A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More on Greens

From comments on the post below:

"Tom Copley said...
Luke, the Fabians have invited Sian Berry to speak at one of their conferences. Are they "bonkers" as well? Caroline spoke very well at the Compass Conference. She even quoted this blog post, which got a good laugh.
6:51 PM, June 14, 2009
Luke Akehurst said...
In this and some other respects, yes. How exactly do you think Labour councillors whose seats are threatened by Greens should react? Campaign to defeat them or invite them to a conference? For heaven's sake man you are Labour organiser in Camden where Sian Berry is taking seats off you. No wonder with your appeasing attitude. Which party are you actually working for?"

33 Comments:

Anonymous Chris Gale said...

I totally agree with Luke on this.
I am an animal welfare campaigner in the Labour Party and was appalled that Compass invited Caroline Lucas to this event. The Greens are a danger to the Hunting Act staying in place as votes for them will simply help usher in a pro hunting Tory government.

9:16 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Anonymous Tom Copley said...

Of course we fight the Greens electorally. It doesn't mean we can't share ideas and have a debate. I find the idea that Sian Berry speaking at a Fabian Conference would somehow undermine Labour's fight against the Greens in Camden utterly preposterous.

The Fabians also held an event with Shirley Williams not long ago. Would you suggest that that undermines The Labour Party's fight against the Lib Dems?

Both the Fabians and Compass are autonomous left-wing groups, despite their strong links (and in the Fabian's case affiliation) with the Labour Party.

9:19 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

"Campaign to defeat them or invite them to a conference?"

Erm, perhaps both?

We are different political parties, it's totally obvious that we're going to campaign against each other electorally. But that doesn't mean that neither of us have anything we can't learn from each other policy wise.

As well as it seeming obvious that we should campaign against other political parties, it's just as obvious to me that we should encourage and welcome social democratic policies in other parties.

"The Greens are a danger to the Hunting Act staying in place as votes for them will simply help usher in a pro hunting Tory government."

All ideas in politics are never going to be adequately represented by two monolithic political parties.

The answer to your problem is PR, of course...

9:30 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Anonymous Tom Copley said...

Oh, and for the record, the Greens have not taken a single Council seat off the Labour Party since I started organising in Camden. Indeed, in the Kentish Town by-election last year the Green vote dropped significantly and Labour moved up into second place (and almost beat the Lib Dems).

I'm more than a little offended that you question my professional record. You may not like my politics but I work damn hard for the Labour Party.

9:31 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

As if voters care who appears a a Compass conference...

9:32 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Anonymous Chris Gale said...

The idea that the Greens are 'left wing' is ridiculous...a look at their roots shows their real face.

Tony Whittaker, an ex-Conservative Party activist from Coventry convened the 'Club of Thirteen' with his wife Lesley and others. Though many in the 'Club' were wary of forming a political party, one of the world's earliest Green parties was formed in Coventry during 1973 as PEOPLE, with the first edition of the Manifesto for a Sustainable Society as its statement of policies, inspired by Blueprint for Survival (published by The Ecologist magazine). The editor of The Ecologist,Edward 'Teddy' Goldsmith, merged his 'Movement for Survival' with PEOPLE. Goldsmith became the leading member of the new party in the 1970s.



Goldsmith was also closely linked to John Aspinall who was a close friend of James Goldsmith and Lord Lucan, and held both eccentric and extremely right-wing views. He once stated that Britain was in need of "a Franco-ite counter-revolution." The three were known to discuss the possibility of violently overthrowing the elected governments of Harold Wilson and, later, James Callaghan with a coup. He also expressed the wish that "3.5 billion people should be wiped out" of the world's population "within the next 150-200 years" mirroring the views of some extreme Greens. Unlike them, however, he added he would be happy to join them.

Aspinall ran unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1997 as the candidate of Goldsmith's single-issue Referendum Party, against Britain's deepening involvement in the European Union.

9:33 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Blogger donpaskini said...

Hi Luke,

In answer to "How exactly do you think Labour councillors whose seats are threatened by Greens should react?", I think that the answer is "work hard" and "be left-wing".

The candidates who managed the largest swing from Labour to Green in Oxford (on a day when Labour gained three and lost none against the Greens) delivered leaflets in which local endorsers called them "good socialists", and referred to their involvement in campaigns for asylum rights, anti-war, living wage and so on. They also worked incredibly hard to meet thousands of people, take up their concerns and persuade them that Labour locally was the best choice for lefties. Not necessarily the optimal strategy everywhere, but it does work in even the most difficult national circumstances.

Whether or not the Greens speak at a Compass conference strikes me as neither here nor there. If you want a proper anti-Compass story, I was more outraged by the fact that the day before the elections they were calling round people to try to get them to come to their conference, and never mentioned the importance of going to vote Labour in any of their endless stupid e-mails. I think this is as inexcusable, in its different way, as Hazel Blears.

11:16 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Chris, like most parties, some are left and some are right.

