Sunday, 9 May 2010

This generalelectionresult gives hope to the Green Party, the green movement, and the world

I believe that, now that we have broken the Westminster barrier, anything is possible for the Green Party. It all depends on how people now react, what people now choose to do and to hope for. If enough people start joining us, then we could be a phenomenon in the 21st century to start to rival Labour and its huge growth in the 20th.
It is _not_ wishful thinking, but hope-full thinking, that can spread and grow, and that might yet save our endangered civilisation, to remark that there is now suddenly a huge potentially-self-fulfilling political phenomenon beginning. That's the remarkable thing about human being - that it can make possible things that seem impossible, through individual and collective belief in them.
This election, having turned into a classic two-Party squeeze (it came down to whether one hated the Tories or Labour more, as a potential Party of government; earlier in the election campaign, it was a novel phenomenon, a 3-Party-squeeze, which already was very tough for smaller Parties such as the Greens - 'Others' shrank from c.13% to c.6% in the national opinion polls, as a result of Cleggmania), was always going to be very very tough for a Party many of whose voters are thoughtful. People vote for the BNP and UKIP because they are angry and are flailing around for a scapegoat (namely: people of a different skin colour / culture / religion). People vote for the Green Party because they want a better future and have thought about how to try to bring that future into being. This makes Green Party voters far far more inclined to vote tactically. We know for a fact that here in Norwich South many many would-be Green voters voted Libdem or Labour for tactical reasons, especially in middle-class areas where we have typically our strongest 'core' support. This effect was present tenfold or a hundredfold stronger in virtually every other seat in the country that we contested. This explains the drop in our vote outside Brighton Pavillion, Norwich South, Cambridge and a handful of other places. [ If you want to know more specifically what happened in NorwichSouth, check out my earlier post:
http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2010/05/so-what-happened-in-norwichsouth.html ]  Green voters are very likely to vote for other Parties, under FPTP. BNP and UKIP voters, far less so - _they_ are just expressing their anger and frustration, and venting it on an easy target.
All that Green voters need to do is to realise that there are many others like them, and to think collectively about how to make things better. It is a 'co-ordination problem'. But Caroline's victory should make solving that problem far easier. We now have a good example that we can show to voters. People in Brighton believed - and it happened! So: make it happen the same way here, too...
So, there is no need to worry (as some are doing at this time, with electoral reform in the air, but widespread concern that we may not get real PR) that Greens would do badly under AV. AV is not a proportional system, but it would allow people who want to vote Green to give us their first preference. In many many places, these first preferences would very soon start stacking up enormously - because AV allows people to vote for what they believe in (and so goes quite a long way in itself to solving the 'co-ordination problem'). In Norwich South, huge numbers of people want to vote Green; and some do, already. The Party which should fear AV is the LibDems. For how many people have LibDem as their first preference? Hardly any. The LibDems are purely the 'We're not Labour and we're not the Tories' Party. The LibDems could do well under AV if they get more first preferences than (one of) Labour or Tory, and so survive to clean up on their 2nd prefs. But in how many constituencies would that happen? Very few, is my educated guess.
Now that Caroline has been elected, we will grow, and grow at Westminster. Here of course is another absolutely huge difference between BNP and Green elected politicians – where Greens get elected, we usually stay elected, and often grow and grow. When people get Greens, they like what they get, and want more of us. When the BNP get elected, they are out on their ear within a few years' time (as in Barking and Dagenham, and several other places too, this time).
Without PR, the next General Election will be tough for us. Norwich South is our only obvious strong prospect for a gain, next time around. But going from 1 to 2 wouldn't be bad; and we could get set up at the same time for a big tranche of gains at the following G.E. (See http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2010/05/tactical-voting-strategic-voting.html ). With AV, the sky's the limit. And the same with any genuine form of (real) proportional representation. The Euro elections give a reasonable indication of our potential at a PR election. We would make any likely threshold in a national system. We would beat the BNP, and probably beat UKIP too (obviously, the Euro-elections over-estimate UKIP's general level of support, because in the Euro elections people's minds are focussed on the EU specifically).
Hope and belief in a survivable, fairer, happier future is fragile. Optimism of the will is what is needed in these times. As a philosopher, I note that Gramsci and Wittgenstein and William James would have approved of that...
Yes, we can...

