To argue a vote for the Greens isn’t a protest vote in terms that makes this sound like an insult is the wrong thing to do if you are on the left. Firstly, let’s concede that there is nothing wrong in principle with people voting Green positively for a specific vision. Having said this, the Greens are no more monolithic than Ed Miliband’s Labour Party is: Owen Jones is not Tony Blair. And the late lamented Tony Benn wasn’t the nasty Thatcherite balloon Dan Hodges.
Face facts, comrades, The Greens – no less than Labour – is a broad church. Those members of the Green Party who are not particularly popular with socialists are still out there. I would be amazed if none of them are standing in this current set of elections. As a consequence of this, many socialists are refusing to cast a vote for any member of the Greens under any circumstances. I think this is a serious tactical mistake.
Where TUSC stands, I’ll support them. However, where they are not there, what is wrong with TUSC supporters making use of the Greens as the best available receptacle of the protest vote, if there is nothing better? Saying they are all as bad as each other, that Patrick Harvie is as bad as Nigel Farage or Iain Duncan Smith or Frank Field is ridiculous.
Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett have been pushed forward in the last week as the face of the Greens: on Dimbleby’s Question Time and its infinitely better radio equivalent hosted by David’s brother, Jonathon – with a half hour call-in Show spin-off: Any Questions.
Both the current and last Greens leader came across as far to the left of every single member of Ed Miliband’s Shadow cabinet, and all but a handful of Labour MPs. Given this undeniable fact, it seems obviously worthwhile to me for non-Greens voters on the socialist left voting Green, doing this unapologetically as a protest vote. In the absence of our doing this, the BBC, SKY News, Channel Four News, ITV and C5 will interpret the inevitable rise of UKIP in the next few days as proof positive that the voters are even further to the right than Ed Miliband which is a lie pure and simple.
Voting Green in substantial numbers will expose it as a lie. In the process, the BBC et al will be forced back onto the same planet as the rest of us. Not before time.