watermelon Summer 2019

Conference Newsletter of Green Left Summer 2019

by Malcolm Bailey

Where profit gets his clutches in,
There’s little he will leave;
Gain stooping for a single pin Will stick it on his sleeve.
                               - John Clare, The Lament of Swordy Well, 1830

Surveillance capitalism is an operating model used by big data organisations like Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp, Microsoft, Apple, Google and others. 

Its basic mechanism is simple: the corporation provides a service enabling it to retrieve digital data about you; some of this data is         
‘behavioural surplus’ and is sold in a market; it is acquired by other companies for advertising and profit. Chomsky (1) describes it as a ‘technique of domination and control’. 

Zuboff (2) goes further: ‘surveillance capitalism is as significant a threat to human nature in the twenty-first century as industrial capitalism was to the natural world in the nineteenth and twentieth’. 

This behavioural surplus is personal data, taken without consent or knowledge, and sold for profit. Pentland (3) calls this data
‘breadcrumbs’. It is surplus to that used to provide the service.  It is stolen by subterfuge, mined using a sleight of hand, with or without click-wrap on-line ‘contracts’ which themselves are a unilateral seizure of rights without consent.

The sources of data are widespread and increasing.  Facebook and Google are massive providers of raw material. Smart phones generate rich pickings, likewise any product with ‘smart’ in its name. The whole ‘internet of things’ is capable of yielding huge quantities of personal data: automated technology, domestic heating and many appliances in the home, car electronics, down to sensors on clothing and watches. Street View is the data-mining of public spaces. 

A theoretical basis of surveillance capitalism has been developed by Alex Pentland (3), a computational social scientist working at MIT who is also an entrepreneur. He calls his approach ‘social physics’. It applies mathematical techniques and statistics to surveillance capitalism, but his book appears devoid of any principles of physics. Professor Pentland’s vision of society governed by big data is presented euphemistically but has a chilling authoritarian tone, which is far removed from democratically agreed science-based policies and governance. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is an early way-marker of this direction.

Zuboff analyses in depth how the surveillance capitalist model operates, where it is leading. She regards it as digital totalitarianism, calling the entire digital apparatus Big Other. The route to power of digital totalitarianism is ownership of the means of behavioural modification. 
In her account, Zuboff attempts unconvincingly to draw a distinction between capitalism and surveillance capitalism, describing the latter as a ‘rogue’ form of capitalism, which poses an existential threat and must be ended. She is of course unable to deny the consequences of industrial capitalism –‘fundamentally disoriented the conditions that support life on earth’, but implies it is possible to ‘tether the capitalist project to the social, preserving and sustaining life and nature.’ Zuboff poses the question: ‘what havoc might surveillance capitalism wreak on human nature?’ Herein lies a fundamental weakness in this analysis. No convincing way forward is mapped, no mention of ecosocialism, no recognition of Kovel’s (4) response to Zuboff’s question: ‘in an ecologically realised society everyone will have rights of ownership - and of special significance, rights of use, and ownership of those means of production necessary to express the creativity of human nature.’ 

1                    Chomsky, Noam, 2019,
2                    Zuboff, Shoshana, 2019, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Profile Books            
3                    Pentland, Alex, 2014, Social Physics, Penguin Books
4                    Kovel, Joel, 2007,The Enemy of Nature, Zed Books

Brexit and Ireland – The Return of the Irish Question 
Dr Joseph Healy (Principal Speaker and International Spokesperson of Left Unity)

For most of the 19th century and until 1920s the Irish Question dominated British politics. It was temporarily solved in 1921 with the partition of Ireland and the granting of limited independence to the Irish Free State, later the Republic. Strange then that the Brexiteers, many of whom pride themselves on their knowledge of British and Imperial history and on their close association with the DUP, never acknowledged Ireland during the referendum campaign of 2016. However, this arrogance and ignorance has proved to be their undoing. 
The issue of how to resolve the Irish border, the only land border of the UK with an EU member state has proved to be insoluble. Many of the most hardline Brexiteers would, of course, like the DUP, be prepared to jettison the Good Friday Agreement and see a hard border with Ireland. They also made the error of assuming that the leading EU states would override any objections or concerns from Ireland, to have champagne and German cars exported to the UK. The Irish government and diplomatic service were prepared and started a diplomatic campaign in the EU following the 2016 referendum. The outcome has been that the EU has stood firmly beside Ireland and the UK has found itself isolated. 

