Tendance Coatesy

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Green Party Faces New Row in Leadership Election. Ashley Gunstock “best placed to lead Green Party because he’s a white, cisgender man.”

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Ashley Gunstock

Ashley Gunstock: Centre of new Green Party Storm.

There is a long-standing view that across Europe Green parties have been gaining support on ‘post-material’ issues, that is the environment from those in France called the bobos (bourgeois bohemians). More recently, with the very material issue of climate change coming to the fore, backing from this social base remains important. As the Financial Times said in 2019, ” Green support is highest among young, university-educated middle-class professionals. Yet many of the heirs of the soixante-huitard generation have stayed Green as they have aged.”This does not mean no support in rural or peri-urban areas, as the Green Party in England Wales (GPEW) has a fair amount of backing in rural areas in this country – whether from from these categories those who live in dormitary villages near towns and cities or not it is hard to determine.

Swimming with an old tide Greens can sometimes call themselves anti-capitalist, in favour of ‘alter-globalisation”.

What does that mean?

The Green Party in England and Wales says its goal is this “The Green Party aims to create a just, equitable and sustainable society. We focus our efforts primarily, though not exclusively, through the electoral system.” Few would suggest that this is socialist, although it is certainly compatible with socialism.

These were their policies in the 2019 election.

1. Spend £100bn a year to cut emissions.

2. Invest £6bn in the NHS.

3. Remove fossil fuels from the economy.

4. Plant 700 million trees by 2030.

5. Build 100,000 zero-carbon homes.

6. Scrap tuition fees.

7. Fund a basic income of £89 (a paltry sum for those without other revenues) for everyone.

8. Improve energy efficiency in millions of homes.

9. Ban single-use plastic.

10. Invest £4.5bn-a-year in social care.

Not exactly a storm the barricades programme.

Most, including those like this Blog who have long favoured some kind of Eco-socialism, would examine each policy case by case. But most, except the controversial Basic Income idea (which cuts against the use of taxation to redistribute wealth) are sound.

Last Friday this appeared in the Guardian,

The Greens are on the brink of power – is it more than a political blip?

After noting the Scottish Greens alliance with the nationalist ‘centre left’ Scottish National Party Andy Beckett wrote,

In England and Wales, the Greens already have a record number 0f councillors – 477 – with the vast majority of them elected since 2019. In May, the party came second in Bristol’s mayoral election with 44% in the run-off vote. In national opinion polls, support for them has doubled since the last general election, when it was already at a historically high level, and they are now running neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats.

Regional Note:

Beckett continued,

The new Green emphasis on equality is also proving divisive, inside the party. For at least three years, the English and Welsh Greens (the Scottish Greens are a separate party) have been split over trans rights. Last month the current leader, Siân Berry, decided not to stand for re-election because she believed the party’s pro-trans policy was not being consistently supported by her colleagues. The issue is featuring prominently in the ongoing contest to choose her successor.

The conflicts between generations and values that have made British politics so acrimonious now run through the Green party. They won’t be resolved simply by electing a new leadership.

As a note one has to observe that their agreement with the nationalists is not universally liked, “A former leader of the Scottish Greens has attacked the deal the party struck with Nicola Sturgeon’s government for failing to take tougher action on North Sea oil, marine protection and taxation.” Former Scottish Greens leader criticises ‘disappointing’ agreement with SNP.

Bright Green 30th of August.

Stop…. hustings time! – Green Party leadership election round up issue 3

Voting will open in the Green Party’s leadership election in three day’s time. Members are now getting a clearer sense of what the candidates are offering as hustings have begun to take place.

The first of these took place on August 23. While cordial for the most part, there was clear disagreement between candidates on trans rights, progressive alliances and antisemitism. You can read a summary of the hustings

The Greens, who seem keen to stress what nice people they are, have forbidden candidates from making personal attacks on their rivals. This has not stopped bitter disputes from erupting. The best known dispute is over Trans rights.

Elsewhere in the interview, the pair were asked about the dispute in the party in which a minority of members have sought to overturn the Greens’ position in support of trans rights. Rothery said that this was “the cause of deeply damaging division, huge upset and anger within our membership”. She added, “it’s a matter of urgency that we put a plan in place and enact it, before more harm is done to individuals and Party reputation”. Hemingway’s solution reiterated his call for a “member’s assembly” on trans rights, to bring together “different positions on the spectrum of the debate”.

Bright Green.

Now barely a day goes past without some new row enveloping the Green Party in England in Wales.

Take note of this,

Sian Berry, who resigned on a point of principle rather than continue with her job as leader of the GPEW, has followed through with an appeal for GPEW members to vote RON in third place, behind Womack, Denyer, Omond, and Ramsay, all of whom she approves of.

Now there is this:

A Green Party of England and Wales leadership candidate has triggered anger from activists after he implied he is best placed to lead the Green Party because he is a white, cisgender, middle class man.

Left Foot Forward. Josiah Mortimer.

In an interview with Bright Green, run by LFF team member Chris Jarvis, Ashley Gunstock – an actor who was on The Bill in the 1980s – claimed that “a male, white cisgender leader [is] something that the electorate could focus on better.”

In the interview, Gunstock began by saying that he felt that “there is an identity for people such as me within the party that’s unrepresented at the moment”. When pressed to clarify what he meant by this, Gunstock said:

You can read the reactions of some Green Party members through the link here:

Many members expressed their shock at what they deemed ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ comments. The Greens’ health spokesperson Cllr Rosi Sexton said: “It’s a sad day when one of our leadership candidates is genuinely less progressive than the Tory party.”

