by Yuan Yi Zhu
Friday, 2
September 2022
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17:30

Britain’s Greens aren’t funny any more

Their policy proposals could have serious consequences
by Yuan Yi Zhu
Climate activists glued themselves around the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons.

Governing is hard. In Michael Oakeshott’s unforgettable nautical metaphor, it consists of navigating “a boundless and bottomless sea” with “neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination. The enterprise is to keep afloat on an even keel”.

Luckily for them, governing is an activity which the Green Party of England and Wales will never have to engage in. This means that they are free to shout from the sidelines, like the old Italian men who go to construction sites loudly offering unsolicited advice to the workers.

But the consequences of the Green Party’s dilettantism are rather more serious. In the middle of an energy crisis in which the poor will freeze and the country wither, it continues to do everything in its power to oppose any constructive solution which does not involve shouting slogans and committing minor acts of public vandalism. But their most successful tactic consists of appealing to the English people’s worst instinct, that nothing should be built that did not exist when they bought their house. And judging by what gets built and what doesn’t, it is working.

Only this week, the Greens came out in opposition to the construction of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant because it is not “oven-ready” and “people need help right now – not in 10 years”. Of course, this is really a “man bites dog” story, were it not for the fact that the Party’s lone MP said the same thing… 12 years ago. For good measure, she told the MPs at the time that she did not believe “the lights will go off in 10 years”. Boris Johnson has promised he would fund Sizewell C; but when the next election’s seat projections in southern Tory seats are returned to CCHQ and the scale of the Green-Lib Dem squeeze on reliable southern Tory voters becomes apparent, will the line hold?

At least Lucas nominally affects to believe in democratic governance through her continued participation in electoral politics. Her comrade-in-arms in Extinction Rebellion does not even bother to keep up the pretence. Only today, several members of the group entered the chamber of the House of Commons and glued themselves to the furniture. Their demand? A “Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice”.

It might be easy to mock and laugh, since they made those demands in the very chamber of the House of Commons. But their idea of a citizens’ assembly has nothing to do with democracy. They rather give away the game in their own guide to citizens’ assemblies, with the gory details of unaccountable “oversight panels” and curated groups of experts with the right views, on whose evidence citizen-assemblymen must rely.

The result is an astroturfed process designed to reach whatever conclusion you want it to reach. After all, if the world is going to end unless drastic measures are taken, why would you waste your time pushing for process-based gimmicks unless you are sure this will give you the correct outcome you want?

Tolerance for eccentrics is one of this country’s most charming traits. But it loses much of its attraction when it results in discredited cranks who should have been driven out of serious discourse decades ago exerting disproportionate influence on the political debate at a time of national crisis. Unlike some of its European peers, the Green movement of this country has never had its enthusiasms tempered by a spell in government, and it shows in their half-baked ideas and policies of national immiseration. Unless they can show that they take the task of governance seriously, they should be treated accordingly.

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James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 month ago

Talk to any Green and you will find them obsessed with climate change.
Climate change has nothing to with climate change of course. The message is “Your free choices are killing you. Submit yourselves to the technocratic elite and we will tell you how to live safely.” And of course it will start with high-density housing where people can be managed and controlled and taxed. And no cars. Cars breed mobility. Mobility made tax base a commodity.
Green issues are all about control. 

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 month ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Who on earth has downvoters this comment?

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I’m not sure and I wouldn’t, but other contributors may feel they want to..

Colin MacDonald
Colin MacDonald
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Not me. But what’s wrong with high density housing?

harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I agree. My own view now is that any climate activist who opposes nuclear energy isn’t actually concerned with climate at all. It’s all about control from people who can’t handle the choices people in a free society make.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

Exceedingly well said.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  harry storm

Please can everyone be sure to flag Eileen Irene’s spam for removal.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 month ago

Greens hail from the Left of politics and the Green agenda simply helps them in their endless crusade against the prevailing government. No matter how green the Conservatives get (and under Johnson they were becoming greener than the Greens) it will never be enough. Because what Greens want is a Left wing, Marxist, administration, the more extreme, the more repressive and the more authoritarian the better.
The seek an end to all personal freedom, personal self-expression, and personal mobility, particularly as provided by cars. They aspire to a particular pursed-lipped form of Puritan self-righteousness which is really deeply unpleasant. Because of this very obvious unpleasantness, they can never win significant power. And this suits them fine, as it allows them to pursue their fantasy of being victims, revolutionaries, righteous, and all the rest of their pitiful nonsense, without ever facing the inconvenient truth that their views are unworkable fantasies which would impoverish humanity beyond measure, and peddled through lies, sensationalism, and fearmongering.
All the greens I have met have been rather self-hating, misanthropic, miserable and nihilistic people and, perhaps the greatest failing of all, quite dreadfully boring.

