The odious Nazi Nick Griffin is now supposedly ‘my’ MEP – with just 8% of the vote on a low turnout! The anti-fascist majority will be repulsed by this absolute slime-ball, and ‘not in our name’ is sure to rise again in the slogan charts. I hope this outrage is met by intensified protests and resolve to beat back the forces of fascism. Already I hear that anti-BNP protests are called for later today (Monday 8th July) in Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.
Yet the big problem is that the Labour Party is collapsing after years of selling its soul to capitalism, war and greed. And we need something to fill its place – a new progressive popular political force that opposes the greedy bankers, corporate power and corrupt politicians who grow rich by exploiting and degrading the people and our planet.
Could that new left political force be the Green Party?
Total VOTES in 2009 EU elections across UK (from BBC):
|UK Independence Party||2,440,438||17.4
|British National Party||916,424||6.5
In these elections, in terms of overall vote, the Greens came fifth, with 8.7 % of the vote, or 1, 223, 303 votes from across England and Wales. This beats the BNP’s vote, of 6.5 % or 916, 424.
However, because of the way these votes fell regionally, and because of the number of parties in relation to the particular ‘D hondt system’ of proportional representation, the BNP got two MEP seats. Griffin got his by a hairs breadth, just marginally ahead of the Greens:
Greens V’s BNP in North West Region –
BNP 132,094 8.0%
Greens 127,133 7.7%
Hard work saw the Green vote grew by 2.1 % to 7.7% – good, but not quite good enough. Even though the Nazis vote only grew by 1.6 % it was enough to just beat the Greens. Could other left forces have boosted the green vote?
The Green Party machine is patchy across the North West, with some strongholds like Lancaster, but areas it does not touch. The old left could help increase the green Parties reach – but the Green Party would also have to become more trades union friendly. This is just one dimension of the left / green realignments that have to take place.
Preston has a large left-wing electorate, electing Socialist Alliance and Respect councillors. But the blog of Michael Lavalette the SWP’s leading Preston councillor was silent on the issue of these elections, and hasn’t been updated since April this year on any issue. The SWP’s fudged position of ‘vote left’ did not help. Maybe a mobilisation by what was once Preston Respect or Socialist Alliance could have swung it for the Greens? Was unity possible? did we even try?
Other small left parties votes got a few percent between them in the North West. Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party got 26,224 votes or 1.6% while the coalition of the RMT / SPEW / CPB ‘No2EU’ slate got 23,580 or 1.4%. Obviously if those votes had gone to the Green Party that would be 10.7% – and we would have a pro-trades union Green left MEP, instead of this disastrous empowerment of neo-Nazis. But not all these votes were transferable – the greens might not yet have enough appeal to working class people, still ‘branded’ as middle class environmentalists to get all the SLP / No2EU votes. But I’m sure if we had won the support of more sections of the North West trades union and left wing activist scene – we could have got a few more thousand votes.
What is needed is a new counter-hegemonic alliance of the Green, Labour and Trades Union movements, around a platform of demands demanding a radical ‘Green New Deal’. The central demands include public spending not to bail out greedy bankers, but to create millions of Green Jobs by building renewable energy systems, insulating buildings and homes and re- creating public housing in Britain on a massive scale.