Why I’m Joining the Labour Party…

This, I imagine for some, may come as a bit of a shock but this has been on the horizon, personally, for a good few months; I will explain my decision below in the hope people understand, even if they don’t agree with, my decision.

My politics have developed over the last few years, largely changing in line with my academic study and in accordance with the people I have met and learnt from, politically. I joined the Green Party in 2010, before the LibDems had officially signed a deal with the Tories but when it was pretty much clear that was the way things were going. I stand by that decision; the Greens at that time suited my political outlook, after the LibDems sold out I was wanting to be a member of a party that stood true to its values, principles and ideology – there was hardly anything I disagreed with, and still don’t, in the Green Party’s manifesto. I felt a great level of apathy with the political system and wanted to be involved in a movement that I believed in completely that shared my apathy but did something productive to challenge this.

However, as time has progressed my politics have changed from being more ideologically driven, and dare I say idealistic, as I have become more aware of the constraints, especially global, upon political decisions and the chance for progressive change. I’d say, if I had to pinpoint a specific time this started to change, was when I was writing my dissertation on Venezuela and the constraints Chavez has globally, financially and politically, but at the same time the hope he spreads throughout a country that has a history of colonisation, imperialism and oppression. Despite many criticising Chavez, this again comes down to ignoring the importance of context and the real difference he has made to many people in that country’s life.

The work of Immanuel Wallerstein has also influenced my analysis of political decisions and choices existent to politicians, especially those with good intentions as many in Labour have. As I said in a recent blog post:

I find walking away from substantial progressive attempts to make society better just because it isn’t 100% pure seriously counterproductive to the left’s efforts and I fail to see what they expect to achieve. This isn’t a decision like the Libdems who choose to go to bed with a fascist right wing Tory party at a national level, the reason we are seeing councils being cut at stupid amounts, whilst renouncing on pretty much all of their progressive policies in a desperate bid for power. Again, it comes back to what is the lesser evil, and for me the LibDems would have been better undermining the Tories’ power through remaining an independent, free thinking party. Instead, they have become a shadow of the party they used to be, and for me are set to come extinct. This relates also to my view that we shouldn’t be adverse to working with Labour. Labour, like the Greens, have many progressive members constituting their activist base. They are having influence, as Ed Miliband’s good comments are often painted over by left fractionation and right wing propaganda in the media (Jay Baker has set up an interesting weekly analysis of things we don’t see Ed Miliband say). We need to remember the reality of a system that we live in, for me the real enemies should be the Conservatives in the UK. We need to work together to try to marginalise the damage and pain that is being caused by a party so drenched in Social Darwinism. I’m not naïve to the problems of Labour, but nor am I naïve to the problems of an international system always undermining and cutting chance for progressive resistance. Again, it comes to being pragmatic sometimes when working within the system in a hope of helping alleviate the pain and suffering caused by a system obsessed with greed, corruption and profit. 

This relates to Brighton. Whilst others have left because they couldn’t accept the Greens not passing an illegal budget, it actually made me think about how different the Greens can be locally given the constraints nationally placed upon local councils, with them suffering on average 30% budgetary cuts. Given the current national electoral system, FPTP, and little chance of change in the forseeable future the Greens don’t stand much chance in the short-term of gaining a massive influx of MPs to improve local democracy. In a recent article for Now Then, Jay Baker and I analysed the options councils have after £1.5 trillion utilised to bail out the banks has been turned from private to public debt, with the cuts to councils being disproportionately targeted towards the northern councils. In the article we addressed the problems with illegal budgets, the unequal ability for councils to rely on reserves with Eric Pickles’ own departmental research showing that wealthier councils are more likely to be able to rely upon their reserves. For instance, utilising reserves is easier for councils such as Henley-on-Thames, one of the wealthiest areas of Britain that only had to cut by £1m, with proportionately the third biggest reserves (£80m) in England with up to £14m available for use to offset spending cuts.

