Monday, 28 July 2008

Greens get going

Nominations close this Thursday for those hopefuls who are after the top job/s (leader/deputy leader/co-leaders) in the Green Party of England & Wales.

Last November Green Party members wisely voted to scrap the impotent posts of male & female principal speakers in favour of real leadership - just the sort of vanguard necessary to take green ideas forward. The new leader/s will have voting powers on the party's Executive. Having someone at the top will give the public a face to identify with ('That's that Green bloke'...'Oh, she's the Green woman') There's talk of adopting co-leaders, but what's the point of that? It will show voters that the Green's just can't shed that hippy image.

Having a SOLE leader will get more media attention. Look at Nigel Farage, the UKIP boss, he's never off the box and pops up on Radio 2 like clockwork - The media can only understand formal leadership.

As of today the candidates are not clear, but it's likely to be Caroline Lucas, Sian Berry, Darren Johnson and possibly Jenny Jones (the only name here that actively campaigned to retain the status quo) In terms of media savvyness it can only be Caroline. She will be a good, uniting influence between the leftists and the centrists. A victory for Berry, as a supporter of the influential Green Left faction, might lead to the portrayal of the Greens as hard left. Now, the Greens can certainly mop up the Labour vote and they've just started doing well in traditional Labour areas, but Berry at the helm could lead to a media backlash against the party, prompting a hemorrhaging of support in the suburbs.

It would be a mistake for the Greens to present themselves as an explicitly left-wing party. Green thought encompasses the entire political spectrum, a fine example of how politics must transcend left & right - Something that is desperately needed in the fight against the neocons, neolibs and their global empire building. So while there is much that is commendable about the manifestations of the Green Left, they must not be allowed to capture the soul of the Green Party. Berrocscir's Banner calls for a renaissance of the rightist and nationalist Greens, but not in preparation of civil war. A strong rightist tendency will help the Party to present itself as a pluralistic alternative to the black & white of left & right.

The result of the leadership ballot will be announced at Party Conference in September, when incidentally, one Ken Livingstone will be guest of honour. Whoever ends up the Daddy (or Momma)the Green Party looks to be taking its electoral work very seriously. Greens rightly know that standing in the maximum possible number of local seats translates into Green votes at national and EU level. The party has enough members and healthy enough infrastructure to stand anywhere, anytime. Smaller parties need to be selective, but the Greens have reached the critical mass - every seat must be contested. Interesting then that we're getting rumours that the Greens two MEPs are in danger of losing in next year's Euro poll...Well, I don't know - the Party managed to retain its two Greater London Assembly members back in May, despite some fierce competition. It really would be a blow to lose the Euro reps.
So, despite all the doom and gloom on the EU front, the Greens seem confident of picking up an MP or three come the General Election(if there's one before year end then sorry Greens - no chance, but if we've got another two years, then maybe!)This blog, deep down, thinks this is a bit of a tall order, but looking at the maths in the Green's target seats of Brighton Pavilion and Norwich South, well, they could just do it...couldn't they? Check out the Greens for Parliament site for all the details. Funny then, that all this ambition is not matched on the seat-tally. The Greens say they've got 140 candidates confirmed and hope for 300. They really need to listen to Sian Berry's call at last year's conference to work for a full slate. If they can work towards this achievable goal then the Greens really would have come of age.

We hear that the Libertarian Party continued to be a bit sloppy with the old paper work, not getting it in on time for Glasgow East. They did this in Henley. Will they go for the hat trick?

The Free England Party seem to be less rabid when it comes to Cornish types than other English Nationalists. They appear to be ready for dialogue if the Cornish nationalist movement reaches tipping point. This recognition that you can't force nationality on anyone who doesn't want it, is to be welcomed.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Where next for National Anarchism?

First, lets get things into perspective: National Anarchism is not a mass movement, nor is it likely to be for the foreseeable future. A few years ago there were literally a handful of voices in the wilderness, who today have been joined by a handful more. A quick Google search reveals a noticeable growth in National-Anarchist ideas, but, outside the fringes, it remains an unknown current.

National Anarchism, with its promotion of identity politics, pluralism and decentralism, is potentially able to command public sympathy: scratch Joe Public and you will find ideas compatible with it - Most people possess a natural inclination to 'the tribe'. They want to live and let live and they want more control over their lives...But we live in a post-ideological era where isms are wasms. Here lies the rub - National Anarchism, like any movement starting from scratch, needs pioneers. Hardcore political activists with the skills, resources and determination to move things forward. While it would be a mistake to discard the hoi polloi completely, today's National Anarchists would be wise to target the free-thinking minorities from within already established political camps. National Anarchism can appeal to the less dogmatic from the ranks of the Greens, Reds and anarchos from the left and the Third Positionists, New Right, Paleoconservatives and nationalists from the right. For the immediate future, this is where National Anarchists need to concentrate their work - to engage with the already politicised. This author's political teeth were cut on the anarchist/libertarian communist scene, yet I now accept the once alien concepts of nationality and tradition, ethnicity and culture, into my worldview. National Anarchist ideas can appeal to the distributists, social crediters, the Guild Socialists and co-operatists. It can attract the ruralists, the squatters and back-to-the-landers. The regionalists and the separatists. Now, some are already out there doing all this communicating to other activists with fairly limited success. But if nine blinkered fools call you rude names, the tenth might be won over or at least come to properly understand N-A principles.

