During my very busy spring and summer, one of the things I didn’t have time to do was look more closely at the UK’s General Election results. This post comes a bit late, but it’s worth saying, nonetheless.

The election was perhaps the dullest and least inspiring in Britain’s history (certainly in my history), which means that anything remotely unusual appeared as some kind of phenomenon. And so it was with the first ever seat in the House of Commons for Caroline Lucas, one of our favourite subjects here on Climate Resistance. Lucas won the seat for Brighton Pavilion.

Caroline Lucas’s prominence in the media has always intrigued us. As a Member of the European Parliament, Lucas always got far more attention than most of her counterparts, more even than her fellow Green MEPs. As pointed out in previous posts here, Lucas has hardly scored well in European elections. In 1999, the Green Party in Lucas’s constituency — the South East of England — only took 7.42% of the vote which only had a 24.73% turnout, i.e. they only earned the votes of 1.8% of the electorate. In the 2004 elections, they only performed slightly better, taking 7.9% of the vote with a 36.78% turnout — 2.9% of the electorate. In 2009, the Green Party took 11.6% of the vote with a 37.45% turnout, meaning 4.35% of the electorate — 271,506 out of 6,231,875 people. That’s an improvement, of course — possibly largely due to the attention given to Lucas by the media — but it’s an improvement only from virtually nothing to minor fringe in an era of mass cynicism of politics.

Clearly, Lucas’s prominence in the media has been not only due to sympathy amongst TV and radio producers for her agenda, there’s also the fact that her breathless and shameless doom-mongering and designer wardrobe helped to spice up otherwise dull current affairs programming. Her senior role as co-principle speaker (alongside Derek Wall) of the Green Party also helped boost her profile, but only marginally. When the party abandoned its commitment to flat hierarchy, Lucas was elected leader. With the slow decline of the mainstream parties support amongst the voting population, the possibility of a Green Party candidate in Westminster has grown. The Green Party faced the prospect of having its star performer locked away in the EU parliement at Brussels or Strasbourg, rather than in the UK, meaning that some scruffy hippy or eco-socialist might take the limelight from the party’s leader. Lucas was parachuted into Brighton — arguably Britain’s capital city for alternative lifestyles. You can get reiki with your mung bean salad and humous to go, in Brighton.

The media — especially the Guardian — hailed the Green Party’s success as ‘historic’. But was it? After nearly half a century of political campaigning as PEOPLE, the Ecology Party, and latterly as the Green Party, it is surprising that it has taken so long for the Greens to achieve what independent candidates have managed without a party — never mind 200 election workers for a single constituency — behind them. The results reveal a close race in a relatively high turnout of around 70%.

Lucas, Caroline Green 16,238 (31.33% / 21.93%)
Platts, Nancy Labour 14,986 (28.91% / 20.24%)
Vere, Charlotte Conservative 12,275 (23.68% / 16.6%)
Millam, Bernadette Liberal Democrats 7,159 (13.81% / 9.7%)

For each of the 200 party workers working on her election campaign locally, Lucas won 81 votes. Of the 74,000 people eligible to vote for Caroline Lucas, only 16,238 of them did. Her majority is is just 1,252. Nonetheless, she won…

lucasWin

(An interesting aside…  the man holding Lucas’s hand aloft — her partner, Richard Savage — ‘taught’ me English at upper school. So any comments about the abuse of commas, poor spelling and grammar on this site, you can address to him.)

So does this victory represent the electoral tide turning in the Green’s favour, or was Lucas the lucky beneficiary of undeserved media attention, 200 party activists, and the sympathies of the most radical and alternative constituency? A view of the Green Party’s performance across the UK suggests that the country is not turning green.

In fact, the party didn’t even perform as well as it did in the 2005 General Election, losing 0.08% of the vote, but gained slightly in real numbers. In 2005, the party scored 257,695 votes nationwide, against a turnout of 61.2%. This year, the Green Party only improved this result to 285,616 votes, in a turnout of 65.1%, in which 29,594,978 were cast — the Green Party earned less than 1% of the vote. To put this into context alongside other non-mainstream parties, the British National Party got 563,555 votes, and the UK Independence Party — which mainly stands on an anti-EU platform — took 914,154, yet in spite of winning nearly 2 and four times as many votes as the Green Party respectively, neither party won a seat.