As Cll Adam Pogonowski said when leaving the Green Party for Labour, recently, it comes down to Labour currently being the best way to oppose the coalition. This government is systematically worse than the Tory government Thatcher led in the 1980s, and people’s lives are literally being lost. As shown in Brighton, decisions aren’t as black and white as I once believed, and in order to help minimise the pain, suffering and destruction that is happening to people’s lives I see joining the main opposition to the Tories and this coalition as the best way of helping build a movement and force against this economic, social and political sadism. I am fed up with the tired old line of “it’s Labour’s fault” given the Tories supported Labour’s economic plans up to 2008, when the recession hit, therefore the Tories either then supported the bailout of £1.5 trillion, and thus the debt and deficit we have now, or they would have supported letting the banks crash and the economy collapsing as a result. These lies and misconceptions have to be challenged.

I know, Labour want to cut. But then this comes back to my point. As shown in Brighton, there are constraints placed upon political leaders’ decisions if they are going to stand to become elected in party politics. Reverting back to my dissertation, I argued for a combination of party politics, inside the system change, and non-party political, outside the system action, which I feel I help towards with my involvement as Research and Development Director at SilenceBreakers – but even this progressive social enterprise accepts the need to work within the system to make people’s lives better.

It also nerves me to see that several Green Party members can congratulate the election of Hollande in France, whilst continually bashing Ed Miliband and the Labour Party even though they share similar policies, and despite in reality whilst I also cheer this result, Hollande has a deficit reduction plan close to Sarkozy’s (wanting to have a 0% deficit by 2017); however, this is largely because of the constraints the European Stability and Growth Pact places upon Eurozone countries, something I will be blogging about soon. As someone asked me on Facebook, if I was pleased Hollande won, should I not vote for Labour? Yes, I have criticised Ed Miliband before – I even entered him into the competition by Bright Green Scotland for being the “dick of the year”. As I said above, my political outlook has changed through experience and witnessing the effects of this government and the sheer desperation it is causing for many, many people in society.

In fact, you can go back over my blogs from the last few years and find a heap of quotes where I criticise Labour; I stand by those comments as I said them at the time, but my politics has changed and I no longer feel comfortable being a member of the Green Party for the reasons explained, and feel the energy and effort I can put into political activism is being undermined as my heart isn’t totally for the Greens anymore. It scares me when it gets to the point where I see Green Party members arguing that it’s a good thing Ken Livingston didn’t get elected, so a Tory idiot can control London’s fate, because it apparently helps the Greens as a right wing candidate is more likely to be elected for Labour, so people are less likely to vote for ‘fake’ left-wing candidates. Thus, in practicality promoting right wing ideology and policies for their own personal party benefit, undermining care and consideration of the effects this could have on ordinary people’s lives. Furthermore, Jenny Jones as the Green Party mayoral candidate didn’t want to commit the Green Party to being a left wing party, nor did she even know what neoliberalism meant!

Furthermore, increasingly Labour are supporting more progressive and left leaning policies and rhetoric – Jay Baker’s “What Ed Says” is a good analysis of this, highlighting statements and commitments Ed makes that the media do not choose to pick up on. Importantly, Labour are a party with a base of overwhelmingly good people who through the Blair years were increasingly disconnected from the leadership. I have met and know of many great left radical thinkers within the Labour party, who I respect and admire greatly. This is also true re the Green Party, where I have met many great, lovely, kind and dedicated people/activists and I really, really hope I remain in contact with these even if they do not agree with my decision. After leaving the LibDems I don’t however expect the awful response I received from people I had come to know and campaign alongside there; but at the same time whilst I expect criticism and disagreement, as I said I hope that does not prevent me remaining in contact and fighting for the same thing as those I have got to know in the Green Party: a better society.

I am glad that Caroline Lucas has in resigning placed her energies and focus upon fighting the LibDems. There has been too much attention from the Greens upon the problems of the Labour Party, who are currently the main opposition to the coalition. Sometimes it feels as though there is more attention placed on undermining Labour than the coalition and that’s a dangerous situation to be in.

