The rise of UKIP has been phenomenal over the last year or so because we have struck a chord with ordinary people about important but formerly taboo subjects such as immigration and the EU, and we’ve highlighted the divide between a political elite who are indistinguishable from each other in real policy terms and real people’s lives.
UKIP have been shouting from the rooftops about good solid policies all in the face of abusive opposition but to such an effect that the Conservatives have been forced to offer a referendum, (under conditions so unlikely that it will never happen) and one by one the other parties have been dragged to a position where they too have to promise something on immigration.
However, Mr Cameron’s and Mr Osborne’s track record on promises leaves much to be desired.
Almost in the same breath as UKIP’s rise is mentioned so is the rise of the Green Party. Their increase in support, though, is derived not from a clear set of policy statements but the exact opposite. Where UKIP has led on major and difficult policy areas the Greens say nothing. It’s a simple tactic; say absolutely nothing at all about critical policy areas like immigration and our massive debt and instead allow the process of gathering support to occur naturally through a quasi process of psychological osmosis and simply because they are not establishment and not UKIP.
Following this up, I took a look at the Green Party website. Surely, I thought, there has to be something there about the major issues of the day, perhaps something to mitigate the disaster that is Brighton since the Greens took control, something about the deficit or immigration or even wealth creation.
But no. Nowhere on this Green window to the world is there a mention of how to create wealth, pay back the debt or even live within our means.
The New Year address by the unmemorable Natalie Bennett is a hyperbole worthy of that great and irascible windbag Kinnock. If you could determine any policy principles from such a treacly source you would have to conclude that they would re-visit (impose) some form of proportional representation which oddly is a subject already overwhelmingly rejected by the British people not five minutes ago. Clearly, representing people’s wishes cuts no ice when it comes to Green dogma.
You might also have to conclude that they would nationalise everything and by some miraculous, non-financial way everyone would have everything they wanted. It is true that she does mention the deficit once but only to mitigate its importance and she gives no clue as to how it would be reduced or the overall debt paid off. In fact, almost every word commits to higher public expenditure, a thread that runs through the entire website which has no mention of how to create the wealth to pay for their proposed explosion in public spending.
The philosophy espoused by the Green Party has been around for quite some time, but we are more used to the term socialism with a capital ‘S’ to describe it. That’s not a label the Greens want to encourage and neither, it seems, is any sort of association with financial prudence. Their candidate in the recent Rochester and Strood by-election stated categorically that austerity was a sham and that there was absolutely no need for it at all, thereby leaving open the pressing question of how we could ever get out of debt, or at least to reduce it to a manageable level. However such sentiments are nicely in keeping with Green policy on anything financially coherent. A bit like Labour and immigration, the tactic is not to mention it.
Instead of a prudent representation of the people the image the Greens want to project is one of tree-huggers and planet savers in a sort of cuddly, fluffy bunny way that looks as if it could do no harm. By this quiet strategy they have increased support but, so far, without challenge. The assurance by Natalie Bennett that every home would be ‘warm, comfortable and affordable-to-heat’ is directly contrary to Green energy policies that have increased energy prices significantly with more price hikes on the way. Energy provision and management is another subject they don’t want to be drawn on too deeply.
The whole Green philosophy is contradictory. What they would like cannot be achieved without a successful and growing economy but everything they wish to impose would obstruct the very wealth creation needed to achieve that.
UKIP has endured more than its fair share of scrutiny, misrepresentation, abuse, media opposition and made up policy declarations but in complete contrast the Greens have increased their membership and support by sliding neatly under everyone’s radar. Why is it that their extreme socialist views aren’t challenged as every utterance by UKIP most certainly is? Do they expect to gather political momentum indefinitely with only their suspect watermelon exterior on display?
So let’s summarise some of the Green agenda from their website and see what that really means.
Their ‘what we stand for’ section on the website, which one might expect to contain a list of principles and unique policy statements, is, in fact, simply politic speak. The whole first section could appear on any party’s website as it simply comprises of trite generalisations.
However, there is some meat that I can translate.
A real change: from austerity and welfare cuts to investment in decent jobs.
Translation: don’t bother to pay back the debt and massively increase the public sector to make it much worse much faster. The great great grandchildren can pay it off when we’re dead.
A real change: from privatisation for the benefit of the 1% to public management of essential services not driven by corporate greed.
Translation: nationalise everything, eliminate aspiration, innovation and risk-taking. The government will decide everything. Money is no object, apparently.
A real change: from subsidies to fracking and dependence on fossil fuels to a sustainable world we can pass on to our children.
Translation: cover the landscape with unreliable wind farms, make energy unaffordable and perpetuate the global warming myth regardless of its efficacy.
What is really depressing about all this is that it’s been tried before and failed dismally. The Socialist governments of Europe and the EU are leading states into depression with no work and no hope and completely Socialist states such as China have poverty issues we cannot comprehend.
When will the media actually scrutinise the Green Party and challenge what they stand for? Someone really needs to do that!