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Why I’m Voting Green for London

By Tim Hardy

However corrupt and broken our parliamentary system, I do believe that voting can make a difference and I believe that the only progressive choice is to vote Green.

Following the systematic way in which the Liberal Democrats have betrayed each of their principles, it is unsurprising that the naturally doubtful are now less willing than ever to trust the promises of politicians.

We’re all tired of the good cop, bad cop routine of Tories and Labour. Liberal Democrats have shown they can never be trusted with office again. Some argue that, given power, the Greens will do the same. I disagree but perhaps such committed cynics might also consider that they have an interest in being proved right sooner rather than later.

There are anarchists who do not believe in voting because they don’t believe in representation and believe the act of voting in the current system does nothing but validate false choices and confirm our own powerlessness over a system that is corrupt at its core. To them, since the system itself is the problem, it will corrupt even the purest of souls.

I am not an anarchist. I believe in a minimal state that would delegate as much power locally as possible while helping to coordinate transport, energy and the provision of health care at a national level. As such, perhaps I have less of an allergy to the idea of voting than many of those I admire and respect who believe in a truly stateless society.

For those who lack the conviction of my anarchist friends and are simply undecided or find voting a bit meh – remember, every vote we allow the Tories and Liberal Democrats to gain in the upcoming London elections is a slap in the face for those who have suffered already under this coalition and the millions more whose suffering has barely begun. A victory for Boris will be seen as a mandate for a fresh wave of assaults on the most vulnerable in society and a licence to hand out even more of our money to the extremely rich.

Voting for a candidate does not prevent you from also organising outside the political system and a vote for a Green candidate might even help you do that. (The same cannot be said for a vote for the authoritarian Labour party or for the Liberal Democrats who have dropped all interest in civil liberties since entering the coalition.)

The Green Party core philosophy holds:

Electoral politics is not the only way to achieve change in society, and we will use a variety of methods to help effect change, providing those methods do not conflict with our other core principles.

True to their word, Green MPs and councillors have shown a willingness to get involved in direct action outside the parliamentary system as well as working from within.

Caroline Lucas acted as an expert witness for the defence during the trial of the Brighton Uncut superglue 9, stating “There does come a point in many campaigns where you have to go beyond signing petitions.”

Green County Councillor Larry Sanders was one of the occupiers of the headquarters of the Oxford PCT Commissioning Group protesting against Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill.

Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones has actively campaigned against the NHS reforms joining UK Uncut at Block the Bridge.

While I am very aware of the dangers of participation in the parliamentary process, I do continue to believe that at this point we need representatives within parliament who will stand up for civil rights, who will speak out when other MPs are only happy to place themselves at the head of lynch mobs of self-righteous condemnation, who will not sign away the freedom of citizens to protect us from imaginary terrors. Caroline Lucas has shown more opposition to the coalition in parliament since the election than the whole of Labour’s benches put together.

The media would have you believe the election is just another silly episode in the Boris & Ken show – but people are dying as a result of decisions made by the Mayor of London and his team.

The Conservatives are doing nothing about preventable fatalities on the roads in cycle accidents for reasons best known to themselves. They would rather team up with the far-right than debate cycle safety. Five thousand people are estimated to die prematurely every year due to the illegally high levels of air pollution in London. Boris Johnson’s response is to attempt to fraudulently distort the measurements of air quality by gluing pollution to the roads by air monitoring stations. It’s hard to quantify the effects on health caused by the stress of a housing crisis Johnson, like all Tories, has followed Labour’s lead in refusing to tackle seriously.

Let’s face it, Boris lies.

London deserves better than this pathetic clown.

Take away the distractions of personality and flagrant media bias and try this questionnaire London Mayoral Election 2012: How will you vote? You might be surprised.

Tories care only for money and power. Anyone eligible to vote who lacks the conviction of the libertarian left and fails to vote simply because they can’t be bothered is missing the chance to hit them where it hurts. It’s up to us to give the representatives of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives the spanking they deserve. Don’t miss the chance to give Cameron a bloody nose because you think Greens don’t stand a chance.

When you vote for mayor, you also get to vote in the London-wide ballot for the Assembly (the Orange ballot paper) These elections are decided under a proportional system that means there are no wasted votes. Green Assembly Members are doing their best for Londoners but they are outnumbered by self-interested Tories. A third or fourth Assembly member would make a huge difference and help make whoever becomes mayor more accountable. Every Green vote here counts.

If you care for social and environmental justice then vote Green on Thursday 3 May and help make a difference.

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4 thoughts on “Why I’m Voting Green for London

  1. Gavin says:

    Thanks very much for this Tim. This is more or less how I’ve been thinking recently, but your post highlights at least one problem I cant resolve…..

    You quote from the Green Party manifesto and highlight some of the great actions by elected Greens (thanks to @Croydon Greens for comment above; wasnt aware of that incident), but isnt this irrelevant? Isnt the point that these admirable principles, beliefs and intentions wouldnt be possible if they were to be elected to Government in the UK? And that, even though Green MPs and Councillors currently walk it like they talk it in terms of protest and direct action, this wouldn’t continue into Government? At the very least, there’s no way we can count on these principles continuing.

    The most tediously obvious example is Clegg. Over the years, he joined myself and probably many readers of this post, on some of the same protests. This fact suggests that, at one point*, he not only shared my view on a particular issue but he agreed with our methods. Of course he and his party threw all these manifesto principles and tactics away, in Government. As it was entirely within their power to do – nobody could hold them to it in any meaningful way.

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts about why the Green party principles and actions might be different, or how you’ve navigated through this problem.

    One frustrating paradox about Clegg is that, while nobody can hold him to pre-Government commitments, many of us find a morsel of consolation in his looming electoral annihilation. But, that little turd of a man is making a great case for the destruction of representative democracy altogether. So while many people are thinking, ‘LibDems will be wiped out at the next election’, many of the same people are thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m voting at the next, or any other, election’. Anyway, I feel I’m veering off topic now, and any further half-intelligible thoughts I may have can be saved for follow-up posts…….

    Hope you come back to twitter. xx

    * Of course it doesnt necessarily mean this. It could mean Clegg or his people thought there was political opportunity in him being seen at protest events. And that he never had any principles, so set about feigning them, so to speak, for his own ends. This is an entirely possible logic that we’ll always leave ourselves open to, if we engage in representative democracy. Assuming this is the case and he did think like this, how could a prospective voter trust that Jenny Jones, for example, is not as opportunistic?

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