So there you go, an attempted explanation of my decision. I hope you still read my blog, despite any political decisions, as fundamentally I am still that same person who continues to fight against social injustice but just now have a different view on the best way to do so. I still believe in working towards an ideal, but also recognise real-life practical, context shaped constraints.

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43 thoughts on “Why I’m Joining the Labour Party…

  1. A very principled decision, Jane. The reasons are where I was at a few weeks ago also, and why I decided to join Labour, despite past comments and various problems at national level. Solidarity to you! Adam.

    1. Thanks Adam, appreciate your comments. Nice to have a good friend in Labour! Hope things are going well for you.

  2. I’m extremely saddened by your departure. You may have heard me say several times that the scariest thing about this government is that Labour is the opposition. Or isn’t. I believe they are as much a part of the problem as the LibDems and Tories. Not the grassroots (or not all of them) but the vast majority of the elected members, whether at council, national or european level. Labour accepts – even embraces – the hegemony of the markets, Labour seeks growth in a finite world, Labour are the source of cuts to NHS and Welfare, of academies and free schools. Any change you could begin to attempt to make within the Labour Party would be hacked off by the undemocratic monolith that is the Labour Party NEC.
    I know the Green Party isn’t perfect, and it’s true we operate in a world constrained by outside forces. My solution isn’t to quit and to join those outside forces.

    1. Thanks for your comment Peter.

      As you have said there, the grassroots of Labour are not the problem – there is a problem with a disconnect between leadership and grassroot but that’s what is important to keep on trying to change and repair after the Blair years. Furthermore, there are progressive changes from the Labour leadership, such as Ed Ball’s recent comments on the Eurozone, or Miliband on youth unemployment and this is something we have to encourage.

  3. I guess it just comes down to whether you believe that Labour are moving in the right direction more slowly than the Greens, or whether the two parties are moving in different directions entirely. I come down on the latter side of the argument…if you come down on the former, then your decision is an entirely rational one, for the reasons you outline.

    If you happen to believe in the incompatibility of capitalism with ecological sustainability, though, I think it’s bonkers! 🙂

    I wish you luck, along with other good comrades who are in Labour, though I fear for your ability to make progress on anything that makes a systemic difference….

    All best wishes,

    Matt Sellwood

    1. Thanks for your comment Matt.

      Of course I believe in the incompatibility of capitalism with ecological sustainability as many in Labour do – but as I argued in the blog post, the way to solve this is so much more complex than I used to think, given the ingrained interconnections of the global economy and institutions, and how this relates to national governments and the pressure placed on political leaders and decisions. It’s not just black and white.

      I hope that Greens and Labour can work together, as I have said for a while – but then given you think that they are going in different directions, here lies the stumbling block. The Greens need to be more willing to work with Labour as they share many common goals, but also need to help improve things like Labour’s approach to the environment. I will still have the same politics as I did before, but just to hope to make these count in more effective ways.

  4. You lost me the minute you said “fascist right wing Tory party”. The Tories are many things, but they are not fascists (it’s pretty insulting to those who suffered at the hands of real fascists that you actually think there’s a comparison). And if you can’t see that, well, that just makes it clear to me how under-developed your thinking is. Enjoy Labour.

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      I would never undermine the pain and suffering people have experienced under fascism, like I would not ignore the pain and suffering this government is causing for thousands of people through social darwinistic measures.

  5. I hope you’ll still work with the YGs in the spirit of pluralism and solidarity, Jane. Thanks for all your help over the last couple of years. Your blog looks real nice. (:

    1. Thanks Zain for your kind comment, I really appreciate it. As I said in the blog I am still very much for working with the Greens; the question is rather how receptive the Greens are to working with someone from the dark side, so to speak ;).

