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A New Year’s Resolution: Joining the Green Party

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I made a resolution many years ago not to make new year’s resolutions, and I’ve kept it pretty successfully, but I decided this was a good point to put off procrastinating and join the British Green Party.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while, hanging back because I don’t really see myself as the joining sort, and, let’s face it, they do have a very specific image that I don’t quite see myself as fitting – but the need to do something drastic about global warming is just becoming overwhelming.

The Guardian today has a fascinating interview with a palaeoclimatologist, whose speciality is the Jurassic.

“A few years ago people were saying, ‘OK, well, we’ll look back a million years or so, something like that, to see the effects of climate change’,” she explains. “They thought that we’d still be in the kind of world that we currently know. But now we think that for a vision of what the Earth’s going to be like in a couple of hundred years, we may have to go back to a time before the ice, to when it was a greenhouse world. Because if you look at the figures on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it’s rising very, very fast. It’s beyond the levels of CO2 that we classically know from before the last ice age. If it keeps accelerating at this rate then in a matter of just a couple of hundred years we’ll have levels of CO2 that we last saw at the time of the dinosaurs.”

And when I wrote to Camden Council as a leaseholder in one of their blocks of flats – in response to a statement that they were going to let an electricity contract – asking about using green alternatives, I got back the standard letter about it being too expensive but they were still looking at it. So they’re going to let a five-year contract to traditional suppliers.

I look around at all of the flat roof-tops around me, from four storeys to 17 storeys, and wonder how many wind turbines (and solar panels) you could put on top of them that have – according to this site – at least neutral cost implications, and considerable environmental benefits.

There’s a council election next year; I think a few Green councillors would be a very good idea. Might concentrate some minds among the staff.

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About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
  • Are you switching from one party to another, or are you currently registered without a party affiliation?

  • There actually are places in America where they have parking lots covered with solar panels. (Sorry I don’t have a link at hand. My emerald friend is out on the town tonight.) The technology exists. We could cover most of the parking lots & roof tops in the US & UK — if we quit spending $820,000 per minute on the Military Budget & another $200,000 per minute on Iraq. Who knows how much the UK is spending.

    Much micro-generation of power is the future.

    I’d just as soon keep the dinosaurs in Peter Jackson movies . . .

    Green is the tsunami of the future. (Tho given the way our US system works, I’d never go with a third party here. We owe Emperor George to the 90,000 Nader voters in Florida. What were they thinking? Well, they weren’t.)

  • RJ there’s no form of such registration in the UK – you are either a member of a party or you aren’t, and the numbers of members are tiny. Well under a million all up.

  • Interesting.

    Here in the US, registered voters are split roughly into thirds: 1/3 Democrat, 1/3 Republican, and 1/3 either w/o a Party affiliation, or registered with a “third” Party…

  • We owe Emperor George to the 90,000 Nader voters in Florida. What were they thinking? Well, they weren’t.

    Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

    We disagree with you, so we must not have been thinking? Shame on you.

    I voted for Nader in 96 and 00 and for Green David Cobb in 04; much thought went into the decisions. Voting for candidates in whom I have no trust and in whom I do not believe isn’t being thoughtful. It’s masochism and self=loathing in action. It’s baring my rear end before reactionaries, centrists and go-along-to-get-along types and begging them to fuck me in the ass without benefit of lubrication AND to vomit all over my deeply held principles. Screw that, sir.

    Seriously, it takes a lot of thought, strength and conviction to do what one knows is right when everyone tells you to cave in to groupthink and the – shudder – masses. We weren’t thinking? Please. I have spent EONS ruminating over these matters. You saying otherwise is not only insulting, it reveals sad things about you. This should not be surprising, given the abuse I’ve taken from supposed progressives over the years, but I always considered you to be a true progressive; perhaps I was wrong. I’m not saying that true progressives wouldn’t vote for the mainstream status-quo candidate – some did, which is their right. But to turn around and point fingers at those whose belief systems and thought processes necessarily led them to a differing conclusion? Because we voted our conscience, our heart, our mind by choosing the candidate we supported over yours, whom we did NOT support? Shame on you.

    I am NOT a Democrat. I don’t respect the Democrat Party. I don’t owe your candidate a vote, Mr. Pogblog, just as I owe nothing to the vile GOP. It is ludicrous for you to say otherwise.

    Bottom line: It was Clinton, Gore, and Kerry’s job to convince me and all those who decided to follow their principles rather than the crowd. Your candidates did a miserable job of selling themselves. (Then again, they had FEW selling points.) Leave us Independents and third-party folks alone. Blaming us is neither just nor fair. Blame your piss-poor, all-but-distinguishable-from-Repug candidates. Blame the left-leaning centrists who voted Shrub. Blame those who actually are members of your party – such as the REGISTERED DEMOCRATS IN FLORIDA WHO KNOWINGLY VOTED FOR SHRUB IN 2000 and 2004. Blame the DNC and their campaign teams – they are the ones who didn’t earn people’s votes.

    I vote for the candidate I deem best, the one my beliefs support. It wasn’t yours. Deal with it. And for fuck’s sake, blame those who hold the true responsibility for a change. I have endured nearly a decade of this crap from lefties who put strategy, politricks, questinable means and conformity over principle. I’m SICK of it. Take it to the Dems.

    And think about this the next time you attack those who hold beliefs that run counter to yours: If you betray what you believe to achieve some goal, even if you achieve it, YOU STILL LOSE. (Check out MLK on the topic of INTEGRITY.) Would you turn your back on your convictions? No? Then why in the hell would you expect anyone else — particularly someone who opposes your party — to do such an immoral thing?

