Are the political classes in Brighton mature enough to cope with Caroline Lucas disagreeing with the Green Group?

A sign of a mature democracy is how it deals with dissent. It should be able to cope with it without clamping down on freedoms or maligning the dissenter. Similarly, a mature political party should not only accommodate dissent, it should positively welcome it.

Political parties should not try to resemble religious sects, demanding total and uncritical allegiance regardless of the merits of an argument. It is funny that the Blairites in New Labour demanded the same unthinking loyalty as Militant Tendency required of its acolytes.

I have always felt that the Green Party has shown more maturity than some other parties, particularly Labour in Brighton and Hove, when handling dissent. When Cllr Alex Phillips was the lone vote against the Labour/Conservative budget, most members of the Green Group respected the stance she had taken. Her dissent was widely welcomed within the Green Party.

I know plenty of Green Party members who remain supportive of the Green Council in spite of disagreements over particular policies and actions. To suggest, as Labour is doing, that the cuts being forced on the City Council are either “Green cuts” or that Caroline Lucas is somehow responsible for them, is childish politics.

I would imagine, and sources within the Green Party have suggested to me, that Caroline Lucas herself is not comfortable with some of the actions of Green members on the City Council. I believe that she disagreed with the expulsion of Christina Summers even though Ms Lucas’ record on gay marriage is without doubt.

The problem for Caroline Lucas is the immaturity of the political process where activists in parties opposed to the Greens might seize upon any admission of disagreement as a split within the Green Party. It is not a split, it is a disagreement and should any of my occasional readers try to make political capital out of this, they will merely be proving my point about political immaturity.

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12 Responses

  1. Its not childish politics, I read the budget and one of the most appalling things was that the Green council had managed to find £500,000 for a pilot food recycling project in the suburbs.

    Perhaps spend that money on other services that are slightly more important…?

  2. The centre of immaturity in local politics is the Green group running the council – highlighting this is no bad reflection on those doing the highlighting.

    Ejecting a Councillor for dissent even though there is supposedly no ‘whip’, in a minority administration says it all. As does reference to ‘speciesism’…

    Nationally the greens are on around 2% so should have 12 the equivalent of seats in parliament, and UKIP have 12% so should have around 72 seats at westminster. I did a lot of work for Yes2AV, I didn’t notice the local Greens doing anything at all… (although Ms Lucas did let me use a photo for part of a campaign that I assembed). It is very worrying too think what those 12 Green MP’s would actually be like…

    The Greens are giving non-LibLabCon a bad name.

    • Oh Paul, do stop it.

      Here is the wikki reference to speciesism to help you understand Ben’s view…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciesism

      As regards your Yes2AV reference, it isn’t at all worrying about 12 Green MPs as indeed I am not worried about 72 UKIP ones.

      Although you are very outspoken on these forums, I know you are very warm and personable in the flesh.This is true of the majority of MPs regardless of political persuasion. No need for drama.

      • Mr F, your link simply confirms ones worst fears over ‘specisim’. I do hope everyone has read it…

      • Mr F

        You may be aware I have been chasing Greens about their manifesto ‘priority’ to limit top council pay to EIGHT times minimum pay (page 3 of their city manifesto) – I have had much communication with them on this – they have justified it in a number of ways.

        Now, they have agreed to pay the new CEO £50k over this limit.

        How do they justify handing over enough to reinstate the 52 bus service – in contradiction of a specific headline manifesto pledge?

        They now tell me that the EIGHT TIMES was a typing error…

        They are like dishonest little children – having been caught out, they gradually escalate their lies and excuses – anything other than genuinely fessing up -fessing up that they were elected on a juvinile manifesto that they never imagined that they would need to implement.

        Maturity? Not a single sign of it from the Greens. Is there a green anywhere who knew the manifesto had misleading typing errors? If so why they kept quiet till now? When will they make a formal announcement and appologise? If not – then why didn’t they notice months ago when I challenged them on it?

        Is there any thing in their manifesto that wasn’t a ‘typing error’.? Onwhat basis were they elected at all?

  3. BPB – even by your usual standards, this is incredibly fawning towards the Green Party and Caroline in particular. I presume she or her spokesperson is the ‘source within the Green Party’. They want us to know that she is distancing herself from the Green Council, but somehow it’s all because those nasty Tory and Labour people who have been making up tales, rather than her Grren Party colleagues. Believe me, Labour and the Tories do not need to make up tales. I’ve just read Cllr Duncan latest contribution, and you seriously couldn’t make it up.

    Caroline’s recent resignation as party leader had far more to do with protecting her own seat rather than developing talent in the Green Party. She is effectively trying to stand as an independent candidate, relying on her personal attributes, which are many, rather than the platform of her party, which quite frankly is nonsense. It is disappointing that you are acting as her mouthpiece to achieve this

    • But My Good Doctor, I have never claimed to have standards … You are wrong about my source. I defend or promote completely independently and often inconsistently. I think Tory councillors Cox, Wealls, Janio and Barnett are quite exceptional (not that any of my Green and Labour friends would agree). And I will criticise if need be, as I did in the early stages of Ms Lucas’ last election campaign.

      But you do make my point, rather. Ms Lucas remains a leading member of the Green Party. She can disagree, even distance herself from the views and actions of others but they remain just disagreements. That is one of the attractions of the Greens, they come in all shapes and forms, and have a diversity of opinions.

      • To seize on a perceived weakness and to exploit it by publicising it is not political immaturity, it is good politics-if politics is about the seeking,holding and maintaining of power.If it rebounds or is ineffective then that is immature p;otics.
        To say BPB that Greens are diverse may be true,yet too much diversity could lead to explosion and fragmentation.

  4. I trust that when the Greens take Labour to task for any slight difference of view between Labour councillors, Labour parliamentary candidates and the Labour Party nationally, you will hold them to the same standards?

  5. For the two main parties, splits on policy can be incredibly divisive. Just look at the knots the Conservatives have tied themselves in over Europe. But for a smaller party, they can be catastrophic. The Respect Party destroyed any hope of building on the Bradford West by-election by the actions of George Galloway.

    The voting public are become increasingly confused to what the Green Party stands for. Is it the radical brand of Eco-Socialism that the Green Left and deputy leader Will Duckworth is pushing, or Jason Kitcat, Eco-Tory?

    In his (or her!) defence of Caroline Lucas, BPB misses the point. Caroline Lucas can no longer trade on the Green Party’s untarnished brand. She is a member of a political party that are now running our city. And one that appears to be going through a very big identity crisis

  6. Given that the Green party has at least some of its roots in the seething cauldron of far-left groupuscules of decades gone by it would be entirely surprising if they didn’t at some point suffer a schism – and Flo hits the nail on the head with her description of the inherent contradictions contained within the party. Like Warren I trust BPB will be equally on the alert for posturing and division trumpeting when its carried out by his lot as he claims he will be concerning our lot (or indeed, the other lot).

  7. An incisive post by BPB.

    All the parties have differences. What sort of Stalinist party would it be if there was never any internal differences? And if people express their differences publicly they are simply being honest, a good thing surely?

    From my limited experience of Green general meetings, action days and socials, everybody gets on very well.

    I certainly don’t recognize the descriptions in the comments above. They seem to be the product of wishful thinking.

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