  6. It’s really sad to see someone who has so much to offer leaving the Green Party – I respect your decision but I am puzzled by it. I think Matt Sellwood has it right – it comes down to a judgement as to whether Labour is opposing neoliberalism or part of the neoliberal problem. My view is unhesitatingly the latter – both on the basis of its performance in government and in its pronouncements in opposition. I see a Labour leadership characterised by Ed Balls throwing in the towel on cuts, or Liam Byrne using the kind of language to describe those on benefits as the most feral Tory. On many of the key issues Labour simply isn’t an opposition to the coalition (a point I made in my blog on the Green Party leadership http://notesbrokensociety.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/agenda-for-a-new-green-leader-8/ )

    There are plenty of decent people within the Labour Party – people with whom, as a Green, I would not have the slightest hesitation in making common cause, people who seriously want to make the world a better place. Many Greens, like me, are ex-Labour. But the leadership sees those people not as contributors to a debate but as footsoldiers to provide election legwork and subscriptions; my experience of Labour in Brighton was that it was a bureaucratic, tribal party which, at the time that I was a member in the late 1990s was more interested in expelling socialists than creating a better world. You mention Brighton, and the constraints that Brighton Greens faced were real and typical – Brighton Labour combining with Tories to vote through a tax-cutting agenda. It’s worth remembering that the Brighton budget debacle saw people walking away in disgust from Labour too.

    Oh, and I’d agree with you about Greens who opposed supporting Ken in London – for the same reason that I support the Brighton Green councillors who voted for the budget; in a democracy elected representatives have a duty to their electors, not just to party. The attitude that electing a right-wing buffoon serves our party interests is no different, really, from Brighton Labour’s opportunism in backing the Tories over the budget.

    Finally, you talk of the prospect of Greens working with Labour. It won’t happen, I’m afraid. The Labour group in Brighton has shown time and again that it would prefer to make common cause with Tories. Labour’s overweening sense of entitlement means it simply can’t – it assumes it has a right to the votes of those who oppose Tories, while continuing to walk away from the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.

    I wish you well.

    1. Thankyou for your comment, Serenus.

      As I said in the blog, I think there are important changes in Labour’s leadership direction – look at Ed Balls on Europe, or Ed Miliband on youth unemployment (also, as I said in the blog, check Jay Baker’s “what Ed says” for a really good analysis on the things Ed says that aren’t reported).

      Again, as I have said to other people who have commented – it comes down to the way you view the political system. I think there are constraints on what political parties can do, and it’s important especially now given the right wing nature of this government, to look towards minimising the pain and destruction of the current policies of the coalition.

  7. Hi Jane. I was terribly saddened and disappointed to get the tweet today that redirected me to this blog piece. I think Peter Garbutt pretty much said what I wanted to. As a former member of the Labour Party who grew disillusioned by its lurch rightwards, I don’t see it representing the ordinary working person anymore. Indeed all the main parties have to woo the voters in the marginal seats that win General Elections, so this is why I cannot see Labour doing much to help its traditional and core support. This is why I joined the Green Party in 2008 because of its social justice policies that do seek to improve the lives of ordinary people while improving the environment. While Labour are the most likely practical alternative to to the Coalition government, they are no real alternative, no real opposition. As Caroline has said what is the point in having three Tory parties? I wish you well and I know that Greens and Labour can work together as many rank and file Labour members share similar views to my own. I just hope that you don’t feel the same way in a few months as a prominent member of Leeds Green Party who left to join Labour for similar reasons to your own, but regretted the move very soon afterwards. Keep it Green and Red. Best wishes, Andy

    1. Thanks for the comment, Andy.

      This is why I felt I was unable to remain as a Green Party member; I don’t see the Labour Party as another Tory party – I find that a dangerous idea, given the reality of the system and the ideological social darwnism endemic within the Tory party. Labour are much better than the Tories, yes they’re not perfect, but again – as I said in the blog – this comes down to the nature of the system and the constraints placed upon political parties.

      I have gave the decision a lot of thought, so I can’t see me regretting it! Thanks again, and hope to remain in touch working towards a better future!

