Today we hear that Joanna Lumley has come out in support of the Green Party. It all sounds lovely but it means that whilst appearing to be an apolitical campaigner for good causes Lumley is in fact probably quite leftish and she will be a happy bedfellow with the extremely left-wing Green Party.
I know it is unfashionable to use terms such as leftwing and rightwing nowadays but the move of Labour towards the contested middle ground has left the old left looking for a new home. Some have found it in Respect and for the forthcoming Euro elections the No2EU campaign. Others are hiding in the Green Party. I say hiding because they do not push leaflets through your door with the word socialist highlighted but it does not take too much research to work out that the Green Party is essentially a socialist party in all but name.
Letâ€™s look in some more detail at who the Greens are. Simply go to the People page of their website and start Googling.
Caroline Lucas MEP
Letâ€™s start with their leader Caroline Lucas. She started her activism in CND in the eighties and was on the wrong side of an argument emphatically won by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
Lucas sets her face against private sector involvement in public services and is against foundation hospitals.
She is a Vice President of the Stop the War coalition whose president is Tony Benn. Just in case you donâ€™t think this is an extreme left-wing front just check out their list of officers here.
Lucas is a patron of the Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign (VSC) where she bigs up Hugo Chvez along with VSC President Ken Livingstone and a long list of trade union leaders.
I think it would fair to call Lucas hard left.
Jean Lambert – Their Other MEP
On 16th April fellow Green Derek Wall used the Socialist Unity blog to say:
I think supporting Jean is a â€˜no brainerâ€™ [for] greens and socialists and especially those of us who are ecosocialists should see supporting her campaign as a priority.
I donâ€™t think I need to say any more about Lambert, Wall has done it for me.
Darren Johnson AM
According to the BBC he said:
In 1979 we had mock general elections at our school and I won, which was a great start to my political career. But to my shame it was standing as a Conservative Party candidate.
That doesn’t make him a socialist I guess but I expect it is the kind thing you have to say if most of your colleagues are out and out socialists. To feel shame at being right for once in his life is a pity in my view.
Peter Cranie, Euro candidate for the North West
Respect have decided not to contest these election[s] but to ask our supporters to vote for the Green Party as the best placed left party to beat the fascist BNP.
Cranie is personally endorsed by George Galloway:
If you want to send an anti-racist, pro-Palestinian MEP to Brussels, then Peter Cranieâ€™s your man.
Respect are not fielding candidates for the Euro elections. In the North West they are backing Cranie and in the West Midlands Respect has backed Green Party candidate Felicity Norman. Elsewhere in the country Respect members and branches are supporting the newly formed No2EU campaign.
Peter Tatchell, PPC Oxford East
In an article titled “Green is the new red” he himself says:
The Green Partyâ€™s Manifesto for a Sustainable Society incorporates key socialist principles. Rejecting privatisation, free market economics and globalisation, and it includes commitments to public ownership, workerâ€™s rights, economic democracy, progressive taxation and the redistribution of wealth and power.
Left-wing critics complain that the Greens are not a pure socialist party and are not working class-based. But look at the implications of what the Greens say; their goals and policies are often similar to the leftâ€™s â€“ without the left-wing jargon. Despite a different way of expressing things, what the Greens advocate is, in essence, socialistic.
So according to Tatchell the Greens are socialists but “without the left-wing jargon”.