Vote Green in England 193

So who should those of us living in England vote for tomorrow? I intend to vote Green – it seems to me that in England that is the best way to give a positive expression to the discontent with mainstream parties. I particularly hope that those who have the opportunity to vote for Rupert Read in the East of England will do so. Their support for renationalizing the railways would be enough for me, but actually I find myself in agreement with the large majority of their platform. I reproduce here an article from the ever excellent Peter Tatchell.

The Greens – not UKIP – are the real alternative to the political Establishment

By Peter Tatchell

Each of the three Establishment parties has succeeded in alienating its core vote. Labour over Iraq and the casino banking culture that flourished during its tenure in office. The Tories over Europe and equal marriage. And the Lib Dems over tuition fees and propping up of one of the most anti-egalitarian governments of modern times. All have been tainted by the scandal over MPs expenses. As a result, participation in mainstream politics is declining further than ever.

The UK’s first-past-the-post voting system is said to produce strong governments, avoiding what many perceive as the grubby infighting that dominates politics on the continent. But it isn’t working anymore. Millions of votes don’t count in rock solid safe seats and supporters of small parties are unrepresented or under-represented in parliament.

Many voters damn the political elite with the familiar refrain: “They’re all the same.” This is fairly true with regard to the big three parties: Labour, Tory and Lib Dem. There is very little difference between them these days. They all embrace, to marginally varying degrees, neo liberal economics.

Many people are, however, desperate for an alternative but they fear their voice will not be heard.

The European elections this Thursday offer a chance for something different. Because they use a system of proportional representation (PR), we have an opportunity to vote for what we believe in, without fearing that our votes will be wasted. PR is sometimes a mixed blessing. It was PR that allowed UKIP a foot in the door at the last Euro poll, and in this election it looks like the anti-EU party will win more seats than anyone thought possible for a new party 15 or even 10 years ago.

Nigel Farage entered the European Parliament in 1999. This was also the year that Caroline Lucas was elected as one of the UK’s first two Green MEPs (the other was Jean Lambert). She went on to become the first Green MP at Westminster. A parliamentary seat still evades Farage and his party.

UKIP supporters want to withdraw from the EU. They fantasise about plucky Britain standing alone against the world. UKIP stirs this nostalgia for ‘Great Britain’ and excites fear about immigrants and refugees. It has filled some of the void created by the discredited mainstream politics and, in particular, by the weakness of the orthodox left.

But for people who believe in social justice and equality, and who want action to thwart climate destruction and to protect the precious environment on which all life depends, the Greens – not UKIP – are the real alternative to the big three parties.

The Green vote is seen by some people as a protest vote, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be. It is a vote against Labour’s failure to defend working class people and its initiation of the part privatisation of education and health care. It is a vote against the Lib Dem’s abandonment of principle in favour of power. It is a vote against Tory austerity which makes ordinary people pay for the economic crisis created by reckless bankers. It is most certainly a vote against the homophobia, xenophobia and climate change denial of UKIP.

But in this election, voting Green it is also a vote for something. The Greens are a party that offers an imaginative, alternative positive vision of how our future could look. This is fairly unique, given the broad political consensus between the stale, grey Tories, Labour and Lib Dems.

Unlike the three Establishment parties and UKIP, the Greens advocate decisive EU action to close tax avoidance loopholes and tax havens, tax empty homes and financial transactions, cap banker’s bonuses, axe nuclear weapons, prioritise energy conservation to cut household bills and to introduce rent controls, a living wage and free education.

As a veteran of nearly 50 years of political campaigns, I look toward 22 May with a strange mixture of hope and fear. Fear that the hate-mongers of UKIP are poised to advance and to challenge some of the gains in minority rights and human rights, with the aid of their far right allies in the European Parliament. But also hope that the Greens may eclipse the Lib Dems; including the election of new Green MEPs such as Peter Cranie in North West England and Rupert Read in the East of England. Both lost narrowly last time. A tiny swing to the Greens will get them elected and, in the North West, will have the added bonus of probably surpassing the British National Party vote and thereby blocking the re-election of BNP leader Nick Griffin.