  8. Hi Jane, dont agree with your descision, but I cant really criticise as stuck with Labour for an awful, 35ish years before realising there was no hope ! Think its important people do try out different ideas and ways of doing things, its the only way of moving forward, and if this feels right for you at the moment, it is. I dont feel from what you have written your views or hopes for a fairer Green future for us all have changed, so I would have no problems working with you, there would be no reason not to even if you have joined the “dark side”. I certainly wont stop reading yr blog, I like it !
    Have to say I dont feel the same way about Adam P, feel he shat on everyone and really let people down. You have been honest and are doing what you think is right, quite a different matter.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rachel.

      I really appreciate your kind comments, and Iam really glad you feel that way still. People like you are what makes the Greens awesome.

      Keep fighting :)!

  9. Welcome to the Labour Party Jane. There is a strong and growing green movement in Labour. Green politics and left politics should go hand-in-hand. I hope you help to make Labour as green as it has been traditionally red.

  10. Welcome to the Labour Party Jane! I hope you find it as rewarding and enjoyable as I have. I would disagree with your argument that there is a disconnect between the “leadership” and the “grass-roots” (I think these are loaded terms, but that’s a separate debate) and I also worry that you’ll be disappointed that the majority of Labour members don’t share your belief in the incompatibility of (controlled) capitalism and a sustainable, equal society, but I wish you all the best and hope you become a valued an active member of your CLP and of the wider Party.

    G

    1. Thanks for your comment Gavin.

      As I mentioned above, I think that disconnect is being reduced, but I’d still say that it exists to a degree. I never imagined the majority of Labour members to believe in the unsustainability of capitalism either!

      Thanks again for your kind wishes.

  11. Welcome to Labour; Comrade. If Labour’s message is attracting, people of your calibre Jane, EdM is certainly travelling in the right direction, which is left!

    Hope to see you at Labour Left meetings,

    Michael

    Ps Have you learnt all verse to the Red Flag yet?

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, Michael! Really appreciate your support, and hopefully see you soon.

  12. Ouch! I think you have made the same mistake that Adam did! New Labour is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Many decent people have joined or supported Labour recently because of their understandable desire to get the Tory-led government out. You will be replacing austerity with austerity-lite, and I don’t believe that you’ll be able to change that. Ed Milliband, like Cameron is a political lightweight, and Labour betrayed everything they ever stood for as a party long ago. As an active trade unionist that sickens me

    What a pity

    Best wishes

    Howard

    1. Thanks for the comment, Howard.

      My response to your comments is really in the blog post; it just comes down to a different way of thinking about how to get from a to b, and that for me has changed.

      The Greens are great, and I will continue to champion them – but as I said in my blog, I just don’t feel comfortable being a member voting supporter of theirs anymore.

  13. Hi Jane ,

    What an interesting piece. Having become a bit part playing anti cuts activist over the last 18 months , I found myself joining the Green Party in November last year. After reading their manifesto and believing that they had the best mast for me to pin my flag to, I decided to see if I could get more involved. I find myself slightly at odds at this early stage but the more I learn, the more I feel common goals can be achieved for the good of all of us. Fair play to you for your choice , I hope your willingness to compromise still leaves you believing that the end will justify the means as they say.
    Can I respectfully agree to disagree with you over Labour as a worthy mode of opposition, I’ll keep my opinions to myself for now. Be interesting to see how things go for both of us over the next couple of years. Personally I think the next 2 general elections will either be the salvage or slaying of our country and it’s inhabitants

    All the best , Pete Dixon

    1. Thanks for your comment Pete.

      Yes, the Green Party’s manifesto is certainly great. As I said in the blog, not much I find myself disagreeing with. Good luck with your efforts in the party, I hope we both can work together in making sure that we will salvage the country! The despairing situation we find ourselves in was central to why I have moved to Labour – but I respect you do not agree with my decision as you show me respect, which I thank.

  14. Hi Jane,

    I think people have mirrored your nature in their kind responses and I would agree with it. I would challenge some of what you have said but only really in the guise of fraternal interest and discourse. However, I think I would mirror some of the previous comments in suggesting that you know what you are doing and as long as the anti-cuts and green movement continue to receive your support, then criticism is redundant, discussion isn’t though.

