Can Lesley Whittaker (Green Party Founder) save COP 26?

Yesterday (27.12.2021) PM (Radio 4) at 17.21 took a look at the prospects for saving the Ecosphere from destruction in 2022.

Lesley Whittaker, was invited by PM to recount the difficulties of getting PEOPLE, as they originally called the Party, off the ground. NB: This BBC recording will disappear in 29 days!

To be honest, I was disappointed. Lesley seems to have mellowed. I have not.

But I was a late comer. Lesley and her husband Tony and two others had spent a year before I joined them in March 1973 trying to interest the existing political parties to respond to Liimits to Growth, which forecast the crisis to which COP26 was supposed to provide a final answer. By the time I joined they had already realized that a totally new political Party was the only way.

But I am the longest serving member. The founders left when the Party they had formed made its first big mistake. They were natural Conservatives. Tony had been a Conservative Councillor. They did not realize that their vision would require drastic redistribution, and that would attract passionate socialists who mistrusted the founders’ motives. But as it happened they had good reason.

I was born into the socialist tribe, but I had had a traumatic introduction to Greening the economy. I said (I still do) that only a reduction in consumerism could save the Ecosphere. I could not see (I still cannot) how a recession, possibly a deep recession, could be avoided. The founder members had not thought it through that far. However, one of the four suggested that the only thing for it was to stage a coup d’etat. and install a dictatorship. We believed after all that we were saving the Planet for future generations.

Traumatized as I have been ever since, I still think that unless COP26 can be rescued, the founder member may be right. On my way home I invented the basic income as better than bloodshed (unaware that the idea had already been invented for other reasons).

That is now almost 49 years ago.  The new Party did adopt the basic income, but it took 46 of those 49 years before it appeared in a national election manifesto, and even then in an ‘Anti-Tory’ form.

The Green Party sill thinks it is necessary to defeat capitalism as an enemy. I never saw myself as charismatic enough to be a leader, but I believed (I still do) that we can and must approach Conservatives more in sorrow than in anger. At local level, we are steadily gaining ground – in Conservative areas.

But 50 years later the Green Party is still losing deposits nationally because they would rather the Ecosphere collapsed than have Conservatives as voters. Not perhaps the way the Party sees it.

The formation of PEOPLE (Circa Christmas 1972?) was premature. 99.5% of the public could not see any reason for it. But now we have symptoms galore. Greta Thunberg leads millions world-wide, XR members risk imprisonment, and last chances to save the Ecosphere are still being thrown away.

Lesley. I am still angry.

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