Make sure you vote: Show UKIP and the three Establishment parties the red card. Give the Greens a chance.

193 thoughts on “Vote Green in England

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  • lucythediclonius

    Just a joke Ed I remember Craig’s comments from the Norfolk by election .The Green Party may have matured since then and of course people are free to change their minds .

  • craig Post author


    I (genuinely) don’t remember any such comments about the Greens. What did I say? (Not meant to be an aggressive question, am genuinely curious. I have always had a good opinion of the Greens’ beliefs, if not always od their campaigning nouse).

  • lucythediclonius

    Something like the Green Party ( UK) are not the European Greens which I thin you were broadly in favour of.

  • Mary

    If I lived in the East of England I would not vote for Read because of his support for rabble rebels in Syria. He can’t seem to see it. It is not a question of support for Russia. He should have established who is feeding the weaponry into the opposition.

    Syria: my enemy’s enemy is not my friend

    He refers to this Medialens alert.

    UN ‘Travesty’: Resolutions Of Mass Destruction – Part 1

  • lucythediclonius

    I don’t know about Read’s position But I know Caroline Lucas described the Syria vote as a first step towards an independent foreign policy.I presume she didn’t mean in the UKIP sense.

  • MJ

    “Show UKIP and the three Establishment parties the red card”

    That leaves the anti-EU voter with no-one to vote for.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Bokonon Rastafari)

    Hmmm. Read’s yet another Oxford PPE grad – Balliol, even. While I would certainly rather vote Green than UKIP, on principle, I’m not sure about highly cerebral academics* who, despite their later realisation that capitalism sucks, have nevertheless imbibed the market ethos at uni. As a protest vote, yes. With the serious intention of changing the system, no. Which is what I’d also say about UKIP.

    Also like UKIP, the Greens have to make enormous compromises between what their activists think desirable and what is actually possible. Some of these are illustrated here:

    Your earlier post was nearer my mark, Craig. Working within the system, which takes globalisation as a given, and is sponsored by oligarchs, is not going to bring the system down. (And do you want to bet the Greens won’t get support from the fat cats if and when they start looking electable? Said felines will back every horse in the race in order to have influence with the winner)

    *Appears to have devoted his career to the analysis of Wittgenstein – the philosophical equivalent of analysing DNA, with considerably fewer practical applications…

  • Haward

    I shall vote Green despite being pro fracking and pro nuclear. Their social policies are in line with my values of solidarity and brotherhood which the main parties have abandoned and the Fascist UKIP detests

  • Jemand

    BZ, that reads pretty well, tho cautious. Seems like they are preparing to deal with pop as an issue without making the sort of policy commitments that get people fired up. It is definitely different to our local Greens which now makes the UK Loony Party look more like the Eminently Sensible Party.

  • Mary

    Ref the EU, ECCP, PSC and Israel.

    Is Palestine ‘solidarity’ going soft?

    Posted by Stuart Littlewood on May 20, 2014 in Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), Israel, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, Opinion, Palestine

    “The EU policy of maintaining close relations with Israel as a supposed means of persuading it to end its violations of human rights and international law, and negotiate in good faith, has clearly failed.”

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I know lots of Greens, and share many of their core beliefs, and have voted Green at least once previously. The current capitalist system where every product is designed to fail (just after the guarantee has expired – so that it needs to be replaced to maintain profits) is totally destructive to the environment, resulting in the most obscene levels of pollution in places like India – that are literally poisoning the local populations. Many countries such as India, would be far better off, if the Industrial Revolution had never happened, and core Green policies – that had been practiced for thousands of years would be far preferential to Indian people than what is now happening – which includes the encroach of Monsanto and GM food – which is a complete and utter destructive tragedy.

    However, most Green energy policies, simply will not work in an Industrialised World to support 7 Billion people. Deep analysis reveals that many such Green energy projects are in fact energy sinks – producing less energy throughout their lifetime, than all the conventional energy inputs needed to construct and maintain them. This is the best analysis I have seen on the subject…

    Also the Green Movement has long since been hijacked, by extremely powerful forces who have a Mass Human Genocide agenda, and complete de-industrialisation of the planet…This would result in sending us back to the dark ages, in a mass horror story, that would make hell seem a good alternative.

