Glasgow Greens

Last night Scottish Green Party conference weekend opened with two of the biggest names in Green politics in the UK, as Patrick Harvie and Caroline Lucas discussed defeating austerity and transforming our economy, in a panel chaired by Kim Long of the Glasgow Green Party.

Lucas condemned the political discourse about the economic crisis, and the manipulative public narrative which has transformed what was actually a financial crisis caused by the banking sector into a national crisis caused by high public spending.

She said Theresa May’s Conservative Party conference speech ‘crossed the line into absolutely wickedness’ and reflected a claim that the crisis is now “not just the fault of doctors and nurses and firefighters, but also immigrants and asylum seekers”.

Caroline Lucas and Patrick Harvie in Glasgow ahead of Conference. Photo: Scottish Green Party.

On the general election, she told the room that the Conservatives didn’t win the election, Labour lost it by offering a limp vision of austerity-light.

“I don’t believe that people voted for the Tories because they want their unemployed neighbours to be treated badly, but they have been convinced that these sacrifices are necessary because the government tells powerful narratives about family budgets, maxing out credit cards and not giving the keys back to the person who crashed the car.”

Harvie reflected instead upon the independence referendum and the post referendum political situation.

“The hardest part about the independence referendum was not winning the vote,” he said. “That’s the easy bit – in hindsight maybe not easy enough. The hardest part would have been changing Scottish politics and society. We could have won independence and then copied the worst part of UK politics. Power could have worked in exactly the same way.”

A clearly very engaged audience asked questions amongst others on political messaging, on Green Keynesianism, on electoral reform and on the party’s middle class image.

Asked about the effect of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership election victory, Harvie doubted that his success would have much effect on the party political balance in Scotland, particularly since the Scottish party doesn’t reflect the sentiment that Corbyn does.

Interestingly, Lucas denied that Corbyn’s victory would harm the prospects of the Green Party of England and Wales, instead pointing out that not only is he promoting many ideas which are core to the Green ethos, which the Green Party has believed for many years, and which Labour could abandon as soon as his leadership ends, but he is also proposing a constitutional convention including electoral reform which would benefit the Green Party in the long term.