Last edited 1 month ago by Albireo Double
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Didn’t the Marxists used to be Red? Now they’re Green? Are you colourblind? ..trouble with your red-greens and green-reds?

Last edited 1 month ago by Liam O'Mahony
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I believe the term is a ‘melon’.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

Melon? A red greenie?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

My term for them is “vert rouge”.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Many that I have met own cars or even camper vans, with carbon neutrality achieved by painting a CND symbol on the side. They have all travelled on long haul flights on plenty of occasions and wittered on about their carbon footprint. They have children. They’re rank hypocrites and the Modern Parents from Viz brought to life.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

“Because what Greens want is a Left wing, Marxist, administration”
*Because what Greens want is a Left wing, Marxist, i.e. fascist administration

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

“Greens hail from the Left of politics”

No, they don’t. Greenism is a modern version of the conservationist movement which started in the 1890s and became well-established in the WW1 period in the USA (as an offshoot of hunting and aghast feelings at the complete disappearance of the Passenger Pigeon, a bird that previously flocked in the millions). It is deeply conservative, and privileges current property owners against rivals, opposing what might be seen as liberal economic developments.
It is also anthropocentric. The Guardian writer Owen Jones a few years back stated that human beings were morally responsible as ‘stewards’ of the ‘environment’ (undefined, but what is meant by this term in the popular view is some kind of green space resembling a fairly overgrown golf course, rather than say the Sahara desert, which is also an ‘environment’) and I immediately commented that this is exactly what God said to Adam at the beginning of the Bible.
Prominent environmentalists of the 20th Century were overwhelmingly middle- or upper-middle class (e.g. Attenborough, Peter Scott) or even Royal (Princes Philip & Charles for instance).
Actually the historic left had a huge reputation for pollution and environmental degradation (e.g. in the Soviet Union and its satellites).

Last edited 1 month ago by Arnold Grutt
A Spetzari
A Spetzari
1 month ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

You’re not wrong about the origins of conservationism – but that’s not the point that was made. This is the green party.
The modern green party is painfully socialist. Number one on their 10 core values:

The Green Party is a party of social and environmental justice, which supports a radical transformation of society for the benefit of all, and for the planet as a whole…

Rather ominously this is number 10:

Electoral politics is not the only way to achieve change in society, and we will use a variety of methods, including lifestyle changes, to help effect progress, providing those methods do not conflict with our other core principles.

Basically – we don’t think that democracy is the only way for our party to achieve its goals, and we will pursue these means to get what we want.
Unironically – their policy EC101 – begins: “EC101 To achieve global ecological sustainability, with equity and social justice”

Last edited 1 month ago by A Spetzari
Micheal Mac Corcra
Micheal Mac Corcra
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

You forgot “middle class,white…”

Graeme Arnott
Graeme Arnott
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

A Scrutonian Conservative Party would have made environmentalism their own. By conceding the ground they’ve allowed the watermelons to drive the agenda towards socialism. Tragic and unnecessary.

Last edited 1 month ago by Graeme Arnott
Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 month ago

Sadly, Ireland has already succumbed to both of these disasters. We have Citizens Assemblies and it has happened exactly as described. Advised by carefully chosen experts even if they are filled by randomly chosen citizens (and who is to say they are really) they come up with the “correct” liberal/green/progressive conclusions. We are also enduring a Second round of Greens in coalition government. They got kicked out last time for doing much much less damage than they are now doing, overseeing soaring energy costs, loss of energy security and ludicrous bans on affordable heating and transport options for ordinary people.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 month ago

These Citizen Assemblies sound like they use something called the Delphi Technique – a kind of controlled process that brings about a predetermined outcome.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 month ago

