Green Party Games
The Green Party is beginning to be taken seriously after nearly four decades beyond the political fringe.
For almost all its 38-year history it has, indeed, been paralytically unfit for purpose.It all began, inevitably, with a bunny hugger – Hugh Hefner, who published in Playboy an characteristically wrong headed article, predicting global famine, by the arch-pessimistic American professor, Paul Ehrlich. The jeremiad inspired a Warwickshire solicitor and his wife, Tony and Lesley Whittaker, to get together a group to found Europe's first environmental party.
Having started off on the wrong foot, the party continued to go on putting it forward, combining doomsterism with just plain daftness. It's first election manifesto was based on the scarcely less fatalistic tract, Blueprint for Survival, edited by the late Teddy Goldsmith, who stood for parliament complete with a white witch as his election agent and a camel, loaned by John Aspinall, to draw attention to soil erosion in Suffolk.
The party denounced all economic growth for decades, alienating even the rest of the green movement. After that enormous EU election ballot, nine out of ten top British environmentalists told me that they had not voted for it because, as one explained: "We actually know what its policies are" (the exception was Jonathan Porritt, a former chair of the party).
But that was nothing compared to the party's internal feuding. It split even before it started – most of the group the Whittakers gathered opposed forming a political party – and went on from there, making a particular speciality of purging any figure who showed signs of becoming popular with the public.
At the 1992 party conference, for example, members fired Sarah Parkin, who was largely responsible for the 1989 success, just two weeks after she had been officially declared the party's "greatest asset" – and then went on to give a rapturous reception to David Icke who, apart from claiming to be "an aspect of the godhead", was early in developing the belief, now widely promulgated by extreme climate sceptics, that global warming is a scam designed to impose global government.
Old Geoffers likes a laugh doesn't he, "taken seriously"! Of the course the fruitcake party isn't, why should it be when it's fruitcake policies are now government policy? All it can offer is even nuttier choices, which are picked up by Huhne before they can used to differentiate the Green Party.