The word ‘politician’ is often used as an insult. In the popular imagination, politicians are loathsome, lazy liars. But I think they get an unfair rap, cheered on by a cynical media and misleading social media memes.
Don’t think of an elephant! Ever since I read the work of George Lakoff I’ve been fascinated by framing. But a new report by the think tank Green House contains some useful and stimulating critiques of the Common Cause approach.
I’ve been a Green Party member, activist and officer at local, regional and national levels for ten years. But the honour and joy of working full-time for two Green politicians is a rare one in so small a party. So I thought I’d share some lessons from those seven years, things I would never have guessed before I stepped through the doors of City Hall to work in the London Assembly in September 2009. I imagine that there is nothing very special about my experiences here; that similar things could be said of members and politicians in the Labour Party, or Green MEPs. 1. Greens show remarkably little interest in their politicians Once a month members of the London Green Party can quiz their Assembly Members and MEP about their work. But when the opportunity arises, almost nobody asks them a question. Before I worked with them I knew very…
In politics, as in sport and Eurovision, we all like to fit the facts to our pre-conceived ideas. Tribes and factions interpret results as a vindication of their point of view.
In three and a half years, my local shopping parade has gained an Italian restaurant, a Persian cafe, a fancy wine shop, a retro furniture shop-cum-cafe, and most recently a microbrewery pop-up bar.
I love them, and the transition town market up the hill, and all the other nice changes to my new area. I am part of the gentrifying forces that are pricing me out of the area. Read More Better keep it a little bit shit?
A quick look at home insulation tells us the ‘rich white men’ analysis can be a dead end for the Green movement. Read More Rich white men aren’t keeping your home cold
What would you do with the money if you saved £1,100 on your energy bill? That question led me on a journey that completely changed the way I approached climate change policy. Read More An unexpected journey
One of the best things about Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, is her independence from party whips. You can always be sure that she will vote in Parliament for her constituency, for her conscience, and for her Green principles of equality and ecology. When the anti-Green attack unit set-up by Labour claim that a vote for the Green Party will land you with a Conservative government, it makes me wonder – so what will a vote for Labour get you? In Lewisham West & Penge, it has delivered us Jim Dowd. He seems like a decent person, but according to the Public Whip web site he has voted loyally for his party line in 99% of the votes. So you can be fairly sure that a vote for Jim Dowd is a vote for whatever programme Ed Miliband leads the party on. Caroline, pictured below, is a different story, and…
One of the many abuses of the English language in mainstream political parlance is the denigration of ideology. Defending his government’s cuts to public spending, David Cameron wrote in 2011 that: This is a government led by people with a practical desire to sort out this country’s problems, not by ideology. More recently, Nick Clegg attacked Michael Gove’s education policies as ideological, reportedly saying: Parents don’t want ideology to get in the way of their children’s education In fact, Nick Clegg really appears to have it in for ideology because he attacks it all the time. He said a couple of weeks ago: I don’t take an ideological approach to public spending. But it isn’t just our dear leaders trying to avoid the whiff of ideology. You hear it all the time – the Government’s cuts are “ideological” (i.e. bad), the Green Party’s opposition to nuclear is “ideological” (i.e. invalid).…
Following my previous blog post about the Young Greens and lots of discussion with friends and fellow party members, I want to set out clearly why ecology defines my philosophical basis rather than social and environmental justice.
To avoid misunderstandings from the outset, I think social and environmental justice are important, but they don’t define my political philosophy.
The new philosophical basis of the Green Party says:
A system based on inequality and exploitation is threatening the future of the planet on which we depend, and encouraging reckless and environmentally damaging consumerism…. The Green Party is a party of social and environmental justice, which supports a radical transformation of society for the benefit of all, and for the planet as a whole.
This sounds great! What could be wrong with that? I hope I might persuade you why I don’t think it is quite right, or at least encourage more thought and debate about political philosophy and the precise meaning of different terms. Read More My politics of ecology and justice