Saturday, 7 February 2015

Calling the Green party socialist is an insult to socialists

From The Spectator, 31 January:
The Green party has been likened to a watermelon: green on the outside and red on the inside. But that is to do a huge injustice to generations of socialists and communists. Misguided though they were in many of their ideas, nobody could accuse them of actively seeking to make society poorer.
That, however, is the unashamed aspiration of Natalie Bennett and what has become the fastest-growing political party in Britain. It is quite possible that a good proportion of the 9 per cent of the electorate who say they are planning to vote Green in May are unaware of this, but it is there in black and white (‘policy EC201’) on the party’s website. It states that the party wants to pay every-one a ‘Citizen’s Income’ — which has since been put at £72 a week — in order to allow ‘current dependence on economic growth to cease, and allow zero or negative growth to be feasible without individual hardship should this be necessary on the grounds of sustainability'. [My emphasis. Read the rest, in The Spectator]
The Greens can only call for zero or negative growth if they haven't experienced a downturn.  I've experienced a couple here in Asia, the worst in 1997, when shops were shuttered and thousands lost their jobs, including me.  "Without individual hardship"?  They're kidding, right?
The effects of these downturns are always worst on the poorest, or the lower middle classes, which is maybe the only reason why a mostly middle/upper class Green movement can think that downturns in economic growth is a thing to be wished for.