There are many of their policies I disagree with (for example their manifesto on stem cell research and animal testing is madness, likewise local policy in Norwich on house building).

But I can point to things in all parties I disagree with, including my own. It's a question of degrees.

There is only one party with a real link to the working class of this country, and that's us, but if I had to vote for someone other than Labour, it would probably be them (well, depending on where I lived I guess), because I think we need a much stronger emphasis on green jobs than on 'any jobs', and because at least they're not state-phobic.

11:29 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Blogger Mark Still News said...

It does not matter as Labour have abandoned the working classes any way-might as well invite Cameron!

11:47 pm, June 14, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sian berry is a good looking chick!

12:02 am, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gone very quite on the stupid behaviour of your good mate Hazel Blears??
Do you agree that she 'has let down the Labour Party and the electorate'? Lets hope the sensible folk in Salford deselect her and let her spend more time with her property portfolio

7:41 am, June 15, 2009

 
Blogger David T said...

The Greens came within one vote of passing a 9/11 "Troof" motion at their last conference.

Look, my biggest worry is that Labour, in opposition, will go bonkers, and start to mistake the concerns of the mentally ill section of the blogosphere for national issues.

Palling with the Greens is an ominous sign.

10:11 am, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous T_i_B said...

I do wonder if some people in the Labour party realise that politics is about serving the common good, not grabbing pwer at any cost.

If you do realise that politics is about serving the common good then surely it makes sense to work with other parties to achieve shared aims?

Or does the Labour party onl;y have one aim, to grab power from everyone else?

12:32 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Blogger Andy Howell said...

I appreciate your views Luke but you are very wrong.

Lucas got a good reception at the Compass event because of the policies she advocated.

On a wider note, just be careful about this kind of brutal factionalism. People don't like it and voters don't like it.

It is policies that is important. Unless we fine tune these we will be hammered.

12:37 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, Compass invited the Greens because it’s a consequence of the No Turning Essay – 9 out 10 policies backed by the Greens – 0 out of 10 for Labour. And given Compass back PR this is where you end up – have a dialogue with people.

As an organisation Compass must have a much wider progressive reach than just the small confines of the Labour Party and we need a conversation on the future of progressive politics that goes much wider and broader than that as there are fundamental issues that need to be addressed and we can’t address those issues by simply talking to ourselves.

If Labour is to renew then we have to be brave enough to listen and learn from others with different perspectives and be willing to be challenged – there is a reason why Labour has lost over 4 million voters since 1997 – many of which have turned to the Greens, the Lib Dems or worse still the BNP.

So I’m sorry but while I will personally fully support Labour in every way I can and whilst I believe people should vote for Labour in Brighton Pavillion and vote Labour at the general election, particularly so under the current first past the post system, as a strong Compass supporter I believe it to be fundamentally important that as an organisation Compass reaches out and build alliances that go beyond the Labour Party if there is to truly be No Turning Back to the old politics.

I know this will cause difficulties for some, such as for short sighted tribalists such as yourself - but when as Compass we call for a new politics that is more pluralist and less tribalist then Compass can’t simply just talk the talk its got to also walk the walk.

We are at least are trying to build a coalition that is lead by a reconnection to the working class but linked to, as many commentators on here say - the more middle class concerns of the Green party. (Although I do not wish to do a disservice to proper working class green socialists like Derek Wall) whereas you, and your treacherous ilk, are an enemy of the working class.

2:52 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Albert Shanker said...

The greens are pretty useless in Camden anyway

3:06 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Mother said...

Your Greens are good for you. Eat 'em up or there'll be no pudding!

3:14 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

If you believe in electoral reform, Luke, then what that means is a less adversarial and more pluralistic form of politics. Labour would end up looking towards the Greens to help form a progressive coalition. I don't think we should wait for electoral change before the style of politics alters.

I agree with Tom Copley's comments. I also think they are realistic, because the affiliation of people to party continues to weaken. Tribalism is something which is considered curious

4:18 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

If you believe in electoral reform, Luke, then what that means is a less adversarial and more pluralistic form of politics. Labour would end up looking towards the Greens to help form a progressive coalition. I don't think we should wait for electoral change before the style of politics alters.

I agree with Tom Copley's comments. I also think they are realistic, because the affiliation of people to party continues to weaken. Tribalism is something which is considered curious

4:19 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Shocked Greeny said...

The more I read about Caroline Lucas the more I see the similarities with the BNP. Supporting Hamas and other Palestinian groups that call for all jews to be killed and denial of the Holocaust.
She makes me puke

5:57 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derek Wall teaches at a private crammer college for posh thickos. Socialist principle is surely lacking.

6:14 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom does work hard, but his judgment here smacks of metropolitan centred insensitiveness. As one of that very endangered species a councillor in southern england why on earth are we doing this? How many places did the Greens beat Labour? they caused Labour to lose its MEP in the South west.

