I guess I’ve always been Green in my political outlook, but it’s only in the last year that I’ve started to really take an active interest in politics. I guess I used to think it was too difficult to understand the intricacies of it. Personally, I think discourse around politics (along with economics) is boring and complex on purpose, because the established elite don’t want millions of uneducated working class people giving them ag for doing such a shit job of things. My friend shot me down as a conspiracy theorist when I voiced this hunch, but I’m sad to say I still think it makes perfect sense. I mean, politics should be left to the privileged few, right?
So maybe it’s out of defiance that I now make an effort to keep up with politics. It can be quite a drag actually, but I refuse to roll over and let the wool be pulled over my eyes. Celebrity gossip and X factor will not distract me from being an informed citizen!
I passionately believe that we, the every day people, need to storm the world of politics and take it for our own. The right to vote for one of a short list of contenders after being bombarded with propaganda and false promises is not enough. It’s very easy to see why so many people in Britain are disillusioned with politics, rightly believing it has failed them. But the thing to do about that is to take matters into our own hands and be active citizens. If you’re not happy with the status quo, get on and do something about it. It’s not enough to simply whine about the government and do nothing.
So that’s why I became a member of the Green party recently. Today I received my first newsletter from them, which was an informative and in parts inspiring read. My favourite article was about creating a new narrative to engage people with and to combat the narrative of right-wing free market capitalism. Howard Thorpe suggested an alternative narrative could go something like this:
“Free market capitalism is failing us economically, environmentally and socially. We can make Britain a fairer, more prosperous and equal society through co-operation and economic democracy. We need to empower people locally, and build a green steady state economy which will create worthwhile jobs and deal with damaging climate change. We must have a vibrant wealth creating public sector built on the values of public service rather than private profit, and a democratic state with tax insurance and a citizens’ income and with universal healthcare and social security.”
Howard Thorpe, 2013, The Green Activist Newsletter.
I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a story I can follow. I’m particularly happy that the Green party is publicly endorsing the steady state solution to our current environmental, economic and social challenges. To me, that’s really exciting. In my personal experience, the only real problem most people seem to have with the Green party is that they’re not a major party. I’ve heard quite a few people remark that voting Green is a waste of your vote, because they ”won’t get in”. I wonder how many more votes they’d receive if people didn’t use this dubious logic. The idea of an election is to vote for who you want to win. I think some have confused the general election with a horse race, where you’re meant to guess who’s going to be the winner. Seriously though, how is it a waste to vote for the candidate you most agree with? The Green party has grown impressively over the last few years, and they’re the only party – in my eyes – that actually tackles today’s issues face on. And you have to remember, there was a time when Labour was new. Everyone has to start somewhere. Who knows, they might even win if everyone who wants them to but doesn’t think they will just votes for them anyway. Well, they’d get a lot closer anyway.
Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I’ve volunteered to help with the canvassing in the new year. I currently have Caroline Lucas as my MP, the first Green in the UK Parliament. She’s so inspirational, bold and articulate – she’s the first (living) political figure I’ve ever believed in. I’m quite confident that she’ll get in again but I want to do all I can to increase her chances. I’m a bit nervous about the prospect of knocking on people’s doors and talking to them about the election but I hope it will be a good experience.
What was I saying about getting on and doing things?
I need to walk my talk, after all.