Furthermore, the deadly embrace of the DUP, who are obsessed with ensuring that any system pertaining to the UK is the same in Northern Ireland (apart from gay marriage and abortion) ensured that the get out clause of Northern Ireland remaining in the single market and customs union, while the rest of the UK sailed off into Brexit. could not apply. This meant that May had to go for the so-called Irish Backstop ensuring that no system could be in place in Ireland that affected the free movement of goods and people across the Irish land border. This has snookered her Brexit plan and meant that she now must seek some other form of agreement that will probably include remaining in the Customs Union. Ironically the DUP have opposed the Backstop all the way ensuring that May cannot get her plan through parliament while the EU and the Irish government have insisted on no Backstop, no deal.

In the interim, Anglo-Irish relations have reached a new nadir with people in Ireland angry and disgusted at the Tory Brexiteer attitude that Irish concerns should be swept aside. The threat of the return of violence in Northern Ireland and indeed to the rest of the UK has taken tangible form with the murder of a young journalist in Derry and the recent bomb packages found in London and elsewhere. Meanwhile the Brexiteer insouciance continues, echoed by their English Lexiteer friends whose vision of an English Bolshevik Republic clearly does not contain space for Irish concerns. Well might they have taken note of Gladstone’s comment on Ireland: "Ireland, Ireland! that cloud in the west, that coming storm.”


Patric Cunnane 
( Patric Cunnane is a journalist, poet, Labour activist
and co-organiser of Dodo Modern Poets (https://dodomodernpoets.wordpress.com/)

The government admits that UK participation in European Works Councils is threatened by Brexit. These bodies were established by the EU to give consultation rights to workers in multi-national companies.  As chairman of an EWC at a publishing giant I experienced their importance.

In April 1998 workers' reps from European locations of Anglo-Dutch publisher, Reed Elsevier, met in Amsterdam.  The goal was to establish a European Works Council for the firm's 13,000 European employees.  For me, it was a welcome break from Reed's UK workplace where unions had been derecognised since 1993, a practice encouraged by John Major's government.

As NUJ Father of the Chapel I represented Reed journalists while SOGAT represented other workers. In the UK, our reps were treated with disdain and pay claims ignored. We fought hard to keep the union alive. 

The atmosphere in Amsterdam was entirely different. Management was friendly, lunch provided and progress made. Further meetings took place. In September we signed a constitution creating the Reed Elsevier European Works Council. The EWC represented the interests of all employees, union members or not.

Eventually I became EWC chairman, a post I held for more than 10 years.  UK unions were restored in 2000 after Labour introduced recognition ballots but overseas managers were baffled by the concept of derecognition.  A company that tried such a move in France or Germany would be denounced by other employers. 

The Reed EWC included delegates from the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria and Finland - all member states where the company operated. 

The EWC held two annual meetings - one to consult with the company on its strategy and another for reps to set our own goals.  A small committee, including the chair, met when necessary.  We complimented unions and did not negotiate terms and conditions but could intervene in acquisitions and divestments. Many delegates, including myself, were union reps in our workplaces and the EWC worked alongside local union and works council reps to help solve disputes.

My period as EWC chairman came to an end when Reed sold my part of the business to another company. I transferred to the new employer under existing terms and conditions due to another EU law, TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings, Protection of Employment) Regulations. It's fair to say that my working life has benefited hugely from employment laws introduced by the EU.  

 European Works Councils under Brexit

The government website (UK.Gov) says EWCs are at risk. 'UK businesses with European Works Councils and unions party to EWC agreements may need to review those agreements in the event of a 'no deal' scenario as there would no longer be reciprocal arrangements between the UK and EU.'  EWC rights would continue for the duration of a transitional agreement. 

Working Time Directive

The Working Time Directive became UK law in 2005 after a gestation period stretching back to the early 1990s. Labour MEP Stephen Hughes guided the WTD through the European Parliament from  within its employment committee.  The regulations introduced the maximum average 48-hour week, minimum rest breaks and rules for night time working. Some workers can opt out of the 48-hour week if there is a workplace agreement but not those where fatigue creates risks, such as truck drivers and junior doctors. 
This hugely important law gave UK workers the right to paid holiday for the first time. 


Almost 8 years ago I was involved in a campaign in Brent against library closures. Brent Labour Council, through a misleadingly named ‘Libraries Transformation Project’, proposed closure of 6 of the borough’s 12 libraries.

