Tag Archive: Greens

May 18 2015

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: A Catastrophic British Election Result, where do we go from here?

By NY Brit Expat

Like everyone else, I got it wrong. I was expecting a Tory minority government propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) if needed to get legislation passed.

It was also clear that the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) had been courting the Tories hoping for another small shot at power; their slogan that “they would give the Tories a heart and Labour a brain” really made me think that they had never understood the Wizard of Oz; if they had, they would have realised that the Wizard was a fraud who only granted what the Tin man (heart) and Straw man (a brain) already had; provision of a testimonial and a diploma do not change reality, only perceptions of reality. I wondered who wrote their script; revealing that you are frauds is never a good idea for a political party.

I was at a friend’s house planning to watch the beginning of the election results there and then I saw the exit polls. I gasped and my stomach screamed! I thought surely this was wrong. I grasped at straws: it didn’t include postal votes, people do not always tell the truth (in the US people deny that they wouldn’t vote for a person of colour as they do not openly want to admit their racism) … I went home to watch a national nightmare unfold (one does not put a fist through your friends’ only telly, it is certainly not good guest behaviour).  

The exit polls (316 Conservatives/Tories, 239 Labour, 58 SNP, 10 Liberal Democrats, 2 UKIP, 2 Greens, 4 Plaid Cymru) actually underestimated the extent of the damage. The Tories were predicted to be heading towards a minority government; I thought that was bad enough, but it was nothing compared to the final result.

While I knew that the Lib Dems were signing their own death warrant by joining the Tories in coalition, I thought that they would lose seats in the Labour heartlands (Northwest and Northeast) squeezed by Labour, lose their seats in University towns that they won from their opposition to the Iraq war (due to their support of increasing university tuition fees which they opposed in their manifesto). I expected student votes to go to the Greens, but not enough to give them the seats which went to Labour), but I thought that they would hold historical bases of support in Devon and Cornwall (where the main opposition is Tory); I had underestimated the obvious fact that why vote Tory-lite when you can have the Tories in all their glory?

I knew Labour would suffer severe losses in Scotland (their unionism during the elections, corruption of Labour councils up there, the uselessness of the carrot offered by Gordon Brown towards the end of the referendum and strong opposition to austerity in Scotland), but wiped out except for 1 seat in Glasgow was more than I expected. In Scotland, I knew that the Lib Dems would hold Orkney (and lose everything else; I stayed up to watch Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander‘s head roll which given everything else was a small bright spot in election results); the Tories have been very weak in Scotland for a while, so their having one seat near the Scottish borders does not surprise me at all. But the Scottish National Party winning 56 seats was beyond my expectations (and their own, I think).

I went to bed at 6:30am stressed out and still hoping for a Tory minority government. I woke up to a political nightmare. The Tories have won a majority, they do not need the DUP, they do not need UKIP (who only won 1 seat anyway; small favours, but they took their first local council in Thanet). They most certainly do not need the Lib Dems; who will be very lonely sitting in Parliament.

Nov 22 2011

While Obama Campaigns for Extending Cuts to Safety Net Funding, Stein Calls for Liberal Policies

As Barry Obama stumps for extending the payroll tax cut designed to cripple Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in New Hampshire, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is promoting what she calls a Green New Deal to help put Americans back to work fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and finding cleaner, renewable ways to fuel things.

The tenets of her plan include building infrastructure and public transportation, supporting sustainable agriculture, developing clean and renewable energy and restructuring the nation’s manufacturing base.

“There is a strong economic argument that unemployment is more expensive than a plan to deal with unemployment,” Stein said.

The plan’s details have not been worked out, according to Stein, but she said it would be a community-based effort that extends to the local level. Her plan would aim to create 17 million new jobs, and she said that, through a multiplier effect, those 17 million would translate into the 25 million needed to achieve full employment.

And that’s not all.  Unlike Obama, whose record of suppressing civil liberties reads like something out of some other third world dictatorship, Stein is coming out swinging against the assaults by cops against Occupiers.

“The aggressive, needless police actions across the country against Occupy Wall Street (OWS) are an assault on civil liberties and an effort to suppress a much needed movement for economic justice and democracy,” said Stein, a Green Party member and past candidate in Massachusetts elections. “The courageous protesters who have stood up to intimidation by lethal force are standing up for us all.”

In the statement, Stein called upon mayors in occupied cities to “follow the example of Green Party Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, Cali., who welcomed the local occupation” and contrasts that with videos and reports from Wall Street, UC Berkley and Occupy Oakland, which she says show public officials are “suppressing rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.”

“The use of police in full riot gear with helicopters buzzing overhead to arrest peaceful and largely sleeping protesters is frightening commentary on the militarization of state and municipal security,” Stein said i nthe statement. “Unprovoked police violence against citizens practicing peaceful civil disobedience – clearly documented on videos gone viral on the Internet – is deeply alarming.”

Small wonder then, that in a mock election held earlier this month in Illinois (the largest in the nation), Stein and the Greens garnered twenty-seven percent of the vote.

The mock primary/caucus process produced three tickets: Democrats nominated Barack Obama for President and Hillary Clinton for Vice-President; Republicans nominated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan; Greens nominated Jill Stein and Kent Mesplay. Then, at the mock general election, the results were 39% for the Democratic ticket, 33% for the Republican ticket, 27% for the Green ticket, and 1% other.

Libertarians were involved but they chose to work for Ron Paul in the mock Republican convention. Jill Stein spoke on campus, and this obviously helped the Green campaign, because no other actual presidential candidates appeared on campus.

In a race that, no thanks to Obama’s endless and ongoing betrayals of the public interest to curry favor with the top 1%, may be so much closer than it should be, that twenty-seven percent could make the difference.  This isn’t a bad thing by any means; Stein’s candidacy seems to be having an effect already by forcing Obama to adopt policies he ordinarily wouldn’t.  (For example, Hopey McChangerton seemed last week to back off of plans to open up even more public lands to oil drilling.)

The biggest problem of the 2012 election won’t just be the ongoing right-wing policies that have turned America into a fascist police state, but the exclusion of any left-wing voices from the national dialog.  But if Jill Stein keeps up her campaign and manages to resonate with more voters, this could change.