by James Billot
Thursday, 12
August 2021
Reaction
13:30

The Greens choose trans over trees

The party's relentless focus on identity issues will come at an electoral cost
by James Billot
Tamsin Omond. Credit: Getty

The British Green Party should be flying high right now. For decades the party has been warning about a looming climate crisis, the results of which are now grimly playing out.

Politically, Boris Johnson’s mixed record in office and Keir Starmer’s lacklustre leadership have left an opening for challenger parties. And having secured nearly a million votes in the 2019 election and a record number of council seats in this year’s local elections, this could be the Greens’ moment.

And yet in the polls, the Greens are still on single digits, languishing below the Liberal Democrats. The party is also leaderless, following the resignations of its two co-leaders last month.

Now a leadership contest is in full swing. One leading candidate, Tamsin Omond, who identifies as trans and non-binary, is attracting attention. Together with fellow candidate Amelia Womack, they promise to offer the party “young, intersectional feminist leadership”, citing New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Annalena Baerbock, co-leader of the Green party in Germany, as examples.

Considering that neither Ardern nor Baerbock describe themselves as ‘intersectional’ feminists, these might seem like strange examples. And yet, Omond and Womack trumpet their intersectional feminism as a key plank in their Green Party pitch — what this entails is anyone’s guess.

Over the last 12 months, the Greens’ relentless focus on identity issues has caused the party more problems than anything else. Just last month, former co-leader Sian Berry, who led her party to a record number of council seats, resigned over a trans rights row; before her, former Green party deputy leader Shahrar Ali triggered outrage in the party after he tweeted ‘what is a woman? A woman is commonly defined as an adult human female and, genetically, typified by two XX chromosomes’; and Emma Bateman, co-chair of the Green party’s women’s committee, was suspended for questioning whether transwomen are female.

According to prominent environmental figures like Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam, fixating on niche social justice issues like the trans row is the British Greens’ big mistake. In an interview with UnHerd last year, he argued that defending the environment was a fundamentally conservative idea and that both sides of the political aisle needed to rally behind it:

I want social conservatives to step forward and say, ‘Yes, I’m going to sit on an XR platform’. And as a social conservative, you know, as an ex-police officer, as a church leader, right? And say, ‘Yes, I don’t agree with your culture. But I agree with the moral imperative, that at this time in history, we have to start going above and beyond our sectional interest.’
- Roger Hallam, UnHerd

The data supports this idea. The environment regularly features as a top three priority for British adults and has cross-political support. But for as long as the Greens keep focusing on trans over trees, its brand of hyper-liberal politics risks alienating large sections of the country — as it has already done to its own party.

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Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

Worse still, the U.K. Greens seem incapable of ditching their historical “anti-nuclear energy” stance – while also preaching to others about carbon-related climate issues.
Its hardly surprising that they are not taken seriously.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

That Hallam quote, “..Yes, I don’t agree with your culture. But I agree with the moral imperative..“, in fact is an illustration of the disconnect between the two mindsets. Social conservatives don’t think that way, they are much more likely to think the XR and Greens people are in fact, bonkers, and are therefore not going to engage with climate change arguments on terms set by the XR and Green movements. For example, XR and Green types are more often than not also a modern variety of luddites – anti-technology at various levels (without any true understanding of the nature of technology) and will therefore not countenance technological solutions – they would much prefer a hair shirt for humanity instead. And this is the point – it takes all of five seconds of arguments with them to see that XR and Green types come with a ton of political baggage beyond the climate change arguments, they are militants, and although social conservatives are the antithesis of that, they are as subject as everyone else to obduracy at a human level when insulted on a regular basis.

G A
G A
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

That’s the problem with anything on the left. You have to sign up to it all. I joined the protests over student fees because I felt strongly about them. On either side of me were utter lunatics chanting and holding signs about totally irrelevant issues that I vehemently disagreed with them over.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Hallam is a polite fellow with a Tim-Nice-but-dim demeanour.
He ran a failed 10-acre organic hobby farm for a few years which he says was ruined by climate change , causing 25 people to lose their jobs. I don’t know of any farms anywhere supporting 2.5 people to the acre plus owners, but the courts and the BBC evidently think the guy’s story is credible so who am I to judge?

