If we had 500 years, maybe we could afford to move at the currentpainfully-slow pace of political evolution. But we don’t have 500 years – we don’t even have 50. We must effect huge policy changes within the next decade.
So for green politicians just being different just ain’t good enough – we need to make a difference. A very big difference – and fast.
Global over-heat is a different sort of crisis – because its climax is in the future. Decisions now may create a better future — but the full effects of those decisions, good or bad, won’t be known for a long time.
A measure of our success will precisely be that people never knew quite how terrifying — how devastated — things could become.
It’s a no-brainer that, in this situation, the Green Party is needed more than ever. We need to give people personal confidence that, as we all play our part in the big changes required to prevent climate catastrophe, and as the government regulates to make that possible, our lives will improve in the process: as we live more local, more secure, healthier, more sociable, less stressful existences. We need to show and embody the true and steady leadership that is missing from other political parties.
The Green Party needs to be much more visible itself to articulate this type of leadership.
In the coming weeks, the LibDems will be getting lots of airtime as they look among their own ranks for a Leader to succeed Menzies Campbell. Campbell claimed that the LibDems are the “only Party” campaigning for a “fairer and greener Britain” [ http://politics.guardian.co.uk/libdems/story/0,,2191824,00.html ]. The Green Party needs to step up to the plate, to vigorously contest that claim, to make a serious case for why it is the Green Party that deserves public trust in leading the fight for a fairer and greener Britain.
I read Sky News reporting [ http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,91211-1291083,00.html ] that “As leadership nominations closed [for the Libdem leadership contest] with just two hats in the ring, it emerged the party had signed up around 2000 new members since Sir Menzies Campbell quit just more than a fortnight ago. At least 64,000 members will receive ballot papers…although the party is expecting numbers to swell further as the leadership contest gathers pace.”
What wouldn’t the Green Party give for a huge influx of members, at this critical juncture…
Meanwhile: a new national opinion poll by YouGov [ http://www.yougov.com/archives/pdf/Green%20results.pdf ] shows that 5 out of every 6 people in the UK think the Green Party would do better to change its leadership structures. Of those offering a view, 84% answered “Yes” to the question “Do you think the Green Party should have a ‘Leader’ rather than the ‘Principal Speakers’ it has at the moment?”. This proves what many have long suspected: That electing a Leader or co-Leaders will broaden our popular appeal, and without violating any Green principles at all in the process. If I believed that making this presentational change would make the Green Party one scintilla less politically radical, I would quit the Green ‘Yes’ campaign immediately.
But this change might just give us a shot at making the difference that will save the future.
Stopping catastrophic climate change is the biggest challenge this country – and human civilization itself — have ever faced. If you need to do something very big very fast, you had better be organised to do it. You had better have a Leader.