Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Why Green is Good for Red

Labour's old Constituency of the urban industrial working class has ceased to be. As the social groupings that were solid during the post war consensus have disappeared, both Labour and the Conservative party have suffered declining support.

The way to electoral success, as shown by Tony Blair and David Cameron, has been to appeal to a soft middle and hoping that the smaller hard core vote stays with you, as it has nowhere else to go.

This approach has resulted in an over emphasis on chasing the swing voter. Grumbles are abound both left and right that the heartlands are being ignored. Our Prime Ministers are now more managerial than ideological.

Without an idealogical base, our politics have become soulless. The interesting stuff in recent years has been coming from smaller parties with clear, distinct ideologies - The Greens, UKIP and the BNP.

13 years of New Labour ended on May 2010. Tony Blair took Labour, and moulded a party more friendly to business leaders than workers. Labour used view Unions as it's friends and the City with suspicion. That was turned around 180 degrees. Labour 1997 victory followed the direction set back in 1979.

Labour is now looking for it's soul once more. Looking broadly, although born in a different place, the Green agenda resonates greatly with it's modern critique of capitalism. I believe that a Labour Party based on sustainable development would not only be true to the founding principles of the labour movement, it would also appeal more broadly than it does now. This article advocates adopting some principles into the Labour Party not a merger with The Green Party.

Derek Wall (a Green Activist and Socialist) advocated some Central features of this philosophy:

  1. Ecological Wisdom
  2. Grassroots Democracy
  3. Non Violence
  4. Social Justice
The world we live in is fragile. We have growing populations struggling to feed themselves, our economies rely on oil, get scarcer and more expensive by the year and through pollution we are damaging the planet and creating global warming, a threat to us all.  Ecological wisdom must be part of our future if we are to have one.

People feel increasing powerless, their lives being run from Westminster that doesn't listen to them, The EU even less and Corporations that run rings around whole Governments. Part of the renewal people seek is real grassroots democracy.

Non violence has gained momentum following difficult conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya. The only answer long term is put the guns down and talk, and arrive at a political solution. Peace at the end of a gun is no peace.

If one pillar is key for Labour, it is social justice. Labour was built on it, but from 1997 to 2010 social mobility shrank and the wealth gap grew. This is Labour's biggest failure. Societies that experience such wealth and power inequalities will always be disjointed and weak. The most happy and stable countries tend to have less inequality.

I am not trying to promote Green Labour. Labour is Labour. However, if Labour's core values could encompass these four pillars, it could just be a revolution.


  1. Excellent post ... I completely agree with you.

  2. Garry,

    Yes that'll do nicely. Id've have been more overtly critical of the mythical centre but the bit that comes after is very good indeed.

    My advice if you we expand upon it, would be to spell out what this would mean in at least one policy area... so that any lesser intelligent reader could conceptualize.

    8-9/10 :)

  3. I'm really enjoying the blog.