This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Not Joining the Greens after all - Mea Culpa !

Hi All,

Well the Progressive Politics blog isn't dead after all !

It is fair to say that the Green Party does have some impressive figures elected to public office, most especially the persuasive and media-friendly Caroline Lucas. I rather like Jean Lambert and Peter Tatchell too. However, it is also fair to say that the local Greens and I are as unimpressed with other as could be. I'll leave it at that. I'm not in the business of personalising differences.

In short, the Euro elections are a difficult time always for me to be a Lib Dem. The ALDE group is from my standpoint fairly rightwing and the stance the Lib Dems take on the EU is not one I agree with. There seems to me little that is very open, accountable or democratic about this centralising monolith that takes power ever further away from communities. I very much struggle with the idea of voting LD at Euro elections. The Euro critical stance of the Greens does resonate more with me.

Mostly in politics it is unusual to take stock and to question where you are at politically at any given time. It is true (in the conventionally accepted use of the term) than I am to the 'left' of most Lib Dems. It is also true on a number of lifestyle issues such as restricting alcohol sales by use of minimum sales values that I can find myself in agreement with more libertarian minded friends. I'm not keen on banning or restricting things from consenting and informed adults, with the exception of the sport of hunting. After all who can speak for the sentient beings being hunted to exhaustion and savaged by wild dogs ?! Anyway I digress ! To this end, I got supportive messages to stay in the LD fold from individuals who (on economic issues at least) are at the other end of the Liberal spectrum from me. If only some of the debates online were mirrored in 'real life' local parties the Lib Dems might have a clearer and consistent ideological approach.

In short, the 'time away' has made me realise that philosophically and policy wise there is much I can agree with the Lib Dems on. Locally my perception of the Greens is of a middle class bunch of idealists, who appear **to me** politically naive and whose intervention into Torbay politics is likely to give the Tories a political kiss of life in the bay. The idea that my actions might make the election of the ludicrous Tory PPC (Marcus Wood) any easier and that a first rate Lib Dem MP (Adrian Sanders)would be ousted by such is not a political project I can sign up to. In terms of effectiveness I'm not sure as to what level the potential leaders of the soon to be formed Torbay Green Party actually understand of existing GP policy, as opposed to their desire to 'do something' for the environment.

Speaking of the MfSS, the Green Party policy document,lets just say there are aspects of it that are not very 'left' and certainly not very liberal. Yes I know some of you warned me, but there you go. Mea Culpa ! I got it wrong ! This restless radical is always looking and assessing ideas, sometimes you embrace new ideas and sometimes one makes politically disastrous choices.

Now it is true that I am not a party tribalist. I value politics that seeks greater inclusivity, strives for greater economic, social and environmental justice. I value (in theory and practice) liberal as opposed to authoritarian 'top-down' politics. Of course, these means I have common areas of both agreement and dissent with those from traditional Labour, the Greens, the continuing Liberals and the Lib Dems. The latter, to their credit, have previously been fairly accommodating politically of my political contrariness !

So with the August deadline approaching for payment of subs to the Greens to validate membership I chose not to engage further with that party. Their progress in the bay and wider South Devon will be interesting to watch. Naturally some Greens will say 'what a tosser' (!) and Lib Dems may now be wary of me, so for the time being I remain outside of the party, but open to re-engagement with it. In the interim, I'm getting my tin hat ready to face the political flak :-(