Watch the Greens’ thrillingly unapologetic, socialist broadcast
The Green Party of England and Wales has just released this quietly barnstorming broadcast for the local elections on 2 May:
It’s the clearest and most explicit proclamation of the Greens’ democratic socialist principles ever to appear in an election broadcast. Caroline Lucas’ unapologetic Keynesianism, illustrated by “The Green Party knows that the way to tackle the deficit isn’t by slashing public services, it’s by investing in jobs [0:35],” and “Contrary to what this government tells you, not all borrowing is bad – we’ll borrow to invest in a sustainable future [1:42]”, stands in sharp contrast to Ed Miliband’s furious denial that he would cut any less than the Tories.
The film is the first TV spot produced by female-specialist marketers Madwomen, and its production strikes an interesting gender balance. It is certainly gentle and feminine in tone, and the agency’s creative director Gail Parminter boasts that it has “taken the ‘macho’ out of political advertising.” But it focuses heavily on economic issues traditionally held to be of greatest interest to male voters.
The result, I think, is a piece that minimises the weaknesses both of brand Green (not interested in tough, grown up, male issues) and brand Left (macho, hubristic, authoritarian). It’s well placed to appeal across the natural Green-voting coalition and will resonate particularly well with a group absolutely at the heart of that spectrum: female public-sector workers.
The policy priorities namechecked by Caroline develop the theme and paint a much more accurate picture of the modern Green Party than we’re used to seeing on TV: opposing tax cuts for the rich, ending privatisation of public services, trusting teachers in the state school system, slamming shut tax loopholes, instituting a Robin Hood Tax on financial trading, scrapping Trident nuclear weapons, and enforcing a Living Wage and providing a liveable Citizen’s Pension to all.
But here’s the policy that should be front page news; an irresistable rallying call for the left to get off its knees; the (gender sensitivities permitting) ballsiest rejection of the neoliberal Westminster consensus available today in mainstream politics:
“Step by step, we’ll return our energy, water and rail networks to public ownership. [1:25]”
“RETURN ENERGY, WATER AND RAIL TO PUBLIC OWNERSHIP.”
David Cameron claimed this week that “we’re all Thatcherites now”. Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said yesterday that “no party has supported renationalising anything since Thatcher left power”. They think socialism is over. Turns out it was just catching its breath.