    There are Graceful solutions to all our problems, but we will never even consider them, whilst powerful forces from across the political spectrum drown us in lies in pursuit of their own agendas, usually built on greed or religious dogma, rather than legitimate science, which recently has also been totally corrupted and is rarely seen.


  • Tony M

    Haward: “I shall vote Green despite being pro fracking and pro nuclear.”

    Are you saying the Greens are pro fracking and pro nuclear or are you saying you are?

  • doug scorgie

    I have to agree with Mary at 11:25am

    Rupert Read seems to be another weathervane politician educated at Oxford (PPE) and the USA like most of the three main party hierarchies.

    I like the Green Party myself and they are certainly to the left of New Labour (as the LibDems were before getting power through a coalition with the Tories) but I doubt that Dr Read is.

    Time will tell but I will be voting for a Green candidate in London, Caroline Allen.

  • Mary

    O/T The Prince Charles story at the top of the BBC website all morning!! has been replaced by this. Should get a message across to Obomber, Cameron, Hague, Lady Ashton and co.

    Russia signs 30-year gas deal with China
    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed a multi-billion dollar, 30-year gas deal with China.

    The deal between Russia’s Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has been 10 years in the making. No official price has been given but it is estimated to be worth over $400bn.

  • Jemand

    BZ, yeah Read’s views are the stuff that makes voting difficult. He has some valid claims about commercial exploitation of animals but what does he want to achieve? A Disney world where the Lion King becomes best friends with Bambi while we munch on Lentls?

    He talked about fish being hooked and plucked out of the water, then asked the reader to imagine how it would feel if it happened to us. I wonder how he expects fish to die as they must. Peacfully in an old fish’s home? Assisted suicide with its loved ones by its side? The reality is that it is hunted in a terrifying chase and chomped up by a predator, or it gets a disease that kills it slowly and painfully. He didn’t mention that.

    And he doesn’t hold other animals to moral account either, just humans. So does he think that the cruel playing with mice by cats before they are eaten is ok or not? What does he do in his spare time? Save insects from birds? Birds from cats? Or just cats from Chinese fur traders?

    There really are limitations to empathising with animals.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Bokonon Rastafari)

    It occurs to me that no employer would so much as consider an applicant for a £67,070-a-year post without at least a bit of background checking. So why do we, the public, take aspirant MP’s on trust and decide who gets the job we are offering based on no better evidence than the prettiest party manifesto?

  • Mary

    If we are talking about killing, these two Palestinian lads were killed in cold blood.

    It is a DCI video linked within a BBC piece found at the bottom of their Middle East page. Israel disputes the veracity of the video of course.

    Note the use of inverted commas.

    Video ‘shows shootings of Palestinian protesters’

    Unlawful killing of two Palestinian teens outside Ofer

    Ofer is one of the many Israeli prisons within which G4S operate.

  • nevermind

    if you want to vote for an ignorant self serving back stabber such as Rupert Read, you are welcome.

    I will for the first time ever, spoil my ballot paper, because Rupert does not want to see tidal energy, he wants solar farms for rich people with a desire for taxpayers subvsidies, just as Richard Bearmann their county council chief of all shades green.

    Not a single party has a mandate for this prechewed candidates list, not a single candidate in tommorrows elections was chosen by the general public, indeed this most important EU election ever, as it was billed, is the biggest damp squid ever.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Bokonon Rastafari)

    Think I’ll join you there, Nevermind. ‘None OF The Above’ it is.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Bokonon Rastafari)

    PS…most squids are damp. Just saying; a damp squib is the dysfunctional firework you are reaching for. 🙂

  • John Goss

    If your local Left Unity recommends the Green candidate vote Green. There is no LU candidate in my area. I have voted Green in local elections quite often but always been disappointed with the showing. It’s like there is only me and a handful more voting Green. This year I am voting tactically.

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