Friday, 28 January 2011

Greens and Liberal Democrats

This post is in response to Andrew Cooper's "comment" on an earlier post , "Welcome to Ed Balls" (scroll down three.) Andrew suggests that disillusioned Liberal Democrats should join the Greens and then adds "just kidding." But it is not a joke: the Greens really are the only sensible alternative should Liberal Democrats decide to leave. Only those afflicted by what Andrew calls "elector amnesia" could possibly drift over to Labour, the party which, for 13 years, did so little to reform the constitution, broke its promise to introduce electoral reform, did so much to erode our civil liberties, were complacent about people becoming "filthy rich" and under whom inequality widened,destroyed our international reputation by taking us into an illegal war - and all this with a thumping majority and no need for compromises with another party.

Ed Milliband tries to suggest that we forget all about this, that it was nothing to do with the present management,and that future Labour will be different. It took the Tories 13 years and three election defeats before they managed to throw off their Thatcherite image, but underneath, in spite of David Cameron's sweet talk, they remain fundamentally the same. I wish Ed Milliband luck, but Labour, with its tribal "big beasts" will be equally resilient to change.

However, I shall not join the Greens. I have a great admiration for them,admire the leader, Caroline Lucas,and in particular their policy for a citizens' income. I think the Greens were right to form a separate party (as part of a wider European movement) and bring the state of the environment to the forefront in political discussion, if not, as yet, much action. They were and are right to criicise the Liberal Democrats for being still too reliant on economic growth rather than redistribution to tackle social evils. However, they are, electorally, now where the Liberals were when I joined half a century ago, and I like to think that I, and other "social liberals" are serious about government and not just purists permanently criticising form the sidelines.

My hope is that within not too many years the Greens and Liberal Democrats will merge. Liberal Democrats are, after all, acknowledged as the greenest of the three large parties, and a combined party will have the strength and enthusiasm to reform the political process, take the protection of the environment seriously, and wean the political debate away from its obsession with materialism and growth and towards a shared improvement in the quality of life.


  1. I'm afraid I've worked close enough to the Green Party to fear the prospect of anything close to a potential merger.

    I'm afraid the Green Party and its membership are not liberals, nor Liberal Democrats.

    They are, by and large, eco-socialists. While socialists may occupy similar space on the spectrum as liberals (well, there is some common ground, even if it only the overlap you see on a Venn diagram,) socialism and liberalism are two very different ideologies, which are in so many ways completely opposed.