Campaigns rapidly sprung up for 4 of the 6 libraries and formed themselves into an umbrella group Brent SOS Libraries. They organised protest meetings, marches, lobbies and made videos in support of the campaign.  In a major move they raised money to finance a judicial review where they were represented at the High Court by Bindmans – a case that was unfortunately lost. Appeals to the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, one Jeremy Hunt, fell on deaf ears.

Brent is a Labour council but the closures were opposed by Brent North MP
Barry Gardiner.  Labour councillors denounced the campaigners and the Council leader stated that libraries were unnecessary when cheap books were easily available at Tesco and Asda.

With hindsight it can be seen that the Brent closures were a precursor for many future local library closures with the funding cuts to library services much greater than for other neighbourhood services.

Campaigners pointed out the impact of the closures on groups such as children and the elderly as well as the digitally excluded. However it became clear that middle class campaigners had access to much greater resources, including big  name celebrity support such as that of Alan Bennett, and extensive media contacts. The two libraries in less well off areas had no local campaigns and the buildings were sold off, one to a church and the other to a local mosque where the current leader of the council sat on the management committee. Both libraries were some distance from those that had escaped closure so school students who had used them for internet access and homework clubs were digitally excluded.

There was a debate within the SOS Campaign about whether to campaign for retention of a properly staffed, adequately resourced local authority library or to raise funds to make a bid for a volunteer led library. The latter strategy was justified as a way of saving the library in the short-term so that it could be reopened as a local library by a subsequent council.  The counter-argument was that by running a volunteer library we were colluding in cuts and undermining the library workers who would lose their jobs.

As a result of the campaigns there was a change of leadership of the council (still Labour) and a more conciliatory approach that has resulted in some funding for the volunteer libraries including peppercorn rents. The volunteer libraries have become a semi-detached adjunct of the statutory libraries and take part in activities such as the Children’s Reading Challenge over the summer holidays.  Some offer extras such as dementia cafes, homework classes and film shows.

With echoes of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ the issue now is that what was a national professional statutory service is being converted by local councils into a volunteer services that does not meet the same standards and is subject to the uncertainties of available volunteers and fund raising.  Some councils are introducing unstaffed libraries that are closed to unaccompanied children and accessed via a swipe card, raising issues of the safety of people in an unsupervised space.  Elsewhere what are essentially swaps of donated books are masquerading as ‘libraries’.

The danger is that once the library service has been ‘voluntarised’ this could be extended to other services such as youth provision, meals on wheels and aspects of adult social care.The Green Party’s policy on libraries is undeveloped although I am sure many members are involved in local campaigns. With councils of different political complexions implementing library closures we need to offer a clear way forward: such as the demands put forward in a 2016 Early Day Motion by Speak Up for Libraries :

“That this House recognises that public libraries are hugely important to our communities; acknowledges that many have already closed or are under threat; welcomes the Speak Up For Library lobby of Parliament in support of the public library service on 9 February 2016; and calls on the Government to ensure that councils have enough money to provide wellstaffed quality services to enforce the law that says local authorities must provide a comprehensive and efficient library service, to implement  policy which secures people’s statutory rights to a quality library service and to give libraries a long-term future by including a programme of library development and modernisation in the 2016 to 2020 Department for Culture, Media and Sport Business Plan. 

Libraries are essential as public provision for the common good and a key factor in challenging inequality in our society.

More details of the Brent campaigns can be found in postings by the author, Martin Francis, on www/wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk  

Bureaucatic Interfacing

By Alan Wheatley of Green Left and Hereford & South

Herefordshire Green Party

I have seen changes in bureaucratic interfacing, organisations speaking to their users, since I first became a disabled jobseeker claimant of Unemployment Benefit in 1977Melanie Klein has said that as Climate Change worsens and things get hotter, people get meaner. Similarly, I would observe that with various ‘cuts in provision’ since I first became unwaged, technological, politico-economic, and systematic changes in ‘delivery of public services’ make bureaucracy more stigmatising and dehumanising.

The Thatcher Government of 1979 was prefaced by showing almost interminable queues of claimants of Unemployment
Benefit.  Successive UK Governments have progressively 

      dismantled UK industry and funding per capita in Further
and Higher Education, decreasing home grown talent
      lowered the official unemployment statistics through altered definitions while increasing the number of hoops and hurdles claimants must go through to get benefit payments
      made the administrative procedures more and more faceless while decreasing claimants’ visibility with job centre closures, so that claimants can be more easily misrepresented through smear stories.