A closer look at the performance of other Green Candidates demonstrates that Lucas’s result is an outlier.

The Green Party put forward 334 candidates. Of these, just 7 — SEVEN! in a party that has nearly 40 years of history — kept their deposits.

Seat Candidate votes %vote
Brighton Pavilion Lucas, Caroline 16238 31.33
Norwich South Ramsay, Adrian 7095 14.92
Cambridge Juniper, Tony 3804 7.59
Lewisham Deptford Johnson, Darren 2772 6.72
Brighton Kemptown Duncan, Ben 2330 5.46
Hove Davey, Ian 2568 5.15
Edinburgh East Harper, Robin 2035 5.1

It’s worth pointing out, too, that these poor results include the seats right next to Caroline Lucas’s: Brighton Kempton, and Hove. It would take you just minutes to walk between these constituencies, and you’d barely notice the difference between them. It’s likely that these Green Party candidates benefited from the attention Lucas had from the local and national media, though reflects the ambivalence felt towards the party when there isn’t a celebrity standing.

Even the next most successful Green Party candidate — Adrian Ramsay in Norwich South — failed to collect even half as many votes as Lucas. And the next most successful candidate again — former director of Friends of the Earth, Tony Juniper — barely got half as many votes as Ramsay.

The loss of 328 deposits would have cost the Green Party £170,000. But it gets worse for the poverty-stricken party of doom and gloom. 47 Green Party candidates polled less than 1% of the vote in their constituency. 258 Greens polled less than 2%. 310 Green Candidates polled less than 3%. 322 polled less than 4%. Her fame and success has not worn off on Caroline Lucas’s brother, Eric Lucas, who only got 1,120 votes — 2.38% — in Bath. My old home constituency of Oxford East only gave GP candidate Sushila Dhall 1,238 votes – a loss of 2.1% of the previous election’s Green vote. This is very surprising because Oxford East, like Norwich and Brighton, is a centre of more radical politics and culture, and has been home to the likes of George Monbiot, Mark Lynas, Crispin Tickell’s son, Oliver, the author of Kyoto 2, and George Marshall, and was the place where Lucas began her career in politics. You would expect at least a challenge to the mainstream parties to have come from at least one other constituency in the entire country. But none came.

Here is the announcement of the result for Lucas’s constituency, and her victory speech, as seen on the BBC’s election coverage.

Thank you. Tonight the people of Brighton Pavilion have made history by electing Britain’s first Green MP to Westminster.

Thank you so much for putting your faith in me and in the Green Party. Thank you so much for putting the politics of hope above the politics of fear.

Caroline Lucas rose to prominence in an era of political malaise. Her natty attire, earnest eyebrows, and in debate her shameless doom-mongery combined gave her an edge in the media that few other greens could ever hope to match. She has no other ‘redeeming’ qualities. She is an intellectual lightweight — a cipher — with only parrot-like grasp of the facts she uses in political argument. Her party is no less vapid, and her success has not been matched by its other candidates. Britain is no Greener for her election. Most surprisingly of all, she lacks sufficient self-awareness to cause her to feel any shame in  thanking her voters for ‘putting the politics of hope above the politics of fear’. For someone with a PhD in English Literature, and who is married to an English teacher, she appears to have a particularly fragile understanding of the words and expressions she uses.

29 Responses to Going Green, or Growing Mould?

  • Three cheers for the British voting system. It means that you have to be the most popular candidate among a geographically determined group of electors. That’s what Caroline Lucas did, and she deserved to win. And Brighton deserves her. (Though not Hove or Kemptown). Replace this system with another, like PR or the French two round system, and out goes the meaning of half our political vocabulary. Expressions like “constituency” “my MP” “close result” become literally meaningless.
    The BBC quite rightly gave her prominence because she was elected. Even though she only got elected because the European elections are held under a PR system, where anyone with 5% of the votes gets a hearing. She quite sensibly used her media prominence to get elected to Westminster, where she occupies 0.2% of the seats, roughly in line with the Green Party’s popularity. Let’s criticise her for her views, not the fact that she’s where she is.
    By the way, has the photo been photoshopped? The heads don’t seem to belong to the bodies somehow. Or does everyone in Brighton look like that?

