Ed Miliband has won, now the test for the Greens begins…

Update: Greensenblog just informed me that he is not a Green – I made the wrong assumption on the basis of his name! Sorry! But I think the point still stands anyway, the need to challenge the view that it isn’t a Green party issue re who leads Labour!

Now, they were definitely right when they warned about not trying to guess the winner by examining the candidates body language. By that analysis, I was nearly 100% sure that Ed had lost. But now it looks like Ed was just completely shocked!

But for some reason or another, my celebration re Ed Miliband’s victory has seemed to have drawn some negative responses from some Greens:

greensenblog: Will you be joining the Labour party?

I replied:

Jane Watkinson: are you serious?! Of course not, I am rejoicing in pluralism 🙂

The response:

greensenblog: Not joking, just asking. Pluralism is good – within the Labour party 😉

Now this first conversation is rather telling. For some reason, for some Greens, it doesn’t seem to matter who the Labour leader is – consider the following tweet:

Imwalter: I don’t put that much faith in Ed to reform the party. Labour only ever gives the Left constant disappointment.

You see, what annoys me about this is it rather slams in the face of the argument for pluralism – the political strategy championed by our leader. It matters who the Labour leader is, as we need to try to mobilise a progressive movement to influence the Labour movement to help reform it, finally. We can’t just talk down the chance of reforming the Labour party, but then intellectually champion the need for pluralism – as pluralism becomes nothing but a mere slogan. You have to take part in the practical application of pluralism too, and Ed Miliband was the person the left and progressives needed to lead Labour for this to take place.

What strikes me about the attitudes of some people, especially Green members, is extreme negativity and a very unhelfpul attitude they have taken – especially considering the need to create a counter narrative to the current government and their economic position. Labour are the first party to say that we don’t need to halve the deficit in a parliament, this is something that the Greens still sign up to, albeit in a tax focused approach. If we really want to campaign against the cuts and the damaging policies that this current government is initiating, there is no point in just diminishing any chance of change before it has even begun.

I don’t believe that this change will result in a radical reforming left movement, but I think we will see movements towards the left regardless of what Ed says. Seriously, even though Lucas is right that none of these candidates have been that inspiring, Ed was clearly the most impressive in terms of talking about the reform that needs to take place. As responsible progressive activists and political campaigners, we have to get behind campaigns to influence Labour. We need to promote a progressive political bloc – the Greens need to work with Labour, not work against it.

Some Green supporters wanted David to win to potentially flake away Labour support, as I have said before – this misses the need for a progressive force against the coalition. The Greens need to act responsibly here – you can’t support things such as AV, and then walk away from embracing a potentially reforming change within the Labour party. Hopefully the Greens will engage with this change, and not denounce it before anything has begun. I think this just shows how potentially unworkable and contradictory pluralism can be.


10 thoughts on “Ed Miliband has won, now the test for the Greens begins…

  1. Politics demands articulation not tribalism, however I am not convinced that labour is open to members or that there is room for the left in Labour.

    However Greens can I am sure work with Ken Livingstone.

  2. Yes, but there were very positive signs by Ed Miliband during the election campaign – such as his support for unions, his support for living wage, his support for high pay commission for public sector etc etc.

    There is need for a lot of change to Labour, but Greens just denouncing it before there has been any chance for change is unhelpful. We need Labour to change if we are really going to counteract the current government policies, especially its economic ones. They are never going to be like the Greens, that is why we are members of the Greens – but they do need to reform more to what they used to be in the days of Old Labour.

    You see, as you say Ken Livngstone is an example of the potential within Labour. We have to be more positive about this.

  3. This is an excellent post Jane. I agree with a lot of what you say here. We need to maintain a positive message about what we intend to do, and in particular, push Labour to support the PR amendment put forward by Caroline Lucas.

  4. Pete,

    Thanks for the comment, and I am glad you agree! I totally agree with your additional comments. Lets hope we do it!

    And Greensen,

    I am really sorry! I thought you were Green as just assumed via your name – I will add a bit at the top anyway:D!

  5. Jane – sorry for the confusion. I agree with much of what you say. The only concern i have is this: if the Greens/Labour are to work together on many common progressive causes then the lines between us will begin to blur.

    This begs the question: why not join Labour?

    1. Np! It was my fault lol!

      And glad you largely agree, but Labour will never become so similar to the Greens that there is no point in them being seperate parties. I just think that for a progressive movement to exist parties on the correct side of debate need to work together!

  6. Thanks for the comment, I am glad you agree.

    I totally agree, we can’t get caught up in fighting eachother, regardless of our differences – we need to work together to push forward our similarities!

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