Although there are compelling personal reasons for Norman’s departure from the leadership, not compelling enough it seems to convince him he can do without his $148,000 taxpayer funded ‘job’ as a list MP, in politics this is little more than a convenient excuse for the inevitable. His failure to lead the party to the brighter future they had imagined for themselves had to have a price. A gloating Metiria Turei, the former McGillicuddy Serious Party hopeful and recent hate speech deliverer, can be seen behind his back as he delivers his announcement to his press. The knife is well hidden on her ample person. No wonder she looks pleased with herself, she has cut out a potential threat to her dominance.
The General Election exposed the weaknesses of the Green Party. Despite all the hype from their friends in the media, including the Herald handing over the paper to Green Party ‘celebrity’ Lucy Lawless to push their alarmist and other agendas, they fared no better than they had at the previous election. They made no headway with the voters. The disappointment in the party post election was palpable. They expected to take over from Labour as the main party in opposition. Someone had to be held to blame and a weasel, Aussie Ginga makes a convenient scapegoat.
Kevin Hague, Norman’s likely successor, is a nice enough chap and was well respected for his work as head of the Aids Foundation. At least he had a crack at running a business so has some inkling of just how hard that is, but hardly the credentials to run a country. Not that this is necessary in the Green Party. They are a party of opposition only and would run a mile if they ever had to manage more than their own pockets. You have to look no further than Waiheke where the Green Party dominates the Local Board to see how quickly they can waste ratepayers money, $12 million lost to the community in their first year alone, and use what’s left to feather their own nests.
If you’re not convinced about just how damaging the Greens are to an economy read how adopting Green policy has ruined Germany and Europe or, better still, have a look at this video of the Green Party in the UK. It’s enough to make you weep, though admittedly the tears could be from laughing until you cried.
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’.
The three main parties have been happy to cast accusations of extremism at Ukip, yet they have missed the real extremist party in their midst. There is nothing to be welcomed in a shrinking economy, not even with £72 a week to compensate you for your lost job. If a depression were a reasonable price to pay for an improved environment, Tyneside in the 1930s would be remembered as a paradise. No doubt the air became cleaner as shipyards closed, yet those who lived through the Great Depression tended to remember it for other reasons: hunger and desperation.
Of course, everyone should be concerned about the environment, but to think that it is best-served by self-imposed poverty is folly. Pollution from industrial activity has fallen hugely since the 1930s, not because we have held back from wealth creation but for the opposite reason: we have learned how to do things better. We have learned to mitigate the problems associated with rich societies rather than retracting into a form of pre-industrial existence.
The Greens have produced reams of grand ideological policy, in which people subsist in localised economies and practise barter without the need for horrible bankers, yet when they are faced with a genuine environmental challenge they have been found wanting. Brighton, the one council they run, languishes at 306th out of 326 English councils for its recycling rate. Only a quarter of its rubbish was recycled in the last year, compared with two-thirds for the best authorities. For a supposedly green party, this is an astonishing failure.
When off the subject of the environment, however, the policies get even sillier. Only the Green party could propose to shrink our armed forces, end the arms industry and simultaneously make it legal to be a member of Isis or al-Qaeda. No one but the Greens could want to decriminalise hard drugs and yet outlaw pâté.
It is improbable that any other party will adopt the Greens’ plans to throw the country into recession, but it is difficult to see how any of its policies could sensibly make it into a coalition agreement. The term ‘unelectable’ is overused, but in the case of the Greens and their pernicious ideology, it is appropriate. Even as the most junior member of a coalition, this party is not fit for government.