The Governance review currently going through the Green Party system has only prompted one question at the seven hustings I have attended (if you count Cardiff, on Skype) but it is generating much er, discussion within the Green Party. There are some novel ideas being put forward which need more work in my opinion.
I understand the motivation which leads to suggestions that individuals should define themselves according to their specific minority, and minority groups should be given representation on the Party’s governing bodies. It has even been pointed out that some unions already incorporate such representation in their constitutions.
I prefer one person one vote. As I said in my last blog a couple of days ago, what matters is that the voices of minorities should be listened to, and I do not think that detailed representation is the best way to achieve this. Purely at the practical level, the difficulty in arriving at multiple satisfactory definitions would lend itself to considerable scope for abuse.
But for there to be a general culture of identification according to one’s minority, and by implication one’s oppressed minority, is not the healthiest basis for society. Up to the arrival of Thatcher in 1979, a large number of people who were disabled chose to be treated as fully functioning members of society. They were able to do this because the benefits system was generous enough. The Thatcher government slashed benefits, with the unintended caaonsequence that the bill for disablement rocketed.
Over the past three or four decades oppression and demonization of minorities has been on the increase. That does indeed require something which will reverse this trend, but that does not make multiple representation on a political party’s structures the best way to counter that trend.
Trade unions have been a staple part of resistance to oppression for two centuries. Representation for specific groups may well make sense in the context of what a trade union is for, but a political party needs to be focussed outwards, on its aims and wider vision.
Again, as I said a few days ago, although a Basic Income for all will not single handedly remove discrimination or disadvantage, it will give those who feel they are not being fairly treated a start which does not exist at present. Other benefits for the disabled will not need to be as high as they are now.
The best way to safeguard the rights of minorities is to ensure the health of the ecosphere, together with a fair distribution. Unless we do that, the best governance of the Green Party possible will be neither here nor there.