This a response to a blog by Chris Lovell earlier about the fate of the Green Party within Leeds. Chris concludes:
“So what does the future hold for the Leeds Green Party? In my opinion they will be very lucky to have any councillors left at the time of the next general election.”
Whilst I don’t want to be idealistic about the Greens’ future in Leeds, I think arguing that their days are numbered in Leeds is not considering the full picture of what is happening in politics. The election results just gone are not a fair comparison, as the LibDems campaigned on a platform that they have now scampered for political power. The closest party to the LibDems were the Greens, this would have been one of the factors for why the Greens vote was squeezed locally in the election just gone. However, the Greens are now ahead in many issues such as their pledges to scrap Trident, tuition fees, have electoral reform, house of lords reform – and more progressive measures than the current regressive income threshold plan for example – such as the Tobin Tax. Furthermore, the Greens have now gained control of the council with Labour in a supply and confidence relation – which has seen them maintain their principles to gain a £30m house insulation programme.
Whilst it wont be easy, it is simple to argue that the Greens poor performance last election locally is symbolic of things to come, and that the party is basically over locally. We have just had our first even Green MP elected, who is going from strength to strength. We were close to gaining Norwich South, but arguably due to a false LibDem campaign, just missed out. The LibDems are becoming more and more ideologically ambivalent and are losing their voice, with Michael Crick even highlighting the LibDems to have had only one question at PM questions yesterday, when they normally have around 4.
Therefore, I think there are as many questions for the LibDems as there are for the Greens when it comes to performing well in upcoming election battles locally (and nationally) – it will be much harder for them to campaign as the credible alternative to either of the main parties nor can they argue to be all that progressive any more. This is why Chris is wrong to argue that:
“There are some really great community activists in the Green Party in Headingley who would in my view be far more suited to the community based politics of the Lib Dems rather than the top down dictatorial approach of the Greens.”
Speaking as someone who themselves has moved from the LibDems to the Greens within Leeds, I can’t really see the top down dictatorial approach of the Greens that Chris is talking about. The Greens are very much a community based political party – yes, I am in no illusion that there is a lot of work to be done, but no, they are not a finished party, they have a bright future ahead of them.