    I was wondering on a few points you raised though and thought now was as good a time as any to ask. When you talked about the Greens in Brighton failing to commit to an ‘illegal budget’ like the Liverpool Militant Council fought to support in the 80’s, it caught my interest. I never expected them to to be honest but there was little discussion around utilising the reserves to stave off the cuts and the moderation of their effects was, in reality meagre, though still superior to that of Labour. I understand that actually the rest of the Green Party did not necessarily agree with the Brighton decision but because of the localist formation of democracy in the Green’s, there was little that could be done about it. So, my point is, do you think there is a potential for Labour, Green or whoever, possibly even including RESPECT and TUSC successfully fighting for a needs budget and do you think any of them will? I would always refer to the Poplar council slogan of ‘better to break the law, than break the poor’.

    Obviously as you know, I am one of the people that consider Labour beyond even reform and consider the necessity of the formation of a new workers party as the only realistic way to stop the pain you deftly describe in this and other articles. I guess the point I am building towards in this actually came up in a discussion tonight and that is the progress of not Hollande, who I would also criticise as Blair-lite but of Syriza, who have gone from a fairly minimal position to potentially the leading party in the next Greek elections with a position of no austerity, though still with a mixed position on the European Union.

    If Syriza can reach this position so rapidly on the back of having put forward the right programme at the right time to defeat austerity potentially and not capitulate as Labour have no option to do since the abolition of clause IV, then is this not more a model to seek to adopt? This is not isolated to Greece of course, where in Ireland we are seeing the anti-household tax campaign inspiring significant numbers to outright reject austerity. So, if a position is gained without Labour, would you consider that as the best way to end the pain you are attempting to confront by moving to Labour?

    I hope that doesn’t sound like criticism, I am supportive of your right to choose and I hope this is only seen as interest and comradely debate. I really hope you can achieve your goals in the Labour Party and I have never had an issue with working with you.

    Andy 🙂

    1. Thanks Andy, I really appreciate your comment and kind words and am thankful for your understanding.

      I don’t personally feel reserves are an adequate long-term measure, especially given the unequal distribution of reserves around the country and the fact most reserves are already marked for other things. I think the potential for illegal coordinated budgets is weak at the moment and there are problems with individual councils setting budgets that the government can intervene with when not coordinated to a larger movement. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work towards that in some form.

      Syriza are great. But, the key difference is something I touched on in the blog; the voting system. We have a first past the post binary way of representation; Greece’s PR system is what allows Syriza to get so many seats. Of course, my views are never set in stone, so if the system voting wise changed I would constantly assess my position, but the voting system is unlikely to change for a long time, especially after the disaster of the AV referendum!

      Thanks again for your comment.

  15. Welcome to the Labour Party, we need like minded people, grassroots in Labour moving in the right ( left ) directon and supporting green policies. Think you have a lot incommon with those of us in Think Left. Red/green think-left.org

  16. Reblogged this on Think Left and commented:
    Interesting and good news for Labour. Think Left supports green policies, and a socialist economy. e need a united left to overcome the coalition and the dreadful policies which they are rushing through.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Pam.

      Think Left looks great, and thanks for reblogging the blog there too; will keep check on Think Left. Thanks again for the kind welcome,

