Green Left welcomes the “Message to Unite” from the national leadership of the Green Party, which calls on Britain’s largest trade union, and the trade union movement as a whole, to back the Green Party’s programme to transform economy and society through a Green New Deal. We have always argued that the Green Party can be both radical and successful if it is seen to fight for the interests of ordinary people, and those of future generations, against the greed of deregulated financial capitalism and self seeking politicians who are in awe of it.
It is therefore particularly disturbing to learn that Green Party councillors in Brighton and Hove intend to proceed with budget plans that will cut millions of £'s from local services. The Green Party has an opportunity to put itself at the forefront of opposition to public spending cuts. Austerity measures will do nothing to lift the economy out of recession but threaten the very fabric of society. The first Green led council should be drawing up a budget which not only defends existing service provision but which also reverses the cuts made by previous councils, and begins to develop the high quality public services which are required.
Occupy LSX succeeded in bringing radical ideas into the news and into everyday conversation. Concerned with the current economic crisis they have been changing the debate. They now face eviction from their camp outside St Paul's Cathedral. Elected Greens and members have been actively engaged with their debates and actions. Green Left believe that the Green Party of England and Wales can play a significant role by proposing our alternative economic analysis and plans for a programme of recovery. We can effectively work to help build a mass movement against austerity measures. We have the policies. We have the philosophical basis to attract many supporters who are rejecting the traditional political parties.
Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have boldly declared that the coalition cuts would not be reversed under a Labour government at the next election. 'Too far, too fast' is still their most damning criticism of the current austerity measures.
Len McCluskey, General secretary of Unite has said "real points of differentiation between Labour and the government on the economy are now very hard to identify". Paul Kenny of the GMB is openly talking about cutting financial and political ties with the Labour Party.
We have one Green MP. The work that we do at a local level is crucial. The actions of Brighton and Hove Greens will affect not only the local communities, but all members of the party and our supporters and potential supporters. If Brighton and Hove Green councillors take a stand against cuts they would offer an example to everyone.
Green Left believe that Brighton and Hove councillors can show that an alternative is possible. However carefully considered the proposed cuts may be for this year or next, these follow years of previous cuts and are in addition to wage freezes, redundancies and benefit cuts. Their effects will be devastating, especially on the poorest and most disadvantaged, who as ever will be the hardest hit. Why not take advantage of our electoral success and use this opportunity to build support for an alternative economic plan , and an ecologically and socially just future ?
Green councillors in Brighton must ask themselves now how "we will fight them all the way" as promised during the election. These are desperate times with darker days ahead. Brighton and Hove Greens have the opportunity to spearhead the political battle for a progressive and radical alternative.