The other night I watched a discussion including Gina Miller those who opposed her supported the EU referendum. She replied that she did too but preferred a citizens assembly! Such blatant sleight of hand, as the others in the debate didn’t know the details of such democratic sounding assemblies.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 month ago

Once you peel back the Eco fig-leaf the UK Greens have always been somewhat Soviet in nature – they’re watermelons: Green on the outside, red on the inside.
The Greens in their current state barely qualify as a pressure group, let alone a credible political party. Which suits them very well.
The closer a party gets to being credible the more they have to actually consider what their policies might cost or what the consequences might be if they were enacted.
The various leaders of the Greens know they don’t stand a vegan’s chance at an arm-wrestling contest of getting into any kind of power and so are free to spout a load of righteous-sounding , though essentially meaningless, slogans and rhetoric that they’ll never actually have to deliver on. Again – a perfect fit for the ideologically pure eco-Corbynistas who’d much prefer protesting and carping from the side-line to actually having to govern.
The Green’s record in Brighton – the one place where they’ve had a sniff of control – has been a shambles. All gimmick and no substance – why? – because they never think through a policy beyond imagining it will sound good to a group of like-minded vegangelists at one of their interminable meetings.
In Brighton the Greens introduced “meat-free Monday” throughout the council’s eateries, but had to back down when the bin men demanded bacon butties or wouldn’t work. Gender-neutral lavatories went the same way when regular folk refused to pander to such nonsense.
They tried to run a local referendum to see if residents would be prepared to accept a nearly 5% tax increase. Again the idea was shelved once it was pointed out – by rather more practical souls – that A) of course the people would vote No, and B) that the cost of running the referendum, at £900,000, was almost as much as they were hoping to raise from the tax hike anyway.
As ever, it is all rhetoric and slogan with them. They were proud to announce several years ago that Brighton residents could face a £50,000 fine if they failed to sort out their recycling and put a rogue piece of plastic in the wrong bin. Strong stuff. But it was so overblown that most residents stuck two fingers up and completely ignored the threat.
Brighton – the “Greenest” city in the UK was ranked 302nd out of 326 councils for its recycling record. A few years ago the Green’s total mismanagement of the rubbish collection – a central plank in their policy platform – got so bad that bin men went on strike. The collections were being changed so often that neither residents nor collectors knew what was happening. As a result no one recycled and the rubbish piled up in the streets. Benefitting only the seagulls, who became a menace.
Given the many unreconstructed Trots who are attracted to Green Party politics, many of their own people went out on strike in support of the bin men and against their own policy positions.
They may not be funny, but they are a joke.

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
1 month ago

Greenies are usually like Lefties on the ‘do as I say ‘ as opposed to ‘do as I do’ front. Lots of moral grandstanding, then some indulgences, and hope no one notices.

There are plenty of genuine environmental concerns – pollution, environmental degradation, lack of biodiversity etc and, of course, fossil fuels are ultimately finite.

Sadly anthropogenic global warming is the red herring, but is the cause that the Greenies are relentlessly pursuing.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 month ago
Reply to  Adam Bacon

Greenies are lefties.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

The far left is the far right.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 month ago

You don’t mention the Scottish greens who are in some kind of coalition with the SNP, although that seems to be more for show than anything else.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

There’s green in the tartan remember..

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
1 month ago

Well here in Ireland the Greens have been in government twice (including the present) and I can tell you that they have not improved in any appreciable way. NB I have just spotted a better post on the same point just below mine.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Barrett
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago

Greens’ humanity-hating agenda is being pushed everywhere though, without much criticism or even scrutiny.

It has infiltrated every level of local government.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 month ago

A fine article. It is apparent that treating the Extinction crowd and their stooges with kid gloves does not work. A much sterner approach is needed, one that includes prison time where they are treated like all the other criminals, the latter of whom might have opinions of their own on climate activism and direct ways of expressing them..

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 month ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Oh do grow up! ‘..direct ways of expressing them..’ nudge nudge, oo-er. If your policy is violent and criminal action against people you disagree with, then say so and don’t piss about. Then we can all understand your views and respond.

Brett H
Brett H
1 month ago

What does it matter how he says it? Are in agreement or not? Otherwise it’s just hot air.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

air seems perfectly OK to me? My 2 questions to eco sandaloid zero national socialists, which I always ask and never get an answer are as follows:
1. If every wide bodied jet airliner or military transport plane that flies over uses the lifetime equivalent of ” n” thousand cars, per flight, how do electric cars in Britain make a jot of difference?
2. What happens during a motorway pile up when all the queuing electric cars run out of charge, cannot be towed or charged? How to the emergency services get to the actual accident?

