2007 - 2021

Red White & Green?

What scope is there for unity and collaboration between greens, nationalists, democrats and regionalists? This is the terrain explored of the Cornish Republican:

Following some comments left on the blog post –Caroline Lucas’s New Year Message to Ed Miliband– I’ve been invited to blog about the success of Europe Ecologie in France. Equally my choice to blog about EE again is due to recent rumblings from the UK left about looking for some kind of direction other than the usual blind grasping for power.

Okay, the French Republic is quite different from the United Kingdom, different electoral system for a start, but perhaps some ideas can cross the British Channel.

To stand in the last European elections the French Greens along with regional autonomists –Régions et Peuples Solidaires– and a selection of personalities from various NGOs came together to form the coalition Europe Écologie. A project that met with great success including an electoral score rivalling that of the French Socialist Party (the main left-wing party) and 14 MEP’s, including one Corsican nationalist. In the 2010 French regional elections Europe Écologie received 12.19% of the national vote, or 2,373,922 votes, in the first round. The coalition came third overall behind the two main French parties, PS and UMP.

Could such an electoral platform work in the UK for future elections? In Cornwall we could expect Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish Greens and various other independents to campaign together under the themes of autonomy, solidarity, democratic renewal and ecology. Worth remembering that MK and the Greens have already formed an alliance for the 2005 general election. Could the same be said for the rest of the UK? Considering the coupled crisis’ of capitalism and environment, as well growing disaffection with LibLabCon, perhaps the British public are more than ready for a progressive ecological alliance to change the game.

Already in the European Parliament the Greens and the democratic nationalists/regionalists of the European Free Alliance have a successful partnership. It’s been replicated at state level in France -Europe Ecologie- why not in the UK?

So the question is: could the SNP, Plaid, MK, and the various Green parties work together inside a UK Ecology? Perhaps progressive democratic English regionalists (and nationalists?) could find a place, although they have some work to do to be ready first. Who would be welcomed from the six counties of Northern Ireland as a partner? As with Europe Écologie, any other democratic reformers, progressives and ecologists should be welcomed.

I’ve asked more questions than given answers but isn’t it about time the LibLabCon establishment hegemony was seriously challenged? Campaigning under one flag for solidarity, ecology and a top-to-toe reform of our creaking democracy, surely a broad and plural democratic green alliance is possible. Then, the next step, UK Ecology Labour electoral pacts?

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  1. Welsh Sion says:

    Red, white and green would be an obvious choice – they’re the national colours of course!

    More seriously however, note that Caroline Lucas is NOT the first Green MP to sit at Westminster, despite all the hype the mainstream media gave to that idea. Cynog Dafis was a joint Plaid-Green MP after the 1992 General Election. There is undoubtedly scope for some sort of rainbow alliance – don’t forget tom that was touted for our National Assembly elections post 2007, before the Red-Green coalition saw the light of day after 55 days of negotiation.

  2. An Duine Gruamach says:

    Sounds like a good plan to me! Closer co-operation between movements with broadly similar progressive/ democratic/ green aims tends to be A Good Thing in my book.

  3. nick says:

    sure the scottish greens would put a spanner in the works with their anti snp agenda.

  4. Rob says:

    The set up of such a progressive coalition could be challenging. If achieved though it does occour that all involved would have greater influence both within their own areas and across the state. Which leads me to wonder whether such a coalition could qualify to take part in television and radio etc leadership debates. They would seem to fit the criteria.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Interesting idea Rob – it was disappointing that the greens didnt collaborate in challenging the media exclusion that took place and could now be a permanent feature of ‘democracy’ which as we all know is shaped hugely by tv representation.

  5. We seem to be missing a partner from England though. The grass-roots English regionalists are struggling to develop and English nationalism seems burdened with the eurosceptic hard right. Perhaps this is where the English greens could steel the lead on the LibLabCons by being the first to really address the English question by offering the choice between regional devolution, an English parliament or some combination of the two.

    1. Geoff says:

      So all English nationalists are hard right Eurosceptic? You obviously haven’t heard of Billy Bragg, among others. If you did some research, you’d find that English nationalists cover quite a wide spectrum, but using lazy stereotypes is so much easier, isn’t it?

      What makes the green movement think that only left wing politics is compatible with environmental concerns? Have you not heard about the criminal levels caused by industries in communist China or the countries of the former Soviet empire in eastern Europe? A little less of the holier-than-thou hypocrisy would be very welcome.

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Have seen Billy Bragg a dozen times – including during the Miners Strike in 1984. If he was representative of the people behind the English nationalist movement it would be a fine thing. Sadly he’s not.

  6. Geoff says:

    That should read “criminal levels of pollution”. I need my caffeine hit.

  7. Geoff,

    Find me one English nationalist party that could sit happily beside the Greens, SNP, Plaid and, most importantly, Mebyon Kernow. Go on! Just find me one. I sincerely hope you surprise me.

  8. bellacaledonia says:

    The common ground would seem to be NOT just the overlap between incumbent or emerging nationalist govts and green ovements of the race towards not just sustainable but viable resilient communities and societies based on the solid ground of renewable low carbon energy supply, BUT the idea of vision. In a post ideological world ecology and self-determination are the only ‘belief-politics’ around. You may have noticed with the debacle of the Liberal Democrats re-entry into office (if a decade of New labour hadn’t helped) but politicians dont believe in anything any more.

    The problem is that the nationalist politicians need to get a proper grounding in the realities if ecological politics and greens (most particularly the Scottish Greens) need to get a proper understanding of the politics of power and the state.

    The SGP is still based around two liberal concepts: gradual incremental policy shifts and gains, and individual consumer behaviour change. The idea of breaking the British State, and this being a creative progressive act is anathema.

    I suspect that this dynamic is similar in different circumstances (would be good to hear from other nations and regions). In other words for what Phil is describing we need to de-liberalise the greens and ecologise the nats.

  9. Tocasaid says:

    Ironic but Billy Bragg who is pro-Scottish Independence with progressive politics is probably more representative of Scots nationalists than English ones.

  10. Very true. There is much work to be done at various levels before the alliance I envisage is possible.

    The various English regionalists -Wessex, Mercian, Northumbrian, Yorkshire etc- need to get organised and create an England wide federation of regionalists in which they pool various resources. This would get them far more attention and produce a body that would be a suitable partner for Plaid and the SNP.

    Equally we need a progressive English nationalist party that does not have an irrational dislike of immigrants and Europe. Do the majority of the English vote Labour Lib Dem Green or Tory UKIP BNP? Will we one day see a left-of-centre, EU realist Eng nat party? I live in hope.

    Then the federation of English regionalists along with the progressive Eng Nats need to campaign together to ensure an end to the West Lothian question. They need to work together to ensure that it’s the people of England who, via referendum, get to choose either an English parliament, English regional parliaments or some mix of the two. Even though the two groups want different outcomes, at the end of the day they both want the English to have the choice. Surely they can campaign together for this choice.

    Maybe the Greens could steel the lead on this from LibLabCon by calling for an answer to the West Lothian question decided by the English public via referendum.

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