... after it has left the sinking ship.
The fundamental feeling is wanting to shout "Come on guys, the water is fine, you can swim, its better than sticking on board where there is no way that the owners are going to let you take the helm to steer away from the rocks."
With the Bristol local election count complete I take no pleasure in seeing the complete failure (well almost - see below) of the Green Party to make any progress. Despite the brave squeakings about how wonderful the London and West Midland results are (excuse me, weren't there two green AMs before the election - and how many are there now? - oh yes, two. And what happened in the mayoral race - you came a distant third, and in 2012? - hmm also a distant third, but you did climb from 4.8% to 5.8%. That'll fix it, after all in 2008 you got 3.2% so the rate of increase is ... declining. West Midlands has how many Green councillors? - out of how many? Real Progress Not.)
Yes despite those brave squeakings the truth is that in Norwich they had to defend 5 of the 14 sitting green council seats and lost 4, in Oxford they had to defend 3 of their 6 and lost 2, and Bristol with all out elections had to defend all 14 - and had a net loss of 3 (actually gaining 2 and loosing 5).
So where is the good news? Possibly this - all of the losses were to Labour, so evidently a proportion of green voters are really less interested in One Planet Living, and more interested in promoting a growthist work-centric agenda with unaffordable and unsustainable socialist bolt-ons. Now these voters are no longer accessible and an easy target, perhaps the GP can find its way back to its core values - its the environment, stupid - and push those loudly, top and centre.
But even if the GP were to do this, and loudly and articulately proclaim the need for an end to growth (and thus by implication probably capitalism), a massive reduction in the amount of work-for-work’s sake that is done – introduction of a 20hr maximum paid working week for all, a massive program to reduce wealthy inequality to 10:1 or less and redistribute the surplus as basic citizen’s income, and so on and on, is there any chance of a majority of people actually voting for such a program?
If not then is it going to be hidden? A secret agenda? Only when the evil Greens finally take control will their real program be revealed? How will that work?
And what about the timescale? If we assume that this radical ecology led program turns out to be massively popular and globally contagious then when will we get sufficient people in power through the ballot box to implement it – 2020? That might just work, but do you really think that is realistic? 2024 in the UK? 2028 on your council? That starts to sound plausible notwithstanding the recent results.
Spool back a bit. Ignore the “funny weather” (its only El Nino, we’ll soon be back to normal). Ignore the ongoing mass extinction event (they are only bugs, we don’t need them). Be a bit more realistic about the effects of political expedience and massive systemic inertia against radical change. When can we expect to see a zero growth rebalanced economy, a redistribution of wealth, a step towards 2-planet living and a clear committed route to One Planet living? Does 2030 sound reasonable – that’s three more electoral cycles – like looking forward to now from the perspective of 2000.
And the carbon reductions required by 2030 – 50% to 80%. Are Labour going to implement these if it means putting car workers out of a job. Are Conservatives going to do it if it risks trashing the economy?
At the moment we don’t even have a clear vision of what one planet living would look like as a transition from here. If we don’t know where we are going then clearly we are just stumbling around at random.
Hopefully more and more genuinely green minded people will realise that electoral politics is a futile distraction that has no hope of achieving what is necessary. When hope ends only then can action begin. Take action today and start a new project – explore one-planet living at the personal, the family, the community, the country and the global scales. It must start inside you, and that is the path I want to walk.
Walk a while with me…