  • I like to think we’ve given Caroline Lucas’s views some consideration, Geoff.

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/tag/caroline-lucas

    ‘The BBC quite rightly gave her prominence because she was elected.’

    For clarity, her rise to prominence discussed in the post above refers to the attention she got before she was elected to Westminster. As I point out, she was a minority winner of a barely contested seat, usually winning the support of less than 2% of the electorate. Even had she won a decisive victory in EU elections, there is no accounting for her media profile — she’s no great brain, she’s got very little new to say about environmental politics, and her retelling of apocalyptic prophecies was always particularly shrill. Only her dress sense and her eco-hysteria account for her profile.

    The point is that I don’t feel that it was her argument which allowed her to rise to prominence. The PR system in the EU parliament did help.

    I am, and have been criticising her for her views. And saying that she is where she is because the circumstances are ripe for such a person. It’s a comment about the UK’s vapid politics as it is a comment about Lucas.

    If you want more depth than this post offers, I’ve written plenty about her. Here’s one of my favourites.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/5708/

  • Ben
    As you know, I agree entirely with you about Caroline Lucas’s views. In fact, it’s largely from reading Climate Resistance that my vague suspicions about the Green movement have been shifted towards deep hostility. (I used to be quite mouldy myself).
    However, I would never base any criticism of her on the size of her vote, or that of the Green Party nationally, or the number of canvassers she fielded. (Canvassers – that’s another political term which becomes obsolete under PR. Who’d go canvassing in a constituency of half a million electors?).
    As soon as she was elected MEP (albeit under a system which I detest) it was perfectly legitimate for the BBC and others to invite her on their programmes, and equally legitimate for her to use her notoriety to get elected to Westminster. The Greens are a tiny but not negligible proportion of the electorate. Clever opinion research can formulate questions which suggest that green thinking is popular among the electorate. Greens can, on occasion, organise demos which get thousands into the streets. Yet when you go on activist blogs, you find them getting a couple of twitters a week. It’s a mass movement that resembles one of those low budget BBC spectaculars, with a dozen extras playing the entire Roman Army. (The fact that Brighton is largely peopled by out of work actors may explain something here).
    There’s a lot of interesting things to be said about the Greens, many of them involving numbers, and many of them things you’ve said here. I know, they helped change my mind. I don’t believe the size of Ms Lucas’s majority is one of them.

  • I disagree, Geoff. Lucas got a disproportionate amount of attention from the media, and my aim was not to say ‘WAAAAA, IT’S NOT FAAAAAAAAAIR!’, but to suggest that she’s a product of a wider phenomenon of doom to which the BBC’s (and others’ of course) producers are also victim. The point being that environmentalism is ascendent not because of its own political muscle or brains, but because of circumstances. Perhaps, living in France, you don’t get to see just how much airtime Lucas gets.

    Again, I’m not criticising her on the basis of the size of her vote — other than to point out that it’s not at all spectacular, or ‘historic’, and that her result is an outlier that can be explained by her celebrity, not the heralding of a new green day.

    Of course it’s legitimate for the BBC to feature anyone they wish. I wouldn’t argue otherwise. But I would question the judgement of producers who prefer such a soft-headed end-is-nigh-er rather than someone who can do more than recite a script from some trash eco-horror. Lucas fits the bill for any dumbed-down current affairs slots with ambitions to be seen to host ‘radical’ perspectives, but very little idea about how to achieve it. Lucas is the nice, middle class, not-to-dangerous eco-warrior.