Claimants rather than Government and the privatised ‘public service delivery sector’ are under surveillance through digitisation of public service delivery that is advocated by think tanks and charities such as Reform UK.

Now with privatisation of disability benefit assessments, much attention has been drawn to the impact of dodgy ‘eligibility test results’. Not enough attention has been drawn to the bullying tactics of the outsourced admin staff who make the appointments.

In Herefordshire, Capita are the assessing firm for Personal
Independence Payment claimants and routinely summons Hereford PIP claimants to Cardiff.  They summonsed me to an 08:10am appointment there that would require my leaving Hereford the previous afternoon to arrive on time. Even after I got my MP’s secretary to intervene, my advocate and I were still faced with the prospects of an 08:35am appointment in Cardiff, before we were offered a ‘one time only’ 10:30am appointment at a ‘pop-up clinic’

 in Hereford with less than 24 hours’ notice. At ‘pop-up clinic’, I 

was able to help myself to water and have a toilet break in mid-

session; and when I offered to fetch the assessor a glass of water 

from the table, she said I was the first of her interviewees to ever 

treat her so. 

The privatisation of ‘Public Service Delivery’ amid all the hype about ‘cost savings’, is what the UN Disability
Committee Chair has declared a “human catastrophe” for sick and disabled people in the UK has replaced Quality Assurance.

Green Left asks “Is the Green Party abdicating our role? We need a shared values approach in respect of the Labour Party”  by Roy Sandison

Campaigns addressing the ticking clock of climate change are welcome – not least if it helps the Green Party to be a campaigning party seeking to build a united mass movement for system change.

Unfortunately the Green Party’s campaign fund was cut and this, allied with fixating on the narrow process of targeting to win and ignoring greens (in particular ecosocialists) who exist in other political parties, means we could become at best sidelined and at worse an obstacle to building this mass movement that is needed to save the planet. 

It’s clear the Green Party needs to break out of the self-imposed straitjacket of routinism and instead turn our efforts to building the movement. Instead of finding sectarian faults in parties like the mass membership party that is the Jeremy Corbyn led Labour Party, we need to find, and sometimes educate, those in that party who share our values.

In April, Green Left passed the following motion.  

Defeating the Tories! Motion for discussion at GL Ordinary Meeting 13/04/19
Green Left reaffirms the motion passed by our Green Left Meeting on 02/07/2016 on Electoral Left Alliances:
Green Left believes a massive step forward for the green movement in the UK has taken place over the recent period with a massive surge of ordinary people into both the Green Party and Labour Party (500,000) reflecting real concerns we believe about the threat of climate change to our very existence on this planet.
We welcome the fact that the Green New Deal is gaining support on the left (especially in the Labour Party) and that Greens should engage with others who share the same policies as us, to build the green movement for change that is the only way to save the planet.
Green Left believes that environmental and social justice are absolutely linked – the two elements being inseparable. (We note a policy that was adopted by the GPEW in 2013.), Many in the Labour Party now share that view.
“The climate movement must engage with the labour movement, the only political force with the capacity to deliver the transformation needed to avert catastrophic climate change(Green Party Trade
Union Group)

Green Left urges local GPEW members to survey local Labour candidates especially in marginal seats, to identify if the local Labour candidate shares our values and polices over climate change, PR, 1 million Green jobs, anti-austerity and other important issues.  
In marginal seats where Ecosocialists are standing and more likely to beat the Tories, we urge local Green Parties and members to consider lending their vote to candidates who share many of our Green values and who will campaign for real change.
• Our position is not the same as the misnamed ‘Progressive Alliance’ of the 2017 election when some in the Green Party ignored the FACT that when the Lib Dems were in the coalition with the Tories they pursued policies like the Bedroom Tax, Austerity, Tuition Fees and the lip service to green jobs means they have very little to offer to the green movement. No apology has come from this party and therefore we should not lend them or support in any way. If individuals do so then they may be supported – if they share our values.
The new objectives set by the Green Party in January included a target of increasing the number of councillors to 300. Well, that went well - the target was smashed in weeks!  Jonathan Bartley must have set a record for the number of studios he visited following the Green breakthrough in the local elections. And what a delight to hear him on R4 Any Questions Time say that “environmental justice and social justice are two sides of the same coin” as the climate crisis would hit the poorest people the most. The crisis was so serious, that it had to be addressed on a “wartime footing”.

