Fifty Shades of Green

August 15, 2012 at 7:58 pm (Green Party)

(Guest post from Pink Prosecco)

The Green Party held out against the whole concept of leadership until 2008, when Caroline Lucas was elected with an overwhelming majority, but seems now to have adjusted to the idea, as four candidates have put themselves forward for the recently vacated post: Natalie Bennett, Pippa Bartolotti, Peter Cranie and Romayne Phoenix.

Natalie Bennett sets out aspects of her agenda here – she wants to build on the party’s first green shoots of electoral success.

In the comments she talks with obvious passion about her vision – which she is anxious to communicate in detail otherwise ‘we’re just sounding like a slightly nicer Labour Party – when we in fact have a radically different vision of the future Britain.’

Now – I have a weakness for this kind of rhetoric, and in fact, when I did a questionnaire to find out what party I should vote for (I’m good at finding ways of putting off work) I learnt that I really ought to consider going Green.

One reason for ignoring this suggestion can be summed up in two words: Pippa Bartolotti.  She represents the least attractive side of Green politics in the UK.  On her website she grumbles that ‘It is fairly typical to be accused of anti-semitism when suggesting that the policies of the Likud government are less than perfect.’ (Oddly, I’ve never experienced that problem myself.)

You can read more about Bartolotti over on Greens Engage.

Her Liberal Conspiracy post (all the candidates were offered one) was pretty bonkers.

By contrast, Peter Cranie sets out his vision in a clear and pragmatic way, confronting the fact that the electorate does not place green issues high on its agenda, and thus needs to be engaged by the party’s policies on housing and jobs.

You can read more about Cranie’s views here.

Rather tellingly, the longest answer is to a question on Israel/Palestine.  Cranie, it should be noted, though clearly no Likud supporter, takes antisemitism seriously, and seconded a motion (which failed) to get these guidelines accepted by the party.

As Sunny Hundal notes in the comments to Cranie’s Lib Con piece, he is a candidate who seems well fitted to engage with potential as well as present supporters of the party.

Romayne Phoenix has a varied background in activism and is Chair of Coalition of Resistance. Her Lib Con post asserted her difference from the other candidates but failed to demonstrate where this difference lay.  (And is ‘difference’ the best way of securing votes from party members?)

The election will take place in September.



  1. Jim Denham said,

    The Greens are *not* a “slightly nicer Labour Pary”: they’re a Labour Party with the worst aspects of Bennite policies (conspiracy theories, antisemitism, etc), minus the trade union link.

  2. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Pippa Bartolotti – shown here with the banner of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party:

    If she wins instead of Cranie, it tells you all you need to know about the state of the Greens.

  3. Warren Morgan (@warrenmorgan) said,

    Fifty Shades of Green? Anyone paying for parking or trying to run a business after massive rises imposed by the Green council in Brighton and Hove will tell you they are more pain than pleasure…

    Any Labour members who think the Greens are “alright” might want to look at their material here in Brighton and Hove. Despite the Tories being in government, the official opposition on the city council and the incumbent MPs in the two non-Green constituencies in the city, 70 to 80% of their attacks are still on Labour. They remain relentlessly focussed on replacing Labour and have taken 18 of their 23 council seats from Labour, three from the Lib Dems. They are very clearly opponents rather than allies.

    However Caroline Lucas’s majority in Pavilion is slim, and their minority administration is based on just 1% more of the vote than Labour at the all-out council elections last year. Their rising unpopularity and a revitalised Labour Party could mean their hold on both the parliamentary seat and the council are temporary.

  4. Jimmy Glesga said,

    The Greens are just Tories in disguise that could not get a Tory nomination due to overcapacity in applicants.

  5. Anti-fa said,

    Peter Cranie needs to explain why he was a speaker at this meeting.

    I wonder if Cranie regrets being a speaker at it ? It’s the usual “Israel is an apartheid state” argument used by those who are in favour of Israel not existing even within a 2 states settlement.

  6. Pinkie said,

    Jim Denham:

    The Greens are *not* a “slightly nicer Labour Pary”: they’re a Labour Party with the worst aspects of Bennite policies (conspiracy theories, antisemitism, etc), minus the trade union link.

    I can get the lack of the trade union link, but conspirancy theories and anti-Semitism? Not sure they were any aspects of ‘Bennite policies’ – care to elucidate, Jim?

