From 2012-2015, I was a supporter of the Green Party of England and Wales, led by Caroline Lucas. I should say, despite my independent status, a lot of my personal political views are in line with the policies of the Greens, so you could still consider me a Green, but I am not. Why?
So, first of all, why did I go Green? Simple, I was disillusioned with mainstream politics. After being a Liberal Democrat for a few years and seeing them have a coalition with the Conservative Party, whose cuts to education when I was in school really wound me up, as well as the supposed backpedalling of the Lib Dems on their tuition fees promise. The Labour party, under Ed Miliband, just wasn’t doing it for me either. I admit I wasn’t very politically literate at that time, but Miliband never struck me as a good or serious leader. He looked like Wallace! I don’t know if I was always radical or not, but the Green Party fitted my views.
Whilst I am not an environmentalist, I don’t like big government, I am not a globalist, and I am against neoliberal economics. The party’s views on cooperatives and renewable energy were certainly attractive to me, and as I became more politically literate, I came to agree more and more with electoral reform. 2015 was the peak of my Green support, with the General Election (the first I voted in and campaigned in), and then my support began to decline. Here’s why:
First of all, Natalie Bennett. When you elect a leader of a party, you need to have a good organiser, someone who is decisive, and importantly, a good orator. Bennett, to me at least, was not a good orator or had much of a presence. To think, when the party was at its peak in 2015, Bennett was the leader of the Greens. She did not strike me as a confident leader for the party during debates, speeches, or interviews. An image has become, for better or for worse, a key part of party image. And I felt that Bennett was not good for party image.
More importantly, however, was something that I felt for a while which had only been recently confirmed to me. I met Caroline Lucas at my university when she came in to talk, and I spoke with many Green party members in attendance, where I was commenting on the fact that The Greens were probably the first to mobilise the 18-24’s, before Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn. The man I spoke to; who seemed very nice by all accounts, said he couldn’t see why people turned back to Labour when they were the first to stand up for young people. The problem? The Green Party is too middle class to appeal to people.
I say this purely as someone who did their research and has studied politics, but you will be hard pressed to get someone off the street to vote green who doesn’t have a political degree or a real interest in politics. The Green Party doesn’t appeal to the working population of England and Wales. UKIP, for all their bile and venom, have done better on that front, and have an image as ‘The people’s party’. Many of the Green Party members I have met work in offices, are teachers, lecturers, or are in white collar positions. In my mind, that turned me off from them.
I still have a lot of respect for the Greens, and while I am not involved in party politics, I am still closer to the Greens than any of the major political parties in my ideology. But as it stands, what is up with the greens? They’re too damn smart for their own good.