Talk about Newsnight


What's the point of the Green Party?

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Sep 06, 12:44 PM

greenparty_203.jpgThe Green Party conference gets underway today in Hove. But with the three main political parties having stolen most of its clothes, are the Greens now being left behind?

Were you once a member of the Green Party but have since changed allegiance? Do the Greens still have a part to play in today’s politics?

Let us know your views.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:08 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Fenelon wrote:

It's the Guardian readers' equivalent of a spoilt ballot paper - something that enables them to feel good about having taken a disruptive part in the electoral process without having influenced the overall outcome in any way.

  • 2.
  • At 01:08 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Elaine wrote:

Of course the Greens still have a part to play. They represent the only real Left-wing alternative available in this country. And if we had a PR electoral system here then they would be able to play that part properly rather than remain on the sidelines.

  • 3.
  • At 01:11 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Graham Tattersall wrote:

How on Earth can you ask this question, when all the other parties are now falling over themselves to adopt the Green Party's Policies ?

The question you SHOULD be asking is .... "What's the Point of the Tory Party, The Labour Party and The Lib-Dems, now that they have all adopted The Green Party's Policies !"

The ONLY time Tony Blair has EVER spoken the truth .... was when he said that "Global Warming was THE MOST SERIOUS PROBLEM Facing The World Today". And the ONLY PARTY to have been consistently worried about what we have been doing to the Environment .... is The GREEN PARTY.

  • 4.
  • At 01:12 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

So because the Green party has provided the impetus for bringing green policies to the mainstreem you're now questioning its worth? Seems like backward reasoning to me, surely this is evidence of its worth.

The link to this page from (where it is currently the top item) is missing all the "w"s and the last "y", and so in broken.

  • 6.
  • At 01:13 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Stephen Shaw wrote:

Knowing some of the Green Party's policies quite well I would suggest that the major parties have not "stolen their clothes".

In particular I would ask others to consider the more radical nature of their policies on measuring economic growth/wealth where thay propose a significant change in how we measure it and other policies that would follow in order to achieve it.

  • 7.
  • At 01:13 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • simon wrote:

The Green party have a major role to play as the only political force which has uncompromised green credentials. Both new Labour and the Tory's send out mixed messages behovento big business, shying away from taxing polluters and going out of thier way to convince a sceptical public of potentiilly dangerous GM food. If we are on course for a hung Parliament their MPs could punch over their weight.

  • 8.
  • At 01:14 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • John Coyne wrote:

Only the Green Party will face up to the lifestyle questions raised by the climate change threat.
The others will avoid any unpopular decisions.

  • 9.
  • At 01:14 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Michael Shields wrote:

Closet socialists - a waste of space. Their views are totally over the top and would take us back to the stone age. If they were serious about global warming they would and should support nuclear power generation

  • 10.
  • At 01:15 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Phil Mackenzie wrote:

The fact that the mainstream parties are increasingly "stealing the clothes" of the Green Party shows that there is clearly a point to them. The political mainstream's concern for the environment is a recent entity, and likely to die out as quickly as it appeared when more effective ways of winning votes appear. The Green Party must keep pressurising the mainstream parties to ensure that environmentally friendly policies never die.
Personally, I have no affiliation to the Green Party, nor have I ever voted for them, but I value their role as a political pressure group for this most important of issues.

  • 11.
  • At 01:15 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Anthony wrote:

Other parties may wear the green clothes but I think that this is still a façade. I don’t think that any of them have substantial green policies that will make much of a positive difference to the greatest threat to mankind…

  • 12.
  • At 01:15 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Thomas MacManus wrote:

It's odd - the Green Party should be the most popular political party in the world when you consider the impending climate disaster. I feel they must have peaked too early in the debate, and have been forgotten by an inconsiderate public.

  • 13.
  • At 01:15 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • kevin cook wrote:

I would never vote green party and ow would never vote libdem because of their new policy of putting up council tax by £2000 and putting excise car duty up another £2000
the majority of us need cars for work and it is hard enough paying council tax now The new lib dem policy and greens are suicide notes electorally

  • 14.
  • At 01:17 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Hughes wrote:

As a former card-carrying member of the Ecology Party, I became uncomfortable with the narrow parochialism within the Green movement. I am now a LibDem volunteer, with its national and international agenda, including on Green issues.

  • 15.
  • At 01:18 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Tamara wrote:

Of course the Green Party has a part to play. Have any of you actually rad their manifesto? The Green Party is not just about the environment it is about quality of life for all. Besides, you talk about the other parties wearing their clothes - more like wolves in sheeps clothing!

  • 16.
  • At 01:20 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

You say: But with the three main political parties having stolen most of its clothes, are the Greens now being left behind?

Anyone who knows anything about Green Party economic policies knows this premise is totally wrong. Cameron hasn't even presented any firm policies yet. So why does Newsnight skew this debate so stupidly (without properly interrogating the main parties), and as if Labour and the Conservatives now really do have a ecologically-intelligent economic policy? What is the editorial excuse for this lame approach? You don't really know much better? You epitomise the predictable mediocrity of arrogance and fail to begin to address these huge policy issues.

  • 17.
  • At 01:23 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Hilary wrote:

I have been toying with the idea of joining the Green Party in Scotland for the past couple of months. I certainly do not identify with the Cons, Labs or Libs (used to) but if I were truly committed I would have sent my money by now wouldn't I?

  • 18.
  • At 01:25 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Linda wrote:

The Green Party might be a welcome change from the 3 other main parties, they may mean law and order for all of the people in this country.

They might make sure the Police Force do their job adequately and in line with what the general public pay them for.

In my opinion they pick and chose what they will investigate, not what they are asked to look into by families, with proof of crimes.

My family have been trying for over 2½ years since my father was killed using the NHS PCT, who had a GP giving out "End of Life" drugs which killed my father within 5 days, for a condition he did not have. His Post Mortem proves that.

His Specialists have never been contacted by the Police either and both have informed me in writing in March this year that my father was not dying, his CLL was responding to treatment and under reasonable control, just 2 weeks before this end of life treatment was given to dad.

His gastroenterologist who performed an endoscopy on my father on 10th March 2004, informs me in writing that two endoscopies had been carried out and neither showed any signs of cancer. The specialist reported the results on 15th March 2004, "There is no evidence of malignancy ie cancer and no dysplasia which are pre cancerous cells". Yet my father's own GP seems to know better because he wrote on Dad's medical notes on 15th March 2004, "Oesophageal Cancer" Why?

The Police will not investigate why a man should die in a house, the lady who owns the house stated on 4th September 1998 he longer resided in and crossed his name off the electoral role, I have copies of these forms until Sepetember 2003.

Why a man who is supposed to have sold a very good family business in June 1987, for well over £1.5m and was worth more than this before the sale should have died a pauper living off this womans charity.

Too many questions need answering and the police will not look into this, is this because of statistics, keeping them in line with Government figures. perhaps there is no one who can deal with such complex cases?

Why would my father be buried, if he was buried, at 0730 hours on a cold October morning in 2005. by a funeral director who is also a Doncaster Councillor, who became a Doncaster Councillor in 2004 and is now Vice Chair of that Council. Why would the Vicar also be involved in such dealings as to stop a man's own family from being inattendance.

Can you help us.

  • 19.
  • At 01:27 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

Despite calling itself the Green Party, under any defnition it is not a political party but a pressure group. In this context the Greens still have a role to play within our political system in raising public awareness of the issues and monitoring the performance of government on such issues, as does any other pressure group.

  • 20.
  • At 01:28 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • B Lewis wrote:

Well you can't say that over the last 15 years, the Green Party hasn't gone from strength to strength, building up a wide grass roots support while capitalising on the public's interest in environmental ideas and taking a lead role in the debate over how to handle Global Warming.

Oh, hang on a sec - you CAN say that, sorry.

Seriously, as someone who is hugely sympathetic and interested in environmental issues, they make me want to tear my own hair out, albeit I would of course recycle it as insulation for my loft afterwards. They have singularly failed to have any meaningful influence on the wider public debate and, at the rate they are currently 'expanding' their influence in local government - we will all be 100 feet under water before they achieve any real power.

