Where now for the Green Party?

First, a forcible reminder of the urgent problem from Johnny void: DWP Begs Charities To Collaborate In Cruelty.
It is bad enough that some charities and the Lib Dems are a party to this appalling treatment of the weak and vulnerable. The Labour Party is silent, but our own Natalie Bennett still advocates a Living wage. I would not mind if she said it was only until the Citizens’ BI is in place. Natalie, until stopped, Iain Duncan Smith is making the minimum wage history, never mind the Living one. But this follows on naturally from my last week’s post. The long term aim is saving the planet, but here and now IDS must be brought to his knees. In Yorkshire & The Humber, we missed getting an MEP because the places worst hit by IDS, and his mean regime of workfare and sanctions were also the places where the Green Party got too few votes, Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham, Hull and Grimsby.
Admittedly 12 months till the general election is rather short. But I have been pleading with Caroline Lucas since she became an MP 4 years ago, and Natalie Bennett since she became Green Party Leader 2 years ago, that we could popularize the Citizens’ Basic Income among deprived people who normally think of politics as nothing to do with them, rather as Barack Obama took everyone by surprise. Ever since Iain Duncan Smith’s own report Dynamic Benefits: towards welfare that works” (Sept 2009) accidentally made it easy for us, the excuse that the CBI was too difficult to explain to the public was no longer reasonable. I am told that the graph at the top of this page is difficult to understand. It shows the withdrawal of means tested benefits as if they were taxes, which they are in all but name. At a practical level, all a full Citizens’ BI, and I am talking circa £175 per week per adult, involves is moving this tax burden so that it is fair. It looks large because the biggest component is the loss of Housing Benefit. I am clearly not good at expressing myself, or this would have gone viral ages ago. In the longer term, the CBI will enable a recession, even a planned recession to be a government policy option. But tactically, first we have to start here, expose IDS as not just cruel, but stupid to boot, and break this preposterous ‘anti-scrounger’ spell:
Persuasion is better than force
The Citizens’ Basic Income is no more than a fair rearrangement of the tax burden
Help, somebody.
Of course Natalie has the benefit of a media team to protect her from loose cannons like me. I would say this wouldn’t I, but statements matter-of-factly based on growth as a good idea do not inspire my confidence in them, but Natalie’s opinion is more to the point. She has certainly listened to me, and refers to the Citizens Income more than she did, but as I outlined last week, I still live in hope that she can lead the party out of its present ‘Old Labour’ limitations rather than simply mirror them.
Among ideas for forthcoming blogs is my, and others’ misgivings as to the overall direction of the Green Party, but if Natalie did take up my suggestion here, they would become irrelevant. The Citizens’ BI will be a major advance in social justice. A regular mantra in ‘Dynamic Benefits’ is that jobs are an important way to individual fulfilment. Absolutely, I firmly believe that, but it leads me away from compulsion. But, and this is the difficulty for a lot of recent GP members, I make no apology for repeating last week’s message: the Cits BI allows ideas to make sense which I join in condemning wholeheartedly until it is a reality. We have left it late, but we could surprise the establishment by recruiting two apparently unlikely groups: those on, or terrified by benefit sanctions, and the better of who will have to pay more tax than they do now. Every 5 year old has a grasp of what is fair.
If we don’t do this? One scenario is that the Simple Party juggernaut finally flattens us. But even if that threat fades, parliamentary elections have never been the Green Party’s happiest hunting ground. The determined media blackout will not help. Unless… A favourite spiel of mine on doorsteps used to be “It is not a wasted vote, because if you get Caroline Lucas on ‘Newsnight’, with Jeremy Paxman trying to make her look foolish, she can explain our policies to millions”. Unfortunately it didn’t work out like that. My ‘dream’ happened about 4 years ago. Paxo grilled Caroline about you know what. The trouble was, Caroline has never seen the CBI as a priority, and she simply wasn’t ready for it. So I am keenly aware of the risk I am asking Natalie to take. But learning from experience doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding danger. If we can tempt the BBC away from suppression mode into an area where they think they can rubbish us, then who knows?
Early blog this week. I shall be in London tomorrow discussing the Citizens’ Basic Income with Natalie at the Citizens’ Income Trust event at the British Library.

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