 

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1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: This generalelectionresult gives hope to the Green Party, the green movement, and the world 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

25. 26. This generalelectionresult gives hope to the Green Party, the green movement, and the world 27. 28.

29.
I believe that, now that we have broken the Westminster barrier, anything is possible for the Green Party. It all depends on how people now react, what people now choose to do and to hope for. If enough people start joining us, then we could be a phenomenon in the 21st century to start to rival Labour and its huge growth in the 20th.
It is _not_ wishful thinking, but hope-full thinking, that can spread and grow, and that might yet save our endangered civilisation, to remark that there is now suddenly a huge potentially-self-fulfilling political phenomenon beginning. That's the remarkable thing about human being - that it can make possible things that seem impossible, through individual and collective belief in them.
This election, having turned into a classic two-Party squeeze (it came down to whether one hated the Tories or Labour more, as a potential Party of government; earlier in the election campaign, it was a novel phenomenon, a 3-Party-squeeze, which already was very tough for smaller Parties such as the Greens - 'Others' shrank from c.13% to c.6% in the national opinion polls, as a result of Cleggmania), was always going to be very very tough for a Party many of whose voters are thoughtful. People vote for the BNP and UKIP because they are angry and are flailing around for a scapegoat (namely: people of a different skin colour / culture / religion). People vote for the Green Party because they want a better future and have thought about how to try to bring that future into being. This makes Green Party voters far far more inclined to vote tactically. We know for a fact that here in Norwich South many many would-be Green voters voted Libdem or Labour for tactical reasons, especially in middle-class areas where we have typically our strongest 'core' support. This effect was present tenfold or a hundredfold stronger in virtually every other seat in the country that we contested. This explains the drop in our vote outside Brighton Pavillion, Norwich South, Cambridge and a handful of other places. [ If you want to know more specifically what happened in NorwichSouth, check out my earlier post:
http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2010/05/so-what-happened-in-norwichsouth.html ]  Green voters are very likely to vote for other Parties, under FPTP. BNP and UKIP voters, far less so - _they_ are just expressing their anger and frustration, and venting it on an easy target.
All that Green voters need to do is to realise that there are many others like them, and to think collectively about how to make things better. It is a 'co-ordination problem'. But Caroline's victory should make solving that problem far easier. We now have a good example that we can show to voters. People in Brighton believed - and it happened! So: make it happen the same way here, too...
So, there is no need to worry (as some are doing at this time, with electoral reform in the air, but widespread concern that we may not get real PR) that Greens would do badly under AV. AV is not a proportional system, but it would allow people who want to vote Green to give us their first preference. In many many places, these first preferences would very soon start stacking up enormously - because AV allows people to vote for what they believe in (and so goes quite a long way in itself to solving the 'co-ordination problem'). In Norwich South, huge numbers of people want to vote Green; and some do, already. The Party which should fear AV is the LibDems. For how many people have LibDem as their first preference? Hardly any. The LibDems are purely the 'We're not Labour and we're not the Tories' Party. The LibDems could do well under AV if they get more first preferences than (one of) Labour or Tory, and so survive to clean up on their 2nd prefs. But in how many constituencies would that happen? Very few, is my educated guess.
Now that Caroline has been elected, we will grow, and grow at Westminster. Here of course is another absolutely huge difference between BNP and Green elected politicians – where Greens get elected, we usually stay elected, and often grow and grow. When people get Greens, they like what they get, and want more of us. When the BNP get elected, they are out on their ear within a few years' time (as in Barking and Dagenham, and several other places too, this time).
Without PR, the next General Election will be tough for us. Norwich South is our only obvious strong prospect for a gain, next time around. But going from 1 to 2 wouldn't be bad; and we could get set up at the same time for a big tranche of gains at the following G.E. (See http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2010/05/tactical-voting-strategic-voting.html ). With AV, the sky's the limit. And the same with any genuine form of (real) proportional representation. The Euro elections give a reasonable indication of our potential at a PR election. We would make any likely threshold in a national system. We would beat the BNP, and probably beat UKIP too (obviously, the Euro-elections over-estimate UKIP's general level of support, because in the Euro elections people's minds are focussed on the EU specifically).
Hope and belief in a survivable, fairer, happier future is fragile. Optimism of the will is what is needed in these times. As a philosopher, I note that Gramsci and Wittgenstein and William James would have approved of that...
Yes, we can...

 
30. 31. 32.