Friday, February 15, 2008

Leading from the rear

I have to start this post by explaining that I am not actually in Reading. In fact I am only going to conference for one day this year. The crazy thing is that this is because I am too busy on my computer ('the brain' - as my partner calls it) to spare the time. But then if I were there I wouldn't be blogging. I'd be catching up with my mates - the best thing about conference.

The best thing about the Green Party, well actually the best thing about the Green Party is that we don't believe in a whipping system. Our Manifesto for a Sustainable Society says that what you do in the privacy of your own bedroom is your own business. It is your conscience that should decide the rights or wrong of it - and we apply the same thinking to our approach to policy. What you say and how you vote if you are elected remains your decision. This does not lead to anarchic chaos - as predicted by defenders of the bastion of the party political, but rather a party whose members are expected to act honestly and with integrity, rather than this being the kiss of death to their political careers.

Sorry - I strayed off in a 'Spanish Inquisition' moment there - because what I meant to say is that the best thing about the Green Party is that we have two mutually reinforcing (synergistic even?) basic aims: to devise policies for a peaceful, contented and happy future for all the species alive on the planet and the planet herself, and to use all means, electoral and non-electoral, to put these into effect.

That is why we see Caroline Lucas being carried away from Faslane - because we recognise that elected chambers are only one place, and an increasingly marginalised one, where power resides. If the power is really in the nuclear power-station or the submarine base, that is where we should be. And often the most powerful move is being in the right place at the right time just to tell your truth: Speaking Truth to Power, as the Quakers call it.

So we are all balancing our various activities to try to judge which is the best place to apply pressure at each time and how to do it. For me, this week, that has meant attending a European Elections hustings, aiding a journalist with a story about chickens and knickers, visiting a wood recycling project, and exploring greener routes to work. How much of this is for the green party, part of my paid employment, for my own personal satisfaction is hard to say, just as it is hard for me to say why I'll being going to Reading tomorrow - and harder still to say why I'll be driving.

No: it's not hard. It's about my mates of course! See you soon guys!

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