A few weeks earlier Jeremy Corbyn addressed the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno and declared “We are all facing a climate crisis. There is no greater threat to our future and we need a Green Industrial Revolution. This means public investment into renewable energy on a massive scale providing high skilled, well paid engineering and manufacturing jobs to places that have never recovered from the destruction of industry by Margaret Thatcher”. That sounds like “wartime footing” to me and common ground where we can work together. This we need to do as, although the Labour Party has a way to go on many issues, the Corbyn and McDonnell leadership are heading in the right direction.

We knew that as the effects of global warming became increasingly evident, there would be more receptive audience for the Greens. While surges can fade and popularity can peak the climate crisis is now impossible to ignore, and if people only know one thing about the Green Party, they know it cares about the environment. Not only is the clue in the name but they have been banging on about it for more than 40 years. Electoral success for  the Greens has been long anticipated but just as often frustrated by the FPTP voting system. 

Whether the 2019 local election success marks a tipping point remains to be seen, but climate concern was the primary reason for the the breakthrough.

Much thanks therefore to Extinction Rebellion for moving the issue up the political and media agenda and facing the fury of the right-wing press. The Daily Mail`s Andrew Pearce completely lost his rag, saying “most of them have double barrelled names”. His fellow hacks stuck to the tried and tested “sanctimonious zealots” and “privileged clowns”, as  when the Sun had Corbyn on the front page in a jesters cap.

No one can doubt that Brexit has been divisive. A respected local Green Party secretary who voted Remain told me they would vote Leave in any future referendum, fearing social unrest and the rise of the far right. Stephen Kinnock has said “another vote on Brexit would be divisive not decisive” and if Remain won there would be demands for another `best out of three` referendum. In the face of the pan-global crisis of climate breakdown we don`t have the time for a modern day War of the Roses – are you a Yorkist or a Lancastrian ?  Leaver or Remainer? We are not defined as a society as Leave or Remain.

We all support the Hope not Hate initiative against the far right and we know that the longer the disunity unleashed by Brexit continues, the better for the likes of  Farage and Trump, their divide and rule politics and their dreams of  a Nationalist International. In the face of this threat we need to work together with many progressive movements, organisations, parties and people to build Unity not Division. That Jonathan Bartley and Jeremy Corbyn are on the same page and agree on the need to tackle the climate crisis on a “wartime footing”, is a good sign. But only a start. 

Facing the Apocalypse - Arguments for 

Ecosocialism; by Alan Thornett. 

RRP £17. Pub Resistance Books and Merlin Press
ISBN: 978-0-902869-91-2; 342pages

review by P. Murry

I’m not sure that Alan Thornett has written a comprehensive guide to Ecosocialism as an emerging political ideology. That task may need hindsight, and as argued throughout his book, that could be something we will not have the luxury of.

Thornett is an important figure in the development of Ecosocialism, so this is a book written from a deep and urgent sense of commitment. It traces the intellectual roots of Ecosocialism in Marxism and other strands of radical thought, such as the work of Murray Bookchin, Hugo Blanco and the emergence of Green political ideologies and movements. It also traces the author’s own journey from the productivism and blind faith in continual economic growth as progress. 

This book clearly details multiple reasons why such views are no longer credible, and dangerous to the future of humanity and the interlinked ecosystem that it depends on. ‘Apocalypse’ in the title is not a rhetorical exaggeration and the multiple ways in which an accelerating apocalypse is starting to happen are addressed. 

Thornett covers not only the threat of human caused climate change, but many other ways in which industrialised human activities intensify ecological destruction: such as pollution of water, depletion of water resources, ocean acidification, aggregations of nonbiodegradable garbage and other factors leading to species extinctions and dramatic losses of biodiversity. 

One issue, which is not dodged is human population growth. Thornett devotes a lot of attention to this issue, including debates with Betsy Hartmann, Laurie Mazur, Ian Angus and Derek Wall. Overall the case is made that, even if population growth may tail off by 2050 to about 9.5bn, it is still a factor driving ecological threats.  Therefore, it cannot be ignored, but it cannot be solved by compulsion, any solution must involve extending the rights of women to control their own fertility.

