[See also the pre-election post: The Green Party – a failing venture]
The General Election in Britain has come and gone. The Green Party retained the single seat that they already had, but made no gains. The “green surge” predicted by the party’s campaigners simply didn’t happen.
It could hardly have been much different … not with the first-past-the-post voting system, in which the winners take all and the losers, no matter how many votes they receive nationally, get little or nothing.
So yet again the party’s electioneering strategy has all been mostly in vain, just as it has been since they embarked on this path in the 1970s. The party continues to be marginalised, as do (more importantly) the green policies that it promotes.
Will the Green Party ever realise that no deep-seated political change is possible – and that its engagement with electoral politics is pointless – unless and until the voting system is changed? Will they ever transform themselves into the cutting edge of a radical campaign for true democracy and its essential ingredient, namely a genuinely proportionally representative voting system? And towards this end, will they ever look to create alliances – focused on obtaining true democracy rather than the party’s recent ‘anti-austerity’ posturing – across the much wider range of green and progressive currents?
Will they ever announce a boycott of all national elections – and seek to persuade other parties (those similarly unfairly marginalised by the current voting system) to do the same – and keep this in place until true democracy is introduced?
The answer to all these questions is ‘probably not’ – not while party activists continue to seize, post-election, on any available positive statistic. This time around they point to gains in the number of votes received nationally and gains in the number of party members …. as if either of these things amount to a hill of beans in the face of the party’s continued electoral impotence … as caused by the voting system and the travesty of democracy that it represents.
The suffragettes– the ‘votes for women’ campaign in late 19th and early 20th century Britain – brought about the last major change in the democratic system. They didn’t get this by forming a political party and contesting elections.
It’s well past time that the Green Party looked to their inspiration and took up their mantle. It’s well past time for the Green Party to drop the election game and enter the arena of radical campaign for true democracy.