Old Bexley & Sidcup by-election (2.12.2021)

In 1973 A group of us responded to the Limits to Growth, warning that the major problem facing humanity would shortly be over-exploitation of resources. So we founded the Green Party with the intention of avoiding such a crisis.

According to COP26, the crisis we foresaw is well and truly here, now.

But the Green Party remains a faint shadow on the body politic. Something has gone seriously wrong.

In the beginning, the new Party was ”Neither left not right, but forward” It did however recognize that as in war time, resources would have to be shared. With hindsight, I think this led to a serious strategic error. There would have to be redistribution, but it could be sold to those who would have to pay more (in tax) more in sorrow than in anger that it was an insurance premium to prevent the resources crisis we foresaw. I believed (I still do) that offered this different strategy, capitalists would adapt. Some of them may be evil, but none of them have got where that are today by being stupid.

IT didn’t work out like that. No one (on either side) really grasped (or wanted) the potentially unifying effect of the basic income, and it has only in the last year or so that it has appeared in Green Party election material. Instead of the shift from ‘left’ versus ‘right’ to growth versus steady- state, the Green Party recruited exclusively those who  believed that the first task must be to smash capitalism.

Capitalism as it is currently practised is indeed destroying the Ecosphere, but it is too strong for a direct assault to succeed. The effect was simply to split the ‘left’ vote, cutting the Green Party off from what early election results showed to be that it was the better-off who could afford to think about threats to the Ecosphere rather than more immediate concerns. At the national level that perception has not shifted.

The fault may be mine, but I failed to communicate with the Green Candidate in Old Bexley. (I am too old to campaign in person as I used to do). But I tried to offer to pay for a poster showing the climate breakdown devastation in Germany in July, with Greta Thunberg’s theme “I want governments to Panic”. I did not get a response. Would it have worked? We shall not know until it has been tried.

In the General Election in 2019, the climate threat did not seem to figure. The same was true in the Batley & Spen by-election, last July.

If Jonathan Rooks moved away from the Party’s anti-capitalist stance, it did not show up in the 830 votes (3.8%) in a solidly Conservative seat. (His predecessor got 1,477 in 2019). This was a by-election, where only one seat was at stake. COP26 was (should have been??) high in voters’ minds, so that should have been the thrust of the Green Campaign. Was it?

Will the Party use the forthcoming opportunity in Shropshire?

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