Monday, January 28, 2013

Why aren't the Greens doing better?

The Democratic Audit report The Bradford Earthquake is now online.

Reading that report - or at least its executive summary - I am struck by how the themes of Labour complacency and its inability to fight when put to the test in its heartlands recall those that emerged during Liberal local government successes in earlier decades - this Liverpool in the 1970s and Tower Hamlets in the 1980s.

Now that we are in coalition with the Conservatives we Liberal Democrats will find it harder to present ourselves as the tribunes of the dispossessed in inner-city Britain. And George Galloway cannot stand for Respect everywhere, which suggests (as Mark Thompson argues) that Bradford West may be a one off.

But there is a party, untainted by government or coalition with the Conservatives, that could hope to take on Labour in the inner cities: the Greens. Yet they are nowhere to be seen?

Why not? It is not as if the Greens have tried fighting Labour in the cities: they do not appear to have tried it at all.

Maybe Green politics were a luxury of the years before the current depression. Maybe people like Green policies less the more they are exposed to them. Maybe, in the shape of Caroline Lucas, they share Respect's problem of having only one electable parliamentarian.

Whatever the reason, I am surprised the Greens are not doing better and even more surprised that they do not appear to be trying very hard.


wolfi said...

There must be a fundamental difference between British and German political thinking.

Did you know that in Baden-Württemberg (Schwab country, where Mercedes and Porsche cars are built ...) we have a green-red coaltion ?

And all our university towns and the capital have green Mayors!

While in Britain ...

Anonymous said...

I think Wolfi there is a fundamental difference between British and German political parties. The German Liberals - FDP are very right-wing and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Alliance '90/The Greens) are a bit more like the Lib Dems. 2005 in Hamburg there was a Green-Black (Green-CDU)coalition. In 2009 the Saarland Greens rejected the option of a left-wing 'red-red-green' coalition with the SPD and Die Linke (the old DDR socialists)in order to form a centre-right state government with the CDU and Free Democratic Party (FDP), a historical first time that a 'Jamaica' (black, green and yellow) coalition has formed in German politics. GPEW would never work with Tories

Herbert Eppel said...

The answer is simple: Because there is no Proportional Representation in UK-wide elections and local elections in England. See also

mattburrows said...

The PR angle is a part and the LibDems have taken some of their ideological space. FWIW I wish the LibDems was more like the FDP! My sense is that the Green movement is essentially too upper-middle class based and working-class and lower middle class don´t buy into it. They see it as bossy & green economic policies would eat into their standard of living that they consider already pretty precarious. :/