    Mr. Pogblog, I appreciate your take on many topics. Here, we disagree. VEHEMENTLY. You are in my prayers this night.

  • Heavy sigh.

  • Natalie, the politician I respected the most in recent elections in the US was Ralph Nader. Why?

    He, by his own actions, is probably resonsible for saving thousands of lives in the US and millions throughout the world – he made the auto industry adopt seat-belts.

    He founded PIRGs (public interest research groups) throughout the US to help empower the average American in his own life. I did a college course in connection with one of these PIRGs in 1978.

    Among the lot of public minded citizens in the US, he stands out for his accomplishments.

    But I did not vote for the man when I had the opportunity.


    He is also a fellow who has discovered late in life that he has no use for people like me – Jews. He is a Lebanese Arab by descent, and now that he has given his shot in history and made his name, he feels that he can speak what is in his heart.

    Hatred is in his heart. Hatred for me and mine. Hatred for Israel. I’m not an idiot. I wouldn’t vote for someone who hates me, and I won’t give an enemy the opportunity to kill me.

    My ex brother-in-law, who lives in Florida, tried to vote for Gore, but because the ballot was so messed up, wound up voting for Nader. What was he thinking?

    And now you and he (and the rest of the world) are stuck with the Shrub. Mazel tov.

  • Mr. Ruvy, during the last presidential campaign, I learned a lot about Mr. Nader, much of it depressing. Hence my vote for David Cobb in ’04. I would be interested to learn where you found this information about his alleged hatred for Jews. If this is verifiable, it will serve as just another disappointment – and a HUGE one – about someone I once admired. Oh, and I have Jewish ancestry too, so this would be hatred for me and mine too, though I have no particular reverence for Israel. Nice place, but so is France, so is Schenectady, so is Kanazawa Prefecture.

    I am also not heterosexual. And like you, I won’t vote for someone who hates me (or stands against my equality under law, which is the same thing): Meaning Gore was not a possibility. Ever. Kerry was not a possibility. Ever. The only Dems my conscience and principles would allow me to support were Dennis Kucinich, Carole Moseley Braun, and Al Sharpton; the latter two weren’t possible because of disagreements on other issues, because I considered Moseley Braun ill-prepared for the job and because I have never been a Sharpton fan).

    Yes, I am aware that there were massive problems in 2000. To this day I believe the Repugs stole the election. But research the matter – some registered Democrats chose Bush (who came second in Florida). I’m not a Dem. It would not have been in my interests to support that party or its nominee. But Dems? If their nominee couldn’t convince them, if Gore couldn’t win his home state, you can’t blame that on Independents and third-party members. You can’t blame that on the Dems. Look at the candidate!

  • Ms. Davis,

    I don’t have websites to go to, just a defective memory. But I do distinctly remember Nader saying in 2000 that the Zionists and Jews controlled US foreign policy.

    That stuck out in my mind because I was thinking of voting for him. I didn’t. I voted for Gore, hoping that he would handle the economy in a responsible fashion.

  • I would vote for David Cobb if only for that delicious salad. It would go well with my free sandwich platform.

  • I do distinctly remember Nader saying in 2000 that the Zionists and Jews controlled US foreign policy.

    That stuck out in my mind because I was thinking of voting for him. I didn’t. I voted for Gore, hoping that he would handle the economy in a responsible fashion.

    Oy. Man. Wow. I will check that out, but you have a good bit of credibility with me, so if you recall Nader saying that, odds are he probably did. Geez, that’s like a kick in the nose. When I first read your charge that Nader had revealed himself to be anti-Semitic, my first thought was that perhaps he was just being dismissive. Nader strikes me as a sort of automaton – no emotion. In terms of GLBT people, Greens had to push him to sign on to full equality under law for us. It wasn’t that he hated us or didn’t want our equality, it’s just that his mind is all about economics, policy minutia, wonky stuff. Human stuff… I don’t think it really registers for him. But what you charge is far different from that, and if true… Whoa.

    As for AlGore, I suspect he would have done a better job on some domestic issues than Shrubbie, but Gore never came out in favor of my equality, and I won’t and can’t vote for someone who hates me and mine (which I know you understand). As a registered Independent, I know to avoid Dems and GOPs in most instances. In the end, one researches the individuals and chooses the best one (I refuse to play the “lesser evil” game), and almost universally, my best choice comes from a third party. Must do what I believe and stand up for it whatever the cost. (And believe me, I pay for doing the right thing every day.)

  • Quick question, Ruvy: First, I have had the chance to read a bunch of stuff about Nader’s controversial comments regarding Israel playing puppetmaster to the Bushites. Some consider that idea anti-Semitic, some do not.

    My question – is it possible to be seen as NOT anti-Semitic if one sees Israel and Palestine as both having the right to exist and supports Israeli and Palestinian people equally and believes both sides are to blame for the mess over there? Is it possible to criticize US leadership for taking sides without being maligned for it?

    Not that I have drawn any conclusions about Nader and his feelings for Jews – I am still thinking about this.

  • Dear Ms. Davis,

    The question you toss out is especially tricky as it deals nearly entirely with perception. I try to stick with reality.

    I’m something of a packrat with my e-mails and have them saved from October of 2000. I could find nothing on the topic of Mr. Nader except one e-mail which I was “of course” presumed that I wouldn’t vote for him in 2000.

    I did find this on the internet from the Forward, a Jewish weekly. I also found this from jewishsightseeing.com These were both from the 2000 election.

    It is my opinion that Nader wanted to avoid the perception of being anti-Jewish, but he would not have raised these accusations at a time that Arabs were committing considerable violence against Jews in Israel if he weren’t anti-Jewish.