I remain deeply skecptical of Cameron's new 'vote blue go green' strategy as it seems nothing more than a stick to beat the current government with rather than a central plank of their future strategy - but he has done more to drive green issues before a wider audience in the last year than the Green Party have managed since their early successes in the European elections back in the late 80's.

Unless they engage more meaningfully with what is left of the public democratic debate, they will be forever be regarded as nothing more than idealistic hippies who knitted their own yoghurt while the earth burned.

  • 21.
  • At 01:29 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Craig wrote:

The three main political parties have yet to grasp the true gravity of the situation and rhetoric and hyperbole continue to dominate their discourses about the global environment. The Greens stand out as the alternative because they represent and push for fundamental change that favours real action in place of continual and weightless badinage. Labour are all gong and no dinner on the environment. Just because they keep reminding us there are 'difficult choices' to make doesn't mean they are making the right choices.

  • 22.
  • At 01:30 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • June Gibson wrote:

The point of the Green Party is that it is a sharp one, having needled the main Parties over the years into taking notice of green issues, unfortunately to a lesser degree than has been proved necessary re action needed on climate change, alternative energy and healthy food. Do voters think the main parties would have paid any attention at all to any green issues, put forward by what they hitherto thought of as a bunch of cranky individuals? No!
The Green Party will be able to monitor what is said by main Parties, and prevent them from cheating the public with dodgy statistics and lip service on green issues.

  • 23.
  • At 01:31 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Pomroy wrote:

Given that they will almost certainly never be in a position to implement any of their proposals, there is little point voting for them. However, The Green Party can have an influence in the same way that lobby groups do. By raising green issues they put them into the public sphere and force the ‘major’ parties to address them. The fact that Labour and The Tories are pushing for the green vote is testament to the campaigning that the Green Party have done over the years, but joining the Green Party in the hopes of one day running the country is like taking a job as a hospital porter in the hopes of ones day becoming a brain surgeon.

  • 24.
  • At 01:32 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Constable wrote:

The Green Party is an extremely illiberal and dishonest party hiding under seemingly plausible environmental policies.
Their policies would severley limit personal freedoms and also lead to a collapse of our economic system and way of life.

  • 25.
  • At 01:33 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • There is an elephant pyramid in the room wrote:

Have the mainstream political parties really stolen the Greens clothes ?

I'm not convinced ANY political party is really dealing with the true issues...

Poisoning the foodchain

Genetic Modification which is still being rolled out, and which only allows 'big food' to control nature, and remove it from the people as a free resource, much as has been done with water and shelter

Asset grabbing by the 'good' force of western demohypocrisy

The failure of the medical community to HEAL THE DISEASE, they just write scripts for 'maintenance'

Suppression of the REAL alternative energies, not the deliberately debunked/buried 'free energy devices' but the real workable cold fusion processes and others...make no mistake, there has, for nearly 100 years now, been 'War on non-monopolisable technology'

No, I don't believe any political or mainstream organisation has the capacity or freedom to deal with the real issues

Besides, any time a political organisation is close to power, the hidden controllers take them over anyway

Time to wake up from the societal dream

  • 26.
  • At 01:34 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Barry wrote:

Surely the Greens are more important than ever? Even if they're not exactly in national power, surely a lot of the "progress" of the other parties is due to forces "to the left" (or maybe "ahead") of them, keeping them honest. In this sense the Greens will always have a role.

But to fair to them they have more elected politicians than ever before so maybe people are turning away increasingly from the charade of The Big Three.

  • 27.
  • At 01:34 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Herbert Vaughan wrote:

As a former member of the Green Party,
I am disappointed in the dominance of the two major parties, which have nothing new and worthwhile to offer in the present disastrous wprld situation. I have turned my efforts to support progressive candites regardless of party, but this usually means supporting the Democrat.

Yes, I was a member of the Green Party for 14 years.

The Greens have tried to reinvent how the economy should work, not wanting to simply say that we will have to do much less of the things we like and that means being much poorer. They couldn't think of a clear alternative while I was a member, and they still haven't. That they have socialists, moderates and anarchists among them all pulling in different directions, doesn't help.

Contrast this with the Lib Dems entirely practical Green Tax Switch policy. They might say it doesn't go far enough; but I am not as pessimistic as I used to be. If my pessimism on joining the Greens in 1987 had been correct, disaster would have happened already.

Because of this, and because of disagreements with the Greens on issues such as Animal Rights, Science, and Trade, I am not supporting the Lib Dems.

  • 29.
  • At 01:42 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Douglas wrote:

Whist the main three political parties have stolen the issues of the Green Party, but as time moves on new issues arrise.

However, for their sympathisers to campaign in the main parties would be more relevant and effective. The Green Party would then become a talking shop and since many of the remaining issues are not held unanamously this would be the forum to debate such matters.

But to pose as a future party who could hold power is a sham.

  • 30.
  • At 01:42 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Dr John Murphy wrote:

With green agendae fast becoming incresingly important, it is useful to note that the more established patries are taking these on board but we need a reminder of their importance now and then.

  • 31.
  • At 01:43 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • MICK FENNER. wrote:

I have never voted for The Green Party but think they should carry on if only to keep the rest of us on our toes with reference as to what is green, this is not always easy to understand what is the best way so as to help all.

  • 32.
  • At 01:54 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • John wrote:

Get yourseleves up to Scotland where the Scottish Green party have worked hard in the Parliament for the last 4 years and are a good bet in anyone's composition for the next Scottish Executive after May 2007.

The 2 Green MEPs in England are doing a pretty good job too.

  • 33.
  • At 01:58 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Benny wrote:

If any of the three main parties really had stolen the Green Party's policies it would be a cause for celebration. But the reality is that all the main parties stand for business as usual and the same old policies that have been causing the environmental meltdown in the first place. The fact that they wrap it all up in a thin veneer of greenness in no way makes them the political equivalent of the Greens.

What the main parties can't come to terms with is the fact that true sustainability requires a holistic vision encompassing economic progress, environmental protection and social justice. And until they do so, there will remain a vital role for the Greens in UK, European and devolved politics.

  • 34.
  • At 02:07 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Sue Paskins wrote:

I beleive that the other parties are only taking on "green issues" because they are scared that the electorate will actually vote into power the Green Party. they (the other parties) talk about green issues but the only party committed to them is The Green Party. Tony Blair didn't even consider green issues in his last general election campaign!

  • 35.
  • At 02:08 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Wood wrote:

The Green Party. Simply this.

Without the Greens the other 3 parties would have no interest in our environment: They are a pressure group.

We continually forget the power of these kinds of groups. Their passion and focus tends to start with ordinary people. People who live, rest and work on our planet.

They are inherently important to how our society works. They have given us many wake up calls.

  • 36.
  • At 02:17 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Page wrote:

The Green Party is the Original party for the welfare of Human Beings,the Environment,and Animals on this Planet.I do not believe for one minute any of the other parties would stick to Green Party policies, so then if you wish to vote for Green issues, vote for the Green Party.The Green Party policies have remained the same for years, and do not change to people's whims or to score points in politics.

The other parties are just mimics and any Green Party policy would not be sustained by them.This is political spin, that would not fool anyone who has real concerns about this planet.It is capitilist ways that are ruing our Planet, something the Green Party cannot be accused of.

The green Party is the party of the future, for those who really want to preserve this Planet for our next generations to come.

Tim Page

Founder of The Chronic Crohns Campaign UK.Supporter to the Wealden Green Party.

  • 37.
  • At 02:17 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Philip Bramford wrote:

If all they do is to persuade the other parties to adopt green policies then they are worth their weight in gold. If green issues are not very rapidly and effectively dealt with then all the other parties will soon be history as it becomes obvious to all but those feathering their nests that immediate and massive action is required and will not be provided by the main parties.

