Here are another five reasons. To me at least, they are compelling. I’m tired of voting for grey-red politicians who have lost their socialist fire-in-the-belly in the desperate scramble for middle-of-the-road electability. Or grey-yellow ones who have ditched their radicalism and will happily climb into bed with any other party depending on whether the post-election ‘arithmetic is right’. And I will never vote for grey-blues, who are quite happy to perpetuate the shockingly unfair status quo in the overriding interests of a ‘strong economy’ from which, magically, all social desiderata flow.
So to continue:
6 Because Green policies and ideals are global. They recognise that all the people of the world inhabit the same beautiful, blue but fragile and finite planet in our solar system. As opposed to the Nationalist credo, which says much about country, tribe, my own people (especially to be found in parties like Ukip). Whilst I find a lot to admire in the SNP (Scottish National Party) – which I can’t vote for anyway – and Plaid Cymru (which as a resident of Wales I can) for their clear socialist stance, ultimately their main interest, obviously, is in supporting their own countries. I want to give my vote, ‘wasted’ though it may be, to a party/movement that’s Britain-wide and world-embracing, not narrowly country-centred.
But having said that, I’d like to see a Labour government elected, gingered up with a good strong dose of SNP socialism – and from the Greens and Plaid too.
7 Because the Greens stand most for equality. Or as much as can realistically achieved, anyway. Which is more than any of the grey parties offer. Labour and the Lib-Dems promise a modicum of wealth redistribution from rich to poor (the Tories promise none) but only the Greens talk of really fair shares for all; stand against the obscenity of the people at the top having far, far more wealth than they either need or could ever possibly spend; people who, let’s face it, do socially relatively unimportant jobs, like city traders, entertainers or sportspeople, whilst social care is cut to the bone and poor and disadvantaged people suffer because grey politicians are too cowardly to ask them or corporations to pay a far share of tax.
8 Because the Greens place morality and ethics high on their agenda. They are brave enough to say that selfishness, voting purely out of self-interest on a what’s-in-it-for-me basis is simply wrong. They have the courage to contend that climate change and its consequences will impact most on the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. The Greens talk most about caring for the earth, its people, animal rights and for that matter the rights of all species. It might be dismissed as starry-eyed, tree-hugging idealism by pragmatists, but in my book voting Green isn’t wasting my vote but voting for what I believe in; voting for the common good, not just the privileged few. It’s about doing the right thing.
9 Because I’m still a rebel at heart. This follows on from number eight really. Even at my great age I want to prick at comfortable, established certainties; ask awkward questions. Challenge the complacency of a status quo which simply entrenches huge inequality and unfairness and condones lack of care for those who need it. Because I don’t swallow the conventional view that happiness and well-being consist in aspiring to own lots of stuff, in consuming vastly more in global terms of the world’s resources.
And because, in my view, only the Green Party has the vision and courage to espouse such ‘revolutionary’ thoughts.
10 Because the Green Party is for the young. Whereas the grey parties think only in the short term, look no further forward than the next general election five years hence, the Greens care most about the future of the earth and what’s likely to happen if climate changes continues at its present rate – not to mention resources depletion, pollution and all the other horrors Homo Sapiens is so good at inflicting on the planet. And the young are, after all, the future. They have the largest stake in it. We have no right to leave them a trashed earth, or a trashed society either.
And they – at least some of them – are the ones, the idealists, the demonstrators who rage against the present order; an order that suits people perfectly if they’re lucky enough to have decently paid jobs, or have paid off their mortgages/student loans, or are white, or are healthy, or are comfortably-off pensioners; in a word, are in no way a ‘burden’ on the state.
The young are the people most ignored by grey politicians, for all their warm words and worthless promises when they cynically lure the electorate with their bribes. I’m at the other end of my life now, but I identify with the young. They deserve a better sort of governance, and in my view they’d get it best from the Green Party.
And now for something completely different, and much less important in the grand scheme of things, here is the cover and blurb for my upcoming novel Secret Shame, to be published soon. You can read the first ten chapters on this site, where they’re appended to various blogs. To start reading at the beginning click here. (The book commences at the end of the blog post.)
Julie Hawkins has a pretty good life, really.
Or so she thinks. Marriage to a rock-solid, dependable policeman. Three lovely kids. A nice house in a smart suburb of Liverpool. It’s the respectable comfortable middle-class dream. She has more, does unassuming little Julie Hawkins née Brennan, than she would ever have aspired to. But her younger, wilder days, after fleeing a dysfunctional upbringing in Ireland, have left behind a dark, guilty, shocking secret that she’d hoped to keep firmly buried and forgotten.
The tranquillity of Julie’s life is shattered when her eldest daughter, Stacey, who’s from a short-lived earlier relationship, goes rebelliously off the rails and finds herself pregnant. And then, just when life is getting back onto an even keel after that upheaval, the ghost from her past emerges and poor Julie seems fated to suffer more heartbreak. She begins a search, a quest of atonement seeking forgiveness of wrongs done to people in her former life. But will she find redemption?
Secret Shame is John Needham’s fourth novel and a companion book to the earlier The One of Us. It is a poignant essay in empathy, tolerance and understanding.