Monday 12 September 2022

How Identity Politics is destroying the Green Party

Written by Nicole Haydock

As reflected in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) held in Glasgow the Autumn of 2021, Green Parties internationally have seen a surge in their popularity over the past decade with record numbers of elected members at local, regional and national levels.

The latest and greatest evidence of such popularity and significance is Germany’s Greens co-leader Robert Habeck called upon to serve as Vice Chancellor and Federal minister for climate, energy and the economy since 2021 and now tipped to become Germany’s Finance Minister.

When 7% of UK voters in the United Kingdom translates into just a single Elected Member in the House of Commons because of the unfair first-past-the-post voting system, one would have thought that campaigning for a system where every vote counts would have always been a top priority for the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW). Instead, it somewhat oddly, opted to entrust or “discharge”  the implementation of its own policy for Proportional Representation to ‘Make Vote Matters’, a neutral or non-party political quango.

The GPEW has manifestly also failed to position itself as a leader in the much wider climate change and environmental protest movement in the UK, whilst a substantial number of its more active members joined the ranks of anti-fracking local groups and/or the high-profile Extinction Rebellion.

Doubts have therefore been raised more recently both within the party and from sympathetic voters or organisations as to the GPEW’s capacity to offer a credible alternative to existing parties and the status quo.

Looking beyond personalities, the calibre of its “leadership team” and elected MP, surely the cause of such lack of credibility can be traced to the fundamental democratic deficit at the core of a constitution adopted half a century ago when its membership was less than one tenth of its present 50,000.

But as incapable of addressing its democratic deficit with a mere 12% turn-out for the leadership election, the fact is that the GPEW is more akin to a bicycle club than a regular political party. Like the branches of a club, local parties are autonomous. Participants to its Conference, ( AGM more like ) remain firmly self-appointed and therefore unaccountable to anyone else but themselves.

By being neither an incorporated entity nor a co-operative,  and stuck with a constitution that is unfit-for-purpose where the vested interests of seven single issue Identity Politics inspired Designated groups - or factions - have systematically blocked all attempts to instigate democratic reforms, the GPEW is a seriously dysfunctional organisation.

To all intent and purposes, and with Caroline Lucas, its charismatic MP whose re-election in Parliament depends entirely on the continued support from Brighton’s LTGBIQA+  community and its “transgender women are women” activists, the GPEW is nothing more than a large, multi-facetted,  “intersectional “ sect with local electoral ambitions.

It is certainly not in any sense a fully functional and modern political party.

Whether, in the state it finds itself in at present, after 6 years of internal disruption and diversion from its vision, values and purpose, the Green Party of England and Wales will ever be able to benefit from the proportional voting system trade unions have now delivered and when legislated for by a Labour government is in doubt.

Whether it can somehow extricate itself in the foreseeable future from the deadly grip of its self-inflected and alien “cancel culture”  ideology and thus free its potential to achieve political power in the UK on a par with its sister  European parties is, sadly, unlikely.  

If the GPEW is to have a future, any future, its members must ditch its dogmatic and authoritarian Identity Politics leadership, clean up their act and finally adopt a fit-for-purpose constitution where power and decision making is firmly anchored in its hundreds of thriving local parties. 

Nicole Haydock is a member of North East Wales Green Party and the Green Party Women’s Committee, in a personal capacity.


  1. Fair and critical comment on the state of the Green Party. That's without stating its woeful lack of public campaigning on key issues. Complete lack of new literature, leaflets, posters on the climate and economic crisis. Social media fails to engage the people. What happened to street campaigning? Mark, Green Left, Hackney.

  2. If you're bringing up the German Greens as an example of success perhaps you could mention that in government they're introducing the liberalisation of gender recognition?

    Indeed which successful Green Party hasn't embraced a full throated manifesto of racial, gender and social equality?

    The Australian Greens, the New Zealand Greens, the French Greens, the Swedish Greens and countless others have no two sides on the rights of minorities. Perhaps their unequivocal and undoubted position is key to their success?

