One step forward two steps back: the Green growth strategy

The Green Party elects a new leader but remains committed to an anti growth agenda

Natalie Bennett flanked by every Green voter in Britain
Guy Bentley
On 3 September 2012 13:49

For a party looking to expand its support beyond the normal collection of anti-capitalist, climate alarmists they have chosen a surprisingly stereotypical leader.

A former editor of Guardian Weekly (Editor: quelle surprise!) and self-described feminist, she contested and lost a seat on Camden Council in 2006.

Bennett has so far stayed true to the spirit of the Green Party. She has railed against ‘trash the planet capitalism’, repeating the tired mantra of ‘the end is nigh’ type prophecies of the green movement which, like the doomsayers of the medieval age are preaching the end of the world just around the corner.

Her platform included the position that the financial industry needs to be ‘reined in’ to avoid another crash. Rather a strange statement to make as the financial industry is more shackled than ever. The financial industry in the UK is the second most heavily regulated activity, second only to the handling of nuclear waste, which is precisely what trawling through Bennett’s statements feels like.

Bennett has described the government’s modest reductions in public spending as economically illiterate. This from the leader of a party that wants a minimum wage of £8.10 an hour and wishes to debate proposals for employees to elect the directors of companies.

To complement this policy engine of unemployment, Bennett wants to work towards a country where no one earns more than £200,000 a year. She states that this policy would be enacted not through legislation but ‘encouragement’ – or is that discouragement?

This is either a poor attempt at double-speak or the Green Party are in situation where they have a policy but would do almost nothing to bring it about.

The message emanating from Bennett’s election is not that the Greens are looking for a broad range of voters, but rather playing to a spirit of envy and ignorance.

The demographic that their new party leader seems to be targeting is a public sector, anti-growth, climate-alarmist who long ago fell out of love with Labour and more recently saw their affair with the Liberal Democrats curtailed.

This will make up a tiny proportion of the electorate. Beyond the Green enclave of Brighton, the appeal of the Party is not likely to be increased by this choice of leader.

In a comically absurd statement, Bennett claimed that ‘the state of the planet and the state of the British economy demand that we go much faster’. Somehow I have a feeling that the world will keep spinning on its axis whether or not there are two or six Green MEPs – the stated objective of her new rein.

Bennett has stated that under a Green administration (about as likely as a Tory majority), there will be support for farmers and UK manufacturing.

We have become familiar enough with the Left’s musings on economic matters to translate such words like ‘investment’ and ‘support’ to mean government subsidies and state handouts.

There are still the occasional speculations from Guardianistas such like Bennett that the Green Party can rise to third place in British politics and replace the Lib Dems as the UKs’ true social democratic party.

But the rise of UKIP coupled with the Green Party’s inability to capitalise on the Lib Dem electoral nightmare means this party will move no closer to the power it so desperately craves.  And thank God Gaia for that!

Guy Bentley is the editorial assistant at the Commentator

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