A real debate needs to start within National Anarchist circles about how we bring about a new politics for the twenty first century. The globalised world is all powerful so its opponents need to co-operate as a first step to even begin to think about challenging it. National-Anarchism is just the kind of puralistic, universal tendency that can accommodate all anti-globalist camps...

...There's just one problem with the branding: The name National Anarchism is fine for the politicised rump, but it positively reeks of the twentieth century. It's too much like the National Socialist bogeyman. A new description is needed for public consumption - any ideas?

In the meantime, anti-globalists who are serious about their politics (and not just play acting) should be looking to aim all their fire-power (meagre though this might be) fairly and squarely at the globalised system and not each other - that's just soooo last century! To all dogmatists out there I say 'just let go'.

Well, if the Scottish Green Party candidate had beaten the two Marxist candidates, here in Red Clydeside aka Glasgow East - now THAT would've been the political earthquake. As it was, The SGP's Eileen Duke failed to overtake either the Scottish Socialist Party or Solidarity rep. Looking at the result - SSP 555/Sol 512/Green 232 - shows the decline of the the once formidable Scottish left, bucking the UK left's fortunes and reaching a high water mark of seven MSPs in 2003. To be fair the left vote in Glasgow East in last Thursday's by-election, actually held up from 2005 when the sole SSP candidate took over 1000 votes. But at by-elections everybody goes a bit nuts and votes for an outsider. Going on this result, I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Time for a bit of DIY
Far from it be that I stick up for government, but an article I read in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday had me fuming. There are calls for the government to fund cultural activities for schoolkids. Well, if we had nurtured our culture, looked after it instead of being seduced by americana since the fifties, our culture wouldn't need resuscitating by public money. I'm all for anything that helps a cultural rebirth in England. But it's our own fault, not the state's, that we find ourselves in this cutural desert.

Run for your lives! It's the Union for the Mediterranean!!
I literally grimaced when I heard news of this. step closer to the New World Order...
The Grand Alliance will increase immigration and dilute cultures. But hey, millions more people will be able to express their liberty by buying more stuff, consuming more crap. Hail the free market...fair play to Gaddafi for snubbing it!

The Wheel turns indeed! I can't believe we have reached Lammas already! Lammas is usually observed around August the first and dates from the time of our Anglo-Saxon forefather's harvest time. A vital time of the year for them and still for us today!

Friday, 11 July 2008

The highs & lows of Merrie England

As I walked out one fine Summer's morning
For to view the fields and to take the air
- Banks of Sweet Primroses (Traditional)

One Summer's day in the month of June
Bonny Bunch of Roses (Traditional)

I was reminded of these lines when, a couple of weeks back, I took a day
out from wage slavery to travel to the Berkshire town of Wantage (contrary
to popular belief, Wantage is not in Oxfordshire - Berkshire's boundaries were set
over a thousand years ago, it will take more than a Whitehall mandarin to change them)

Birthplace of Alfred the Great and boasting a fine Church, Wantage
is bearing up in the face of globalisation. So, it does have it's
multinationals and chains, but it still retains it's independent small
businesses, including the fine Wessex flour mill. The town's splendid
Vale & Downland Museum regularly hold exhibitions outlining the
area's rich social, cultural and rural heritage, and locals seem to
have a healthy sense of identity and place.

Lying at the foot of the Berkshire Downs (recently rebranded, in a rare nod to
authentic regionalism, The North Wessex Downs, by some body of authority or other)
Wantage is the major settlement in a long line of them that grew out of the
spring line at the foot of the escarpment - to it's west are sprinkled,
almost at regular intervals, a line of villages stretching to the Wiltshire
border. On this particular day, I took in the first three.

I don't want to knock the well-travelled - I understand the Wanderlust
many possess even if I don't. But, a day out around Wantageshire reaffirmed
my gut instinct that this England is hard to top. I like to think that
this is a naturally occurring tribalism that can be applied to all peoples,
a feeling of place and belonging. In The Everlasting Man GK Chesterton wrote:

There are two ways of getting home, and one of them is to stay there.
The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same

Old Mont Abbott, the Oxfordshire carter and shepherd at Enstone, said:

I've scratched old England on the back, and her's gived me wealth untold...
Our Enstone, our Oxfordsheer, this England, take a lot of beating

I walked out of Wantage's west end for half an hour before reaching East Challow.
A linear village, it's main road slopes down in a curve, off the high
ground that commanded views that reminded me of Old Mont's observation
above. The village had a pub and, much to my annoyance my watch said it
was noon - another seven hours till opening. This tragedy resolved me
to carry on. A footpath sign saying 'WEST CHALLOW 1' ordered me to follow
the route past the old unused Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal.

