Greens offer hand of friendship to Labour following Jeremy Corbyn landslide
Following Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory today in the Labour leadership election, in which he won in the first round of voting with over 59% (a greater margin of victory than achieved by Blair in 1994), leading figures within the Green Party have offered their congratulations to Corbyn’s campaign—as well as a hand of friendship to work together with Labour to fight for progressive politics throughout the UK.
In her response to Corbyn’s victory, Green MP Caroline Lucas said:
Jeremy’s success in this contest is a real boost for progressive politics. For the first time in my memory Labour will be led by someone who stands up for the radical changes demanded by the challenges we face.
I am looking forward to working with Jeremy to provide a concerted and strong opposition to this Government and to push for the constitutional changes, like reform of our voting system, that Britain’s multi-party, devolved political system demands.
I will also be urging him to join me in championing urgent action on climate change and building an economy that works for our children and grandchildren – two of the greatest challenges we face.
Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, has also offered to work with the Corbyn-led Labour on progressive campaigns:
The selection of Jeremy Corbyn, combined with the remarkable Green surge of the past year, and the SNP’s success at the General Election, shows how many people support an alternative to austerity economics, to the head-in-the-sand approach to our environmental crisis and to tired, business-as-usual politics.
The Green Party shares Corbyn’s opposition to austerity, Trident nuclear weapons, and the sell-off of public assets and we will be delighted to work with his Labour Party and others who share our views on these and other issues …
We hope to engage Corbyn and the Labour Party in discussions about the urgent need for electoral reform. As the May 2015 General Election proved, our outdated and unrepresentative system fails both democracy and the electorate.
We hope Corbyn will encourage his supporters to join with us and other campaigners working on these issues, and, in particular, on pushing the issue of climate change to the top of the political agenda ahead of the upcoming Paris talks.
However, Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, was more sceptical about the ability of Corbyn’s victory to change the Labour Party north of the border before next May’s Holyrood election:
Jeremy Corbyn is due huge congratulations for winning this election in the face of relentless attacks from Labour’s right wing. The debate, enthusiasm and ideas his campaign has invigorated have been missing from the Labour Party for far too long. Many of those ideas have long been held by the Greens, from sharing society’s wealth more fairly and ending vicious austerity, to more investment in sustainable jobs and the return of public services to public hands.
However, all the signs suggest that those who hold power behind the scenes within Labour will do anything to stop the party from from returning to its roots, even with a capable, principled leader in place. It remains to be seen whether Corbyn can revive his party’s democracy before his position is undermined by those who have lost the democratic debate.
For all his merits, Jeremy Corbyn has had little to say about how he would support a stronger voice for Scotland, and Labour north of the border is struggling to reconnect with the voters it lost during its cynical campaign against independece. That seems unlikely to change in eight months before the Holyrood election, and the Scottish Greens will be campaigning with our new membership to build a strong left opposition in the next Scottish Parliament.