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Why vote Green in 2015?

Blog April 6, 15

Why vote Green?

What does a vote for the Green Party mean in this coming election? Why would you use your vote on a small, relatively inexperienced and unpolished party such as the Greens? Wouldn’t it be better to vote for the lesser of two evils and concentrate on keeping the Tories out of power??

After the recent ‘leaders’ debate, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP made a bold proposal for the UK, for a ‘Progressive Alliance’ to be formed that would usher in a new era of politics. In a way, its very similar to what Nick Clegg was probably looking for when he went in to coalition with David Cameron in 2010, a vision he repeatedly refers to, of a different form of politics. We all know that Westminster and the political system is stale, corrupt, utterly lacking in vision and highly uninspiring. It’s a sad indictment of our society that this is the best we apparently think we can do. In light of this lack of vision, Nicola Sturgeon’s proposal shines like a beacon of hope, that perhaps something better is not only possible, but feasible.

I was moved in early January to think of entering politics. It was an article in The Guardian that moved me, a warning about a new nuclear cold war between Russia and the West. It not only sent a shiver down my spine, but also a rising anger that this is the best that our system can do…repeat patterns, fall back into adversarial dialogue and ‘position-taking’. Our politics is inflexible and lacks the capacity to create a better world. It only knows how to do more of the same, how to maintain a status quo and how to look backwards. This is not the politics we need for our age. Do we really want another Cold War? Is that the best we can wish for?

The Green Party stand for something different. They are imperfect, unpolished, amateur in some senses. But they represent something I can understand and feel part of. I recently attended a meeting of the local party, where Theo Simon, our parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome will score well at this year’s General Election. He may not win, but he also might. This meeting was not the polished campaign meetings of the Tories, Labour or even the Lib Dems. This was a group of ‘ordinary’ people keen to enact real change. It was semi-organised, somewhat chaotic and lacking focus. But at least it was real. And there’s a possibility, as I say, that this group may well see Theo elected to parliament this year. How utterly brilliant and bizarre.

Politicians and politics is not the great distance from us we sometimes think it is. There may well be hidden glass partitions and a maze of protocol and shadowy mechanisms that keep it feeling that way, but in fact it is within all our reach. The popular revolution in politics is easier than we imagine, where a disparate group in a small meeting room with too few chairs might soon have a representative in parliament itself. Already things are stirring and the Greens are surging. It will not propel the party into the Halls of Power this year, thank God, but that surge – if managed well – will grow and with it the taste and sense of change grow stronger. We are on the cusp of something different, but we need to hold to this path, we need to believe, stay focused, even play the game, because that’s what it is.

I have spent a lot of my life focused on the short-term, projecting popular revolution as being around the corner, failing to plan for the long-term in certainty that the system collapse many – including I – see as inevitable was just around the corner. I see now that it’s a long-game, that its all a long-game, and that its perhaps better we manage this change of circumstances, rather than plunge unprepared into it. The necessary changes are not even for us right here, right now, they are for our children and our children’s children and even their children’s children. How often do you hear a politician mention the distant future of our race and the effect our actions will have on the world of our descendants? Its rare because its difficult to face and difficult to imagine. Our society is selfish, inward-facing and, it would appear, in a constant state of survival fear. Anybody who has felt that fear personally will know how disabling it is, you cannot make long term plans when in a fight or flight mentality. That is the state our current politics exists in.

So why vote for the Greens this election? Because we owe it to our unborn descendants to care for our world and our people, and for all life, and to take steps now that show these things matter. No party other than the Greens offers that breadth of vision because no other party has the space to, so embedded in daily politics that they are. I am sure that many Tories, Lib Dems and Labourites would love to have the time to dream again (though we may not agree with all parts of that dream), but they are not allowed or able to in the circumstances and within this system we have made for ourselves. We, the Greens, can use that space we have now to dream of and design a future within which we thrive. The Greens are not ready to govern or lead our nation yet, but for every Green MP and representative at any level of local authority there is a glimmer of hope and a wind of change that blows that little bit stronger. From Brighton to Bristol, Devon to Norfolk, Green MPs and Representatives stand on the brink of election and with each success, another nail is driven into coffin of the status quo. Lets be positive about the future, lets embrace our interbeingness, lets use our vote to choose change.

I am standing as a Green Party representative in the 2015 District Council Elections, in Frome College Ward in the Mendip District. If you have the opportunity, I urge you to do the same.

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