Into West Challow, a clustered village with no pub, but an impressive
multiple signpost on a miniature raised Green - surely an English icon.
West Challow's church was quainter than it's sister village's, but I was
thirsty. I passed a low, single-storied building which appeared to have some
communal function, but although obviously a lovely place to live, I
left West Challow with that empty feeling of knowing it had become a
dormitory. A hundred years ago the place would have bussled on a day like this
- not now.

Onwards and (literally) upwards for another mile, and I reached Childrey.
This village got it's name from the Anglo-Saxon for 'Spring Stream' and
seemed in good health. A recently renovated village pond, shop (the PO
closed a few week's previous to my visit) and a fine pub.

A large, rather imposing building, dating from 1830, The Hatchet (a free house)
is a Grade II listed building and has a proper old door, dark slate roof and white washed
walls. It had, to me, the familiar sight of the now defunct Morland Brewery's ceramic built
into the brickwork...You guessed it - the place was shut. I resigned myself to mere
temperate refreshment and called at the shop for exactly that. Luckily for me, the place
was a veritable Offy! I would have preferred to have walked out with a couple of bottles
of Childrey home brew, but I had to content myself with a can of Stella (so much for
Mr 'I hate globalism', eh?). I sank the Stella sat by the pond, which I conceed is a tad
uncouth, but as far as I know I wasn't breaking any by-laws and wasn't hurting anybody.
Fifteen years ago I would have revelled in public drinking, this day I was furtively discreet!

Over the road the Master Thatcher's were just finishing off a job and I
hoped that some young guns would come and fill their boots when the
time came. The Stella gone, I reluctantly thought about the return
journey without gusto. My luck, however, was in: one of those
subsidised/community minibuses came trundling around the corner.

Getting back to the teeming citadel of Wantage, I vowed that I would
see the interior of public house that day and selected The Lamb. Just
down the road from the flour mill, from the outside this pub looked
the ticket: Thatched, low, small windows fromthe days of odd taxes...inside
the place was hideous. They've killed it, ripped out it's guts and soul.
You know the thing: MTV blaring out, mass produced furniture that made the
place look like an IKEA shop floor, G**** K***, general ponciness. A
seventeenth century pub with all its collective memory - WIPED!
I'm not advocating that everything be preserved in aspic, I'm saying
that change should be natural and gradual, over the years. An extension
added, new lick o' paint, no rush. This is fine by me, what I object to
is the wholesale gutting of a place by the big chains to match their vision
of the ideal clientele.
Still at least it kept it's name. I even don't mind pub names changing.
After the Battle of Waterloo a lot of pubs changed their name to the
Duke of Wellington, pubs used to adopt the name of new nobility, or
local occurance - this is living history. What I can't stand is the puerile
'Slug & Lettuce' type, a day of mixed emotions, then. Rant over.


Ol' David Davis's seat, eh! In yesterday's by-election the Greens chalked up their first second place (Shan Oakes received 1,758 votes/7.3%). But what really gratified me was the English Democrats not far behind (ex-UKIPer Joanne Robinson bagged 1,714 votes) After some dismal results of late, I'm really pleased for them. Yes I know they benefitted from the exceptional circumstances, no UKIP candidate etc, but for the EDs keeping their 500 quid must be satisfying as I expect all the mentions on the Today Programme and Radio 2 that they've been getting today is. I would have thought the NF's Tess Culnane would have got more than the 544 votes she did.

Glasgow East by-election
I know the Left like nothing more than to knock lumps out of each other but according to the Daily Record, the Solidarity candidate has been going round saying that the Scottish Socialist Party candidate had been at the same school as her. The Solidarity candidate claims to have been a rebelious Mod while the SSP rep was the authoritarian Prefect. You can't make these up, can you?

England's Parliamentary Party
The EPP's Paul Gilbert claimed 78 votes in Stafford Common ward, Stafford BC yesterday. It's hard to judge if this is respectable or not. Mr Gilbert may be relatively inactive, in which case this is a fair showing. If, however, he is well-known in the area as a community figure and he put a lot of work in for this, then it's not.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Third Way backed Independent wins in Havering

A few posts ago I hinted that the BNP had a chance of taking the South Hornchurch ward in the London Borough of Havering. Well, they came second. The real news is that an Independent candidate, Michael Burton, was the victor. The significance to this is that the National Liberal Party - Third Way, a grouping with its roots in Third Positionism, had publicly endorsed Burton as their preferred choice. I'm assuming NLP cadre were out actively campaigning, but I hope they themselves will confirm this on their site soon. Harrington, Williamson and co must be cockahoop. I had wondered why the NLP didn't stand, now I see why.

Incidentally,this was another night to forget for the English Democrats, who scraped 28 votes. The EDs really need to look at strategy.