I’ve received a number of messages over the past couple of days asking me whether I intend to run for the Green Party leadership this August, and a number of offers of help.
I’ve given it a lot of thought, but have decided that I will NOT be running for either of the leadership positions this time around. Instead, I will continue my work on eco-philosophy at UEA, and my work chairing Green House think tank.
I want to urge all Green Party members to use this time until August to have an open and honest debate about the direction we want our party to take from 2016 onwards. Natalie Bennett has done a strong job in helping us quintuple our membership (a kind of growth I fully support!). And she has also helped people to understand that we are of course not a ‘single-issue party’. However, I hope that whoever the new leader is will be brave enough to reassess parts of our current Party messaging.
The campaign messages that worked reasonably well for us in 2015 have largely run up against a brick wall in the 2016 elections. And it is clear that unless we react to the changing political climate that Jeremy Corbyn is a symptom of, then we risk having our party fall into stasis or even irrelevance. From both a principled and a tactical point of view the next leader must craft a message that is able to hold onto our strong social justice policies, but that also allows for us to trumpet once more a more radical ‘ecologistic’ philosophy. We are the only Party that is in touch with the most basic reality of all: that everything we have and are — our country, our fellow species, our ecosystems, our planet — is finite and fragile. That USP, we must hang onto, develop and make much more of. The human race will destroy itself, unless it returns to being in touch with that simple common-sense. So what we are saying is simply enlightened self-interest both for Britain and for humankind at large. The Green Party understands that there are non-negotiable limits to growth; everyone else has their heads in the sand. The profoundly-worrying spike in global temperatures that we are seeing right now is merely the latest symptom of this pressing reality.
I hope and believe that our next leader will recognise that it is these ecological principles that make us unique in the current political landscape, and are the key both to resecuring our core demographic voter base and to reaching out to the many many voters who care about quality of life, about threats to health such as air pollution, about how ‘development’ and ‘growth’ in reality mean the trashing of green belts and the enriching of the already-rich. Voters who understand that anyone who believes in infinite growth on a finite planet has all the common-sense of the average ‘mainstream’ economist (i.e.: none). Voters who really truly deeply mean it when they say that they care profoundly about their own children and about the kind of world that those children will inherit.
At this time, such a change in messaging is absolutely essential for the Green Party and our wider planet; because if we don’t put eco-logical, eco-sensible policies on the table, then you can bet your bottom dollar no one else will.
Thanks for all the kind messages;