  • 38.
  • At 02:18 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Raphael Levy wrote:

I agree with many of the previous posts that the BBC News premises on the question are totally dishonest. You should be asking "With global warming becoming one of the most important political question, how it is that the one party who has been thinking and campaigning on these issues for years, that is the Green Party, has so little representation in the media?" Everyday new scientific insights demonstrate that urgent action is required regarding global warming and the three main parties are still just doing hand waving on these questions.

I have just joined the Green Party and one of the many reasons I did so has nothing to do with environmental policies but with the fact that it is a party which consider citizens as intelligent people instead of campaigning on fears and shocking pictures.

  • 39.
  • At 02:23 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Candy Spillard wrote:

They have not stolen the Green party's clothes! They have just borrowed some cheap immitations, probably until the day after the next election...

  • 40.
  • At 02:27 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

Good question. Single issue politics are inherently dangerous. Perhaps if - like Mr.Gyurcsany in Hungary - some of our leaders were to admit that they have being lying to us for years, some of us my be persuaded back into the mainstream.

  • 41.
  • At 02:32 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • mattcitizen wrote:

It's a bit absurd to suggest that the major parties have "stolen the issues/clothes" of the Green Party. This party doesn't own the issue of the environment you know! Of course, every political party in the 21st century is going to have to confront and formulate policy on environmental issues, so to suggest the tail is wagging the dog is nonsense in this case.

Were there no Green Party at all, it wouldn't make a jot of difference, as there are a range of lobby groups and other NGOs who influence public policy more effectively than the Greens are currently able.

I do hope, however, that they get their act together and begin to gain some influence in this country. Can't see much sign of that just now though.

  • 42.
  • At 02:32 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Katie Lysons wrote:

Green party politics have always played a large part in advancing the interests of labor, human rights, peace, social justice and the environment. These have been major issues in developing countries for a long time. It is only now that "green" issues are being thrust upon other party's agendas as a result of the realisation that in developed countries some of our rights are now about to be affected. We're scared about huge hikes in oil and gas prices. We're scared about a failing public health system. We're concerned about pollution levels causing increased levels of allergies in our children. So we've begun to take notice.

Green politics may not sometimes work too well work without a "left critique of capitalism, both in terms of the dependence on the destruction of natural resources base and its exploitation of
workers. Moving to a sustainable economy necessarily requires a radical shift away from a
growth economy, and all that entails, to a steady state economy where the aggregate throughput of natural recourses is within the limits of the ecosystem."

Difficult to have and to achieve that vision when you live, work and play in a country like the UK, but it is important that the Green Party is there moderately and sensibly sending this consistent message out to us.

I'm a member of the Green Party; and morally and ethically I don't think I could ever change.

  • 43.
  • At 02:33 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • sven wrote:

The point of the Green party is to continue to drive mainstream politics towards a sustainable future. The other parties will not do this without the Greens putting their perspective on the table for consideration. Is there a future for the Greens? Emphatically, yes! Every election, local or General, the Green vote grows. Last year, Brighton Pavilion candidate, Keith Taylor, polled over 20% of the vote, was a few votes short of beating the tories into 2nd place and seriously worried the Labour party, to the extent that David Lepper, Labour MP in the ward is standing down at the next election to avoid being the first MP to lose his seat to a Green. The future of the Greens is bright, the rest can carry on playing catch up in policies if not in votes.

As an active member of the Green Party, I am pleased to see that this question is being ably addressed by many of your contributors already.

Of course, there is no inconsistency in the claims: (1) that we represent a serious political option on the ballot paper - with Green candidates increasingly getting elected, especially on proportional voting; and (2) that we can be instrumental in helping to shift political consciousness towards the radical solutions that so urgently need to implemented TODAY.

However, let there be no doubt that our raison d'etre is social and environmental change through POLITICAL REPRESENTATION. Whilst some political parties have got busy rebranding themselves as the latest green activist - marrying environmentalism with wealth creation, if Cameron is to be believed - the Green Party has been winning the electorate over with its radical vision year on year.

Isn't political action on green policies (such as carbon trading) more likely to come from the original advocates than from Johnny-come-lately imitators with their bolt-on additions?

Perhaps one of the reasons why the Green Party is growing at the rate at which it does - not as fast as many of us in the Party would like - is precisely because we do not tailor our policies to suit the news of the day. Yet this is precisely what makes Green politicans true to their ideals - whilst the mismatch between true belief and quotables for public consumption has rarely been greater amongst the mainstream parites.

As I write, Green members (and I shall be joining them later) are debating Party motions at national conference in Brighton.

We thank Newsnight for raising this important question about our vital role in British politics in the twenty-first century.

  • 45.
  • At 02:40 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • hilary bennett wrote:

The Green Party being a one issue party (althoug a wide one) are really more of a pressure group than a party. I am sure that Green Party members would agree that it would be nice if they were not necessary but it is because of Green Party pressure that the main parties have had to sit up and listen. Let the Green Party be elected - and save the world from distruction, then it can disband and leave the rest to their petty squabbling.

  • 46.
  • At 02:42 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Royston Morgan wrote:

Yes we need a Green Party.
Ultra Green, to drive the environment constituency and leave someting to those who come after us.

  • 47.
  • At 02:47 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Graham wrote:

Why do people think the Greens are left-wing ?
They certainly don't want to support the interests of ordinary working-people like me.
* They oppose Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, which have been really effective in cutting mindless vandalism and crime in our area
* They're soft on drugs, which have destroyed the lives of many of our children and grandchildren. (Do they still make money out of selling drug testing-kits?)
* They want to close all the airports, so I can't have the holiday abroad for which I've worked and saved all year

  • 48.
  • At 02:53 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Shaiya Baer wrote:

I am a Yank living in the US. The reality of the situation in the US is that we do not have a vibrant Green Party. The Democrats show minimal concern for the environment and the Republicans, for the most part, are more concerned about the polluting rights of big business. A Green Party, even if it does not procure leadership, can serve as an ombudsman for environmental action and force the LP and Tories to stay on the enviromental track.

If some of the Greens' platform has been usurped by other parties that is only indicative of its success. I would say the Greens need to retool and figure out how they can stay relevant in the mind of the public. Sadly, much of it is public relations.

  • 49.
  • At 02:53 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Anthony wrote:

In Hove with a labour majority of only 300 and the green party which took 2500 votes (a pattern I would say occurs in a lot of marginal seats). If the labour party continues to pay lib service to green issues they may will come a cropper at the next election. Especially if the green vote defects to the conservatives. This way the green party is hugely influental in areas where votes are marginal and the green vote could be swayed to go for a party with the best green credentials. Why do you think the conservatives have got a tree as the party symbol?

  • 50.
  • At 03:12 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • J Deane wrote:

Perhaps Newsnight could do some historical evaluation here. Take the political manifestoes of each of the political parties for the 1983 General Election for example. The Green Party manifesto for that election convinced me to join the party and, while I no longer have a copy, I continue to believe that it had an infinitely stronger analysis of the long term challenges (transport, energy, economy, education etc) facing this country and planet than any of the others. I have left the party long since, but know that it has taken the main parties 20 years to get to the place the Greens were at then. Any discussion of its future relevance needs to be rooted in a real understanding of its past. It's a massive tragedy that the electoral system and the media made it so difficult to make those arguments more forcefully then. I may not be a member any longer but - provided there isn't a Gore-Nader scenario - I remain very glad the kind of radical voices represented by Caroline Lucas and her colleagues are still there.

  • 51.
  • At 03:24 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Michael McNab wrote:

It really does take an astonishing lack of interest in politics to believe that the Greens are a "single-issue" party. How could they be, when Greens are the only party that realise that policies are interconnected?

As well as being the only ones for whom environmental issues are more than a zeitgeisty photo opportunity, the Greens in the Scottish Parliament have shown that we need them in other areas, too.

- It was a Green who first proposed civil partnerships at Holyrood, though the Executive killed his proposal and replaced it with their own watered-down version.

- It was Greens who inflicted a very rare defeat on the Executive, succeeding in their motion to use devolved powers to curb some of the worst excesses of expected Westminster-imposed ID card. The Liberal Democrats did not back the motion.

