In my blog on 7th May, I wondered whether an extreme weather event would sweep the Green Party into the corridors of power. Instead, it was punished for being a pointless alternative to a believable Labour Party. Trouble is, such an event will happen. We just don’t know when. Maybe just before the next election?
I have been pleading in blogs since the 8th June for the Green Party to return to what it was founded for. Combining social justice with saving the ecosphere will not happen without some coherent planning. If the need is only taken seriously when something happens to jolt people out of their indifference about climate change (or microbeads), the chances are it will not happen in time. The need to stay within ecological footprints means that problems have to be dealt with that the Labour Party has not really considered, despite a little recent lip service. Conventional economic growth remains their ‘wisdom’.
Social justice is possible in a sustainable society, but the Green Party needs to shift its strategy to one of gaining votes from everyone who does think we are not looking after the planet properly.
We may have made a start. Of the 10 deposits which the Green Party saved on 8th June, four were in ‘safe’ Conservative seats:
Isle of Wight (17.3%); Skipton & Ripon (6.42%); Herefordshire North (5.52%) and Hertfordshire North East (5.33%). Two others were in Protestant heartlands in Northern Ireland: Down North (6.51%) and Belfast South (5.13%) One was the Speaker’s constituency, where none of the major parties stood. The only two in Labour held seats were the failed targets to win. Our third best result (counting Brighton Kemptown as No. 1) was in SNP held Glasgow North. We need to find out why there and nowhere else.
Meanwhile, those second places in 2015 were not really ‘Green’ votes. They were all in seats with massive Labour majorities. They merely returned to their normal loyalty in 2017.
The Isle of Wight may indicate that the necessary mind set change may have begun in some places, but why did the Green Party not do particularly well in Fylde, or Thirsk & Malton, two areas threatened with fracking? I only know of one climate sceptic, Owen Paterson in Shropshire North, where Duncan Kerr got nearly twice the average for the Green Party. But if the Green Party is to stop being useless it must start taking significant votes directly from Conservatives with his views. There must be others. That is where the Green Party must rebuild.
But they need to do it before the storms start.