  • Ben
    Let’s be clear what we agree about. Ms Lucas is a political lightweight, whose surprise win was due probably to excessive media exposure, due in turn to the predominance of people sympathetic to her views in the media. It is not a sign of a sea change in British politics, or of growing support for the Green agenda. Her appealing personality and curiosity value may in fact hide the deeply unpopular nature of many Green ideas.
    If my first reaction was critical, it was for two reasons: (apart from my naturally cantanckerousness)
    1) The multiplication of a low vote by a low turnout in order to emphasise the minority nature of her support seems to me shady logic, since it is an argument which is frequently used to challenge the legitimacy of any and all politicians. Likewise, the number of votes per canvasser is the kind of artificial statistic which could be used for or against anybody. Yours is one of the rare non-science blogs which can use statistics with a deadly precision (I’m thinking of articles on the World Health Organisation, and the relative financial weight behind warmists and sceptics). So I was disappointed to see you using all those figures in what read like a sour grapes attack on her legitimacy. So I jumped in with a defence of the British voting system, whose major advantage, as Enoch Powell once pointed out, is its simplicity. If you don’t like this bloke, vote for the other one. Lucas won a four horse race in an odd constituency. She’ll be hard put to do it again.
    2) Some of your comments are a bit, shall we say, ad feminam. I’m not the politest blogger, but I’d avoid remarks about dress sense. With your jibe to Jane Basingstoke about her hometown on the CiF thread, you set yourself a high standard in non-offensive put downs. It’s a very difficult game, as I know too well.

    I look forward to more on the “era of political malaise” which allowed Lucas to “rise to prominence”. You’re right that, living in France, I miss a lot of the subtleties of the analysis of social movements in Britain. I’m sure that’s the direction in which enlightenment lies, and its on blogs like yours that it’s likely to emerge. Best of luck, and keep up the good work.

  • Something that caught my attention back in April was the fact that the Green Party manifesto downplayed the environment and climate change, as Myles Allen also picked up on in the Guardian, remarking that you had to wait until page 33 to read about the environment. There is a subsection on climate change but that is on page 35. The manifesto name is “Fair is worth fighting for” (compare it if you will with Labour’s “A future fair for all” and the LibDems’ “Change that works for you. Building a fairer Britain’”). In her forward to the manifesto, I don’t think Caroline Lucas mentions climate change once, but she signs off with “So I urge you to vote Green on May 6th for a fairer world.” Climate change and the traditional Green issues were not exactly in the forefront; if anything, I think the Greens appeared to be trying to be more like Old Labour than anything else.

    An interesting situation – the main parties all competing to look greener than the others, and the Greens competing to look fairer than the others; it all becomes a bit of a blur!

    Some links:
    The Green Manifesto in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/interactive/2010/apr/15/green-party-manifesto-2010-policy-guide
    Myles Allen, “Why I won’t be voting Green”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/cif-green/2010/apr/15/voting-green-environment

  • The Greens have a long way to go before they even manage the low levels of success achieved by the Communist Party of Great Britain.

    Replace this system with another, like PR or the French two round system, and out goes the meaning of half our political vocabulary.

    And this would be a bad thing, in what way?

    France and Germany still have local MPs, so that concern isn’t particularly valid. Neither are even remotely unstable. Countries with other systems don’t look at Britain and think “wow, I wish we had your system” (whereas many do admire the judicial system, police force etc).

  • Alex
    I come to this site seeking clarification. Your description of what’s going on in the Green Party leaves me even more confused. Maybe the voters, too.
    Mooloo
    You ask why it would be a bad thing if half our political vocabulary was rendered obsolete by a change in the voting system. Any change favours the politicians, and the “chattering classes” who follow politics as a spectator sport, at the expense of the average person who just votes for the person they prefer. It therefore requires a reasoned justification, preferably not from those who stand to benefit.
    Many of the changes advocated encourage tactical voting, which exists already when a significant number of the electorate “think hard” about the effect of their vote, as in Northern Ireland, (favouring a vote “lent” to the parties of violence) and probably in Brighton.
    True, we still have local MPs in France, but we don’t necessarily get the chance to vote for the ones we want. The soocialists, in order to get the support of the Greens in the second round, will have to negotiate to hand over a number of winnable seats to the Ecology party. This inevitably causes dissension, splits in the party, and a situation where everyone discusses tactics and personalities, and policy is forgotten.