- It was Greens who, while the Socialist Party were getting themselves banned form Parliament, responded to the G8 by holding an influential conference to re-assess how we measure the economy, exposing the deficiencies of GDP and calling for an economic strategy that actually delivers quality of life.

I could go on but, quite frankly, I doubt anyone has the time on their hands to read the full list of vital interventions by Greens in what might be called non-traditional areas. It is a very long time since Green politics were single issue.

  • 52.
  • At 03:34 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Nathaniel B. Carter wrote:

There shold be sufficient reason for which Green party exist. and if that is done, then we will usher the Green party for future participation.

BIG CLUES = Ascended Masters. Robin Hood .......... et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
And insert the word "Faux" and "CHarlatans" before BOTH those sectors.

Sian Jones.

  • 54.
  • At 03:41 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Steve Burgess wrote:

Until there is no waste and pollution, until there are no species being driven to extinction, until rainforests are protected, until the World's land seas and skies are free from pollution and climate change chaos is averted, whilst there is inequality and discrimination in society and people have poor quality of life, whilst there are wars over oil and a democratic deficit in this country there will always be a Green Party.

  • 55.
  • At 03:56 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Sarah wrote:

There is still a lot of point to "a" Green Party - don't confuse Tony Blair's devastating line in rhetoric on climate change with him actually doing anything - carbon emissions are higger now than they were when he came to power.

However I don't think the Greens can take much credit for the new found interest in the subject. They have failed to become an effective voice for change, and are now confused between welcoming the movement of the grey parties, and calling it all meaningless greenwash.

  • 56.
  • At 04:13 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Adam Ramsay wrote:

Frankly this is a ridiculous question, and I'm shocked that Newsnight is framing this debate at all.

When the Tories first accepted that poverty is a problem, did people suggest the Labour Party disband?

I'm from Scotland. The Scottish Green Party (which is a seperate party) has seven members of the Scottish Parliament, who have had a number of high profile successes on everything from ID cards (where Greens beat Labour) and the treatment of Asylum seekers to transport and housing. All of the Scottish Press, including the BBC, is talking seriously about Greens being in coalition Government up here after the elections last year. Is there still a point in the Green Party? YES. Now more than ever!

  • 57.
  • At 04:19 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Sylvia wrote:

The Green Party offers the most effective protest vote. As former Lib Dem Councillor I found that people who were unhappy with a planning or licensing decision would pay us back by voting, or threatening to vote, Green. Disgruntled constituents seldom threatened to vote Labour or Conservative. I took that to mean they were only mildly dissatisified.

  • 58.
  • At 04:22 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Luis Hortas Fraile wrote:


It is really a pity that those who intend to save the planet from global agression are prosecuted because of their ideals,and non violent acts trying to defend the environement,no matter in wich country.Nowadays Britain and its population face this problem as well as it did not relly exist,just the same as in other western nations.

  • 59.
  • At 04:23 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Stephen Watson wrote:

Have a look at the Green Party's core values here: to see where our hearts are.

Now look at and then look me in the eye and say that:

a) The Green Party is a single issue party
b) That the other 3 'main' parties have stolen or will ever steal the Green Party's clothes.

The substance of the MfSS has remained unchanged over 30 years - it's not a bolt-on!

  • 60.
  • At 04:36 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • pj wrote:

Yes of course there is a point. The point is to raise "Green" issues. They'll never be a party with any considerable support as most people see them as a purely a party of issues who would be unable to be an effective governement.
If they didn't raise the issues they do, then who would do it? For that reason they are a valid party.

  • 61.
  • At 04:38 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Noel Dobson wrote:

The Green Party is an irrelevance and after the Lib/Dems conference so will they be.
To propose a 6 X hike for car tax on a popular family size car instead of putting the emphasis on the fuel one uses and economical usage beggars belief. They will get their just rewards in the local elections. Probably become an endangered species along with their middle class thinking.

The Greens and Libertarians have a big part to play in USA Politics by removing the Old Guard of Republicans and Democrats and replacing them with Fresh Ideas and A Multiracial Multiethnic Govt.

Given that the Green Parties are gathering electoral momentum, with almost 100 local Councillors, 7 MSPs and 2 MEPs, it's clear that this skew towards environmental issues is actually to the Greens' benefit. The more people talk about green issues, the more people investigate Green Party policies and realise that they're way more than a single-issue pressure group.

Green politics are explicitly about much more than the environment, but approach the whole range of issues holistically, to ensure sane and sensible solutions that will benefit everyone and address inequality.

Even with the current greenwashing of the Big Three, no other political party can genuinely claim to have grasped the ideology behind Green politics.

  • 64.
  • At 05:22 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Miranda Dunn wrote:

I am a member of Barnet Green Party and the Green Party of England & Wales.

I will be protesting against the Blair Government's Foreign Policy and their destruction of the Welfare State at the Time To Go Demo this Saturday in Manchester.

The Point of Greens is to wake up the rest of you to the destruction of the Planet through Global Warming caused by over consumption by mankind; and stop people like Blair and Bush trashing it with Depleted Uranium when we need to look after and preserve natural resources like water and use our oil reserves wisely whilst we switch over to a sustainable lifestyle based on alternative energy like solar and wind power and organic farming methods which look after the soil and respect wildlife.

In other words the point of being Green is to Keep our Earth a beautiful place for all its life including ourselves.

  • 65.
  • At 05:40 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • geva blackett wrote:

Yes, what IS the point of the Greens... The only 'green' thing about them is their lack of knowledge about real conservation issues. They want to ban shooting: so who will manage the countryside at no cost to the taxpayer if they were to suceed?

Green is also the colour of envy...

  • 66.
  • At 05:40 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • G McGregor wrote:

The question starts from the wrong point. I joined the Green Party in May, and when I went along to the first weekly meeting, the members there took it in turns to introduce themselves and say a little about their views and their political involvement. The majority of members there, old and new, said that they were former Labour members or former Labour voters who had become disillusioned and found a new home in the Green Party. The question really ought to be: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  • 67.
  • At 05:42 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin Cranston wrote:

Of course the Green Party has a point.

It has a complete set of interconnected policies that support each other rather than the mish mash of ideas culled from focus groups that pass for policy in the other 3 serious parties.

Green Party policies are the product of principled and considered thought rather than a bit of cynical vote chasing, or reacting to todays headlines.

The other parties have not stolen their clothes merely borrowed a few environmental policies, probably until the next election when they will be abandoned.

It would be good if Newsnight were to ask the question the other way round. As all 3 large parties have basically the same policies as each other and are now beginning to poach some of the Green Party policies - do they have any point?

  • 68.
  • At 05:46 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Jean Hill wrote:

We do need a Green Party - I believe it's only because of pressure from the Greens that the other parties have attempted to steal our clothes, and I don't trust them to follow through in any cae.

A number of posters here are putting their faith in Lib Dem policies. I'd just suggest that they take a long, hard look at how the Lib Dems are doing environmentally in the local authorities where they have control.

  • 69.
  • At 06:08 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Nilavra wrote:

The Green Party will continue to do what it has always done - push political frontiers and advance ideas that later become the norm.

We're lucky to have them on our political landscape and owe them some gratitude for hammering on when others couldn't be bothered to listen.

  • 70.
  • At 07:13 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • David Nettleton wrote:

Until the motor car is eradicated from our town centres there will be a need for green politicians to expose the myth of the green car.

  • 71.
  • At 08:56 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Glenton Downs wrote:

Well done for giving the greens a forum , although some of the Green reactions seem to have taken your teaser question a little bit to heart. My impression is that the Green party seem to be more preoccupied with legalising Green weed than the wider environmental issues. They do not have to be the government to constitute a swing group in parliament, just a few seats in a hung parliament, just enough to block anti environmental legislation and motivate a few positive bills. Let the big geezers negotiate for their support on other issues. Hung parliament, proportional representation all of these would work well for the Greens, but they should develop a more serious focus first.

  • 72.
  • At 09:26 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Don Fraser wrote:

So the 3 main parties make a few noises about the environment to catch a few votes and suddenly the Green Party is irrelevant?

Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems all support globalisation, support massive over consumption, all bow down to the multi-nationals agenda, support big business over workers rights and none of them are ever going to upset or go against the Americans neo-liberal agenda.

The only ideas they have are to tinker around the edges whilst we head for catastophe.

Look at the Green party website and see how different we are.

If you want an alternative to the same old crap vote Green.

Don Fraser

  • 73.
  • At 09:43 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • David Burns wrote:

What a silly question! Do some basic research. The other parties are nothing like the Green Party. They are hopeless.

Only the Greens have the philosophical basis we need, and the harmonious policies to create and maintain security.

  • 74.
  • At 10:07 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

The Green Party are still the only party who actually fully understand the importance of environmental and animal protection by reflecting this in their policies.

  • 75.
  • At 10:08 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Chris Lilly wrote:

I left the Labour Party in 2003, joined the Greens, don't do much for them 'cos I'm all despondent and sulky, but find them HUGELY more convincing than any of the other parties. Labour is obviously out of the question, Hell has not yet frozen over so the Tories are no solution. Respect is full of Trots, Islamic fundamentalists, and George Galloway, none of them inviting comrades, and the SDP sorry the Liberals sorry the libdems are like the Green Party only without the integrity, and they aren't as nice. I was in the IWW once, but I think they went away when Woody Guthrie died. If they still exist, I might leave the Greens for them, Or Big Flame. What happened to Big Flame?


Chris Lilly

  • 76.
  • At 10:20 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Sue Blount wrote:

I have been a member of the Green Party since 1983, I am now an elected councillor. We need the Green Party because we need to put into action the policies that will alleviate the horrendous environmental problems we face. These policies will be implemented either because we elect Green Party members at all levels of government and they carry out what is necessary or we pressurise the other parties to take up truely Green policies (not the sticking plaster picking and choosing that they are doing at the moment) The only way to change the minds of other parties is to hit them where it hurts - the ballot box; pressure groups cannot do this. On a local level this has happened time and time again, if more people voted for us nationally then we'd have more of an effect. So come on! Just check on the Green Party web site if you still think we're a single issue party by the way!

  • 77.
  • At 10:34 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Brenda Enright wrote:

The lack of responses relevent to Scotland or Ireland shows how insular your correspondents are.

In both these countries, the Greens are a real prospect for Government.

Wake up! there is life outside of England and Wales.

Seems to me that the English Green party should form an alliance with the Torys in exchange for Tory support (withdrawl) from the one or two constituencies they are strond, and call for Greens to vote Tory outside these (very few) constituencies. Its their only chance.


  • 78.
  • At 10:43 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Terri Robson wrote:

I have never been a Green Party member but,I also think they should be in charge of the environment world wide,anything other than that is beyond their expertise.This is a group that still has some too far left radical ideas that would affect the economies of certain countries.

  • 79.
  • At 10:59 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Jillian Creasy wrote:

I am one of the two Green City Councillors in Sheffield and feel that we are the only ones who provide any genuine alternative to the ruling group and main opposition. Labour have just adopted an "Environmental Strategy" for the city, but are still intent on getting us a Supercasino and a New Retail Quarter, both of which depend on an oil-fuelled, high consumption economy. The Lib Dems support these initiatives (while complaining about the detail) and have fought alongside the Tories to keep Sheffield's City Airport. So much for their green clothes.

  • 80.
  • At 11:08 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Safwaan Zamakda wrote:

Another error by Martha Kearney! She said "see-mites" rather than "semites"!!!

  • 81.
  • At 11:14 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Matthew Hankins wrote:

Your report on the green party conference was rather uninformative about the parties actual policies and seemed to be mocking the party.

The fact that some of them have beards and hats and eat fruit for lunch was entirely irrelevent.

A good opportunity for a smaller, more radical party to have its ideas and policies aired was ruined by poor and snobby journalism.

  • 82.
  • At 11:19 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Dan wrote:

Slightly off the subject of this thread, but still on the 'green' issue:
How will a tax on aviation really benefit anyone but the government?
Instead the big-polluting companies should be forced to invest an amount of money into developing new fuels, and even new types of engines - the jet engine is getting a bit old.
side note; Imagine an electric engine powered by a nuclear fusion generator, OK we might not have perfected nuclear fusion, but we are on our way to a completly clean form of energy.

  • 83.
  • At 11:31 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Gordon Pye wrote:

If the Greens ever got into a position of real power its probable that Britain would become like a third world country within 5 years. Perhaps the green party is a new age middle class religion which you can pray to and absolve yourself of your environmental sins. What is the difference between the greens and Friends of the Earth ? It would appear that both of them want the lights to go out in 10 years.

  • 84.
  • At 01:07 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Alex Morison wrote:

I have always been labour, I had a boss who was elusive and remote until I promised to vote green. I tried to work with the notion that you can grow your own etc.. I voted green and then he had a second childhood with drugs etc..and beat up his wife and they took his family away from him.
The carrots went to bits.
Green blokes beware!

  • 85.
  • At 01:29 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Anne Gray wrote:

Yes, there is a lot of point to the Green Party. There may be many lobbyists for action on climate change, some more intelligent or more genuine than others. But what tipped me into joining the Greens is that it's the only party which also stands up for social justice, civil liberties and preservation of public services against privatisation. Not to mention withdrawal from Iraq !

And if other parties are trying to `steal' Green policies on preserving the planet, fine. Let's hope they soon steal some other Green policies as well.

  • 86.
  • At 08:10 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Jean Hill wrote:

Was it too much to expect that you should take the Green Party seriously?
Your Newsnight report last night on the Party Conferencewas a disgrace, though at least you admitted that you were only able to film as you did because the Party gave you free access.
Is it any wonder that that the major parties are so wary of you?

  • 87.
  • At 09:28 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Janet Alty wrote:

Politics is economics and economics is politics. The red-yellow-blue party has but one economic policy -- growth based on liberalisation, globalisation, and the rest. Cameron said he'd go green as long as it didn't affect growth. There you have it.

Only the Greens have the guts to look beyond growth, and only the Greens will be in any kind of position to deal with the economic crash which is inevitable in an oil-based growth economy when the oil gets too expensive. And don't forget, at the same time, climate catastrophe is waiting in the wings to wreak economic havoc too.

Our bin lorries say "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle" ; I doubt if anyone other than the Greens have the faintest idea what the economic impact of that wil be, but that is where we will have to go.

  • 88.
  • At 09:44 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Maya de Souza wrote:

The Green Party presents the only real alternative to the current consumerist growth based model.

The other parties may have added some environmental policies to their core policies - but that is what they are, just add-ons. It is a little like Virgin flying cheap flights across the Atlantic and then collecting some money to deal with the impact. Experts know that air transport at current levels is unsustainable and this is what needs to be dealt with.

In the same way, the Green Party looks at the core of our economic system which is based on growth and consumerism, and puts forward a set of policies and principles for living within the resources of our planet and which works towards our well-being. It does not simply try to deal at the margins with the impact.

Its policies are based on looking at what really contributes to well-being - recognising that people are social beings that benefit from social interaction and vibrant communities, who enjoy learning and creativity, who thrive in a beautiful environment and who require social justice and protection of our human rights. Green Party does not of course reject all growth as in some sectors it can be sustainable, but it seeks to move away from the idea that we measure our wealth from consumption - we are richer more complex beings!

The Green Party recognizes that without radical change the current system has too strong an incentive towards continued destructive growth and climate change.

The solutions it offers are not only a package of eco-taxes, a policy of contraction and convergence (with a recognition of the need for equity in our carbon emissions worldwide) and willingness to regulate (which the other parties now much too close to business shy away from) but also an emphasis on promoting a happier and more sustainable way of life.

The other parties are still too close to those with vested interests in promoting consumption and competition to offer a real alternative. The voices of individuals still struggle to be heard. Until we reform the system of funding our political parties, and until we have PR this will continue to be the case.

The Green Party and its thinking continues to play an important part in the political debate!

