These days you’d be hard-pressed to find a left-leaning Labour Party member who’s happy with the direction their party is taking. Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign pitched him as Corbyn-lite, but three years on he’s positioned himself to the right of the Conservatives. Long gone are the pledges of nationalised utilities, freedom of movement and a foreign policy based on peace and justice. Instead, Starmer’s Labour is a party of big business, harsh immigration rules, and war in the middle east. So, what about the Green Party?
Abandoning Labour – but where to?
Understandably many left-wing activists have abandoned Labour and cancelled their memberships, while others choose to stay inside the party machine and criticise Starmer from the sidelines. In both camps we see great swathes of disaffected but passionate activists promising to boycott the next election entirely, resigned to five more years of misery.
These people have more power than they think. They’re still following politics, tweeting tweets, writing letters, signing petitions, and attending protests. Under Corbyn they were the whirlwind force of door knockers and leaflet posters who delivered the stunning upset of the 2017 general election.
If all of that energy could be channelled into a focused political movement, a truly left-wing party with progressive policies and grassroots decision-making at its core, Rishi Sunak and Starmer could face their own shock at the ballot box next year. This movement, this fantasy political party already exists: the Green Party.
The overlap between Corbyn’s Manifesto – even Starmer’s ten broken pledges – and Green Party policy is immense. Economic justice through higher taxes on the rich, abolishing tuition fees, promoting peace instead of war, public ownership of utilities, defending migrants’ rights, strengthening trade unions, and of course bold action on climate change. These are all staples of Green Party policy.
Not only do they exist and share the Labour left’s top priorities, the Green Party are clearly capable of winning enough votes to break the Labour/Tory duopoly. Currently polling at an average of 6%, the Greens peaked at 12% in a national election as recently as 2019, convincing nearly two million voters to back them at the European Parliament elections. All this with a mere fraction of the funding and membership numbers of Labour or the Conservatives.
With the addition of thousands of former Labour members, the Greens could see a surge in voting intention similar to the leftward shift we saw in the summer of 2017. What the Greens lack in balanced media coverage, a problem Corbyn’s Labour also faced, can always be overcome with people power.
And it’s not like this new influx of members would be outsiders working for a rival party. They would have agency and ownership within the party. Unlike Labour or the Conservatives, the Green Party’s policies are made by the membership, local parties choose their own MPs and leadership elections happen automatically every two years. If a Starmer-style Thatcherite ever lied their way to the Green leadership, they would not be able to purge the left, overhaul party policy, or impose right-wing MPs on local parties.
Leftists should embrace the Green Party
With a strong Green Party as a left-wing option on the ballot paper, with the right number of passionate activists to make them a viable force in British politics, this country doesn’t have to face five more years of Red or Blue Conservative government. We can have real, meaningful change for the better.
Leftists should embrace the Green Party with open arms and set off the political earthquake this country desperately needs.
Featured image via the Green Party