  7. Anti-fa said,

    Also people need to be aware that Cranie has in the past worked for closer co-operation with Respect.

    So which is the real Peter Cranie and which is the opportunist Cranie ?

  8. Sarah AB said,

    I was reminded, by the links, that Cranie is someone I had noted in the past as a Green who really does seem to engage with the problem of antisemitism despite being a firm opponent of many of Israel’s policies – and has written for Greens Engage. I think the term ‘apartheid’ is not used by him directly, but by someone describing the meeting. Ant-fa – who is your own preferred candidate?

  9. Peter Cranie said,

    Thanks for covering the leader contest. My team have picked this us and thought it would be worth a comment.

    I was indeed invited to speak to that meeting and I had no concerns about either of the speakers I was alongside. The description of my views was not written by me and if I had to spend my days going back to correct every single thing written about me on the internet… You’ll have to look at what I do say rather than what is said about me.

    This was during a very busy Euro campaign and I actually had to cancel a few hours before the meeting. My wife and then 5 month old son were both unwell with a bug. At that time I was often leaving home at 6am and not getting back until after midnight while on the campaign trail. It was one of two events I missed over the whole campaign.

    On the substantive issue, which is the “apartheid” description of Israel. It is not a word I choose to use because I think it is counterproductive when you are trying to get a rational discussion on this issue. However, if Scottish people in Scotland could vote freely in Scottish Parliamentary elections and council elections, but did not have the right to vote for the UK Parliament, which has power over UK borders and defence, but English people living in Scotland could, then rightly we would condemn this as profoundly unequal. Palestinians in the West Bank have no right to vote for representation in the Knesset, which has military control of the borders of the West Bank, while the settler population does. It is either one person one vote, or you have inequality and one group of people with less rights than another, and sadly that is the situation today.

    I’m in favour of self determination of people around the world if that is their wish, based on national identity. Scottish, Tibetan, Palestinian. What is important to me on international policy and our comments about it is consistency, which is why is choose not to buy Chinese or Israeli goods (to name a couple of countries out of many). Passions run high on this issue, understandably so. I’ve got used to being accused of both being “anti Israeli” and “pro Zionist” over the past few years and I’d expect that kind of thing to continue. So its consistency I aim for, even if that makes few friends in international policy discussions where people already hold deeply entrenched views.

  10. Anti-fa said,

    Hi Peter. The meeting where you were one of the platform speakers was titled ” Isolate Israeli apartheid: Why the EU must act” – which is why i pointed it out and i think i’m right to p0int it out. It was a meeting organised by people who support a one state solution and who believe that Israel has no right to exist, even within a real 2 states settlement.

    Can i just clarify what your position is on what you support as a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Do you support a 2 states settlement to the conflict which would mean 2 states side by side, the state of Israel within the pre-1967 borders alongside an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza ? Do you support the idea that Palestinians would have the right of return to a Palestinian state (as mentioned above) and not to an Israel state (as mentioned above). I ask this because the “right of return” for Palestinians to Israel within the 67 borders would result in Israelis becoming a minority in their own state and would lead to a single Palestinian state.

    I think it’s important to ask these questions. You were happy to co-operate and call for alliances with Respect, so i’d be happy to know what your principals are.

  11. Anti-fa said,

    Also Peter you say “I was indeed invited to speak to that meeting and I had no concerns about either of the speakers I was alongside”

    The 2 speakers were Norma Turner who doesn’t support the right of Israel to exist (even if Israel ends the occupation and lifts the siege of Gaza) and Chris Davies who resigned as leader of the Euro Lib Dems after sending an abusive reply to one of his Jewish constituents. He also happily uses the holocaust in the debate in a way which i’m sure is highly offensive to Jews.

  12. Anti-fa said,

    Sarah AB – I think Peter is the best candidate on the subject, subject to the clarification that i’ve asked above. I don’t think it’s wrong to challenge him for his opinions on the subject and related subjects. I do worry though, that if he wins that he might not take a less rigorous stance and may not challenge those in the party who have indulged in anti-semitic discourse.

    In truth i guess that i find Peter a little too vague.