  • I can’t read much into the Green party finally winning a seat, but I am intrigued by the concept of political malaise. I assume this refers to self-serving leaders and general voter apathy. Hasn’t politics always been like that?

  • Speaking of France, do people here know that the Superphénix breeder reactor was closed down because the ruling Socialists lost their majority, and closing the reactor was the price the Greens demanded to form a coalition?

  • “I assume this refers to self-serving leaders and general voter apathy. Hasn’t politics always been like that?”

    I become a voter in the 1970s, and an apathetic one to boot. It suddenly seems a lot more important now.

    BTW, on the last thread I noticed too late that donotdespisethesnake had already commented on what can happen when scientists become advocates, and that I really didn’t need to mention it again – sorry. One of the problems with getting on a bit.

  • I noticed yesterday (Telegraph) that Ms Lucas’ latest idea is that MPs should be allowed to job-share. Proves the Greens are at the “cutting edge of new ideas”, she says.
    Which would appear to confirm the theory that she is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. It’s hard to get a handle on this idea; does she not understand the basic principles of parliamentary democracy?
    I don’t live in Brighton and I wouldn’t have voted for her anyway but I certainly would not have voted for her to take half the year off and … and what? appoint another Green? delegate a party spokesman? hold another election? I just can’t get my head round the idea at all and I’m (reputedly) moderately bright.

  • Geoff:

    Any change favours the politicians, and the “chattering classes” who follow politics as a spectator sport, at the expense of the average person who just votes for the person they prefer.

    Err, no, not in my experience.

    New Zealand moved to a mixed PR. We did so against the opposition of most politicians, who preferred FPP. Our Tories would love to return to FPP.

    And you are kidding if you think people in FPP vote for the person they prefer. Almost everyone votes on party lines, which is why unpopular MPs keep getting returned in safe seats.

    We had the delightful situation a few decades back while still FPP of an inexperienced, left-leaning lesbian of vaguely unsound mind being elected repeatedly for our Tories – because the electorate were bu**ered if they would ever vote Labour, regardless of how unrepresentative and useless their member was!

  • Mooloo
    I don’t suppose Ben wants this thread turned into a discussion of electoral reform, but your example is fascinating, especially coming from the world’s oldest democracy (New Zealand was the first country to establish universal adult suffrage. Here in France, left-wing lesbians couldn’t vote until 1944. Votes for women were oppposed by the left on the grounds that they were too much under the influence of the priests, and not their left-leaning husbands).
    I think the example you cite is probably a common occurrence in democratic societies – an example of mass psychology which can be summed up as “he may be a rascal / idiot / nutter, but he’s OUR rascal / idiot / nutter”. It worked for Alcibiades, Barabbas, John Pim, Wilkes and George Bush Junior, but not for Aristides, Socrates, Churchill or de Gaulle. Democracy is tough.
    The question often raised at CR is how to assess the popularity of Green ideas. They behave like a grassroots organisation, can sometimes muster a large crowd, and even win an election in odd circumstances. Put “green” questions in an opinion survey and you get the impression that their ideas are popular; try to put “green” ideas into practice, (recycling, fuel tax, speed restrictions) and you provoke popular revolt and accusations of eco-fascism, which in turn provokes a sense of injustice among the greens, and the peculiar idea that anyone opposed to their sensible and popular policies must be in the pay of evil forces. Are these the growing pains of a young flourishing movement? Or signs that the whole green movement is a fantasy, a symptom of political malaise, even a media invention? CR has strong views on this, which I don’t always agree with. But it’s nice to see them discussed.

  • I sometimes wonder if there is a “good” environmentalism (which is about recycling, saving endangered species, and fighting toxic air and water pollution), and a “bad” environmentalism (which is about climate change, peak oil and overpopulation)…

  • George Carty
    I used to think like that, but Climate Resistance gradually convinced me that environmentalism is a flawed philosophy, and that basing an ethical and political system on man’s relation to the planet, as opposed to his relation to his fellow man, is a mistaken, and potentially dangerous move.
    This summer I bumped into some members of the RSPB, busy protecting a cliff where some unusual (they would call them “endangered”) gulls were nesting. Previously, I would have considered them as slightly batty but useful members of society. Because of their position on global warming, and the generally messianic spirit of modern environmentalism, I tended to see them as my ideological enemies. No doubt for me too, politics (sentiment) comes before the science (rational thought).