  17. Naturally I am sad at your decision. I hope that one day you will be persuaded to return to Green Party. There are many people leaving Labour (And Lib Dems) to join the Greens too BTW. We Know that there are many people in the Labour party are are almost as GREEN as us Greens, but my feelings are that once in power Labour becomes more right wing. It happened in 1930’s , and even under Harold Wilson (A person I admire, and I met personally, and spoke to when he was PM) And of course as you know well, under Blair. Part of the problem is that the Civil Service do much more of the running of a country than most people realise (And they are so right wing!) But the other problem is that parties are so tied to a few people or organisations with MONEY, that priorities get changed by their own agendas.
    Labour keeps getting wrongly “blamed” for the financial mess we are in. Ironically by the very people who really caused it. The dreadful Thatcher years were the real cause , because they took away all the constraints on banking, which allowed them to play silly games with money they didn’t really have. HUGE enormous “profits” were made on stock exchange transactions using computers to buy and sell, and by selling mortgages to people who had little or no chance of ever paying back. (House prices rose dramatically because of this) the bubble burst in the late 1990’s and we had dreadful financial crisis then, and interest rates rose to 15%! Labour’s fault was that they did not reverse those dangerous Tory policies, and at first when Blair took over from a greatly discredited Tory party, things went fine, whilst the “hidden” “profit” from nothing was taking place. Browns’ fault was in bailing out the rogue banksters. There were plenty of smaller & decent banks who had not been involved in all that fake money making, making it appear that banks were doing well, who would have welcomed to chance to take over the rolls of the bigger and greedy banks. All that “growth” was in fact based on non existent money (Ie DEBT that could never be paid off). The Labour Party STILL believe in bailing out the banks, and they imagine that consumer growth will cure all our ills. As you, as a green know, constant growth is IMPOSSIBLE. What policies do Labour have for controlling the earning differences between rich & poor? Greens believe, strongly in the earnings in any company should be such that the highest earner should not be more that 10 times the lowest (One of the things in Brighton the Greens implemented!) There are so many things Labour do not even consider doing that are green, like getting rid of nuclear (so called) deterrence. What about Nuclear Power? Public Transport? (over the car), What about REDUCING the energy NEEDED to run the country, controlling the international companies taking over the world… There are so many things Labour do not really want to be seen to be supporting, that ONLY the Green party is 100% supporting.
    I agree Ed Milliband is better than Blair and Ed Balls is better than that most evil of all the Tories, Osbourne, But Ed Milliband will still stick to the constraints put upon him in government. Of course he will be better than the Tories. But no where good enough. BUT I do applaud all those green labour people who try to do their best to change things.
    In Scarborough we have and ex labour MP who is VERY GREEN as one of the councillors, He and Dilys agree on much. To given them credit some of our Tory local councillors are them selves strongly criticising their government for the stringent cuts they have to accept, some are VERY upset.
    So whilst I am upset that you have left the Green Party, I do understand your feelings, of frustration, and your determination to do what you think is best.
    I most certainly hope to stay FRIENDS.
    I had strong hopes of seeing you being elected as a Green councillor one day!
    ALL the very best to you, You deserve it.
    Take care
    Chris

    1. Thanks for your comment, Chris.

      Yes money in politics is a problem, as are the civil service. I agree that Blair’s New Labour (Labour are no longer New) should have reversed the decisions, for sure. However, I disagree that Brown should have let the banks fail; that would have had a massive effect on normal people’s lives, especially as we were two hours away at one point of not being able to draw money from ATMs. But, the banks should now be the ones paying for the bailout, not ordinary people!

      As I have acknowledged in the blog, I hardly disagree with anything in the Greens’ manifesto, I still want all those things, and I don’t disagree with the fact that Labour isn’t perfect but as I said i just feel this is a more effective way of trying to change things for the better as no-one is perfect and ideal in this world capitalist economy.

      You mention constraints of government. Exactly. This also applies to the Greens. It’s important to acknowledge as a political party fighting in an unequal constrained system. That’s why fighting outside the system is also important!

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments at the end, and I would love to remain friends with you and with everyone I met in the Greens – I think you’re all awesome, and this was never a criticism of the Greens per se.

  18. Hi Jane

    Enjoy your blog.

    So what your saying here is you left the Green Party because it cant (in the current system) get in to power whereas Labour can .
    So after all getting into power to implement policy is what really matters isnt that what you left the Lib Dems for doing.
    Might the conclusion you come to eventually just be that there is a clear division between the politics and purity of opposition and the reality of actually getting your policies enacted.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Richard.

      I was waiting for a LibDem to comment trying to justify their own decision to stick by the LibDems. There is a key difference; I left the LibDems because I couldn’t stomach joining with a party entrenched with social darwnism and right wing ideological hate to support their destructive policies – rather, I have joined a party to try and get you lot out because frankly what you are doing to this country is disgusting. So spin it how you like, but there is a key difference.

