Thursday, 15 November 2007

How Green Are The Lib Dems?

What a waste of a Question Time, this week its dedicated to a the Lib Dem leadership contest. As someone from a small party who rarely get media attention, watching the Lib Dems get lots of TV and press attention, and tonight on QT their leadership debate, all I can say is what a waste. This week Labour are again attacking our civil liberties, pushing for 56 days detention without trial. London is discussing banning plastic bags, like the Republic of Ireland. Pakistan are in a crisis, Burma and Zimbabwe also are in trouble. Our economy is looking more (Northern) rocky. So lets spend an hour watching 2 people who are quite similar not answer questions and say as little as possible.

How strong are the Lib Dems as an opposition? In Westminster they behind even the Welsh Nationalists, who seem more effective. They have joined Labour and the Tories, chasing the middle ground, all sounding the same. Locally they have done almost nothing, only the one way IDR campaign saw them oppose Labour at all effectively, and they joined a campaign by everyone else in town except Labour. I have been to several town council meetings, the Lib Dems say very little, there seems no point to them.

The green alliance described the Lib Dem green efforts. 'All three of the major political parties are falling short in their response to the threats facing the environment, all were found wanting.' Hardly high praise, and they have good reason for saying this.

The Lib Dems were not anti war, despite their often repeated claims. At the anti war rally in ‘03, Charles Kennedy spoke in a personal capacity, not representing his party. But even then – even at a Stop the War rally – he didn’t say he opposed the war.

One of their two MEPs in the SE, one was pro war, thats a high percentage. Vince Cable was in Labour, co wrote a book with Gordon Brown, then worked for Shell; hardly a green background.

Caroline Lucas MEP made a very good point when she said, ‘…their record in power at all levels is one of supporting both airport expansion and more road-building, …The truth is that we can't cut emissions sufficiently by tinkering around the edges of society. We will only reach a zero carbon society - as we must if we are to avert the worst impacts of climate change - by changing the very ways we do business, live our lives and measure progress: now that would be a truly radical proposition. As long as the other parties remain committed to economic growth at all costs and ever-freer international trade, this necessary radicalism seems far from their thinking, whatever their leaders are saying this week. Only the Green Party recognises that if policies to address climate change require a different economic paradigm, then that's to be welcomed, since the kind of materialism that is currently driven by contemporary consumer capitalism is leaving people unfulfilled as well as destroying the planet. Far from being a sacrifice, a zero-carbon society will be a healthier, happier, society, with warmer homes, better public transport, stronger local communities, more green jobs - and more free time. Put simply, the policies we need to live good lives are precisely the policies we need to tackle climate change - and that is what we need to articulate if we are to have any chance of achieving a zero-carbon Britain’

They may hold the balance of power in the next election, but they are playing the same game as the other grey parties. So not so much a green party, more another grey party with a yellow streak.

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