Hat tip to Derek Wall for this report from an attendee of the Green Party conference. Encouraging signs for those of us on the left who see the Green Party as the most promising vehicle for progressive change in British politics and for those who see the party as much more than a single-issue environmental pressure group. My one disagreement with the author is that I would actually go so far as to say, from their manifesto, the Greens are quite explicitly socialist.
At its conference in London over the past weekend, the Green Party provided more evidence of its gradual evolution from a narrow environmentalist sect into a left social democratic party with a strong emphasis on ecological issues.
First, the conference passed with large majorities two resolutions drafted by members of Green Left, the Party’s ecosocialist tendency; one pledging support for the National Pensioners’ Convention and its election manifesto, and the other calling for the imposition of a top limit to the pay and bonus differentials in all organisations, so the maximum wage that any organisation could pay would be ten times that of the lowest paid worker.
Second, in its revue of the Party’s health policy, conference removed all the egregious anti- science references in it that had previously been such an embarrassment, and reversed its previous opposition to the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research.
Third, the make-up of the membership is clearly starting to change. Over the past year, party membership has increased by around two and a half thousand and is now hovering close to ten thousand (and rising). The number of young faces at the conference has clearly grown over the last year or so, as has the number of new members coming from the ranks of the ex-Labour diaspora. As one member, attending her first conference, remarked “I used to think of the Greens as single issue obsessives, but now I believe the Party represents the principles I spent thirty years fighting for in the Labour Party, informed by a realisation of the scale and urgency of the environmental crisis we face.”