Greens foolish if they drop social justice focus

by Jake Quinn

Imma let you finish, but the Green’s strategy for where to take their party is probably better than the advice National would give them.

Over on Kiwiblog: Farrar“took the view that it [that Sue B was bowing out] was potentially beneficial to the Greens as replacing Bradford with Clendon strengthens their environmental brand and if they are smart they could get as much as 10% of the vote if they position themselves as “greening” the Government no matter if it is National or Labour.

Do you ever get the feeling that, if adopted, some of the advice coming out of the right wing politics blogs about what parties of the left ‘ought to be doing’ would see them become electorally irrelevant? I do.

Firstly, I don’t think the Greens have any intention of going enviro-only– they know that while it might help them cosy up to the current government, or perhaps nab a small niche of urban tory-green trendies, that it is not in their long term interests.

The scenario that Farrar et al paint goes a little like this:

The Greens should steer away from the defining social justice/left issues (just to remind you some of those are; lowering unemployment, improving conditions and wages for workers, strengthening unions, while decrease inequality through progressive taxation and using this revenue to increase benefits and funding for public services).

But that they should instead become some kind of trendy middle class eco-warrior party that latches onto the growing concern for the natural environment without getting weighed down by ‘boring’ stuff like poverty and causes of crime.

This way they can form a government with National next time around and be made the Minister for Environment and Climate Change. Then they have the privilege of ushering though National Party environment policies that fall far short of the policies that Labour proposed and they criticised in the first place for being too weak.

What a victory for the Greens that would be, Green Party supporters would be so proud! … or not.

Alternatively, just let Labour drift to the centre on social issues in an attempt to take votes from National, while the Greens stick to the principles of their core constituents (that is, left wing people who care about social justice and the environment) with the long term view of forming a left wing coalition government in the future.