  • 89.
  • At 09:47 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Dennis Bury wrote:

The Green Party used to be called the Ecology Party - much better name from the point of view of distinguishing it from the other parties. Ecology is a central tenet and Socialism or Capital oriented economies are something really different.

  • 90.
  • At 09:48 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Simon Anthony wrote:

I joined the Young Conservatives because the name Conservative appealed to my ideals of conservation. It did not take me long to realise the word in the party name had nothing to do with the word in the environmental sense - so I left - and grew up.

It took me many more years before I put together the pieces of the world I saw in to a coherent whole - and longer yet to find that I was not the first person to do it - the Greens had been there long before me.

And so it is today. People join or support a political party until they see the party go against the views which drew them to it. At that point they have a choice, either to think again or to give up and just follow the flow. It is our human duty to think again - it is democracy - but it is our human nature to follow the flow that gives us an easy ride - at least as long as we keep our eyes closed.

In 1993 I stood as a Green for the parliamentary constituency of Rushcliffe. Had I not stood there would have been no party for me to vote for. I gave voters their democratic right to vote for a party of their choice by giving them a choice. There was no doubt who would win, but I hope I made the other candidates start to think.

Today, Ken Clarke is happy to say that he believes human action is at least in part the cause of admitted global warming. In 1993 he didn't. Had there not been a Green Party - had there not been a reason for a Green Party he would not have been forced to change his mind. I expect Ken would say he always thought it was true, but even if he did, he never did anything publicly about it - or we would not be in the mess we are in and can't easily get out of today.

After the election I took part in an audience television debate on the BBC, I think the topic was - 'Have you been betrayed by the Conservatives'. At the end of a heated afternoon I put my question " How can the Green Party get its policies heard, how can we be treated as a real party when the BBC ignores us. How long will it take?" John Sergent, the then leading political journalist for the BBC answered. He said it took the young Labour Party 60 years. I did not have the chance to reply that we don't have 60 years left because he had taken up the rest of the program answering me. He had taken the question very seriously.

Today, other parties have decided to state in public that they support Green concerns. In private however they have always known we were right. It has taken them this long to say anything publicly because they have been able to continue with the status quo - which supports them very well - until this point. By hiding the facts from the public the grey parties, industry, big business, the status quo have kept on doing business as usual up to the point where the realities which we warned them about decades ago stopped business being usual - forcing them to change. Only now do they admit in public what they must have always known in private.

These people are not stupid, Greens don't have the only clear vision of reality. Green though put our joint vested interests in the world environment before vested interests in businesses as usual. That's the difference.

That was the pithy point at which to stop this blog, but I have to continue. It is important to make it clear that Greens do not think that 'doing Business' is the problem, nor are the people who do it. For example, I love technology and live by and with it. Business and every day life does not have to change very much to have a very great change on the way it impacts the natural and man made environment. We can, must and shall do what the Greens have always said - because there is no choice.

Had the world listened when the problem was first noticed, then there would have been time and space for a gentle alteration of our habits over the last 40 or so years. During that time Greens have worked out what to do. The other parties have either just started thinking about the problem or are about to unleash massive packages of change which will astonish everyone and probably do more harm than good. We though have a simple set of steps, but all must be taken together, now, by all of us together, for all of us together. There is no time left for blame or recriminations, nor very much point - as long as we really do act now.

  • 91.
  • At 11:03 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Elinor wrote:

Actions speak louder than words. I can't see how the token "green" policies of the blues, reds and yellows can be resolved with their airport and road expansion plans, not to mention their neglect of useful public transport plans.

The Green Party is the only party which has realistic policies that will actually deliver on environmental issues.

There is also a whole host of sustainable social policies developed by the Green Party which deserve better coverage - it's not all tree hugging.

  • 92.
  • At 11:15 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Ian Mumford wrote:

I used to be a Labour Party member but moved to the Green Party. There is no democracy in the Labour Party, policies are just imposed from 10 Downing Street. Both Labour and now Conservative pretend to be Green when they are in opposition but as soon as they in power with a big majority that goes out of the window because they don't want to upset big business. Voting Green is no more a wasted vote then voting Labour in Rushcliffe (MP Ken Clarke) or Conservative in Glasgow.


  • 93.
  • At 11:50 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Jonathan Clatworthy wrote:

The other parties have policies about the environment, but they also have policies which do a lot of damage to the environment. For example, the Labour government is still facilitating increases in air and car transport.
The Green Party has a coherent set of policies, all of which start from the principle that we need to find ways to meet everybody's needs while protecting the environment.

  • 94.
  • At 11:50 AM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Craig wrote:

The better question is: "What is the point of political parties?" If you agree that their goal is to mainstream their policy agenda, then the Greens have been the most successful political party.

And until we have a sustainable world, we will always need the Greens to maintain the pressure, set the agenda and offer an alternative to voters unhappy with the progress being made in acheiving importnat social and environmental goals.

I will continue to vote Green. Not to do so is to become part of the problem - rather than being part of the solution.

  • 95.
  • At 04:34 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Beth hewis wrote:

I joined The Green Party 2 years ago and truly believe I have found 'my party'. Their policies make sense and it is clear that the other 3 parties are eager to copy policy but simply not strong enough to deliver them. They talk about climate change but rarely take proper action on it. Take the Lib Dems (my previous party) with their constant support of aviation expansion, motorway and road expansion (including the Newbury bypass) and their support of GM! The other parties have shown time and time again that their only allegiance is to big business. I am proud to be Green and proud to be out campaigning for them on a local level. They are making a difference. Shame on all you 26 Torys who didn't support the Green Party Sustainable Communities Resolution last night in Rushcliffe Borough Council, it really does sum up the all 'Green', all 'sustainable' David Cameron's Conservatives - leopards just simply don't change their spots.

  • 96.
  • At 06:35 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • L. BIR wrote:







  • 97.
  • At 06:53 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Neil Armstrongneilselbyarmstrong wrote:

There is even more need than ever for the the present & likely future conditions in every country especially in U.K. When do we get proportional representation?

  • 98.
  • At 06:53 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Neil Armstrongneilselbyarmstrong wrote:

Needed more than ever , but proportional Rep would help

  • 99.
  • At 07:41 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

I am grateful to Michael McNab for pointing out the error of my ways but, in a sense, he makes my point. When I refer to single issue politics, I am not refering specifically to the 'green' agenda. Nationalism is, in itself, a single issue. Perhaps, if the Scots stopped presuming to tell me how to live my life in Hampshire, I would be a little more sympathetic to his green agenda. He knows as well as I that the key to creating a new political climate is electoral reform. Without that, there will be no progress.

The first point of the Greens is to be the spiritual home of the repressed and puritanical luddites who are at the heart of the British nation. To the extent that the human race has problems it cannot solve with technology, we must simply adapt. But our Puritans can't bear such a positive viewpoint. They loathe pleasure and despise fun. Green-ery gives them an ideological basis to suppress them.

Regressing to our pre-industrial state (if the poor of the world were even prepared to give up their hopes for the future) would do nothing but create human misery on an unprecedented scale.

Climate change is real, but it is monumental arrogance to believe that our gnat-bite civilisation is causing it, or that we will ultimately leave any greater imprint on the Earth than the dinosaurs did.

The second point of the Greens is to fill the void left by the death of religion in Britain. Doom is threatened as punishment for our sins. That's a pretty good definition of religion, and the Green movement meets it.

The third point of the Greens is to give old Reds (whose ideology was exposed as a total, evil failure by the collapse of the Soviet Union) a new platform from which to denounce human nature and demand the right to deploy massive political force to change it. That's why so many Greens are watermelons, red on the inside.

  • 101.
  • At 10:12 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Andy D'Agorne wrote:

In spite of our electoral system the Greens now have nearly 100 councillors on principal authorities and are hughly influencial in the London and Scottish Assemblies. It is largely thanks to European Greens including our two English MEPs that the EU has forced us to put in place actions to tackle issues such as waste, coastal pollution, acid rain etc.