  13. Anti-fa said,

    The above should read ” might take a less rigorous stance”

  14. Jim Denham said,

    Re Pinkie @ 6 above: Benn was once a respect-worthy figure on the serious reformist left. Since associating himself in the recent years with the likes of Galloway and the leaders of the misnamed ‘Stop The War Coalition’ his politics have noticeably degenerated into a world of Pilgeresque “zionist conspiracies”, support for tyrants and general craziness that I personally find quite distressing. A particularly crass example is described here:
    Whether his association with the likes of Galloway and the leadership of ‘Stop The War’ was the result of his decline or, in part at least, the cause of it, can only be a matter of speculation of course.

  15. Sarah AB said,

    Anti-Fa – fair enough – perhaps I am guilty of the Greenism of lowered expectations.

  16. Anti-fa said,

    Will Peter do a Sally Hunt – just enough (more than the other candidates which isn’t saying much) and then nothing when elected.

    I also note that Peter never actually comes out for 2 states as a final settlement which is probably to do with his overtures to Respect. Peter i’m sure can clarify his position but i’m not sure i trust him. Even if his personal views may be quite good on the subject i’m afraid he’s a politician and after votes. Can he be trusted once elected, after all he had no problems speaking on the platform at an Israeli is apartheid meeting with extreme anti-zionists, He had no problem sharing a platform with somebody who attacks Jews using the tragedy of the holocaust.

    People need to be aware and very cautious. They need to question him closely. They also need to know what he says to Respect types in the party.

  17. Anti-fa said,

    Here’s Peter disagreeing with the party’s decision to stand a candidate against Respect in Birmingham. Anybody who supports electoral alliances with Respect can’t be trusted.

  18. Anti-fa said,

    Here’s what Derek Wall had to say about Peter Cranie and Respect.

    Peter Cranie worked hard to encourage Green Party members to support Salma, I think on that basis alone we should support him.

    I would say that being a Green Party member but Peter knows I have had my disagreements with him but he has led the way on this….excellent,

    By the way this is all fantasy football unless we go and door knock and help candidates, I am going to be doing so in Brighton and Birmingham Hall Green, join me.

  19. Anti-fa said,

  20. Anti-fa said,

    “Respect’s understanding of “progressive policies” was further revealed in its invitation to Peter Cranie of the Green Party as one of three “guest speakers.” The other two were actually Respect members: Liam Mac Uaid (SR and now ex-Respect, representing the Campaign for a Million Climate Jobs); and Jerry Hicks, (rank-and-file candidate for Unite general secretary).”

  21. Fifty Shades of Green « Greens Engage said,

    […] at Shiraz Socialist, Pink Prosecco has a guest post on the Green Party England and Wales leadership […]

  22. Peter Cranie said,

    I’ll try and pick up very briefly on the points raised above.

    – Yes, I believe two states based on the 1967 borders is the best available solution but that won’t be in the power of the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. A peaceful resolution will require courage from politicians on both sides, as it did in Northern Ireland, and there will have to be an agreement on what a “right to return” might involve or what limitations to it would be negotiated as part of the agreement
    – Norma Turner is not affiliated to any organisation advocating violence (I would be concerned if the speaker had, for example, links to Hezbollah). Chris Davies is a Liberal Democrat MEP and I have debated with him many times in the 2009 Euro campaign. Clearly his actions were wrong in that case and he apologised for it
    – I’ve worked with Respect against the BNP and there are individuals within the Respect Party who I have a lot of time for (eg Salma Yaqoob – but they are a separate party to us. You can criticise that history but put it in the context of working to prevent the BNP getting elected in 2009 and the need to ensure Griffin gets voted out of the Euro Parliament in 2014

  23. Man in the street said,

    Too many of them seem to hate the joos, the Bartolotti clown is just the latest and loudest. Add in the 9/11 conspiracy theorists and they can fuck right off. Even if the party can now pass GCSE science.

  24. Man in the street said,

    Anyone who speaks alongside someone who says Israel has no right to exist can fuck even further off. Ugh.

  25. said,

    “Fifty Shades of Green Shiraz Socialist” was indeed in fact pleasurable and educational!
    In the present day society that is very hard to manage. With thanks, Luann

  26. said,

    You really put together many good points inside your posting,
    “Fifty Shades of Green Shiraz Socialist”. I am going to end up returning to ur website soon enough.
    With thanks -Marian

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