Can the Greens Deliver at Last?

Natalie Bennett recently announced she will not be standing for re-election as leader of Britain’s Green Party. I’m pleased about that. She should have gone a year ago after the Greens’ dismal performance in the general election.

Of all the main political parties the Green Party is the biggest disappointment: it has so much potential, but delivers so little, a true paper tiger. Only the Greens have a set of policies which, if put into practice, would help to terminate the destruction of our planet that’s currently underway, and end Britain’s economic and social race to the bottom. What they do not have, yet, as Natalie Bennett perfectly showed, is a leadership with the guts to fight for their own policies.

This illustrates one of the many weaknesses of what passes for democracy – the failure of many political leaders to deliver on their own promises and policies. The LibDems showed it in 2010 with their spectacular U-turns on their fine words about tuition fees and banking reform; Blair/Brown did it in the 90’s, with their failure to overturn Thatcherism, as their voters had been promised; Syriza in Greece failed to stand up to the troika, as they’d promised their voters; Obama did it with his failure to close Guantanamo, as promised. As for the Tories, pretending to do anything for anyone other than the 1% (“the NHS is safe in our hands”?)… The notion is simply ridiculous.

So with politicians routinely failing to do what they say, or what their parties stand for, what exactly is the point of democracy?

The principle of democracy promises the most perfect form of government possible; but what we have is not democracy, it’s a type of anti-democracy, a cynical system that keeps the people in permanent oppression by pretending their votes matter. The Americans have perfected the model. They have a system controlled by two political parties which are effectively identical, a system whereby the real rulers stay in power no matter which political party wins an election. Voting in that situation is not just the epitome of pointlessness, it validates it. Yet nonetheless tens of millions of intelligent Americans obediently play the game.

The Greens have policies which could change all this, in Britain at least – by providing direct democracy in ecological nirvana financed with a state-owned public bank. Natalie Bennett failed even to promote this when she had the chance, let alone fight for it. Rank and file Greens are good people who rightly believe in their fine policies. Hopefully they will not be betrayed again by gutless and/or treacherous leadership.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.