Friday, 30 May 2014

Why I voted Green

When I first joined the Green party some twenty years ago, it was not something "trendy" to do. In fact, to some, it was a dreadful thing to do - the greens were all new-age hippies, spreading strange ideas and definitively anti-Christian.

Not true, of course. Not entirely true at least. However they were also not really considered a serious political force, just a way or registering a protest.

Things have changed a whole lot since that time.

At the time I joined, the Labour party were in unelectable disarray - this was before the smooth-talking Blair arrived. The Tories - I hate to admit it - had my support for a while, in the early days of Thatcher. To justify this, I do believe that in the early years, she shook up the country in a way that was needed. It was only with some hindsight - and the miners strike farce - that we saw the real beliefs of the party.

The Liberals were also in crisis, challenged by the Social Democrats (before they merged), trying to find a middle way, and not really finding any answers.

Against this environment, as I struggled to find a political position, I came to understand that the traditional left/right wing approach was actually a mistaken approach to political consideration. The problem was that the economic driver is not always the right starting point. The Greens were starting from a different position - that of the earth, the environmental necessity produces a different approach to policy.

A different approach to politics is still at the heart of the Green policy, and that is something I am proud of. In the time since I joined, the development of our policy clarifies the position as being broadly socialist. However, this is not because we are representing the "workers" vs the "owners" which is the core origins of the left/right divide. It is because caring about people - whoever they are - is about a world that we can all live in, a world for people. It is about a system that provides for all, and a system that lives in harmony with the world, becasue the world is part of that system. It is about fairness for all, for all now and in the future. It is about living within our means.

To me, the aims of the Green party find a match with mine as a Christian. They come from different places, different reasons (to an extent), but there is a match of aim, of ideal, of vision for what we should aim at. My faith is about enabling people to be their best, to be engaged with the divine, to be at peace with themselves and the world. The Greens are about the political way of helping that to happen.

Do I think everyone should vote Green? Of course I do! Primarily, because I believe we need a change in the political landscape in this country, from one dominated by one group over another, and instead focusing on a better world for everyone. That is what I want in life, as a Christian, and as a member of the Green Party.

A better world for everyone is a naive idea. But it is a powerful vision, a powerful aim.

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