  • Ben, I find it interesting that the three main parties each put up female candidates against Lucas. Do you?

  • SamtheSkeptic
    Jobsharing is usually about taking time off to have babies, and having a job to come back to. Having babies means good media coverage for politicians, and here Cameron has an unfair biological advantage over Lucas, since he can jobshare with his wife.
    Too right she’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. She’s the leader, not a LED.

  • Helen — well observed. I have to admit that I hadn’t noticed it as unusual. David Lepper (Labour) didn’t stand for re-election according to Theyworkforyou.com. The Lib Dems had put forward a female candidate in the 2005 election — Hazel Thorpe — but she seems to have not stood this time. It does look a bit cynical on the other parties’ behalf to have attempted to capture the ‘female’ vote on grounds of identity, rather than political ideas. But as mentioned often here, cynicism is the condition in which environmentalism has thrived.

    Geoff, I don’t mind a conversation about electoral reform happening here. The coalition government are seemingly interested in putting forward an alternative vote (AV) system, rather than PR, and this may go to a referendum next year. This move, coming as it does ‘from above’, rather than being demanded ‘from below’, so to speak, strikes me as an attempt to shore up the positions of those occupying positions in the political establishment. That is to say that the FPTP system is ceasing to fulfil its needs. In the context of environmental issues, we can see politicians seeking legitimacy by making capital out of the emergencies we seemingly face, but this having failed, the move to some other system of voting is merely another way of addressing the deeper crises that politicians find themselves in. Yet they also seem to have an uncanny knack for making these crises worse. What good will AV do? Well, it won’t put any distance between the main parties. It won’t give them any better ideas. Whether it’s FPTP, PR, or AV, the same problems will persist in UK politics.

  • Continuing from the point made by Helen, I remember that the decision to put Lucas forward in Brighton Pavilion caused a bit of a fuss within the party. It meant that Keith Taylor, who had stood in the constituency previously, could no longer stand. Members of the local party felt that Lucas would rob the success that Taylor had campaigned for. A look at the 2005 results bears this criticism out:

    Davis Lepper – Labour – 15,427 (35.4%) – -13.3%
    Mike Weatherley – Conservative – 10,397 (23.9%) – -1.2%
    Keith Taylor – Green – 9,571 (22.0%) – +12.7%
    Hazel Thorpe – Lib-Dem – 7,171 (16.5%) +3.4%
    Turnout: 64.0%

    Taylor had increased the GP’s vote by a substantial %age in just one election cycle. It was obvious that the Labour Party were not going to enjoy this election, and it was obvious that the Tories and Lib-Dems were not enjoying a rise in popularity, and that thus, Taylor had a good chance of winning, but would take limelight from the Party’s leader if he had.

  • Geoff:

    “… basing an ethical and political system on man’s relation to the planet, as opposed to his relation to his fellow man, is a mistaken, and potentially dangerous move.”

    That’s interesting, I hadn’t thought of it quite like that before. I can see that problems might arise when the environment is taken as something that has value in its own right, independently of the human beings that live in it, because then it’s well-being becomes something that may well trump people’s well-being. Is this the line of argument you have in mind, or is it something else?

  • Philip
    Glad you found that interesting. I hadn’t thought of it like that before either, until I started reading Climate Resistance!
    I don’t like the idea of species disappearing, or beautyspots being spoiled, so I felt I must be vaguely green. But protecting a beauty spot or a rare newt is the kind of minor administrative task which the appropriate agency can perform routinely and for peanuts in a well-ordered society. It’s not politics.
    To make the environment central to politics needs something bigger – namely impending doom. Climate change, oil depletion and population explosion fill the gap. And what a gap!
    Ben
    I’ve always felt your remarks about the vacuum of modern politics needed fleshing out, so the possibility of discussing subjects like alternative voting systems, the blurring of party boundaries, and comparisons with other countries is very welcome. I’m off to England now. I’ll be back next weekend, sitting overlooking the Mediterranean and discussing your article with some friends from Brighton Pavilion Labour Party. I’ll report their reactions, which should be interesting.