This is an important book; it is a major contribution to the political debates and actions that must take place in analyses.  It does not just consider the origins of ecological dilemmas and ecosocialist perspectives, it also examines some suggestions towards solutions.

In Thornett’s view human ecological impacts pre-date capitalism. ‘Maximalist’ arguments calling for an overthrow of capitalism before tackling ecological crisis are rejected. Thornett argues instead for:
“Reforms which are not necessarily reformist, […], Such as opposing fossil energy and demanding renewables.” (p.98). 

From a British point of view the section on the contests around environmental politics that are currently going inside the British labour movement is a useful antidote to those who insist on seeing Trade Unions and all of the Labour Party as completely unreconstructed advocates of unceasing economic growth.

This review is only managing to scratch the surface of the many issues. It is an important text in the continuing struggle for Ecosocialism. 


Like most political parties the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW)  has internal left, centre and right wings. The former is quite easily identifiable, there is an organisation of GPEW members called Green Left which identifies itself as ecosocialist but does not include all socialist or left GPEW members.

The ‘Green Right’ is harder to pin down. This is partly because there is a strain of Green political thought which claims Greens are ‘neither left nor right’. Some Greens describe themselves as libertarian, others prefer only to address ‘environmental’ issues without paying much attention to their socio/economic /political causes, beyond exhortations to change individual behaviour.

GPEW is currently undergoing a re-organisation, known as the Holistic Review, which was endorsed by a vote of members with at 16% turnout earlier in 2019.

This is often defended as ‘purely organisational’ rather than political, and the centralisation of power that it plans might be welcomed by leaderships of any party.

If enacted after endorsement by the GPEW conference in June 2019, it will replace the currently regionally and nationally elected governing committees of GPEW (Green Party Regional Council and the Green Party Executive) with a Political Executive (PEX) from which a Board will be appointed. Four of the eleven PEX members will be elected directly by the party membership. It will not include an elected Trade Union Liaison Officer as the Green Party Executive currently does.

There will also be a 45-member Council (with 10 directly elected members) which will include “Five representatives from formally constituted Affiliated Groups within the GPEW who represent marginalised communities, including the current liberation groups.” The Young Greens will additionally have 5 Council seats. The Affiliated Groups will not include the Green Party Trade Union Group.  

The Green Party Trade Union Group has existed for about twenty years and recognises the nature of contemporary employment by having membership open to all GPEW members in order to include workers who aren’t able to join Unions and unemployed workers.

Among other flaws the reorganisation proposals are deficient in that they:
·     exclude unemployed workers and ignore the role of Trade Unions in representing them.
 ·    marginalise the representation of workers onto an advisory council which will probably meet four times annually.
·     patronise one group of workers and ignore workers’ selforganisation through Unions, Trades Councils, etc. ·     weaken links with the labour movement just when it is starting to seriously debate the urgent necessity combat climate change.

I have been trying to elicit an explanation for the exclusion of trade unions and workers in general and have been told things along the lines that the groups selected are deliberately groups whose communities are defined as marginalised because hitherto they have been under represented. So, whoever did this defining does not regard the situation of workers under capitalism as one of exploitation and marginalisation. This is, at very best, a huge political blind spot being manifested at precisely the time when worker and trade union involvement is increasing and is increasingly important as measures like the Green New Deal are being proposed to create a red-green alliance that might effectively combat climate change.

However GPEW has never claimed to be a socialist party. It has recognised, that a ‘social agenda’ is as necessary as an environmental one, especially when its ranks were swelled by refugees from a Blairite Labour Party.

Corbynism has changed that and many Green ideas are gaining traction within Labour so one political strategy GPEW may now be adopting is to move rightwards. The calculation implicit in the reorganisation of GPEW is that it can afford to lose parts of its left agenda and appeal to centrist voters. The fact that one of the new GPEW websites claims that it is now a ‘social liberal’ party supports this.

 Views expressed in Watermelon are those of the authors and not necessarily                    of Green Left.

A poem for J.Rees-Mogg

I like to lie in bath of lukewarm water, Reading The Spectator.
It’s so well written, it’s so right wing, It wants the empire back, It’s for people who own things. And when the mad Russians come, And The Spectator says they will.
And drop their naughty bomb,
I’m going to die in my bath,
Reading the Truth,
When the fireball rolls,
I’m going to boil like bacon, Charred paper in my hand, The last leisured remnant Of a dead civilisation.

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