22 May 2014
May 22, 2014

Grubby Greens


We had a Green Party rep at the door earlier here in London re: local and EU elections. He pointed out that while the local Labour council opposed HS2, the Labour Party supported it. It’s this kind of duplicity which makes the mainstream political parties untrustable, he said. “Vote Green, we’re different”.

“Fair enough, so, er, what’s your position on nationalism”?

“Oh, you mean UKIP and that sort of thing. Well, they’re a bit mad, really, aren’t they? And we don’t really have many English nationalists or such around here, thank goodness”.

“You might notice that I’m Scottish. So I’m actually wondering how it is that you think Scottish nationalism and independence will help make the world greener and better”.

“Sorry, I don’t know anything about that…..why do you think I support Scottish nationalism?”

“Er, because The Green Party supports Scottish independence and you don’t say one thing locally and another nationally, because ‘you’re different'”.

“Ah, yes, sorry, I don’t really know much about Scotland”.

Anyone thinking of voting Green today, even tactically, should consider whether they support nationalism. This is not a tangential issue, because the answer reveals whether the Greens are simply like all other political parties; balancing priorities, making ropey and simplistic claims to acquire votes and funding, superficially dissing opponents, building personal careers in the Commons, Lords, EU and devolved administrations and of course on local councils – or whether they are, truly, ‘different’.

If Green Party folk in England stressed the relationship between English nationalism and greening the world, most folk would quite rightly think them mad. Yet why would there be a coherent correlation between the two in respect of Scotland but not England? The answer is that there’s no serious intellectual argument which links the two at all – it’s simply that the greens are indeed as grubby as everyone else. The Greens occasionally get an MSP or two elected in Scotland and they do that more successfully when they oppose the Labour Party – so nationalism it is regardless of whether it actually makes the world ‘greener’.

It’s de rigeur, therefore, for intellectual (English) greens to find a wafer thin justification for supporting Scottish nationalism – these attempts are always comical.

So, just for fun, here’s George Monbiot writing in the Guardian;”I’d vote Yes to rid Scotland of its feudal landowners”.

En passant, notice how George thinks Scots should put put all thoughts of education, the economy, health, transport, even energy aside and base their vote on what’s going on on the grouse moors. This line is so patronising (“Yah, this view of the Kyle from The Royal Scotsman is pretty unbeatable, Triss. Hey, that was a pun re: Grouse, I should write something while I’m hot…pass the champers…huzzah) that it’s clearly designed to serve as an entree for the comedy plat principal to follow.

To wit. The irrationale which underpins George’s piece is this: First, land ownership is Scotland’s biggest political issue – not all that bollocks about hospital and schools and stuff. Second, Labour devolved the issue years ago but neither they nor the SNP have used the legislation, so they’re both crap. Third, so vote for, er, independence because; “despite the evidence”, it might lead to a change in land ownership rules. Fourth, er, so that means you should vote Green Party, because, er, they’re different…

What George really means is; vote Green Party because it’ll provide a job for an MSP or two, a few councillors and maybe the odd piece for journalists like him.

Too cynical? Of course it is. Monbiot’s a decent man who often (though not always, obv) writes super, thought-provoking stuff from a perspective he truly believes in. But he’s not daft either and he needs to earn his daily crust like everyone else. So when he writes shit for money (and the informal political significance he holds in the green movement), you really shouldn’t blame him. He’s simply doing the same thing as Green Party folk building political careers off of their risible claims of moral superiority.

Luckily, few people are paying much attention to the Green Party’s largely right-of-centre, conservative nonsense these days….

Important notes:

1. If you want Scottish independence, vote SNP. Bollocks to whatever’s happening in grouse-land.

2. If you don’t want independence, vote Labour. Or Conservative if you have over half an acre of garden and don’t care about the least well-off (just sort-of joking there)…

3. The Royal Scotsman, referred to above and again here, does actually look pretty brilliant. And probably needs a review from a Scottish politician who spends a lot of time in London near some of the folk who might fancy it…… so, you know, there’s that….

4. And if you are going to Boat of Garten, as referenced in Monbiot’s piece, then this is very nice – big rooms best.