During the 70s and 80s the party's economic policies were influenced by Distributism and Social Credit, ideas which still influence many Greens today, but why the current social-liberalism? Why the utterly barmy immigration policies?
The party is still strong on the economy, quite rightly declaring its reasoned critiques of rampant, unsustainable growth and the GP's emphasis on local grassroots decision making, self-sufficient, sustainable communities and economies can sit easily with any self-respecting anti-globalist...
So why, oh why does the GPEW have to spoil all this with its daft, cruel and dangerous policies on immigration and multi-culturalism? The consequences of these processes fly in the face of the Green vision, of small communities at ease with themselves. The Greens actually hit the nail on the head when it comes to immigration: Their Manifesto for a Sustainable Society states:
The Green Party's long term global vision is of an international economic order where the relationship between regions is non-exploitative, each region is as self-reliant and economically self- sufficient as practicable and the quality of life (social, political, environmental, cultural and economic) is such that there is less urge to migrate. Logically, in order to move away from the current level of immigration controls, we must create a fairer world.
MG101 The existing economic order and colonialism have both been major causes of migration through direct and indirect violence, disruption of traditional economies, the use of migrants as cheap labour, uneven patterns of development and global division of labour.
MG102 We are aware that, in the 21st century, there is likely to be mass migration of people escaping from the consequences of global warming, environmental degradation, resource shortage and population increase.
Quite true, we have to build a post-global, decentralised world, if we want people to stay where they are. But, as far as the Greens are concerned, in the meantime, its C'mon Over to My Place, an open door. How on earth is this sustainable? Transient, rootless communities are hardly green. Public services, schools, hospitals and housing are all put under increasing pressure through immigration - a society hardly at ease with itself.
As a young leftist our stock-in-trade take on immigration was The Capitalists can move capital, goods and materials around the globe at the touch of a key - if it's OK for the money, it's OK for the workforce. But this isn't good enough. A bank balance doesn't need a roof, its kids don't need a classroom, its spouse doesn't need the local clinic. It need not worry about sticking out a mile because of it's language, dress, custom or religion. The stock in trade Green reaction to this is: Yeah, well there's billions and billions of quid the government could set aside for immigration - look at what they spend in Iraq! ...It aint gonna happen though is it. The Greens, unfortunately, suffer from that condition all too common on the left: wishful thinking. We've got to stop pigeon-holing ourselves into little ideological straightjacket's. A curse on definitions.
The understandable friction caused when different cultures are thrust upon one another, is all too often left to fester away causing social strife and resentment,ill-will and general unhappiness. The Greens want a love-in, the best way to ensure this is to have mono-cultural communities. The disaster of multiculturalism hardly lies easily with the the Green vision of happy, stable communities. Communities are happiest when they have a sense of self, belonging, shared identity and a common cultural bond. UK 2008?! Even the most flowery optimist must say 'no'. Greens - drop the liberal baggage, it doesn't make sense - and I promise not to scream Nazis! if you do.
If the Green movement took up REAL cultural diversity (i.e. when different cultures are left to develop independently of each other)it could forge lasting alliances with other anti-globalist currents. The Greens urgently need to debate immigration and its silly 'NO BORDERS' posturing, this political posing is counter-productive, contradictory, harmful and ultimately serves the interests of the globalisers. The danger is that any process of dialogue may result in a damaging split - and I'm not out to split the Green movement - but...ALLIANCE BUILDING BETWEEN DIFFERENT ANTI-GLOBALIST CURRENTS IS OUR BEST CHANCE - NO REPEAT OF THE LAST 100 YEARS OF IDEOLOGICAL WARFARE...please.
The credit crunch shows glaringly that their is no alternative to capitalism. This is because the traditional factions of left and right are redundant. All the disparate forces opposed to the way the world is run in 2008 need to fuse, unite, throw all their worldviews in the pot, mix them all up and fight together.
The English Democrats South West organiser Mike Blundell managed to get 93 votes in a local election in Bristol last week. You've got to take the rough with the smooth and generally speaking English Nationalist votes over the past couple of years have been comparable with what the old Socialist Alliance were getting a decade ago. Fear not though, proud patriots. English nationalism has a far bigger reserve pool than trotskyite transitional demands. Stick on in there, chaps.
One of the reasons I was so pro-leadership in the recent Green Party of England and Wales leadership debate is the media attention I thought having a leader would gain the party. So, this week we had a big story where Climate Change and Energy Secretary, Ed Miliband, announces a commitment to increase the cut in emissions from 60% to 80% by 2050 - GREAT! But where was Caroline Lucas? The BBC got a quote from a bloke from Friends of the Earth, so why not the UK's premier Green? PR dept needs an overhaul, I reckon. The Prime Minister's Speech to the party faithful in Manchester last month mentioned the British National Party. If a veritable minnow like Mr Griffin's outfit can get a mention from her Majesty's first minister, the Greens should be at least second paragraph when it comes to a climate change story.
FROM OUR FOREIGN DESK
Well, they may have lost their sole defector MP but the Canadian Green Party didn't do too badly in last week's Canadian general election. 940,000 votes and 6.8% of the national vote share (up 2.3%) The Quebec secessionists gained and are in a relatively strong position. The Western and other secessionists, however, along with the Anti-globalist Canadian Action Party, bombed.
WHEEL OF THE YEAR
Ahhh....now you're talking. This is my favourite time of year. Round my way, we had our first frost a couple of weeks ago - always a good seasonal marker. This is the time when I see streetlights switching off as I amble to work in the morning mist.
One thing I have noticed this Autumn, however, is the distinct lack of poppies...Where Have All the Poppies Gone... Have a safe dark quarter, dear reader, and a Happy Samhain for the 31st. Blessed Be!