Why my mum will be voting Green

This will be the first British election in which I won’t actually cast my own vote. Luckily, my mum has stepped up to the plate, and will be voting for me. No postal vote allowed, since I won’t actually be in the country to fill it out and send it in. So I’ve proxied my poor mother to stuff the ballot box on Karl Marx’s birthday. And this election, like every other, I’ll vote Green. Except that my mum will.

I wasn’t enfranchised in time to boot out Finchley and Golders Green’s most notorious MP – she was already Lady Thatcher of Finchley by the time of my first election. Since her departure, the choice of candidates in Finchley has lost its dark sparkle, and I expect it to remain a constituency dominated by grey reactionaries of one stripe or another until I die. This year’s ballot paper gives you some idea of democracy’s standard fayre for Finchley.

Andrew Mennear, Conservative
Noel Lynch, Green Party
Rudi Vis, Labour
Sue Garden, Liberal Democrat
Jeremy Jacobs, UK Independence Party
Rainbow George Weiss, Rainbow Dream Ticket

Yes indeed. Rudi Vis, the little shit, won by a fair majority last time (46.3%) and the time before that (46.1%), and I expect him to do the same again this. Little chance of Mr Mennear doing much. Which means that I’m in not much danger of being complicit in a Tory return. (And given the contempt in which we ought to hold both HMG and the Opposition, and given the vanishingly small difference between them – at least viewed from here – my conscience would be largely untroubled by such complicity.)

But this is more than just a protest vote. It might be pathetically simple minded to vote on grounds of manifesto promises and past performance, but if you’re going to vote at all, these might not be the worst grounds from which to cast. And on The Issues, I’m tempted by Green because:

  • They’ve the most literate manifesto in a field which, as Private Eye observes in its splendid Election Special (offline only, sorry), is characterized by mediocrity. Compare the Lib-Dems’
  • “our instinctive internationalism – through positive and proactive engagement with Europe, the United Nations and the Commonwealth – is instinctive definitive”

    with the far punchier

    “Greens are internationalist by nature.”

    Hell – they even manage to get a ‘nature’ in there, bless. And the Greens don’t even mention the Commonwealth, which is surely a point in their favour. The Manifesto is also dedicated to the fine Mike Woodin, who died last year.

  • They have moderately sensible thoughts on taxation, smarter at least than anyone else running in Finchley.
  • The Turtle’s Hal Berstam seems to be voting green too.
  • They want to decommission nuclear reactors, which is nice.
  • They’re disestablishmentarian (see here ) and almost-but-not-quite republican.
  • The Green Party has no clear leader whom I can identify. This is good. The structural politics of party political leadership encourages wankers, tyrants and the sort of type-A people whom you’d rather see restricted to careers as bouncers or lawyers.
  • It’s more properly Finchley and Golders: Green.
  • Even if the candidate’s called Noel.

    There’s enough wrong with the Green’s immigration policy to give me the willies, mind. Here’s their manifesto blurb on the subject:

    People fleeing persecution, torture and human rights’ violations should always be welcomed by Britain and offered our full protection and asylum. The Green Party is concerned that public debate often confuses the issue of asylum with that of economic migration.

    When so much environmental politics is a cover for fantasies of racial purity and/or misanthropy, it’s as well to hold the Greens to a higher standard. There’s clearly a difference between torture, and economic persecution, but I wish they’d talked about what this was, and how they were going to address both. They’re also wildly off base with their endorsement of carbon trading, increased international aid (though there’s a concession to canceling third world debt and scrapping the WTO) and in their decision to call their anti-free trade platform “Taming the Tiger”.

    Still. There are constraints to my organizing a write-in campaign for Bruce Springsteen. And they’re vastly better than any of the other choices. So what are you waiting for? Send your mother out to vote for you on Friday.

    Update
    Read the Lib Dems manifesto, only slightly mangled above (thanks, Hal), here. The Greens have their manifesto online here. And, another reason to vote for them, silly me for forgetting, is that they’ve rather consistently been against the war on Iraq.