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 itsConference, ( 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
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.