So what are the “cuddly” Greens up to nowadays? Caroline Lucas became the only ever Green MP when she was elected for Brighton Pavilion with a 1,252 majority in 2010. Not so cuddly herself, erhaps – during the campaign she would not even acknowledge über-nice Conservative candidate Charlotte Vere. Two weeks ago Lucas made headlines by virtue of being arrested at an anti-fracking protest in the company of assorted weirdos. Not that the darling of the BBC lacks media interest, of course. But let us try to look beyond this.
We all like a bit more green and a bit less concrete – I do, too. In addition, protecting cute puppy animals and the like is an easy political win. But when one studies Lucas’s track record my impression is that of a rather mixed bag of the good, the contradictory, and the outright wacky. I cannot resist reporting some of it back to you.
- Lucas recently introduced a private members bill to re-nationalise the railways. She believes that we can have railway fares that are just as cheap as in Europe. She omits to say that in continental Europe the lower fares are paid for by subsidies so that non-train users subsidise train users.
- On the one hand Lucas favours green energy. On the other hand she bemoans fuel poverty, even though it is becoming increasingly clear that green energy is synonymous with expensive fuel for poor people. On the one hand she speaks up for people on low incomes; but on the other hand she wants fossil fuels such as shale gas to stay in the ground like buried treasure. She apparently also wants to use green energy policy as a state job creation scheme.
- Lucas thinks that the state’s Royal Mail is a roaring success. Never mind the 250,000 letters which are lost every week. Just like the extreme left she advocates continuing state ownership.
- Lucas says that there is an acute housing crisis in Brighton, while at the same time bemoaning that the private rental sector is twice the national average. Apparently only state housing is acceptable for Lucas: she regularly complains about the shortage of council housing while at the same time wanting to discourage private investors from building or renting out properties through the introduction of rights for private tenants to longer tenancies.
- In good old hard left tradition Lucas wants to keep the Royal Bank of Scotland in public hands instead of “flogging it off”. Never mind the £34 billion losses to taxpayers since the state acquired most of its shares in 2008.
- Lucas is opposed to hunger in the world. Bizarrely, she is also opposed to genetically modified crops, which could solve it.
- Lucas is an opponent of the abolition of the spare bedroom subsidy. At the same time she bewails the shortage of social housing. Anybody home?
I feel a bit guilty for pointing out ecologists’ apparent difficulty with economic subjects. After all, the Green movement’s roots lie in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s 18th century musings of an idyllic pre-industrial paradise where barefooted children played happily in insect-infested swamps while the parents were busy at the spinning wheel (perhaps the latter is the origin of the “locally sourced” movement). One can’t be blamed for not understanding the economy if one doesn’t want it to be there in the first place. What does Caroline Lucas think about the economy?
- Lucas opposed Osborne’s so-called “Austerity Budget” and this “miserable government” on numerous occasions. She has stated that “there is no doubt that the cuts have failed”. In fact, jobs and growth are up. She also wants us to spend our way out of recession – more Gordon Brown, less George Osborne.
- Lucas has never seen a tax rise she didn’t like. She wants a mansion tax, a land value tax, revaluation of properties for council tax, was opposed to reducing the 50p income tax rate (never mind that raising the income tax rate reduced tax receipts by £7 billion), and supports the financial transaction tax. Revenue from the latter she wants to spend on green policies. She is in favour of a general avoidance rule (“no matter what our tax code says, you will pay if we say so”).
More tax, more state jobs, more state enterprise, and more state decisions instead of free choice: I can only think of one –ism that covers them all.
Meanwhile, the Greens who lead Brighton & Hove Council have split into the moderate left or mangos who tried to tackle the council’s excessive spending, and the hard left or watermelons who opposed this. Lucas chose the side of…the commies. One
Green councillor’s resignation out of disgust at the way in which his Green
Party was running the council recently caused a by-election in which the Greens
lost 15% and the council seat. Two weeks ago a mediator was called in to bring the two factions back together. Perhaps moderate left Leader, Cllr. Kitcat, is already trying to patch things up by introducing the hard left policy of even more progressive council tax bands? Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not just popular in Communist Party circles.
The Greens’ inept handling of cost-cutting is but the tip of the iceberg. They seem to have made a complete mess of a lot more, as the picture below illustrates. In August the Council had the bright idea of allowing non-emergency road works on the sea front for three weeks at a time when more than one million visitors were due to visit it. I guess car drivers are not a top Green priority.
Incidentally, the photo below illustrates something else. When I posted it on my facebook page a few weeks ago, one “friend” started ranting at me for doing so. She was apparently Green. It went from “it’s the seagulls wot did it” (really? Dragging off large plastic boxes?) to “this [streetscene] is not dirty at all”. Judge for yourself. Some Greens have the first characteristic of the true fanatic: not seeing reality anymore.