A Facebook friend and fellow ecosocilaist, Martin O’Beirne has this to say, based on the blog link below:
“Interesting – I was of the belief that if you are of the ilk that vote UKIP, you must inhabit an orbit so far removed from green, there is no benefit in trying to appeal – But speak to people, working people, voting UKIP, not the hardliners, the kind of floating protest, jumping on a bandwagon type voters ( that have been manipulated by UKIP propaganda) and clearly they warm to green – even on the stance in europe – but it seems like such a paradigm shift for them to consider green – who they regard as ‘green’ perhaps? – but fundamentally the required paradigm shift exists because of an unfair playing field – e.g. the obscenely disproportionate airtime UKIP and Farage receive – BBC and Question Time”
This is, of course, a very different perspective than that expressed by the Wales Green Party ‘leader’, Pippa Bartolotti, who has this to say about UKIP supporters:
“She said: “They [Ukip] appeal to an older generation of people who feel that politics isn’t working along the way that they think. A lot of older people…are racist.
“They don’t mean to be, they aren’t going out of their way to be, but they are, because that whole generation is. ”
I am not sure what her father would have to say about that, but considering what my own father went through in fighting the Nazis, and given the ever-increasing significance of the over-65 vote, this was, to say the least, a regrettable (but all-too-typical) thing to have said. It will surely deter some flakey and/or floating voters from voting Green (in the same way that my lack of enthusiasm for the Welsh Language has apparently turned some people off). Saying things we regret is something all politicians have to live with (but hopefully learn from). It need not be a disaster – depending on where the disaffected voter turns to!! If the ones I have upset do the obvious thing and vote Plaid Cymru, I can sleep well enough. It is less obvious where the ones Pippa has just upset will turn to.
It seems to me that the way our democracy works, and the way the electoral systems work, it is entirely understandable that there is a a substantial and all-decisive block of ‘floating voters’ up for grabs. They wield disproportionate power as they effectively decide the outcome of every election, given that a large proportion of the people that do vote are entrenched in their support of a given party, almost as off it is part of their DNA. We certainly see this in Wales, with their astonishing level of continued support for Labour. They perceive Labour as the party of the poor and disadvantaged, yet have not, it appears, realised that it has become in Welsh Labour’s interest to therefore keep them poor and disadvantaged!! How else can Labour’s record in the Welsh Assembly and Bridgend Council be understood?
Whatever we think of what UKIP stands for, we have to acknowledge how very successful they have been in appealing to the non-committed floaters. They have used all the traditional scapegoating tactics to build a case for their ‘quick fix’ policies. The Greens core tenets of long-term sustainability and one world interdependence do not lend themselves very easily to such populism – especially when (in Wales at least) the perception of many (from its public face) is of a ‘bunch of pious, condescending, middle-class, fruitcakes’ (not my words). As we see with UKIP, the floaters appear to prefer their fruitcakes ‘belligerent, un-apologetic and ‘patriotic-to-a-fault” (again, not my words).
So how best do beleaguered eco-socialists in Wales use their votes? What role can the Green Party play?
There is no getting away from the fact that Wales presents greater obstacles for a Green Party breakthrough than elsewhere in the UK. The road map to success is clear enough – it has to be built on a long-term commitment (10-20 years) to building local parties from the ground up. This is how it was achieved in Brighton and with Caroline Lucas; how it has been achieved in the West Midlands, with Will Duckworth, and in every part of the country where Greens have achieved electoral success. There is no other way. It takes the commitment of people to do the hard work on the ground, and that rare, magic ingredient of effective leadership. These things are lacking in Wales Green Party, as is the recognition that the Plaid Cymru factor could be used as a positive rather than a negative.
There are, of course, some things that Green Party members would never agree with PC about, and vice versa. Given the current eco-socialist leaning leadership of PC however, there is a unique opportunity to build a mutually beneficial alliance with PC, as we have witnessed in the Green/EFA group in the EU Parliament. I have had a very favourable response to the suggestion from leading PC members I have spoken to about this possibility.
Given the state of the meaningful polls, it is therefore incumbent on true ecosocialists (admittedly far from the majority in Wales Green Party), to do what is needed to ensure Plaid Cymru’s Jill Evans is returned as a Green/EFA representative for Wales. It saddens me to say that voting for the Green Party in the forthcoming EU Elections can only jeopardise this. This is why I withdrew after being selected as lead candidate for Wales Green Party.
With the right dialogue between the Parties, some form of electoral pact could be achieved, helping ensure PC and Green support combines to help both parties in their target wards to make serious inroads into the Con/Lib/Lab neoliberal capitalist hegemony we have to endure at present. Bridgend Greens and Bridgend PC have worked very constructively together on issues like the Bedroom Tax, so it is entirely possible to work well together., so why not at a Wales level?
Now that ought to be something we can rally behind, don’t you think?