What has happened now is that the big players have realised that they have to start to react to climate change, but they havent begun to recognise that to stand any chance of averting the worst effects their whole world outlook must change - economic growth has to be replaced with a rapid managed decent to low carbon. Without this we risk a downward spiral worse than the fall of the Roman Empire as the likes of the US desperately tries to hang on to its oil fix regardless of the social and environmental consequences. Potentially if we all made dramatic change like people were forced to do in 1939 we can ration what we can safely continue to burn in a civilised manner and quickly adapt our way of life so that sea level rises and climate change is not as catastrophic as it might otherwise be. Only the Green Party has the blueprint to achieve this- we have been working on it for about 30 years longer than the other parties!

  • 102.
  • At 10:19 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • PeterL wrote:

The point of the Green Party is clear. First, they keep the really key issues that face the human race on political agenda. Why are the other parties wearing some green clothes now? Because they realise the Green Party and are afraid that people will start voting for them in droves unless they can succeed in placing themselves closer to them. Second, they give voters a serious alternative in the event that the other 3 main parties fail to adopt strong policies to back up their new green clothes. And frankly, that seems very likely. So far, we have only heard words from the other 3 parties and no serious action. The Green Party has the advantage that it has been discussing climate change and sustainable living and developing approriate policies for more than 20 years. They have thought it all through and have very good ideas on what to do about it. the other parties are only just beginning to take it seriously and are probably realising that policies that will seriously tackle climate change are not compatible with their other policies, so they don't now know what to do. I for one hope that the Green Party gets stronger and stronger. Or alternatively that one or more of the other parties becomes seriously green - not just in word but in deed. We certainly still need the Green Party.

As long as other parties still believe that saving the planet can be reconciled with economic growth, there will continue to be a strong role for the Green Party to play.

If we want to see decisive action on issues like climate change we need greens elected NOW. However, even if the electoral system works against this, it is still vital to have the Green Party on the ballot in order to force other parties to pay attention to the growing number of Green voters.

Comment 103 is wonderfully revealing, isn't it? Greens are not usually quite so honest about their opposition to economic growth. The poor of the world will be ecstatic at the idea of being poor for ever. The rich of the world will be delighted at increasing pressures to "share" (i.e. give away) their wealth in order to mitigate the hardship caused by no growth policies. We will all - I am sure - look forward to our short and brutal lives around the Green campfire.

I also love the "...if the electoral system works against this..." euphemism for "if voters don't want us".

  • 105.
  • At 02:07 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Frost wrote:

Poster 104 calls himself "Tom Paine". What an insult to a great radical who opposed the establishment. This insulter is a climate change denier (these days on a par with a flat-earther)prone to accuse anyone questioning the current economic status quo of being a Luddite.
For the record the Green Party is pro-technology, where that technology is useful and does not threaten continued planetary survival - we need rapid development and deployment of renewable energy and transport technology, for example.
The red-baiting comments of not-Tom-Paine are also indicative that what we have here is one of those conspiracy theorist far rightists who see everyone even slightly left of centre as a stalinist monster. As for growth, we need Green growth, particularly in the developing countries, so that people can achieve decent living standards without destroying the planet. And yes, this might involve some challenge to the obscene riches of the fat cats and billionaires who rule the West and own much of its media.
It is those who deny climate change and think we can go on with business as usual who will condemn both the developed and developing worlds to social and economic collapse, not those, like the Greens,
who are seeking more sustainable economic arrangements.

  • 106.
  • At 02:42 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • kate wrote:

i used to be a green party member. i left after they ignored my repeated requests that they correspond with me via email or possibly the occasional letter, rather than bi-weekly A4-enveloped single-sheet letters from about 6 different local and regional committees and campaigns, as well as vast quantities of bumpf from head office of course.
if they can't get right something so basic as not wasting paper unnecessarily then they really must be a useless shower!

Not sure quite when you were a GP member, but I've been a member for 5 years and have never been inundated with the amount of mail you claim to have been - 4 Green World magazines a year (printed on recycled paper and which can be passed on to someone else to read afterwards), local party bulletins every 2 months (1 piece of A4 recycled paper printed on both sides and in a small recycled paper envelope) and the occasional fund-raising letter around election time (we don't take loans/donations from big business). The vast majority of correspondence and discussion is now done by e-mail on discussion lists that members can sign up to if they want. Oh, and my local party ALWAYS prints ward newsletters on recycled paper.

We have a very small paid staff (2 or 3 people) with the rest done by volunteers. Admin mistakes do happen, but I wish you'd persevered and given us a chance as we offer a radical alternative to the big 3 parties. Maybe you joined around an election time when there probably was a bit more post?

Not sure quite when you were a GP member, but I've been a member for 5 years and have never been inundated with the amount of mail you claim to have been - 4 Green World magazines a year (printed on recycled paper and which can be passed on to someone else to read afterwards), local party bulletins every 2 months (1 piece of A4 recycled paper printed on both sides and in a small recycled paper envelope) and the occasional fund-raising letter around election time (we don't take loans/donations from big business). The vast majority of correspondence and discussion is now done by e-mail on discussion lists that members can sign up to if they want. Oh, and my local party ALWAYS prints ward newsletters on recycled paper.

We have a very small paid staff (2 or 3 people) with the rest done by volunteers. Admin mistakes do happen, but I wish you'd persevered and given us a chance as we offer a radical alternative to the big 3 parties. Maybe you joined around an election time when there probably was a bit more post?

I loved Paul Frost's abusive outburst in post 105. The original Tom Paine was indeed an outspoken radical, not at all like the priggish and reactionary Greens.

As Professor Bjørn Lomborg points out in his "Skeptical Environmentalist", Green ideology has now taken on many of the attributes of a religion. To oppose it, even to question the ever-evolving details of the creed is to provoke the hysterical reaction of the fundamentalist to "heresy".

Post 105 is just another example of that.

The human race has risen (and may yet fall) during what is, in the Earth's own terms, a short interglacial interval. Even during the short time we have been noticing our surroundings, we have seen a wide range of climate change - vineyards in the North in Roman times, ice fairs on the Thames in Dickens' day - to which we certainly did not contribute. The fossil record shows a great deal more climate change than that - all without the aid of humanity.

We are vain creatures, constantly overstating our significance in the Cosmos - remember the fuss when a "heretic" first postulated that the Earth (and by extension humanity) was not the centre of the Universe?

The Earth will be here, populated by something or other, long after we are gone, long after our successors (better adapted to the conditions of their time) have gone. The Earth will meet its own destiny without input from us.

Greens are therefore quite as primitive and as vain in their beliefs as the people of the Incas who believed their prayers raised the Sun every morning. There is, in truth, no point to them at all, save for the harmless amusement they provide to Jeremy Clarkson and the constant supply of excuses for "good" taxation they provide to our rulers.

  • 110.
  • At 12:37 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • John wrote:

I was a member of Greenpeace for many years but not the Ecology or Green parties. I broke with the Green movement at the time of Brent Spar because they were objectively in the wrong, but a feeling had been building for years. There was a type of member, anarchist hippy punk, who seemed determined to alienate ordinary people. They loathed "straight" society with a passion that totally contradicted their claim of tolerance. I did start to feel that I was an apostate - the above comments about religion are right.

Now they are campaigning against the only viable low CO2 technology that can make a significant difference - switching to nuclear. This is bizarre - if disaster is imminent then we need to switch now, not wait to see if investment in new technology brings up results. The logical position is to research new technologies whilst we reduce CO2 using nuclear - if new technologies work, then we phase out nuclear. I wouldn't mind if they were consistent but most Greens I meet now, privately have no objections to Iran getting nuclear power.

Consistency - would that be not letting Iran develop nuclear power/bombs but thinking it's ok that we have them?! I don't want Iran to have nuclear power or weapons anymore than I want any other country to have them, but it's surely sheer hypocrisy to threaten to attack them for doing what we have already done, innit?!

As for nuclear power - it's not the short term fix - it will take years to get nuclear stations up and running, we could get a solar panel/mini-wind turbine on every roof in the country before then if the political will was only there. Fuel poverty would be reduced and we wouldn't have to spend billions on storing waste for thousands of years afterwards. You also have to factor in the considerable amount of carbon used in extracting the uranium in the first place and transporting it across the world when calculating how low carbon nuclear power is.

