Saturday, 20 March 2010

Green Party Leader on BBC Question Time

Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party (England and Wales), was on the panel on BBC TV Question Time on Thursday 18 March. And what a refreshing change she brought to the show.

Being a bit of a politics junky, I hardly ever miss this programme, but am usually left shouting obscenities at the screen, as a panel of five right wing politicians and journalists pontificate on questions from what the BBC describes as a ‘balanced’ audience. To be fair, the audience tend to be the most interesting thing about Question Time, but being from Wythenshawe myself (where the show was filmed), I thought the audience was not really representative of the area. Where the BBC managed to find so many Tory supporters from around there, is beyond me.

Anyhow, we had the usual dreary line up of right wingers (a possible exception, in Charles Kennedy, ex leader of the Liberal Democrats), peddling the same old establishment nonsense that we have become accustomed to. Some weeks the non professional politician panellist is of a left persuasion, but this time we had the historian and broadcaster David Starkey, who is as reactionary as they come.

I was therefore pleased to see that Caroline struck a clear left wing tone, which is mostly absent from the professional politicians that appear, even though I suspect it has a fair amount of support amongst public at large. Talking about the British Airways industrial dispute, which the Tories on the panel were trying desperately to turn into a ‘unions call the shots with this Labour government’ argument, she had a good grasp of the facts of the dispute, and accused BA management of indulging in ‘macho’ tactics. She said Greens in the European Parliament had a ‘fantastic’ record of cooperation with unions, and that she couldn’t see why trade unions gave any funding to the Labour party, as its government constantly attacks union members, and privatises public services to the detriment of users and the employees alike.

The best bit for me though, was when David Starkey interrupted Caroline to say that greens are ‘just’ socialists with a green tinge, and she said, ‘Well, we have socialist principles’. I can’t remember when I last heard the S word on this show said with any positive intent. At last, the leader of a growing party of the left, has had the courage to speak up for trade union members and for the virtues of socialism on the BBC’s national flagship current affairs forum. What a pity that Caroline will not be invited to the General Election party leader debates next month on TV, when Labour, Tory and Lib Dem leaders will lecture us on the need to our tighten belts to pay for the banker’s bonuses, and how we have to pour more money down the drain fighting unwinnable wars in the Middle East.

You can watch the programme here…


David Scott said...

There is not enough difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Because, I live in very blue voting district, for the first time in my life I had the luxury of "voting my conscience," instead of voting for "the lesser of two evils." I voted for the Green Party candidate, not because I thought she would make a great president, but because I really agree with the Green Party agenda, and I wanted to send a message to the Democrats. I agree that Obama was a better choice than McCain, but only by a small margin. Both Democrats and Republicans have been ripping off the taxpayers, since way before I was born. The thing that worried me about Obama right from the beginning was his warlike and hawkish attitudes. We need to stop giving money to the military, and Obama never talked about that. I invite you to my website devoted to raising awareness on this puritan attack on freedom:

Mike Shaughnessy said...

Thanks for your comment David. It's much the same here in the UK, with hardly any differnce between Labour,Conservative and Liberal Democrats, in their cental agendas.

Of course, when voters do choose Green, the bigger paties accuse people of letting the other lot in.

The problem with 'lesser evilism' is that you always end up with evil.