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 month ago

I think electric cars make a difference, not to do with climate change but with the air quality in cities. You only have to stand near a busy junction in any UK city and take a few deep breaths to know that road traffic is making the air bad. From that point of view I think electric cars are a good thing. That’s coming from someone who still drives a diesel. I know, hypocrite.

odd taff
odd taff
1 month ago

The Greens are just a modern version of the Puritans. They are more interested in imposing measures which make people’s lives more difficult than others which would be more effective at their stated goals. It’s pathological but truthfully that’s common to all political groups.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

The Greens should only press for green solutions, ie not attack non-green solutions as the latter will always antagonise and so turn off many otherwise would be supporters.
It would be relatively simple to pick and area (village, small town with a weir and a hill) and go all out to install micro green energy devices eg…
Hydro on the weir.
Wind on the hill.
Solar on its south facing slope.
The inhabitants might be persuaded to adopt rainfall capture and rooftop solar hot water and PV panels. Perhaps biomass for heating with additional planting for offset, and drill for their own water to purify and bottle etc etc.
The Greens could then focus on this local success and work from there with serious credibility instead of pissin’ everyone off!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The Greens should go live in the wilderness without power and hot water and leave the rest of us alone. Practice what they preach, lead by example, be the change they want to be and all that.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Do Greens actually preach in favour of living in the wilderness without power? Or do you have a bad straw man problem?

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
1 month ago

Looking after our environment and our planet, for its own sake and for future, is an issue that should bring us all together. It’s a moral obligation that falls on us all.
The big mistake was to allow it to become a matter of party politics. That gives everyone else a good excuse (it’s a bad excuse, actually, but any excuse will do) to ignore our obligation and carry on regardless, unthinking and uncaring.
Past generations of humans have tried to think ahead, to care about the earth and its future and to plan with the future in mind. There’s a Swahili proverb, for example: ‘Land is not a bequest we receive from our parents, but a debt we owe our children.’ Why should we be different? Are we unable to live up to the high standards of the past?
We shouldn’t let our disagreements distract us from the more important issue of how to look after the planet.

Last edited 1 month ago by Henry Haslam
harry storm
harry storm
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

What a bunch of hifalutin’ garbage. 1-It was not a “mistake” to “allow” the environment to become a matter of party politics. It was inevitable, given that humans have different opinions about pretty much everything. 2-the claim that “past generations of humans have tried to think ahead, to care about the earth and its future and to plan with the future in mind.” Evidence for this unprovable but clearly absurd and ahistorical statement? A swahili proverb. This, apparently, is enough to lament the disappearance of “the past’s high standards.”
The only words that come to mind are pap and fluff.

Brett H
Brett H
1 month ago

They were never funny.

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 month ago

“This means that they are free to shout from the sidelines, like the old Italian men who go to construction sites loudly offering unsolicited advice to the workers.”
Love this anecdote!

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago

Joe Biden on Friday: “Republicans are a threat to democracy and should not be tolerated!”
Yuan Zhu today: “Greens are a threat to democracy and should not be tolerated.”
Here’s a revolutionary idea. How about we tolerate everyone’s opinion even if we think they’re completely wrong. We don’t tolerate them rioting and burning down businesses. We don’t tolerate them storming government buildings. We don’t tolerate them gluing themselves to Parliament chairs. These things we deal with as breaches of the peace, with heavy fines and jail in the rare cases it might be appropriate. But we don’t declare them enemies of the people just because we think their ideas are loony.
“Our tolerance for eccentrics loses much of its attraction when it results in discredited cranks who should have been driven out of serious discourse decades ago exerting disproportionate influence on the political debate at a time of national crisis.”
NO! It is precisely when you think you are in a crisis that you need the cranks. It was the cranks that pushed back against COVID restrictions. It was the cranks that started the American Civil Rights movement. It was a couple of cranks that abolished British slavery. It was 56 cranks that declared “all men are created equal”.
I believe the Greens are totally wrong about this. But crises don’t absolve republics of listening to their citizens. That’s the road to authoritarianism.