Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 February 2012

The Socialist, reader's comment

Are the Greens a real alternative?

The Labour party 'opposition' has alienated many trade unionists, including some union leaders, especially over its failure to oppose Tory policies such as wage restraint and cuts. The Green Party leadership has been trying to encourage Labour Party members to support them instead. Alec Price comments.

Green leader Caroline Lucas MP and her party are attempting to build on the unions' rift with Labour to encourage trade union support and funding to break from the Labour Party and support them instead.

Due to the demise of Labour as a mass workers' party over recent decades it is easy to understand how the Greens may appeal to people disgusted by the lack of choice in the three main parties. This included me at one time! But, to decide whether the Greens are a real alternative we must look at how they act in power and decide if this represents a way forward or a dead end.

The Greens have little chance of becoming elected to government in Britain under the present electoral system. But in other countries (with different electoral systems) they have formed governments.

In Ireland the Greens, in coalition in government with the country's main capitalist party Fianna Fáil, passed through Ireland's biggest ever austerity package, including cutting the minimum wage. This led to their electoral wipe-out.

Green councillors

The Greens in Britain take no responsibility for their Irish counterparts - perhaps it is unfair to judge them on that? So let's look closer to home... to Green councillors elected to local authorities in Britain.

The leader of the Norfolk Greens, Phillip Hardy, defected to the Tories late last year. The Greens argue that this is one rogue councillor - perhaps it is unfair to judge them on one incident?

Liverpool city council's first budget after the 2010 election cut £91 million - including the axing of 2,000 council and charity jobs, which also hit the services they provide. The two Green councillors formed a coalition with Labour and other parties to draw up the £91million cuts budget. Councillor Sarah Jennings, leader of the Greens, said: "There will be major cuts, we are not just talking about trimming the fat." The Greens then abstained on their own budget!

Perhaps it's still unfair to judge them. Maybe if they controlled the council they would behave differently? The Greens control Brighton council - getting elected on a platform to fight against the cuts. The council is now committed to cutting the budget by £35 million over two years.

True, some of the Green talk is great and they have some decent members. But what do these deeds say about the Greens as a party in power? Socialists don't bring this up to score points. If we want to build a new mass workers' party then it has to be on a principled basis that would need to include, as an absolute minimum:

The Green Party, when it is in power, does not do this. The Labour Party, as we all know, does not do this either and I don't believe that attempts to reclaim it, however well intentioned, will meet with success.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is the best available electoral vehicle for trade unions and anti-cuts groups who wish to give a political shape to their fight. Trade unions should follow through their criticism of Labour to its logical conclusion and break the link with Labour - where they haven't done so already.

They then should fund candidates who will represent their aims - this could be alongside funding the few individual anti-cuts Labour MPs or such Labour councillors as Kingsley Abrams (suspended for voting against cuts!). This May's elections would be a good place to start!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 1 February 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Bankers bonus scandal - Fight this profit-mad system

Trade unionists and socialists prepare for May elections

What is the point of Labour MPs?

Dead end in Davos

Them & Us

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Don't let the racist EDL divide us

Disabled protesters demand scrapping of 'welfare' bill

Haringey takes action against academies

Coventry: Re-elect Dave Nellist

Socialist Party youth and students

NUS: name the day for student walkout

Save Derbyshire youth services!

Only one in six 'vacancies' real

Tough conditions for agency workers

South East Wales youth plan new campaigns

International socialist news and analysis

EU summit - no capitalist solutions to the spiralling eurozone crisis

Interview: the Tunisian revolution one year on

Socialist Party workplace news

Pensions battle: Unions must campaign for coordinated strike action in March

London Docklands transport workers win Olympics deal

Unison pensions cowardice

Remploy workers fight privatisation

Jet tanker drivers continue strike action

Workplace news in brief

The Socialist - readers' comments

Debate: Should socialists support the HS2 rail line?

Are the Greens a real alternative?

Smacking not the answer

Obituary: Gwenda Beishon


Home   |   The Socialist 1 February 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Green Party:

triangleCanterbury Socialist Party attends 'I, Daniel Blake' film night

triangleUniversal basic income - what do socialists say?

triangleConservatives humiliated in Richmond

triangleTrump victory: Failure of the Democrat establishment

triangleAustria - Hofer defeated, but far-right threat remains


triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts


triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!


triangleUSA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Why you have to be Red to be Green


triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell


triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool


triangleBrighton victory

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments


The Socialist

The Socialist's 2017 quiz



The Socialist Inbox



Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane


Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed



Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike


Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears



The Socialist inbox


The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox



TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act


Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict



The Socialist inbox



Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017



Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict



The Socialist inbox



The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

More ...

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice