Ell Folan’s speech on the new Green philisophical basis
editors note – there has been some conversation about the change to the Green Party’s philisophical basis at this year’s Spring Conference which put social justice central. Here is the speech made in favour of the change by Young Green Ell Folan (currently running in UEA student elections). You can read Ell’s blog here.
Good morning, conference.
Ell Folan, Norwich Green Party, and this is my first time speaking at conference.
I’ve always felt that I wanted to make my first speech at conference a good one. And I can’t think of a better motion to begin on. I think it’s brilliantly expressed and is absolutely necessary.
I should start by saying that I am proud to call myself an environmentalist. I think the greatest challenge that we face is that of preventing the destruction of our planet, of combating pollution and – well, saving our world.
But that concern for nature isn’t why I joined the Green Party.
I joined the Green Party because we believe in creating a million jobs through state intervention. I joined the Green Party because we believe in tackling inequality and making the rich pay their fair share.
But more than anything, I joined the Green Party because it’s the only party that is on my side. Not just as a young person or a student, but as an autistic young person who is indebted to our National Health Service and I’m proud to be in a party that defends that.
So that’s the sort of Britain we want to build. And you know, we can have debates about specific wording, about whether this should go in the philosophical basis or even about whether we want in the philosophical basis. And our conference is very good at that.
But ultimately, this is something that we can all believe in, and that’s good enough for me, and that’s why I’m voting Yes.
“state intervention” oh dear! as Aidan Rankin put it = When the Green movement first erupted onto the political scene a generation ago, its message was often confused, sometimes refreshingly naiive, occasionally even absurd. Yet the Greens provided a ray of hope. This was because, at best, they pointed towards a politics that transcended the shop-worn prejudices of right and left and took a holistic view of the individual, society and humanity’s place in the web of life. Green politics, defined as beyond left and right, would, it seemed, balance individual freedom with human interdependence and the interconnectedness of all life. They would challenge the narrow, linear view of ‘progress’ measured by continuous economic growth, the uncritical casting aside of tradition and the centralisation of economic power. In place of that ‘progressive’ formula, favoured equally by socialists and conservatives, Greens would emphasise decentralisation, diversity (both ecological and cultural), cooperation in place of competition or ‘struggle’, small-scale enterprises, and decentralised political institutions that emphasise locality a”nd diversity. Green politics would be about achieving a balance between continuity and change, because neither can succeed without the other. In other words, being Green would be about working with, rather than against, the grain of humanity and nature.