Extracts: In the interview, Gunstock began by saying that he felt that “there is an identity for people such as me within the party that’s unrepresented at the moment”. When pressed to clarify what he meant by this, Gunstock said:

No, I’m not saying white middle class males, or females – white middle class people – are underrepresented in the party. In fact […] the basis of the party is white, middle class and often middle aged. What I’m saying is that – in fact – it’s that kind of demographic that is going to break through. Because we are the ones who can do it better than… not better than… it’s frustrating to say better than. It’s not what I mean. It would be far better accepted if a white middle class man got up and said I believe in the principle aims of Black Lives Matter. I believe in the principle aims of Extinction Rebellion. I believe that the Green Party agenda is the only agenda that is going take us forward, given what all the other parties are offering.

 ….didn’t say that a white male was the best leader for the Green Party. I was saying that I was best placed as a white male, at the moment, at this particular time, to break through – to break through. Because, politically, everywhere you look, they want and they see a white middle class male. And we’ve got to break through.

And that is one of the reasons why I said what I said – well it’s the only reason I said what I said. Because I wish it wasn’t. I genuinely wish it wasn’t the fact that that’s the problem. That is part of our problem. But it is. And so help me God, if I did, the first thing I would do is say loud and clear that we need to change this.

Because it’s wrong. It’s totally wrong that we’ve got people like Boris Johnson and Putin and people in the Eastern European countries who are far right who are starting to come to the fore, and that fool in North Korea, and all these people driving the agenda – they’re the wrong people. They’re totally the wrong people. We need to get the right people. But what you have to do is play their game, beat them at it and then make the change. And that is what I’m saying.

The Green Party has had leaders since 2008. Since, the party has always been led either solely by women, or by women in a co-leadership team with Jonathan Bartley. In 2012, the Green Party became the first UK parliamentary party to see one woman leader hand over to another woman when Natalie Bennett succeeded Caroline Lucas. Two years later, Shahrar Ali became the first person of colour to be elected deputy leader of a UK parliamentary party.

Gunstock is regarded as an outsider in the Green Party’s leadership election. He previously stood for the leadership of the party in 2008, losing to Caroline Lucas.

The Green Party’s current processes have an extremely low threshold for candidates to enter a leadership election.  Just 20 members are needed to nominate a leadership candidate for them to appear on the ballot.

You can watch the full interview with Gunstock here:

Bright Green.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 31, 2021 at 5:54 pm

6 Responses

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  1. “cis-gender”, that’s a new one on me, looked it up only to find that it describes myself and I never knew it!


    August 31, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    • It’s still hard to get since for me – the new jargon can’t date back that long, this is the meaning, “Cis has traditionally been used as a prefix, the same as trans has, and comes from the latin meaning “on the same side as”, which sits opposite trans, from the latin “on the opposite side as”.

      Cisalpine (Latin – this side of the Alps, i.e. the Italian side of the Alps) may mean:

      Historic geography
      Cisalpine Gaul, ancient Roman province
      Cisalpine Republic, Napoleonic client state

      It’s used a lot in French news reports for this, “Cisjordanie » – West Bank, Cisjordania.

      Andrew Coates

      August 31, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      • Problem is in it’s use. It is used to define non-trans and is seen by a lot of women as an insult undermining their actual sex. They are women not cis-women. I agree. I objected to being called a cis-man by a trans ally. I am a man. Not a cis anything, not a number but a man. Same applies to women. The insular language of the gender movement gets confusing when you start talking about about preferred pronouns. Ze, Zey sounds like something out of “allo, allo” and it gets worse.

        In fact I’ve lost count of the number of supposed genders that have been created by the self-indulgent. I mean one list included “allies” (quite obviously not a gender)and demi-sexual which simply means someone will only have sex with a person they have genuine feelings for which is actually how a lot of people live their lives. It also implies that people who have been somewhat promiscuous are tarts when it’s their choice. Insulting really.

        I personally accept that there are those with genuine gender disorders but the movement is abused by all these men prattling on about their “lady dicks” and being more misogynist than any straight male would normally dare. These trans-fakes get away with it by putting on a dress. They are not women.

        If anyone doesn’t think there is a problem with this new trans-ideology go to Stonewall’s on-line shop and ask yourself why they only sell men’s briefs with the slogan about being a Lesbian. Then discuss the “cotton ceiling which is accusing Lesbian women of being “transphobic” because they reject male genitals on a trans-woman. I wonder why? Clue is in their sexuality.

        Howard Fuller

        August 31, 2021 at 7:08 pm

        • Cis’ters are doing it for themselves!


          August 31, 2021 at 7:55 pm

  2. The biggest problem with the Greens’ enthusiastic embrace of fluffy, inclusive, reality-denying ideology is that Green politics needs to be all about making people starkly aware of unpalatable realities – chiefly the accelerating ecological crisis and its implications. People have an understandable desire to tell themselves that things aren’t as bad as all that, the science isn’t settled, how can anyone really know, and all that. The Greens’ fondness for rainbow unicorn gender woo-woo fatally undermines the credibility of the party’s message. Green politics needs cold, harsh, empirically-verifiable science but the muppets in that party are busy peddling magic and extreme subjective identity nonsense instead.


    August 31, 2021 at 8:52 pm

  3. Reblogged this on A Riverside View and commented:
    An excellent blog post written by Mad Marxist and Ipswich Barmy Bolshevik Blogger, Comrade Coates about the Green Party. They are like the Lib Dems. Bourgeois Bohemians who claim to be something else. When they are talking to a Labour voter they attack the Conservatives and when they’re talking to a Conservative voter they attack Labour. Like the Lib Dems the Greens are bunch of duplicitous vultures pecking around for scraps.

    Kevin Algar

    September 1, 2021 at 10:19 am

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