Here's a prediction that in Norwich N the Green vote will be greater than the Tory majority over Labour. Plus all those self indulgent idiots (I heard several say they would normally vote labour) who voted Green in the NW to keep out the BNP failed. Yet if they had voted Labour there would have been no Green and a 3rd Labour MEP.

Simple question to all the Green lovers out there, please list all the times the Greens provide a platform and give invites to Labour representatives at their events? I think you will find the answer is either nil, or next to zero.

That makes them more effective political campaigners than Labour. If we want to debate the environment SERA has plenty of good people.

Compass the pointless pressure group....

7:42 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous right said fred said...

I agree with Luke.

It's right up there with the Fabians General Sec calling for a Lib-Lab pact.

Offensive to the troops in Lambeth and other areas where the yellow turds are rampant.

RSF

11:35 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Blogger Duncan Hall said...

As an organisation Compass must have a much wider progressive reach than just the small confines of the Labour Party

Why?

I mean, I don't share Luke's view on this especially - I've no particular gripe with having Greens at a conference. But I do find this sort of language from Compass odd. It implies that Compass sees itself as bigger than Labour, whereas in fact it is a small pressure group within the wider labour movement.

Although there were a number of good people speaking at the conference, there is something about Compass, the language it uses, its 'narrative' (and the fact that it feels it has to have a 'narrative') which irks me terribly. I would like to reach some sort of accomodation with it, but it continues to annoy and exasperate in equal measure.

11:49 pm, June 15, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7.42

I'm pretty sure Ken Livingston spoke at the Green Autumn conference last year.

7:23 am, June 16, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having a Green speak at a Conference is worlds away from a pact with another party.

It's a bit ludicrous to think that someone on the doorstep would say "I was going to vote Labour but I'm going to vote Green now because I heard that Caroline Lucas spoke at a Compass conference."

99% of the population don't know who Compass or the Fabians are let alone who speaks at their conferences!

7:11 pm, June 16, 2009

 
OpenID rupahuq said...

Have also done a post on the conference for what it's worth. I usually tend to think that alliances with others and dareIsayit PR are the type of talk engaged in by losers

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/16/left-compass-conference-policy?commentpage=1

10:06 pm, June 16, 2009

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

Duncan: because there are a lot of people who just aren't convinced by Labour anymore and don't see themselves as party loyalists.

11:45 pm, June 16, 2009

 
Anonymous Ben said...

Luke is quite right.

Palling up with a bunch of loony anti-growth anti-science types with a penchant for foreign policy support for the bad guys is not sensible or appropriate for a modern, progressive party of the centre-left.

Compass merely show what an ill-disciplined and soft-headed bunch of loony-tune misfits they are.

"Both the Fabians and Compass are autonomous left-wing groups, despite their strong links (and in the Fabian's case affiliation) with the Labour Party."

You see, this is interesting talk. Seems to me that whether Compass decides to be an internal party body or not depends on who's doing the tlaking and what's convenient. You can't have it both ways. Frankly, Compass conference has shown that its members are more interested in promoting the views of a bunch of nutters (mark David T's comment about the prevalence of trooferism in the Greens) than they are in defending the party.

2:00 am, June 17, 2009

 
Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Mike - I'm hardly a party loyalist!!!

But Compass is a centrist group. It's sort of a pseudo-post-modern version of Labour Reform (only not as left wing).

It seems extraordinarily pompous for it talk about reaching out beyond the narrow confines of Labour, etc. It finds it terribly difficult to reach out WITHIN the narrow confines of Labour - it's forever asking me to sign some petition or support some campaign or other (and often I do), yet Compass strongly, deliberately and sometimes rather rudely refuses to endorse most campaigns that emerge from its left (within the Party).

If the occasionally walked the walk, I might not find the talk quite so aggravating.

12:09 am, June 19, 2009

 
Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Apologies for all the typos in that. Hopefully some sort of meaning could be gleaned from my gobbledigook.

12:10 am, June 19, 2009

 
Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Duncan, you support a faction to which a Mao-supporting Communist Party is an affiliate. Barrel of a gun, and all that. You could be in a better position to pass judgement.

Separate note, but does anyone else find the amount of anonymous commenters on this thread slightly weird?

2:22 pm, June 23, 2009

 
Blogger Viridis Lumen said...

"The idea that the Greens are 'left wing' is ridiculous...a look at their roots shows their real face."

Well, you have ex_Conservative MPs in the Labour Goverment, so I don't think finding a few ex-Tories among Green party members proves anything.

Why not look at policies instead?

Labour - has presided over the gap between rich and poor widening to its greatest in history; has pandered to corporate interests; has resisted key EU legislation on workers rights, such as insisting on the opt-out on the working time directive.

Green Party - supports a 60% marginal tax rate for people earning over £50,000 pa; would lower rather than raise the inheritance tax threshold; would raise the NMW to be a living wage (& has done this where able to for council workers); would introduce a citizens' income for all adults; would renationalise the rail network and end PPPs in the NHS.

So, of the two, regardless of members' origins, which is most likely to improve the lot of workers and working class people?

12:04 am, June 26, 2009

 

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