Many years ago, when I was a young diarist working for the Daily Telegraph’s Peterborough column, my bosses dispatched me to cover the Green Party conference. This wasn’t because I was particularly anti-Green at the time. Rather it was because, of all Peterborough’s staffers, I was known to be the one least interested in politics and the political process, so it seemed entirely appropriate to send me to the big joke event in the conference season, rather than to one of the more serious events.
The only thing I remember about the event was being inveigled into some fringe activity in which I was forced to participate with various Green delegates in some kind of non-competitive group bonding exercise where we all had to roll about on the floor. Someone let out the most repellent fart. It smelt evil but everyone present politely conspired to pretend that everything was normal. I sense something similar going on right now in the collective efforts of the media chattering classes to present the Green Party as a viable, vibrant and credible force in UK politics in the approach to the General Election.
Here are some reasons why I think they are wrong.
1. Green Party membership is on the up and up. Yes but so what?
Apparently the Green Party’s membership has now overtaken UKIP’s. I’m quite prepared to believe this but I think it says more about the fiendish zealotry of the sort of people attracted to environmental causes than it does about the Green Party itself. It’s not as though the Green Party has suddenly gone and recruited a brilliant, inspirational go-ahead new leader – au contraire: see Nathalie Bennett, below – nor as though it has undergone some manner of dramatic, Clause 4 style, policy reinvention.
Nope. It’s just that of all the parties, the Greens are the one whose target market accords most closely with the kind of people who flock to sign Change.Org petitions and join Twitter mobbings and go out on street demos (or better still, attend week-long protest camps where they can smoke dope, get to use the yurt and possibly get to rub shoulders with Vivienne Westwood). These people are signers, joiners, astroturfers. As a percentage of the population they are quite small but in terms of exerting political pressure they punch far above their weight by being highly committed and – for a bunch of dope-smoking crusties – surprisingly well organised. This Green Party membership surge is just another part of that strategy. I don’t believe that it will translate into anything significant at the polls.
2. Natalie Bennett
You know how at the beginning of each new primary school year there are one or two teachers you pray aren’t going to be the ones to whose class your children have been allocated? And it’s not that these teachers are malign, necessarily. It’s just that they’re wet, agonisingly prey to all the usual PC groupthink and frankly a bit thick – so, while you know your kids won’t necessarily be unhappy during their year with Ms X, they’re not going to learn anything more useful than how to colour in a picture of Mary Seacole for their Black History Week project. Well I’ve met the Green Party’s leader Natalie Bennett and I’m afraid she’s one of those.
It stands, of course, for “green on the outside, red on the inside”. But as Matthew Holehouse rightly notes in this analysis of the Green Party’s policies, that doesn’t mean they’re as bad as Karl Marx whose main concern was the way wealth was distributed. No – and this really can’t be pointed out often enough – the Greens are much more dangerous than Karl Marx, because though they share his attitude to redistributionism they are also ideologically opposed to the one thing capable of offering each generation a better standard of living than the previous one: economic growth. A vote for the Greens is far more than a protest: it’s a vote for collectivisation, stagnation and immiseration.
4. They’re worse than a joke
Ohohoho yes, the Greens. When I originally started writing this piece, I couched it in flippantly humorous terms, with jokes about a world where your house would get confiscated and handed over to a bunch of crusties, with your garden shed being allocated for dogs-on-ropes they use for their street begging ventures and the suggestion that it would be like living under Enver Hoxha only with more dreadlocks, juggling and pois (Young Poi-oneers, anyone?).
Truth is, though, to laugh at the Greens is to underestimate the viciousness of their ideology – which is an unholy mix of economic illiteracy, pathological altruism, and misanthropy, built on a foundation of ignorance, self-delusion and mendacity. These people aren’t just misguided fools. The policies for which they have agitated over the years – punching far above their weight (see 1) – have caused the world and its inhabitants real harm. For the full ugly details read this damning new report by Andrew Montford for the Global Warming Policy Foundation called Unintended Consequences Of Climate Change Policy. These caring, nurturing hippies have blood on their hands. They should be ashamed of themselves and certainly have no place on the moral high ground.
5. In office they’re a disaster
As witness the hell they inflicted on the Green Republic of Brighton and Hove. It’s redolent of the loony left councils which ran various London boroughs in the 1980s, only with added eco-worthiness. So: out-of-control spending and uncollected rubbish, but with added nonsense like proposals that everyone should experience meat-free Mondays.
6. What all this is really all about, of course, is UKIP
The reason the “rise of the Greens” is getting so much enthusiastic coverage is because the mainstream media appears to have decided en masse that anything is better than UKIP, even a party which, if it got anywhere near the reins of power would bomb the UK economy back to the Dark Ages. An unfortunate side-effect of this shameless bias towards Cameron’s Conservatives (who, of course, fear and loathe UKIP far more than they do Labour) is that it means few journalists, commentators and broadcasters are subjecting the Greens to any kind of serious scrutiny. If UKIP had a single policy half as lunatic as the ones the Greens have got, it would be front page news for the next four months.