David Cameron is right and Ofcom were wrong1. The Green Party is not only a “major party”, they are the rising force on the left of British politics; comparable to the meteoric ascent of UKIP on the right.
The Greens are incredibly popular amongst young people: the younger you are, the more likely you are to vote Green4. They are currently tied with the Conservatives, with each taking 22% amongst 18-24 year-olds in a recent poll5.
Those of us who care about freedom and human progress should be very worried by these statistics.
Greens like to be seen as fundamentally nice people, who spend their heroic lives unselfishly saving the planet. But behind this deceptively moral image is a deeply intolerant, illiberal and anti-democratic agenda.
The party suggested a government purge of climate change sceptics as part of their response to widespread flooding last year6. Brighton councillor Christina Summers was expelled from the party for opposing gay marriage7.
Green leader Natalie Bennett thinks Leveson didn’t go far enough and wants a cap on media ownership to counter the influence of Rupert Murdoch8. MP Caroline Lucas memorably wore a pro-censorship ‘No More Page 3’ T-shirt in Parliament9.
Greens oppose the concept of economic growth which has lifted millions out of poverty10, blaming it for social inequalities and environmental destruction; without being able to suggest anything better. Lucas favours a peacetime return to WWII style rationing for food and energy11.
Party policies are frankly bonkers: meat-eating to be phased out; an amnesty for illegal immigrants who’ve been here over five years; a “citizen’s income” for those who just don’t feel like working; and the abolition of live-saving treatments involving animal organs; are just a few of the policies you can find on their website12.
The Green-controlled council in Brighton has been characterised by industrial disputes that have left piles of rubbish in the street; political strife between moderate and hard left councillors; comical proposals for gender neutral toilets; sheep on main roads; travellers settling in a local nature reserve: and, naturally, soaring rates of council tax13.
And it’s no secret that their ranks include many former communists and members of the hard left who feel hard-done by the victory of liberal capitalist democracy over socialism in 198917.
The Green Party is not for the patriotic either. Bennett blamed the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on the UK “acting like the world’s policeman”18. The Greens sacked a councillor who called the armed forces “hired killers” last year19; but what he believes, others do too.
The Greens also have a real problem with anti-Semitism. Jewish members are accused of forming a “zionist lobby”20. Pippa Bartolotti, the Green Party leader in Wales, memorably accused Britain’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel of disloyalty21.
Many Greens are associated with the violent left wing gang Unite Against Fascism22: well known for their street thug tactics against anyone it considers ‘racist’ or ‘Islamophobic’.
There are a lot more examples I could name, but I hope I’ve made my point. The Green Party; and the wider green ‘movement’; have got away with too much, for far too long.
What is genuinely worrying is the Party’s popularity amongst the young. A lot of this is probably due to the party’s commitment to ‘free’ taxpayer-funded higher education. Or the fact that membership costs as little as £523. Or possibly they just want a party to vote for that isn’t one of the big three or the much-maligned UKIP.
Perhaps they will grow out of it. After all, 16-24 year olds are more libertarian now than ever: less proud of the welfare state and far more individualist than past generations were24. It is this growing force: both economically and socially liberal, that parties must fight for in order to win the elections of the future.
Plus, if the Greens are allowed onto the televised leadership debates, the British public will be confronted with the realities of the Green Party programme and its supporters.
It’s always worth remembering Nick Griffin’s Question Time appearance a few years back: the British National Party’s nationalist-socialist agenda was held up to ridicule, and their fortunes have never recovered. It was a triumph of free speech – just not the one Griffin and the BNP wanted.
We must not allow the Greens to maintain their stranglehold on the moral high ground. They have no claim to it. All too often, the green mindset can be intolerant, overbearing and downright (for want of a better word) nasty.