Friday, June 14, 2019

The Green Catalyst

Nothing motivates today's political caste quite as well as fear - fear of their own future. The old status quo has shifted when partisan interests clash with the public or national interest. Parties come first.

The old neoliberal politics is beginning to take a thrashing from a force long dismissed as inconsequential. Ask Angela Merkel.

At the European elections 48% of voters said climate change was their top concern. The Green Party came second in that election and now leads Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (cdu) in polls. Every week “Fridays for Future” protests fill the heart of Berlin with marching schoolchildren.
The Telegraph reports that the Greens are now on top in Germany.

Three polls published in three days this week showed the Greens pulling ahead of the CDU, making them Germany's most popular party for the first time since they were founded. 
The last poll, published on Saturday, put the Greens four points ahead of the CDU on 27 percent, marking a historical low for the traditional governing party of German politics. 
Germany's Greens have been enjoying a surge in popularity recently and overtook the Social Democrats, their main left-wing rivals, earlier this year. 
The environmentalist party's success has came as concern about climate change, biodiversity and plastic waste surged to the forefront of political debate over the last year.
In Canada, we may not have the same sense of urgency that has driven German voters to the Greens but it's probably just a matter of time. Most of us are not adapting well to early-onset climate change impacts and our politicians have other priorities. They'll pay lip service to the problem and offer gestural responses such as a minuscule carbon tax. They won't, however, put the economy on a crisis footing to meet the demands of both adaptation and mitigation. If it's solutions you want, you'll have to do better than the Liberals or the Conservatives.

It will be a good start if May's Greens capture enough of the vote in October to put a little fear into the Liberals and the Conservatives. Fear is something they do understand.


John B. said...

The Liberals are running scared already and by the time the NDP manages to slide its head out of its ass there won’t be anybody in the gallery besides a few of the welfare people who don’t vote anyway and whatever gang comprises the next iteration of queer. You’ll know something’s happening if the Greens manage to take even one vote from the cons. Maybe that won’t be such a stretch should they carefully direct some national attention to BC where Weaver’s libertarian underwear is showing.

Sub-Boreal said...

Further to John B: Unlike the European & U.S. Greens, the Canadian version seems to have this odd libertarian slant which can come out in some pretty weird ways. Weaver's obsession with bringing in Uber (despite it being the epitome of neoliberal worker exploitation) is Exhibit A. That, and May's ambiguity on abortion rights, are the main things that hold me back from using the Greens (either fed or provincial) as a protest against the undeniable weaknesses of the NDP on energy / environment.

What to do, what to do ..

Anonymous said...

It's not even as if Merkel is anti-environment, or ever was. She has an actual education and a PhD in astrophysics, which Trump probably cannot even pronounce. Fifteen or twenty years ago, the German pols decided the environment was a non-partisan issue. Leave it to the Americans to make it a Republican against Democrat issue and screw everyone else up with their usual cheap shot political style and hardened embattlements of zero logic. But Merkel has certainly been a good little neoliberal otherwise, although has anyone thanked her for getting Germans to absorb a million of Trump's refugees from Middle East wars? Pretty damn amazing when you think about it.

I pay zero attention to European Parliament elections; nobody in any given EU country does either. It's a sideshow. What is far more interesting is the polling data giving the Greens the lead in actual German politics. That's the breakthrough.

Nobody ever accused the Greens of being lefties except the aforementioned Americans who know SFA about anywhere else, and like to label things so as to pour scorn on their fevered imagined ideas of what, say, a socialist is. I would put May about like a wet old time progressive conservative was in days of blessed yore in all matters besides the environment. She's no socialist in any true sense, so the NDP far left can rest easy and continue to read Marx tracts - she's not after them. What is clear is the determination to shape policy to get Green pronto, and let the chips fall where they may in the effort. We can return to squabbling nonsense if we manage to lick the biggest threat to us all. At the moment, that's all I ask of a politician. There's no more important topic, discounting the Americans picking fights and blowing the world up for freedom.

So it's Green for me for this emergency. Let the accomplishment-free Kenney and Notley rail against Suzuki who's actually done something with his life. We need some environmental remediation action now, not prolonged debate getting nowhere as the Liberal wafflies and NDP do. Milling about indecisively wondering whether to vote NDP or Green is a waste of time. Vote Green and spread the word about the Germans.


The Mound of Sound said...

John, my sense is that many Greens are well to the left of Weaver and, on some issues, even Elizabeth May.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ BM. I only wish that the Libs had rallied behind the environment but they can't break the hold of neoliberalism.

The NDP can't be trusted. No vision.

Northern PoV said...

"John, my sense is that many Greens are well to the left of Weaver and, on some issues, even Elizabeth May."

Aye, there's the rub.

I will vote Green despite a lingering suspicion that you are 'flat wrong' here... my sense is that many Greens are right of Weaver.

Fear? Our solumnet politicians are too dim to be afraid. But 1963-68 and 1972-74 were the most progressively productive parliaments we ever had. Cause the third party had POWER.

So yes, todays' NDP is a sad mess compared to The Tommy Douglas era, so let's try and give Greens that power. FPTP may gift us a CON majority, and the terrible judicial appointments.

Toby said...

Wild speculation: After the next election, if the Greens get a substantial vote, would the Libs and Cons form a coalition or bloc or some form of agreement to get around the Greens? Would the Libs and Cons show their true colours as sharing the same bed?

Anonymous said...

In your estimation Mound, what is the Green Platform really?

Troy said...

There are things I like about the Green Party platform, and things I take issue with.

Honestly, it's the most ambitious platform out of any Canadian Party, but I don't feel it's ambitious enough.

Cap and dividend sounds nice as a tax payer, but... revenue neutral taxes really don't work.

How to fix this: raise the carbon tax every year till they choke the worst polluters out of Canada.

Balanced budgets: sounds nice, but Canada prints its own money and has its own banks. Canada is not terribly beholden to outside pressures as the Greens think.

How to fix: Canada doesn't need balanced budgets till its industry has transitioned into the Green economy. Canada can take care of itself, and if need be, go it alone.

I really like the Greens will stop subsidies to the tar sands. That needs doing.

I feel the high speed rail plan should be expanded. Cross-Canada high speed rail!

As a First Nations, the Green Party policy regarding First Nations is third place, behind the NDP and Liberals. This is by default, honestly. The Greens don't have a policy regarding First Nations. But no policy is still better than the Cons' policy.

Environmental policy is probably the most comprehensive. Economic policy doesn't really rock the boat. No FN policy. Other policies: didn't check out.

The Mound of Sound said...

If you want to know the Green platform it's on their web site. It hasn't changed much except for updating. I can't do it justice in a comment to this post.

The party rank and file are definitely centre-left. They tested Elizabeth May over the Palestinian issue. She threatened to quit. They stood firm. She backed down, with reservations. What I took from that showdown is that the party membership will not blindly follow their leader.

When you compare the GPC platform to other parties bear in mind that, while they have a generally progressive slant, their focus is on the gravest threat faced by our country - ever. They alone give the environment precedence over all else.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mound.