  • Just like to say that I have a lot of respect for Caroline Lucas, despite not agreeing with a great deal of her views. She has stood out amongst many MPs and other political figures. I don’t agree she is a lightweight at all. She speaks extremely eloquently, politely yet forcefully and makes logical relevant answers, saying an awful lot in a very short time (when she has had only a small slot to make her points). She is very skilled indeed at how she puts things across, in a professional and respectful way, yet making sure her side is heard. She is certainly one of the most intelligent and capable of all the MPs & political folk & seems to know her stuff perfectly well. She is a shining example to many others who resort to being loud, or launching personal attacks & showing how they lack the knowledge or ability to answer questions. To repeat, she is one to be highly regarded and respected in my view, irrespective of the fact our views differ.

  • What you say about Caroline Lucas, Cari, many said about Enoch Powell. Professional, well-spoken, polite, knowledgeable, intelligent. So does your respect run to him too?

    Me, I judge politicians on their politics. I would rather a person be a bit uncouth and right, than respectful and totally wrong.

  • It’s not even true. She is a cipher, plain and simple. And this is most obvious where she has to debate. She’s rude, interrupts and talks over people, only stopping to take breaths, and cannot answer any criticism with reason, because, quite simply, she does not have an understanding of the facts she regurgitates. And as ever, Lucas, like most environmentalists, will make grand statements about what is needed to be done, emphasising that failure to do it will result in nothing less than the destruction of human civilisation, and then will hide these claims behind ‘what scientists are saying’. Invariably, it turns out to be not at all what scientists have said — quite the opposite — and that she has made it up. And in fact, as her ideas about animal research and alternative medicine demonstrate, her trust in science only extends so far.

    If you think those things are the marks of virtues in a politician, you surely deserve Caroline Lucas as your representative. The rest of the population — the 99% of the people who don’t vote green — have more sense.

  • And as ever, Lucas, like most environmentalists, will make grand statements about what is needed to be done, emphasising that failure to do it will result in nothing less than the destruction of human civilisation,

    The problem is that they not only have no power in the UK, but have no hope of having any power. In countries where Green parties actually do rule they have to lose that sort of behaviour.

    In New Zealand the Green Party don’t ever launch into end-of-the-world diatribes. That is because they actually can get some of their policies through — but only if they behave like adults. Of course, one of the reasons that the Greens have got decent representation is that we have had a series of party leaders that know that ordinary people care about their actual lives, not trying to save the world.

    The UK Green Party leads it’s comments on fossil fuels with “We are all oil addicts. And our drug of
    choice is soon going to be hard to get hold of.” Their NZ equivalent leads with “We are lucky to live in a country rich in renewable energy sources, and we want to make the most of our natural assets.” And the differences continue, as UK Green do lots of hand-waving about ideal policies, and NZGreen actually talk about technical issues.

    It’s not really about “environmentalists”, but about realists and utopians. Lucas might struggle to even get on the ticket here.

  • Oh dear, I stayed too long on the UK Green Party’s policy regarding energy. They tell outright lies, again and again.

    “there is only enough uranium ore for one more generation of reactors”
    Someone should tell the Australians. They think they have 1,176,000 tonnes of the stuff!

    “it takes large amounts of energy to convert coal into oil, and this has always made it very expensive to do”
    Except when it is coal to diesel, which is old technology and not particularly expensive. I wonder if Solid Energy in NZ, who want to build a plant, know that it is not feasible?

    “Natural gas prices are already rising dramatically as a knock-on effect of the rising oil price”
    What?

    The whole thing is laden with economic “solutions” that involve direct and large state intervention. A policy that has failed every country that has tried it, generally in spectacular fashion.

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