  • 112.
  • At 10:43 AM on 27 Sep 2006,
  • Ronners wrote:

Greenery is an ersatz religion, pure and simple. Fundamentally intolerant and shirty of the slightest challenge, its rise seems to me, to be a weird side effect of us having nothing better to worry about. Still it gives something to do, to all those 'prefecty' types, who in previous generations would have been joining communist or fascist partys or going around bible bashing. Society needs an outlet for the 'naturally' (forgive the pun) bossy and self-righteous and the Greens provide, I suppose, a fairly mild conduit for this.

I was a member when I was sixteen, back then we were called the Ecology Party, and I joined because they told me that in 25 years the world would run out of oil completely. Happily capitalism found more!

Greens also belong to a strain of romantic/arcadian thinking that goes back a long way in Britain, rooted in a fear of change and ultimately, ofcourse, death. While with them it manifests in a seemingly left wing form, it is in the final analysis profoundly reactionary and in some of its forms, even anti human.

Intrigued that we appear to be an ersatz religion! Reason I'm a member of the green party is that I see a need to shift our economy from growth (in amount of non-renewable energy and materials used) to a steady state economy. If we were clever and organised our energy supply, we could even increase our use of materials by powering their recycling. I think that capitalism might do this - suitably regulated and incentivised. A bit of state corporatism might be needed to help to fund a new hydrogen gas network (I'm old enough to remember natural gas arriving). And to manage this change in the way we do business we need a socially just society so folk accept the odd inconvenience along the way, and more importantly because it is right so to do.

You can read some of what the green party thinks at but remember we are a democratic party so what you read does not equal party policy.

  • 114.
  • At 11:15 AM on 28 Sep 2006,
  • Earl Bramley-Howard wrote:

It would appear that plenty of people still want to suggest that the Green Party is made up of Guardian reading hippies (when in fact this is not the case at all) or that a Green vote is a useless wasted vote (when clearly they have changed the face of British politics). In my opinion neither of these is true.
The Green Party has taken votes AWAY from all the other parties in greater and greater numbers and so they have now ALL decided they want the Green crown. Considering they all have rubbished the Green movement at some point or another, it's a little ironic that they all now want to be SEEN to be Green (but let's face it not ACTUALLY Green). This was highlighted by Cameron's visit to the glaciers earlier this year which simply ADDED to the problem in that delicate environment and was a cynical attempt to be seen to be Green. Nothing could be further from the truth as his trip simply ADDED to the problem!
Likewise all the other parties would like to be seen to be Green, because they know it's a VOTE WINNER! How can anyone say they are an inconsequential Party when clearly all the other parties want those votes? If it was such a small number of votes they wouldn't bother at all!
The fact is that the Labour party took LONGER to reach this sort of popularity and the Greens have actually grown FASTER than the early Old-Labour party (which of course was NOT the party we see today)!
It would also appear that the Green Party is the only party left that still has a socialist leaning and I would hazard a guess that over the next decade or so, more and more old-Labour supporters will join them.
Time will tell, one has to hope it won't be too late to make a difference and if anything the urgency to vote Green is getting stronger by the day as the planet warms up!

  • 115.
  • At 01:25 PM on 30 Sep 2006,
  • Ricky Knight wrote:

Well, having struggled through all those words of cynicism, vitriol, scorn, advice and special pleading, I s'pose it's "welcome to the Voice of Ingerland". The topic alone is spurious enough to set the tone, courtesy the received wisdom of the status quo: "What's the point of the Green Party?" Rhetoric notwithstanding, there has NEVER been any greater relevance for having a Green Party - the three major parties fall over themselves to prove their green credentials and in so doing, borrow all the GP's policies and in the same breath they villify the Greens for being impossibly impractical, unelectable and ineffectual. If the UK had introduced the same electoral system as we imposed upon West Germany in 1948, the Green Party would be pushing the Lib-Dems for third place, of that I'm certain. The time for the Greens will come, inevitably, but one writer is correct- that time may come too late.

Ricky Knight (115), what do you mean by "the voice of Ingerland" except to sneer at those you disagree with? There, in one lip-curling phrase, is the sanctimony and condescension that makes the Greens so utterly insufferable.

  • 117.
  • At 03:58 AM on 01 Oct 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

I used to be a Green Party supporter, but looking more closely its rationale seems to be less to save the planet - valuable though it is as a pressure group - than to be a sort of life support mechanism for the far left. I think the party's policies are realistic including a rolling back of market forces, but I simply don't buy dogmatic eco-Marxist arguments that you have to sign up to the ragbag theology of "anti-capitalism" and admire dodgy Latin American populists like Hugo Chavez to be Green. I doubt I will vote Green again, especially if the so-called Green Left takes over the party, as seems to be happening to judge from what information is on the net.

  • 118.
  • At 02:38 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Karl Macnaughton wrote:

The three main parties may claim to have 'gone green' (to varying extents) but this is all 'greenwash'.
Also, the Green Party has a _full_ manifesto; it is not a 'one policy' party.

Labour have little to offer by way of solution to some of the problems other than nuclear power (_certainly_ not a Green Party policy!)

The Liberal Democrats support CO2 emission reduction in principle and yet support massive airport expansion the length of the country (as do the other two parties)

And the Conservative's attempts to marry big business with a green agenda are doomed to failure as the two ideologies are completely incompatible (as evidenced by some of Boris Johnson's recent rhetoric).

The only party that puts social justice, peace, sustainable living and the continued habitability of planet Earth at the core of its existence is the Green Party and for this reason it is more relevant than ever and more relevant to today's society than any of the other parties. It is vital that the party be taken seriously.

  • 119.
  • At 07:14 PM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • Miles Douglas wrote:

The failure of the Green Party to make a 'historic breakthrough' stems partly from the electoral system, but mainly from the party's insistence on remaining on the left. This clinging to twentieth century dogmas ghetoises ecological issues and retards the development of an alternative approach to politics, based on quality of life rather than unrestrained growth and human responsibilities to balance human rights. The Green Party would attract genuine interest - and be a serious challenge to Cameron - if it abandoned the left.

  • 120.
  • At 02:50 PM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • Mike Scorer wrote:

* 9.
* At 01:14 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
* Michael Shields wrote:

Closet socialists - a waste of space. Their views are totally over the top and would take us back to the stone age. If they were serious about global warming they would and should support nuclear power generation

There are many other renewable, realalistic and eco-friendly (even more so then nuclear)ways of generating power. One being hemp, if it was legal that (under Green Party it would be).
Its so cost effective and eco-friendley Mr Ford himself recognised the potential in hemp fuel /bio fuel and made a hemp fuled car.

  • 121.
  • At 06:20 AM on 17 Apr 2007,
  • Richard Crowley wrote:

It's always a good idea, before an election, to take a walk around your neighbourhood and look at who is voting for The Green Party; in my little town a typical 'green' voter lives in a big house, has the front garden concreted over with a big car, couple of 4x4s and a camper van parked on it - very eco-friendly

  • 122.
  • At 07:40 PM on 28 May 2007,
  • Earl Bramley-Howard wrote:

Greens come from all walks of life, like every political party. Indeed many may come to understand what it is to be Green after a life of consumerism.
To suggest that all or most Greens drive 4X4s and live in big houses is not only wrong but would appear to be deliberately misleading.
If one was to take a cross section from all the parties, I hardly think Greens would come out on top of the big car or 4x4 brigade.
However, Mr Cameron's turquoise Tories would fit that assesment quite well.

  • 123.
  • At 03:17 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Zoe Polando wrote:

I think that it is very unfair to say that the greens are, what was the term, being left behind. They may not be as promonent as the other parties, but they still have their own place chizled out for them. It may not always be the greens that fill that space, but I think that their will always be a party that wil be aware of the inviromental issues of the world. And I hope that their will always be someone, if not a political party, that will be trying to heal the wounds which we have delt the earth.

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