British Parliamentary Politics


On this blog I like to focus on the positive. The General Election result was pretty depressing, and George Osborne’s budget was dreadful. Not much can be expected from this government in terms of a more ecologically sustainable or socially just future. Where does hope lie?

Caroline Lucas is the very embodiment of hope. As the sole Green MP she has a very difficult task, but by working to build cross party cooperation on an issue by issue basis she is achieving more than could reasonably be expected of any single MP. At the General Election in her Brighton Pavilion constituency, not only did she hold her seat but she increased her vote from 16,238 to 22,871. In many ways she represents the more than a million people across the country who voted Green. I’ve just read her book ‘Honourable Friends?’ where she reflects on her first five years as an MP. A great book and highly recommended. Her book was written before the 2015 General Election.

Now with the Labour leadership contest underway, the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn winning might increase the possibilities of building a progressive platform that would include the Scottish Nationalists, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. Both the Liberal Democrats and Labour party seem to be split between a more radical, progressive left and a neo-liberal, pro-austerity right. Neither Labour nor the Lib-Dems are likely to be strong enough ever to form a government on their own: it is only through cooperation to build this wider platform that they have any chance of victory. Zac Goldsmith is one of the few Tories I can imagine joining in this kind of collaborative process, and with him a possibility as the next Mayor of London, London could provide a testing ground for this kind of working.

In the meantime, as is so often the case with politics, it’ll be what happens outside Parliament even more than what happens within it that’ll be the main focus in the struggle for a better future. But it is a huge advantage to have an MP such as Caroline Lucas working within Parliament: we could do with more like her!

‘Honourable Friends?’ by Caroline Lucas, Portobello Books, 2015

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