Monday, 1 December 2008

A question of ownership

The Green Party of England & Wales rightly did not make a song and dance last week when it emerged that two names on the leaked BNP membership list were ex-Green Party members. There was just a short discrete statement on their website about people with racist and anti-Semitic views not being welcome in the Party. Fair enough, it sits easy with this author who also happens to be non-racist and not anti-Semitic. But how do the GPEW explain the fact that the BNP has Jewish members, one, if I remember correctly, was or is a sitting councillor?

The very word racist has lazy, knee-jerk overtones to it. The BNP say rather than racists, they are racial realists, which is another thing entirely. Basically it's the view that when different races live amongst one another what results is usually social conflict or mistrust, so it's separatism rather than supremacy.

If anyone thinks that hopping from the Greens to the BNP is strange, well, yes it is - but not because Green ideas are the sole intellectual property of the Left. One of the aforementioned ex-Greens has said he thought the BNP had better environmental policies. No one tendency has sole property rights over Greenism. It is a classic example of an ideology that transcends the pigeon-holes of left and right. The GPEW is liberal-Left because it has added liberal-left policies onto its Green philosophy - not because Green philosophy is liberal-left.

A few years ago there was a big to-do in the anarchist scene about 'eco-fascism' - Those dirty fash jumping the bandwagon! - But nationalists have just as much right to claim the Green label - it's not the preserve of the Guardianistas - it is a train of thought based on environmentalism, devolved power and sustainable communities and economies together with an anti-consumerism. It's that and that alone, none of the Leftist add ons. It just as easily doesn't pander to the right's traditional cornerstones particularly, either.

The two ex-greens who defected to the BNP didn't cross that wide a divide, anyway. Remember Norman Tebbit describing the BNP as Socialists? He wasn't that far off the mark. We need to stop pigeon-holing politics and start looking to what works. Green ideas should belong to all anti-globalists and anti-capitalists, no matter what variety.

Greenlanders are now recognised as a separate people under international law and their Kalaallisut language is to gain official status. Although it stops short of full independence, last week's referendum saw Greenland's 57,000 populace gain much greater autonomy from the Danish yoke. On a 71% turnout, 75% voted for change. Greenlanders will now have a greater share of oil revenues plus control over police, courts, coastguard and some foreign affairs.

As a supporter of separatism, secession and decentralisation this author wishes the people of Greenland well and has this message of solidarity: Go out and thrive and prove to the world that small nations can look after themselves.

The Greenland experience is a peaceful story. Not so, sadly, for Kashmir where the on going elections have been met with bloodshed. The Kashmiri separatists are boycotting the poll due the their assertion that the ballot gives India more control over their land. Of course there are historical reasons why Kashmir differs from Greenland, but it's a grim reminder that national liberation is all too often bittersweet.

Two council by-elections on 11th December see the return of two minnows. The National Front in Hillingdon, where, for what it's worth, they seem to be carving out an enclave. While up in North Ayrshire Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party is raising the Red Flag. Don't expect a political earthquake, but the SLP contest is in a former mining area, so maybe the King if Coal can inspire a higher that usual vote for the, basically phantom, SLP.

I've not submitted a Wheel of the Year column for far too long. I'll try and serve up a bumper look at the ol twirling year next time, folks!