’t it, Mr. Spitting-on-the-workers, blood-on-the-faces and all the other hyperbole we’ve all come to enjoy from Mr. Newsbot. If I’m so lowly, you seem such a failure in dealing with me.

    Poor little Newsbot, take a break.

  • Newsbot9

    You mean his patronising, arrogant statement which would have had people warned for harassment in any other context?

    Keep on demanding I stop debunking you, and keep making equivalence attacks!

  • Mick

    Aaah, poor little Newsbot. Calm down, as they say, dear. Use your INDOOR voice!

    I just demand you make sense. If only you had the wit to debunk.

  • Newsbot9

    You demanded that I submit to your totalitarian demands, and debunked yourself, proving that you’re simply a closed-minded bigot.

  • Mick

    And this happens when Newsbot doesn’t remain calm andpoised: Rubbish about ‘palming off violence’, names and such.

    And to you Cameron may have been patronising, but you recommend you take advice as it comes.

  • Newsbot9

    That’s right, you think you can dictate what “you recommend”. Keep chanting Cameron’s mantra vs reality. In reality, you’re the one frothing and attacking on party lines.

  • Mick

    Recommendation is hardly dictation. Though poor little Newsbot can’t accept that Cameron’s in power and he isn’t. He knows it but hates it, so bitches about party lines. (Bitching suspiciously absent when liking the co-ops.)

    So come on… join the winning team and enjoy some victory for once! (Tease tease!)

  • Mick

    Ah, is that a little bit of Newsbot baulking at the idea of alternative culture?

    However, I wouldn’t want to eat a Newsbot. I’d come down with something. Indeed, he’s certainly indigestable still alive!

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, keep claiming criminal actions are “alternative” culture. Typical of your excuses for your far right.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, keep up whining that my views have more representation than yours, even when it’s not our focus.

    Of course you think your blunt bigotry and threats are funny. Your fat right are not in power.

  • uglyfatbloke

    The UK picture is, perhaps, somewhat different, but the SNP are certainly well to the left of the Labour party in Scotland and that has n’t stopped them getting elected. In fact, they got elected under a system specifically designed to prevent them ever becoming the largest party, let alone winning an outright majority. Right now they have a polling lead of 15 points over Labour despite being 6 years in office, so being on the left clearly does not dismay the electorate they way Blair and Brown thought..