7 Sep 2006

Blair goes

So Blair is to announce his time table for leaving today, so British politics is going to change, even if personalities mean little, they mean something.

The new Prime Minister is likely to continue with more of the same:

Interviewed by Newsweek Mr Brown noted,
Speaking of the relationship with the United States …
Incredibly strong. It’s based on the shared values of both countries, our support for liberty and for opportunity, our support for a world order that is based on these values, and our support for an economic order that is based on free trade as well as on strong and successful markets.

The Green Party motors on with MEPs, etc doing positive stuff but the danger is that the Party ignores the wider political context. The aim is clear, an ecologically sustainable, social just and grassroots democratic society. The path to this objective is less clear and will always be difficult...to get to sanity demands challenging vested interests and deep seated values. Getting there is not simply about electing a green government and legislating for change.

Social change is subtle and governments at best can nudge thinks forward, the big changes are around economics and culture. As well as the really, really big questions of strategy, the Party needs to think about how its slogans, tactics, recruitment drives, election targetting work within the bear pit of British politics as it stands.

The Party has gained lots of members and activist from the Labour Party, so the current civil war could if it gives political space to anything on the left within labour be damaging to the Greens. Thes worst case scenario is a Gordon Brown electoral rebound, i.e Blair goes Brown wins smoothly, Brown is perceived to be more radical and the Labour party moves up in terms of poll ratings. The sting in the tail is that Brown is in many way a more enthusiastic neo-liberal than Blair and would stay in Iraq, maintain pretty uncritical Atlanticism (see above)....so far from green policies would continue but may be Labour activists would stay with labour.

Brown is keen on free markets, the work ethic and a society which serves the economy, the idea of the economy being used as a tool is utterly alien to him, we serve the machine. He is a neo-liberal just like his present rival, will he go on holiday with Cliff Richards, though?

'the work ethic has been restored in Britain. I think there is a learning ethic that has been re-established in Britain and the people. I can see right across the social groupings in our country, people wanting to go to college and university and get qualifications. And I see enterprise, something we’ve learnt from America, far stronger in Britain than it used to be a few years ago.

The agenda for the future is about educational reform and investment, it is about building stronger modernized public services that are more in tune and accountable to the people they serve. It’s also about building in Britain some of the strongest world-class industries and services. In financial services and capital markets, we’re already showing that we can lead the way.

The Conservatives under Cameron are playing the green card and even bringing in social justice, critiques of globalisation...worrying for those of us green radicals who hear a centre right party leader talking our language. The Conservatives seem at the top level to be pushing fair trade, recycling, tight anti-CO2 policies, sceptical on nuclear power.

I can't see many Green voters shifting to the Conservatives and it is far better to have the right at least pretending to be light green rather than Bushites.

There are some health warnings, the Goldsmith lite green conservatism does have a very nasty right wing side, the Conservatives are very pro-nuclear weapons including replacing Trident and are neo-cons who support the war. The party is playing .the anti-Corporate card but is run by corporate interests. Anti-globalisation is combined with demands for freer markets. Very confusing very interesting.

Greens need to flag up the economic reality that the planet cannot continue with ever increasing economic growth, that markets are destructive and flagging up the nuclear and neo-con dangers of Cameron.

Could Labour meltdown in Scotland lead to a SNP,SSP, Green coalition...potentially very very interesting, although I guess Tommy has reduced the chances of the SSP growing?

At Westminster is possible that a weak coalition government could introduce proportional representation for Westminister. A referendum is more likely, so Greens should be campaigning for PR to put the arguments so that such a referendum could be won. The Party would need to be fighting hard at the General election, promoting strong candidates, building up membership and electoral organisation so it could win seats with PR. The Party also needs to debate how it would use its first Green MPs to push forward change, the MEPs provide a good model but could MPs continue their pragmatic radicalism?

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