15 Nov
2017

Where’s The Ecology Party When You Need It?

There has been quite a lot of interesting, and I think important, “environmental” news over the last couple of weeks. Most recently there was new UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s opinion piece published on the government website hard on the heels of his announcements on neonicentoids and other matters. An environment minister taking action and setting policy based on evidence – surely something that the Green Party would have something to say about.

So I thought I’d take a quick look at the GPEW website to see what their position is. Oh dear!

The front page includes the five most recent news items, so I would expect to see something there about both the new man at the top in the UK, and also some comment on, for example, the most recent report endorsed by 15,000 scientists on the lack of political progress on pollution and climate change, maybe something about the COP23 UN Climate talks taking place in Bonn this week and last and the actions around them, perhaps a mention of the announcement at the end of September that in 2016 the atmospheric CO2 concentration remained above 400ppm for the entire year for the first time, and so on.

These were the top four most recent stories shown on the front page:

  • Green Party complains about a newspaper’s coverage of a drag queen, 13 Nov.
  • Comment on a minister’s secret meetings with Israelis. 8 Nov.
  • A call from Lucas for May to sack two ministers for mistakes and deceit. 7 Nov.
  • An announcement that Green deputy leader Womack will visit some beavers in Devon. 6 Nov.

I suppose the last one has a sort of ecology theme in a light soft fluffy cuddly wildlife way.

Lets delve a little deeper and click on the News link at the top of the page. The same four stories at the top followed by:

  • A GPEW response to a report on a fire in a tower block. 6 Nov.
  • A GPEW response to a leak of papers about financial scandals. 6 Nov.
  • A Green councillor comment on a judge’s ruling on some tree-protector direct action. 3 Nov.

That looks a bit more promising, but clicking the full story is very brief with no background and absolutely no support for the direct action – it calls for something labelled “Alternative Dispute Resolution” instead. Hardly standing with the water protectors of Standing Rock, let alone alongside the Pacific Warriors who are fighting not drowning in protection of their land.

  • GPEW complaint to BBC of sexual harrassment coverage.  2 Nov.
  • A comment on a government ruling about refugees. 2 Nov.
  • A call for MPs to have lessons in (sexual) consent. 1 Nov.

Next page perhaps:

  • Lucas attacking government over detention of sexual abuse vistims. 1 Nov.
  • Government failing to get a grip on air pollution. 31 Oct.

That last one sounds more promising but the detail is an attack on the government for “failing” in the standard bi-partisan knockabout way of English politics. Where is the promotion of what the greens think the government should be doing. The very last sentence mentions “a rapid transition to zero emission city centres and a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century.” but absolutely no detail or even a link to what either of those things mean or how they could be achieved. Rather than just sniping from the sidelines shouldn’t the greens be in there saying that this what what needs to be done to rectify the mistakes – or do we have to wait until a green government is elected to see some action. Joined up it is not. Just empty words it is.

Going further back is no better. No comment on the 400ppm threshold

Where is the praise for Gove’s start as Environment Secretary? Are they so locked in to 2 party politics that they can’t acknowledge anything positive from conservatism. Why are they not calling attention to milestones like passing 400ppm CO2. Why are they not supporting the reframing of Pacific island states as not victims but the vanguard warriors. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

When I joined the Green Party in 2004 I did so after visiting the website, reading what they were saying and some of the background and deciding that this was a project worth being part of. I was not then a deeply committed eco-activist, just someone with long time ecological concerns about our way of life and feeling that I should do something.

If I was in the same position today there is no way I would join the greens. Publicly they appear to have minimal environmental concerns, let alone eco-system concerns. They seem to be just another wannabe party within the current system. “System Change Not Climate Change” does not seem a slogan that you would ever see the GPEW supporting. Essentially they come across as Labour-Lite. If my primary concerns were those expressed in the “news” on the website I would vote and join Labour. But it is not so with me.

 

2 thoughts on “Where’s The Ecology Party When You Need It?

  1. What a trajedy…..But why is the Green Party short of actual greens in positions of responsibility. Where are the greens?…

  2. Whilst I don’t agree with everything you say, you have well expressed what are serious concerns for a number of us.

    I felt that things changed for the worse in the run up to the 2015 election. A clutch of policies designed to pick up disgruntled left wing voters was rather thrown together without detail of how they would be implemented and without their being fully integrated. It gained votes but ultimately failed as it did not win seats. The sheer number of ‘key’ policies gave a confused message. Not surprisingly when the Labour party elected a genuinely left wing leader those voters who had been attracted simply by the left wing rather than the environmental policies moved to Labour.

    I have found the online hustings depressing in the emphasis on issues such as LGBT rights and safe spaces. When someone dared to question this priority, the questioner was chided. Of course the Green Party should support LGBT rights, I take it as a given for a civilised person, but there is nothing special to the Green party in that approach. We have rather to emphasise what is unique about the Greens. As it happens many other policies eg on equality, affordable housing and the Citizen’s wage would follow anyway from our environmental analysis.

    I would still join the party. It is certainly the best of a bad job. It has outstanding joint leaders with Caroline Lucas being head and shoulders above other national politicians and with Molly Scot-Cato also highly impressive. However, the party needs to use this opportunity to get back to its roots and concentrate on the sort of issue you raise.

    ps I agree that we have to look at Gove’s offering and see what is positive. That also better allows us to identify what is missing from that offering, what- in the shambles of Brexit- we need to watch out for as Fox desperately seeks trade deals and to hold Gove to his grand if sometimes vague words.

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