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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wilting Greens

The Greens shouldn't feel to bad about missing out on the lolly scramble after faithfully helping Labour back to power. They are apparently part of a larger trend away from Green parties in government at the moment, according to the BBC a few days ago. Maybe they should have seen it coming.
With the cementing of a grand coalition in Germany this week, Greens have lost their last toehold in western European government, and their most recognisable figure, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, is out of office.

And this at a time, says Mr Behrend, when "the current climate is asking for Green politics".

Having been ejected from government in Finland, France, Italy, Belgium and now Germany, it would be no surprise if the Greens' optimism, like the imaginary sunflower, had wilted.

"These are setbacks, clearly, in every case. Greens are not now shaping policy," says Hubert Kleinert, once a German Green MP, now a political scientist.

"During the last five years there have been more defeats than victories. And I think this [German result] is the biggest one."
An environment professor in England says
Greens have suffered across Europe, he suggests, only because voters have turned against their socialist and social democratic coalition allies "and [Greens] have thus far not been willing to sustain right-wing governments".
Electorates are moving away from the left, that is happening around here quite a lot and naturally the Greens suffer for that since they are true-blue socialists. I wonder how a centrist environmental party would do, much better than the current lot I'd imagine. I don't see the automatic need for an environmentalist party to be socialist, it seems to lack imagination. But they'd have to jettison the whole pseudo-holistic junk they've built up which leaves them no room to move or negotiate with anything other than the majority centre-left party. But the German Greens seem to be contemplating the idea
For Prof Kleinert, being out of power gives greens a chance to rethink their allegiances, including the possibility of entering coalitions with centre-right parties like Germany's CDU.

It could be a divisive debate, as "the feeling of the Greens' leaders is surely more to the middle, but the feeling of the base is more left-wing".
While it is probably somewhat true of NZ as well that the "base" is more extreme than the party, I think the idea of cooperating with the right would go down like a lead zeppelin with the current NZ Green leadership. Speaking of which, they haven't really had any leadership changes yet and must be due for one soon. I wonder when the facade of happy-family unity will crack, maybe not until another poor showing at the next general election, but whenever it comes it'll be interesting to watch.

Hat tip, John Ray for the BBC article.

Posted by Chefen | 10/20/2005 12:12:00 AM


Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

I still believe that the easiest manner for the centre and right to neuter the greens is to adopt some of their more moderate policies, much as Labour is adopting policies of the centre to make it harder for other parties to claim in the future. If the right is careful and selective about which policies to adopt, the greens could easily drop below the threshold next time round as people adopt what they see as a happy middle ground. Whilst I am sympathethic of some green causes, the rampant socialism keeps me away at all costs. This is an area I believe the right has dropped the ball on.

10/20/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gooner said...

You're right Bernard. The Greens have become less influential in Europe for a few years now and it is trickling down here. A decent environmental policy by either of the 2 main parties or by Act might do interesting things.

10/20/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger waymad said...

Embrace and extend, as it's come to be known in the software world. There was one eminently sensible policy I noticed during the campaign: lifted of course from the US and recently reiterated by Amory Lovins: the 'feebate' on vehicles, whereby greater fuel thirst paid a higher 'fee' via customs upon import or at the point of introduction to the fleet, and lesser thirst vehicles were rebated - cash-back, in fact - from the pool thus created. Also, the notion of paying owners to scrap the 20% of clunkers which evidently contribute 80% of emissions (Pareto has a long reach, no?). Both ideas work for me, would price-incentivise, need few bureaucrats, and are tried and tested. A good place to start...

10/21/2005 12:40:00 PM  

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