Interviews are difficult things to pull off effectively. Politicians commonly dread the staple programmes like Newsnight or the Andrew Marr show for fear of a grilling. For Natalie Bennett this seems especially true. Performances like the ones she has given recently will be a major stumbling point in the Greens campaign. Especially if a repeat of the LBC interview takes place in the upcoming leader’s debates. If these recent events have thrown you off the idea of voting Greens then it is unsurprising. Nevertheless there are some successes that should be highlighted before you disregard them altogether. Sadly there is little they could do to regain my vote. A serious difference over opinion about how we should tackle climate change being the prime cause.
Rectifying the environmental damage we are responsible for is not likely to have a political solution. Instead it requires a Government who is serious about applying modern technologies whilst mixing it with reasonable expectations of what politics can do. Regrettably the Green’s seem ignorant of this balance. Currently my vote is up for grabs, whichever manifesto gives the most convincing proposals shall have my vote. However, without a major change of direction, the Greens will never offer a sound way of overcoming the challenges of the environment.
No party is beyond praise. Each has their own strengths that must be recognised before anyone disregards or criticises them. A robust party which represents Green issues is undoubtedly a valuable development for UK politics. Minority parties especially owe a lot to the Green party. Caroline Lucas, the Green’s first Member of Parliament, has become an exemplar of both the party and MP’s at large. Her election has paved the way for a system with better representation for minority parties. Naturally the Green’s core success has come through its environmental campaigning. What previously was an overlooked topic is now firmly in focus for the political establishment. Green party policies are far more innovative than their conventional counterparts. Conservative, Liberal and Labour policies have a tendency to be reactionary and short term. Cynical spectators would argue that David Cameron’s Big Society is just such an example. Born out of the outpouring of social concern generated by the recession. On the other hand the Greens have a long term plan which is a refreshing development for party politics. They refer repeatedly to the“longer term.” Where Ed Miliband has failed to convey a long term vision the Greens, at least on paper, put it at the forefront. These are innovations which could readily improve other parties. Nevertheless it is their wider approach towards climate change which undermines their appeal for my vote.
Upon the prognosis the Green’s are spot on. Actually everyone is, although most choose to ignore it. Our environment is in a shambles and if left uncorrected then human existence is unlikely to continue. Anthropogenic climate change is a fact. Nevertheless where my vote diverges from that of the Green party is over the question of a solution. Their proposals can be characterised as mainly political in nature. Consequently it places a strong emphasis upon the need for a “restructuring of the supply-side,” “reducing the size of inappropriately large companies,” and the introduction of “international trade tariffs.” While these political solutions may be achievable in the extreme long term they suffer from blatant short term flaws. At the heart of the problem is that policies are based on the assumption that internationally a consensus will form behind their position. For instance the introduction of “international trade tariffs.” Whereas the whole world is currently working to bring down the barriers of tariffs, the Green party is committed to restoring them. Tariffs restrict the ability of nations to work collectively towards producing enough to sustain the world.
Moreover their policy aims are not an overnight solution. Decentralisation is a critical part of their long term strategy; “expenditure decisions will be made and public services provided at local level by Government.” Political changes are notoriously slow to enact. Reforming a system which across the world is predominantly centralised at a state or nation level is a process which will take considerable time. I have always been sceptical of the arguments for decentralisation. What is often billed as best because it gives local people more control or prevent state run inefficiency overlooks the inherent flaws of the system. Certainly these are benefits. However it doesn’t mean that a state will be any better run. Take the US federal approach. Decentralisation merely creates a new class of politician who are just as likely to be inefficient, corrupt or unpopular. Moreover moving issues down to a decentralised level will actually make it much harder to make tough, unpopular decisions. Legislatures are closer to the electorate and therefore more responsible.
Accounting for national psyche is vital for prescribing the correct cure for anthropogenic climate change. Of the events last year, one of the most depressing was the Black Friday shopping craze which has managed to migrate to Britain. That individuals were willing to physically injure themselves for a new television or PlayStation displays the depths of our addiction to consumerism. It is a habit that needs to change. Nevertheless changing people’s perceptions of the environment in such a short space of time before we commit irrevocable damage is impractical. Rather working with the current system is the most efficient way of altering our climate. Technology is by far the most efficient means of doing so. Though the Greens mention the importance of switching to low carbon processes, their relationship with technology is verging on phobic. Take for instance the invention of Golden Rice. A genetically modified crop which has been extensively tested, it contains a vitamin A supplement in order to prevent deficiency. It is clearly a viable product which has been consumed without adverse effects. Moreover it would put a stop to a problem which is prevalent in many growing economies. Green party policy would see all projects like these put on hold. Additionally although more money would be put towards R&D by the Greens (1% of GDP) they would cut back on military spending. Nevertheless many of the inventions which have been produced which have revolutionised the 21st century have arisen through military projects.
The Green party’s structure has been exposed as a concerning flaw during their time at the helm of Brighton Pavilion. In essence it has resulted in an absence of genuine cohesion. As an issue it was brought to the fore by the experience of Green led council in Brighton. Strike action taken by refuse and recycling workers has been taking place since 2013. It arose after Jason Kitcat, the council leader, took action to reduce the pay of workers. During the strike action it set the Green council leader against the Green local MP who actively supported the strikers. Other faults have been demonstrated by internal squabbling between councillors. Open criticism as well as leadership plots have subsequently undermined Kitcat’s leadership. Given the likelihood of a hung parliament a coalition is a fairly certain outcome. Negotiations with the Green party, if they take place, are going to be pretty difficult. Its support for the freedom of its members has its pro and cons. Nevertheless in the Westminster system of parliament it is going to be difficult for the Greens to form a cohesive group unless they introduce mild discipline. The Greens are a cohesive party. However a lot of their long term goals are infeasible. If a party prides itself upon these, then I would be sceptical as to their achievability and it is why I will not in all likelihood vote Green.