The Unsustainable Idealism of the Greens

Harrison Edmonds and Robbie Travers

The Green Party are often referred to as the “UKIP of the Left”- they are an insurgent political party which have existed for a while below the radar of mainstream political debate only to have recently broken out into the public consciousness during the later quarter of this Parliament. What the Greens were always well known for was their foundations being predicated on environmentalism (their named after the cause), and the rest of their policies are a mixture of the left of Old Labour and some elements of uber-modern liberalism. As a result, they have picked up votes from the ideological left-wing Labourites who saw Blair and now to an extent Miliband as Red Tories and from disgruntled Lib Dem voters, as well as the non-Eurosceptic protest vote. It is undeniable that a lot of their support comes from students; one poll in December of 2014 had them at 24%, second to Labour at 38% and rapidly growing in support amongst younger people. However, some of their supporters, when questioned at universities across the country, knew very little about their actual policies; one even said that she was going to vote Green because “they’re the nice ones, aren’t they?”

This is part of a wider problem that the Greens have, in the sense that they have difficulty in presenting what their policies are even post-Manifesto launch, and when they are given a platform, such as on LBC or the Daily Politics, their leader, Natalie Bennett, is unable to respond to criticism and has a speaking style reminiscent of someone out of breath, and reading of a script. However, that isn’t solely a result of poor communication skills, the more important reason as to why she wilted so much in those interviews is the same reason their Media spokesman Martin Dobson was unable to explain what their “20% cap” on media ownership would involve.

The Green’s policies, as a result of being agreed upon by direct democratic means amongst party members, are an inchoate mismatch patchwork quilt of incoherent, idealistic environmentalist, internationalist and socialist policies that haven’t been tempered by the real world. Whilst some of their policies seem like they are dealing with issues of national priorities, they have some policies that seem both irrelevant and frivolous, like banning the Grand National and not participating in World Cup Competitions that are taking place in nations with sub standard human rights records. But on areas of significantly more national importance, take, for example, their defence policy. Despite the fact that the current cuts proposed to the Armed Forces could potentially see an Army numbering 50,000, the smallest it has been in 250 years, as well being reclassified by NATO not as an army, but as a gendarmerie (a militarised police force), the Greens don’t feel that this goes far enough. Their Manifesto reads: “PD302 On inspection, there is little or no threat of direct invasion of the UK by any nation. Commitment to a large standing army, a navy of large warships around our coastline, squadrons of fighter planes and a cripplingly expensive missile defence system is therefore unnecessary. Any threat of invasion that might arise in the future is so remote that realignment of the UK military and defence preparations would be possible long before any invasion occurred.” When asked what this means, Natalie Bennet said that she envisages no standing army, instead mustering a defence force if Britain was attacked. This may seem like a sound policy, if we were in the Europe of the 1990s with the USSR defeated in the wake of the Cold War, but in the Europe of the second decade of the 21st century, a resurgent Russia in an uneasy Europe means that this policy would be extra-ordinarily stupid. Especially with Russia just this week testing UK response times with jets, and threatening to use their nuclear weaponry in the Baltics. Couple this with the consideration the fact that Russian bombers have flown dangerously close to our air space without transponders disrupting civilian aviation, and Russian submarines have threatened our allies’ waters. In the age of jet fighters and missiles, we cannot afford to slowly mobilise troops if threatened; we need fast, rapid response units, we need a standing army, navy and air-force.

Bennet herself, on the issue of Putin, said that we should seek to “appease” him. But unlike Neville Chamberlain, we would not be arming or building Supermarine Spitfires, because of another Green policy: “PD312 The Green Party is committed to the early conversion of economic, scientific and technological resources presently used to support the arms race, to socially useful and productive ends. Some military training areas should be decommissioned and used as nature reserves, with suitable provision for access by the public.” The end of our military-industrial complex, with, as Bennet expressed in an interview, our new, militia-style force, simply using surplus stock from the present forces, with no innovation to keep ahead in the continuous arms race, would be even more impotent. The other part of their policy, which would see an end to British military bases, with them being repurposed as nature reserves, as well as the factories that previously produced tanks now making wind turbines, is so surreal and so eco-crazy that if asked to write what he imagined the Green policy on defence would be, the arch-demon James Delingpole himself could not envisage something as typically “Green” as this from the ‘hippie, socks-and-sandals drum-circle brigade’ (or whatever his nickname for them would be). This would be laughable, if this was satire and not proposed policy. What is even more alarming is an ignorance of other British citizens who live outside the British Isles, such as the Falklands or Gibraltar.

It may be for the Greens, an embarrassing Imperial throwback, but even they could not deny the right of British Citizens to self-determination. What makes this worrying is that Argentina is buying state-of-the-art jets from China as de Kirchner gets more militaristic and authoritarian. If Argentina were to try and take the islands again by force when a Green government was in office, it is likely that they would win. As well as the cutbacks to conventional military forces, the Greens would get rid of Trident and our nuclear capabilities, regardless of whether anyone else does the same: “PD303 Similarly, the unhelpful and aggressive concept of nuclear deterrence (with the inherent dangers of handling concentrated radioactive substances) is also redundant. As such, immediate nuclear disarmament would be a priority of a Green Government.” “PD402 In the absence of effective international agreements on the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and indiscriminate action, a Green Government would unilaterally dismantle and dispose of its stocks, while continuing to campaign for others to follow suit.” Ignoring the attempts by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and the arguable case that in MAD situation, having more nukes than necessary to act as a deterrent is a waste of money, the end to all British nuclear weapons, as well as the end to a British Army, would see our place in NATO and the UN seriously hampered, especially with the USA beginning to pull back and the EU beginning to militarise with sustained calls for the formation of a European Army. But, then again, the Greens don’t like NATO: “PD513 The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a military-oriented body, which imposes conflict cessation rather than encouraging peace building. As such, it is not a sustainable mechanism for maintaining peace in the world. We would take the UK out of NATO unilaterally. We would also end the so-called “special relationship” between the UK and the US.” As well as an end to NATO membership, the Greens also want an end to free trade, because it destroys the environment. This won’t go down well with our partners in the EU, especially considering that free trade with member-states is one of the few reasons people want to stay in or at least tolerate the EU. The EU would also not like the Green policy of no immigration or border controls, and that, coupled with the lax citizenship tests the Greens would introduce, would see the EU’s own borders becoming rather porous, specifically at the English Channel. This would alienate Britain from the EU faster than you can say “Prime Minister Nigel Farage”, because the EU as a whole is not too keen on free movement of people of people into Europe.

On the subject of UKIP, forget their so-called plans to ‘pull up the drawbridge’, the Greens are the real isolationists, alienating us from the EU, NATO, USA and practically everyone, except for the ISIS Caliphate, which, under the Greens initial plans, would be legalised in the UK. If you are in a position to vote in the 2015 election, we would implore you to vote for the Party that you would like to see making and passing laws and ideally governing. And unless you are a pie-in-the-sky idealist, we would really reconsider voting for a party whose policies are as unworkable and counter-productive as the Greens.


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