  19. Hi Jane

    Sweet of you to reply .I am enjoying watching your political journey.

    I am afraid I dont share your pathological hatred of Tories because if I did that would mean I hate those who vote tory too and that would mean holding voters and fellow human beings in contempt.In my view there are just misguided but entitled to their view .They have been proved wrong about so many things especially on social issues. I am a pluralist like many Lib Dems and accept you have to work with those you disagree with just like we all have to do in real life.

    As I said when you left the Lib Dems its the electorate who decide the make up of a Parliament not parties and it up to the parties to make it work.We’d have looked pretty absurd if having had a chance to go into Coalition Govt and get our Policies enacted we passed it up because ‘we only want to work with people we like’ .

    As for Austerity you talk like there is a practical alternative there isnt unless all Govts worldwide decide to nationalise all banks and bond markets or alternatively print money (and look where that lead Germany in 1930’s) .Hollande is already discovering this and the Greek anti Austerity parties are just raising false hope amoungst their electorate.If they get in I guarantee you they’ll end up just softening the terms of the bail out a little -‘Hey guys guess what your pension is only being cut by 20% this year not 25% -Great news !! ‘The alternative to Austerity in Greece is bankruptcy and instead of public sector pay and benefits being cut by 25% of so it will mean a 100% cut and guess who gets hit hardest then not the rich -you guessed it the poor.

    In the UK we are not Greece but the lessons are the same albeit on a much smaller scale but then again our cuts are on a much smaller scale too.

    I point you at the IMF’s ringing endorsement of the Govt Fiscal Policy yesterday and at the independent editorial today .’Austerity is now pitted against recovery as if politicians have merely to choose’ = http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-beware-false-promises-of-easy-economic-growth-7778723.html

    Have a good day.

    Richard

    1. I wouldn’t expect you, as a LibDem, to understand my hatred of the Tories.

      Yes, the electorate do decide parliamentary makeup and if you look at the figures, this current government has no mandate for the policies they are enacting. Tories got 36% vote share, whereas Labour got 29% and LibDems got 23%. The last two were voted for on similar deficit/debt reduction plans, not the slash and burn approach the Tories are taking with your help – and so together have a vote share of 52%. Furthermore, the Tories never got a mandate for the scale of cuts they wanted to enact, given they didn’t specify any details. Even more importantly, they actually included in their manifesto policies such as “protect the NHS”. When given inflation, the NHS is experiencing real life cuts not to mention the complete privatisation and guttering of such a valued institution. You say you went into government to get your policies implemented – that would be all good if that was actually the case. They are either being manipulated, watered down or just not happening. And policies such as the income tax increase is actually regressive in nature (http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/05/clegg%E2%80%99s-10k-tax-allowance-is-no-tory-concession-its-a-tory-dream/), no wonder it has been called a Tory dream. You can keep kidding yourself that it was worth propping up a Tory government that is reeking havoc on the poor, but the electorate will demonstrate, as it already is, that you never had a mandate from them to do what you are doing.

      I disagree a bankrupcy in Greece would be worse than what is happening now. In fact, the creditors, including many France and German banks, would be the ones paying the price too. I have just written a blog post re the problems of the Eurozone in terms of austerity promoting measures, and how fiscal restraint doesn’t actually address the real underlying issues. There are constraints in this system to how much you can do relative to what you want, but investing, creating jobs etc and coming down on the banks instead of stimgatising benefit recipients for instance, are all alternative, not perfect, ways of minimising the pain that ordinary people are feeling for the mistake of those excessively wealthy. We haven’t got our hands tied behind our backs the same way Greece whilst in the Euro have – they have limited macroeconomic controls — we don’t. Look at Obama, for instance – he’s investing and their economy is getting better.

      Wow. IMF as a credible source of endorsement? Please. But on that, they also noted that measures such as a VAT cut would be important (something you campaigned on before the election as a “Tory Bombshell”), given the need to boost growth.

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