Ken Livingstone hints at endorsement of Tony Juniper (but couldn’t possibly comment)
Fans of House of Cards will recognise it immediately. When asked whether he was urging Cantabrians to vote for Green candidate Tony Juniper over Labour’s Daniel Zeichner, Ken Livingstone cannily replied: “If I sit here all night you will not get me to say it. It would make life so difficult.”
Or, as Francis Urquhart would put it: “You might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment”
Perhaps even more striking was his reasoning for remaining a member of the Labour Party despite his well-documented disagreements with its leadership and affinity with the Green Party: “We don’t have time to turn the Green Party into a national party for government. You have to ‘green’ all the parties pretty rapidly.”
That’s right: “We.”
Thanks, you are very flattering. I agree that my values are pretty similar to old Labour. But I’m afraid I just don’t see those Labour Party changes as viable. The party has moved on. The people in my generation who are in it are Blair’s children – moderate to the point of conservatism, capitalist to the point of neo-liberalism. The party democracy has been gutted. The best MPs are all leaving and being replaced by those who’ve come up through the centre right. Labour is, unfortunately, dead. How would I spend my time in Labour? Trying to promote good candidates through un-democratic internal structures, and battling with those in the [party who wish to stop them.
I’d rather spend my time campaigning to change the country than campaigning to re-direct a party severed from its roots.
Whilst I share your critique of the present Labour government, essentially your core values are the same as those of progressives in Labour: social justice, welfare, a belief that the state can make a positive difference, trade union rights, and so on. Concern for the environment/against climate change flow from a commitment to social justice,
Labour values will live on even after this government dies in May. So why not join the real fight within Labour, and change Britain a lot sooner?
The SNP form a minority government in a Parliament elected by a form of PR. Labour took less than 30 years but they had the benefit of the enfranchisement of the working class, not to mention an arrangement with the old Liberal Party to get their first few MPs.
I wish the Greens well but I don’t see why you’d want to spend the next 30-40 years (if not longer) trying to get into government when a more progressive Labour could be elected to government in 5-10 years time. If you joined Labour and worked both within the party and outside it through NGOs, you and other young progressives might have more influence on the immediate and medium-term state of progressive politics.
Consider it an invitation..
– Looking at histories of the SNP, Labour, and others, it tends to take more like 30-40 years for a party to go from it’s first MP to it first government. I’m not saying that this is inevitable, but it has happened on a number of occassions.
2 MSPs will not change politics to the extent there needs to be, Ian. Neither will the Greens’ 2 MEPs. Or 2 MPs (if you’re lucky). There is a reason people like Ken Livingstone do not leave Labour and join the Greens. It’s because they want to be on the winning team. The Greens are the ghost of Old Labour. But as soon as Labour moves to the left again, many people will support them over the Greens, because unlike the Greens, Labour can form a government in the next 60 years.
I’ve been in the Green Party (formerly Ecology Party) for over 30 years and wish I’d had a £1 (donation to the party, of course) for every time I’d heard that old chestnut.
The other parties have had long enough to change; the warnings have been there for decades, and getting ever stronger. We still have a Labour Party wedded to Trident, big business (more than ever) and nice words but no action on the environment.
With PR in all levels of government except Westminster, surely now is the time for ‘Greens’ in other parties to ditch them and work for what they believe in through the Greens. In the Scottish Parliament we might only have 2 MSPs, but they’ve achieved much more than the green-minded politicians still languishing in the grey parties have ever done.
He is right though, the best the Green Party can do is ‘green’ Labour – possibly as a coalition partner. Anyway, re: your evil twin – they might be blue but their core goals seem unobjectionable:
“•Social Justice: Focusing on helping the most deprived, here and abroad.
•Fair Start: Supporting parents in the early years and at school to maximise life chances for all children.
•Human Government: A responsive government that puts the person before the process.
•Social Responsibility: Taking responsibility for the society we want to live in, and being the change we want to see in the world.
•Sustainable Economy: Environmentally, socially and financially responsible industries and individuals.
•Powerful Citizens: Reviving and creating routes for citizens to take control of the politics that affects their lives, locally and nationally.
•Optimistic Politics: We believe political action has the potential to bring positive change; that government is not the same as bureaucracy; and that we can build a society in which no one is left behind.”