  3. Glad that there is someone out there who I can agree with! The Green Party is the least Democratic Party I have ever been in. Conference is a joke as there is no delegate structure. Anyone can go and vote: they never have to account for themselves back in the branches. Anyone can lob in a motion ( often at the last minute) . That motion is never argued for in a branch where it can be subject to scrutiny.
    This is not democracy it is a farce. Worse it makes us a cult. There is space to the left of Labour for a party like us but instead we career off into the centre ground.
    Anyone who dissents from the party line is denounced. I am appalled at how Shahrar Ali has been treated. An absolute disgrace. Sheltering behind a neo liberal conception of rights our leadership destroy democracy. Without debate there can be no movement , no resistance.
    Carry on like this and we will become an irrelevant white middle class ascetic sect.
    We have to break out of the Bristol/ Brighton/ London mindset. ( I am sure there are folk there who agree with me!)
    To see how bad it gets it is worth looking at the disaster of the recent Wakefield bye election campaign. To put out an anti trade Union statement as your first announcement was crass. To go onto blame a minion rather than accepting responsibility was even worse. Quickly our candidate ran into the old labour lefties in the Northern Independence Party and then found themselves having a bone crunching debate with the Socialist Party.
    This prompted a withering critique of the Greens in the Socialist by the SPs full timer in Sheffield that gave me the sense that it was aimed at me.
    Cheers to the Wakefield candidate for that. And yes I agreed with the article.
    The whole sorry affair makes it that much harder for us in Sheffield Greens to have any credibility in our city. Electorally our vote comes from disgruntled Labour voters as much as anything else. It is an anti labour vote but to the left.
    Rumours abound that Eddie Izzard is likely to be the Labour candidate in Sheffield Central . If that happens it’s going to cause palpitations amongst our leadership. This is a target seat.Yet any objective reading of the electoral maths in Sheffield Central shows that seeing the constituency that we might win is crazed. I mean a near 30,000 Labour majority. What are our leadership on?
    So with the identity that Izzard brings how on Earth are our leadership going to respond? What is intriguing is that my soundings suggest that Izzard is not as popular amongst many Labour activists. That they want a local Muslim women as a candidate.And she is to the left( not hard) of Izzard.
    Sheffield Central has the largest student population of any constituency in the country ( 60,000) and it is hugely diverse. We have an opportunity in Sheffield Central to build a radical alternative to Labour particularly if Izzard is the candidate.
    But my fear is that our obsession with a particular brand of identity politics will paralyse the party in Sheffield if Izzard is the candidate. We can do well if we turn to class otherwise we will be lambs to the slaughter.

  4. Gender recognition is only problematic when transgender people demand to be legally recognised as of a biologically opposite sex they are born with. Sex is not a concept. It is a material reality. Rather than get bogged down into this futile discourse, we should seriously address what is dysphoria which is a recognised medical condition which deserves all our compassion support from scie and scientific research in genetics and biology. Hormone treatment and surgical intervention which some trans people wish to embark on must be supported. To argue that transgenderism i
    And gender in general is a social co struct is as unscientific as claims that dysphoria is a myth.

  5. I am sick and tired of seeing the GPEW destroy itself on the issue of trans rights. Let's be clear, though very important, trans rights are a very small minority issue so far as the general public are concerned.
    If the Green Party is serious about its original purpose - fighting to save the planet from pollution and desecration - indeed, to face the existential threat facing us all and all species and genders - then it's time the party got real, stopped navel gazing (which it does so well), and started doing its job of fighting for action to halt climate change. The refugees of climate change are already in their millions, and it will only get worse unless politicians take action. I see no chance - or inclination - in the Green Party in taking a lead as it should be. It's too busy wasting its time and energy on issues which are totally unimportant to the magnitude of the crisis which we all face. It is rapidly becoming a total irrelevance. I'm disgusted with it.