Monday, 26 November 2007

Dear Shahrar...

The RED PEPPER debate is going strong...
Here is my second (and probably final) letter, replying to Shahrar's article, replying to my original article (see link at left, or go down below at http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2007/11/red-pepper-debate-on-green-leadership.html):

Dear Shahrar;

Thanks for your thoughtful letter. Obviously, there is much that we have in common. But I think we are still going to disagree about this one…

You doubt my claim that having a Leader and Deputy or Co-Leaders would enhance accountability. Perhaps then you would like to address the case of the Scots Green Party? See e.g. my letter in the _Guardian_ on this topic: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/comment/0,,2210036,00.html . Or see Mark Ballard’s and Patrick Harvie MSP’s comments, at http://www.greenyes.org/quotes.html . If the Scottish experience has been very clearly that formally-recognised Leadership enhances accountability, why should we doubt that it will in England and Wales too?

You say that “conventional politics has shown itself to be unfit for purpose”. A well-wrought phrase. But I haven’t noticed the electorate queueing up to endorse a Party presenting itself deliberately as unconventionally as it can, ‘led’ according to a quasi-anarchist model, just yet… The electorate, our potential voters, want us to get into make power and make changes. They don’t want us to have middle-class-sounding titles nor to seem to shy away from power as if from something dirty… They want us to relocalise our economy and polity, to renationalise the railways, to defend the NHS and to transform it into a National Wellness Service, to bring about an enormous investment in renewables, to stand firm against wars of aggression even while those wars are being launched and fought… they want us above all to lead the struggle against dangerous climate change (on this, see my blog, ‘Rupert’s read’: http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2007/11/green-leadership-last-thoughts.html ). When we say that we will not trust ourselves and our leading figures enough to elect a Leader from among our own, we unavoidably give the impression that we are uncomfortable in taking the risk of assuming that Leadership role.

Isn’t it striking that the Green Party has flourished in those places where an individual has stepped up to the plate and led it, organisationally and in the media and as a figurehead (e.g. Darren Johnson in Lewisham, Adrian Ramsay in Norwich, now both Leaders of large Green Party Council Groups)? Isn’t it striking that the clear majority of the most electorally-serious Green activists (e.g. over 75% of our Party’s Principal Authority Councillors, all three of our target Parliamentary candidates, both our MEPs) are voting Yes?

Shahrar, the choice facing us honestly is: to whistle for longer in the wilderness -- or to give ourselves a shot at bringing the green-left to power … before civilisation goes belly up…

Yours ever, Rupert.

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29.
The RED PEPPER debate is going strong...
Here is my second (and probably final) letter, replying to Shahrar's article, replying to my original article (see link at left, or go down below at http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2007/11/red-pepper-debate-on-green-leadership.html):

Dear Shahrar;

Thanks for your thoughtful letter. Obviously, there is much that we have in common. But I think we are still going to disagree about this one…

You doubt my claim that having a Leader and Deputy or Co-Leaders would enhance accountability. Perhaps then you would like to address the case of the Scots Green Party? See e.g. my letter in the _Guardian_ on this topic: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/comment/0,,2210036,00.html . Or see Mark Ballard’s and Patrick Harvie MSP’s comments, at http://www.greenyes.org/quotes.html . If the Scottish experience has been very clearly that formally-recognised Leadership enhances accountability, why should we doubt that it will in England and Wales too?

You say that “conventional politics has shown itself to be unfit for purpose”. A well-wrought phrase. But I haven’t noticed the electorate queueing up to endorse a Party presenting itself deliberately as unconventionally as it can, ‘led’ according to a quasi-anarchist model, just yet… The electorate, our potential voters, want us to get into make power and make changes. They don’t want us to have middle-class-sounding titles nor to seem to shy away from power as if from something dirty… They want us to relocalise our economy and polity, to renationalise the railways, to defend the NHS and to transform it into a National Wellness Service, to bring about an enormous investment in renewables, to stand firm against wars of aggression even while those wars are being launched and fought… they want us above all to lead the struggle against dangerous climate change (on this, see my blog, ‘Rupert’s read’: http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2007/11/green-leadership-last-thoughts.html ). When we say that we will not trust ourselves and our leading figures enough to elect a Leader from among our own, we unavoidably give the impression that we are uncomfortable in taking the risk of assuming that Leadership role.

Isn’t it striking that the Green Party has flourished in those places where an individual has stepped up to the plate and led it, organisationally and in the media and as a figurehead (e.g. Darren Johnson in Lewisham, Adrian Ramsay in Norwich, now both Leaders of large Green Party Council Groups)? Isn’t it striking that the clear majority of the most electorally-serious Green activists (e.g. over 75% of our Party’s Principal Authority Councillors, all three of our target Parliamentary candidates, both our MEPs) are voting Yes?

Shahrar, the choice facing us honestly is: to whistle for longer in the wilderness -- or to give ourselves a shot at bringing the green-left to power … before civilisation goes belly up…

Yours ever, Rupert.

30. 31. 32.