He claims it gave him “frontline peasant” experience , no doubt enhanced by the several years he spent studying Civil Disobedience at that famous institution for distressed former frontline peasantfolk, KCL.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Only place I know where 2.5 people can survive farming an acre of land is subsistence Africa – and that entails living in a mud hut with no mod cons, not paying taxes, and not sending your children to school. So I agree with you – can’t see how that can remotely work.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Watermelons.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
1 year ago

I’ve said it many times, if the Green Party were truly green they’d support the concept of borders, they’d be concerned about mass migration and population growth, they’d be anti globalisation, anti technocracy. They’d be pro Brexit because of the damage wrought by EU lorries using the UK as a shortcut but not paying for damage to our roads, congestion or pollution, not to mention its propensity for neoliberalism and centralisation that does not pay enough attention to local issues. They’d be pro self-sufficiency, anti plastic packaging, wokeness would be a distraction from real issues. These things would be the concern of the Greens. It proves to me the Greens aren’t green, they’re watermelons.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cheryl Jones
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

The environment regularly features as a top three priority for British adults

Heh.
It was regularly a very distant fourth in the YouGov poll you linked, until Brexit dropped right down as a concern. Now it’s a distant third, way behind Health and The Economy. It’s lifted its head feebly in the last couple of months , coincidentally aligning with the incessant drumbeat from the media promoting the FIFO (fly in – fly out) COP “Zoom is for the little people” 26 gabfest
Did you think nobody would bother following the link?

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

Well said

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
1 year ago

The environment is very important. But environmental protection isn’t just about grand things like climate change and Great Resets, It’s about roads and congestion and fields being dug up to build identikit toy town housing estates that don’t even include grey water recycling or solar panels. It’s about not seeing hedgehogs or butterflies, about water companies polluting our water ways. Rubbish not being collected or recycled, flytippers getting away with murder. Acres of plastic packaging on everything. Seasonal local farm produce not strawberries in December shipped here from Africa or Spain. Local not global. Conservation is conservative. Climate change and one world government is something else.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Well said

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

Tamsin’s wiki entry makes interesting reading. The author managed not to use ANY pronoun that I could see, meaning that the text is a never-ending list of “Tamsin this” and “Tamsin that”, a bit like a 5 year old would write.
One thing for sure, transgender ideology doesn’t produce good literature.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrea X
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I’m all for non-binary trans-trees.

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Are you herbiesexual?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Knight

No, I myself am transfinancial – a billionaire tycoon born in the body of a poor person. I identify as rich and need money to complete the process. Donations are most welcome on my Patreon site! 🙂

Paula Williams
Paula Williams
1 year ago

the party has been warning about a looming climate crisis, the results of which are now grimly playing out.
No, they aren’t. Only the untrustworthy, politically corrupted climate ‘science’ profession says they are.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

No surprise. For years the Greens have supported the EU while refusing to explain how the environment benefits from transporting goods across Europe or between the UK and EU by boat.
The Labour Party is a more difficult asylum for the lunatics to take over, so they have turned to the Green Party.

Joe Holder
Joe Holder
1 year ago

Hopefully Shahrar Ali will win the election, I’ll be voting for him.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
1 year ago

The Canadian national GP is likewise fragmenting over woke issues around colour, indigeneity, etc. It is a sad remnant of a party that used to be libertarian and welcoming.

Julia H
Julia H
1 year ago

All political parties, everywhere, rely on being perceived as trustworthy by the electorate. If a party chooses a leader who asks the electorate to believe something that seems impossible to them, i.e. that a person can define their own sex, and also asks people to change their natural language to accommodate that individual’s vanity (“they”, “them” instead of him or her) on pain of being punished if they can’t manage this, then they will consign themselves to oblivion, as people simply won’t buy into the fantasy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julia H
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

If the world, or at least the world in which humankind has lived for thousands of years, is indeed about to come to an end, as the eco warriors supposedly believe, this surely is the ultimate example of fiddling while Rome burns.

The Greens have become in the UK an absurd fringe movement with little practical interest even in their supposedly key issue.

I suppose parties often go their own rather bizarre ways for all sorts of contingent historical reasons. The original Social Democrats were Marxists and the Liberals in Australia resemble more closely a Conservative Party (or at least that used to be the case). The German Greens do seem to be a far more serious political outfit than ours, with some interest in power.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher