Wednesday 26 November 2008

GL newsletter

Welcome to the inaugural issue of our regular newsletter. As members of the Green Party of England & Wales, we believe it would be healthy if dialogue were to move side to side and upwards, to complement the messages from the top. Please let us know what you think and how we could improve.

The newsletter is not just for GL members, if you wish to distribute it, please do so, or contact P.Murry (yruumuk @ you have an email adress where you would like it to be sent with the agreement of the recipient, (we don't want to send spam).

This month we are highlighting two issues:

Where do we stand with our ‘Green new Deal’ alongside Alistair Darling’s economic gamble?
What does the revelation about ex-Green Party members being part of the BNP mean for us and do we think we got out message of being an anti-racism party across to the general public?

A gamble on our future?

Green Left recently held an open-to-all discussion about the Green New Deal document released by Caroline Lucas iearly in September. Though unable to attend our meeting, Caroline sent us her thoughts in a written statement and welcomed a debate on this, reiterating that this was a ‘living document’.

Sean Thompson wrote a critique, broadly supporting the move for the Green Party to offer a credible alternative to the mainstream parties:

‘The authors of the New Green Deal pamphlet are right to say that the current
crisis undermines the credibility of the whole neo-liberal project and to
point out the need for good old-fashioned direct government spending and job
creation, putting new demand into the economy through investing in
infrastructure and public services.

However, the scale and intensity of the crisis has worsened since the report's publication and it is clear that a programme of infrastructural renewal even more ambitious than that envisaged by the pamphlet's authors is needed.

Such a programme will require determined government and popular action to end the domination of the market and to use society's resources to transform fundamentally, rather than simply to try to stabilise and regulate, the current financial and industrial system’

Sean outlines a ten point plan which, among other things calls for the permanent retention of RBS, Lloyds/HBOS, B&B, and Northern Rock in effective public ownership. He also wants to see alternative provision of credit, including local community banks, credit unions, building societies and other mutuals.

With four million families currently on housing waiting lists, the government must fund a major programme of social housing construction and refurbishment. Moreover, families in mortgage arrears should be able to transfer the tenure of their homes to social tenancies.

You can view Sean’s full article here: Green Keynesianism and its Limits by Sean Thompson on the Green left blog at

Alistair Darling’s pre budget report this week may well be a gamble for Britain’s finances but does not go anywhere near addressing the issues of economic and environmental disaster facing us.

Essentially, he is basing his plan on one premise: that the economy will recover by the autumn of next year. If not, then all his sums will go out of the window. Given his and his bosses’ forecasting record, we should take this with a huge sack of salt.

After more than a decade of encouraging us to borrow to the point that household debt is over 160% of personal income, we are being asked to consume more stuff that we don’t need.

The budget deficit is set to rocket to #118 billion or 8% of GDP. We will be paying for this for years.

We are now facing the prospect of Japanese style deflation followed by ruinous hyper inflation after the next general election. And that’s point isn’t it? A gamble with the economy and the environment so that Labour can come back to power.

Something needs to be done, but this isn’t it.

Farid Bakht

The BNP fiasco

How did we end up appearing to explain away ex-Green Party members joining the BNP? The Sun went to town with this and we are concerned that this may have caused serious damage to the Green Party.

Here is how it came out in print under the headline – Green Party admits leading activists on BNP list:

“A spokesman for the Green Party claimed today that Mr. Bessant was in the BNP not because he was a racist but because he felt they had better environmental policies. … He formed the opinion that the BNP climate change policy was more radical that ours”

There are two separate issues here.
First, the press office and its reaction. I believe it was disgraceful and incompetent at best.
Secondly, there is the issue of candidate selection. I would like this tightened up and some sort of equality and diversity question included in any selection process.
Perhaps this is something to put to the Equality and Diversity Coordinator.
What we would like to see is for definitive public statements made to explain that the Green Party is an anti-racist party and has campaigned against racism and bigotry tirelessly.

Joseph Healey

GL newsletter is produced by members of Green Left (GL). Green Left is a strand composed of members of the Green Party of England & Wales. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Joseph Healey, co-convenor of Green Left and head of the publications committee.

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