The recent Green party criticism has generally fallen into 2 categories:
- Their leader's lower than normal ability to speak like a politician. Put crudely, she appears competent, but doesn't quite walk the walk or talk the talk.
- Some pretty out there (OK lets be honest - in some cases rather loopy) policies, albeit not from an actual manifesto, which at time of writing has not yet been released.
Both these criticisms are fair to an extent. They certainly are not total falsehoods at any rate. Natalie Bennett does not quite seem to have the same knack for avoiding uncomfortable questions that other politicians do on Question Time. When asked something awkward, we generally see from her a stumble or a cough, rather than a clever side step to another question or a totally unrelated dig at another party. Some of their policies too seem pretty crazy, and I'll confess I don't agree with all of them, or expect some to ever come to fruition.
That all sounds pretty negative, but it's worth stepping back for a second and examining our past few decades of politics. We've had corruption. We've had broken promises. We've had outright lies. Failures to meet some promises are inevitable, but constant failures to meet promises, followed by denials those promises ever existed or clearly false claims that 'no, we did kind of meet it' are lies by definition. We've had expenses scandals, privatization, unfair taxing, benefits cock ups, an NHS in a worse state than its ever been and governments that seem totally out of touch with the people they are supposed to be working for.
The deficit I see when I observe David Cameron speak is a moral deficit. I do not believe he wants the best for the people of England, or perhaps he wants the best for England, but doesn't consider most people a relevant part of it. But he can certainly walk the walk, and talk the talk. If only his honesty and compassion matched his ability to side step and speak I think we'd be in a bloody good place. But it doesn't.
And so I look at the Green Party, with their idealistic imaginings of a Utopian society, and I think it may not be particularly realistic. But it's certainly no less realistic than the Tories protecting our NHS, or Nigel Farage representing a culturally understanding Britain, or Ed Miliband doing well... much at all really. What the Green Party does appear to have in abundance is morals. A general view that what is good for England is what is good for every person in England, and ultimately what is good for humans in general. They seem to have this crazy idea that striving for a utopia (even if we fall far from achieving it) is a good thing, and that honesty and morals are something to be valued in politics. And perhaps that crazy idea isn't actually so crazy after all!
In short, I do not expect the Natalie Bennet to suddenly turn our country into a utopian hippy love fest. I do not even agree with many of her party's more extreem policies. And I absolutely do not expect them to come through on every promise or succeed in every goal. But I do see in her an honesty and moral compass that I haven't seen in politics for a long time.
I have come to conclude that I would rather have an inexperienced but moral government than an experienced immoral one, and that is why I shall vote Green this year.
For anybody still pondering where they'll lay their vote, I won't say vote Green. But I will suggest you ask yourself 2 simple questions:
- If you can't rely on a party to keep their promises, how can you vote based on their policies?
- What matters more in a leader - a moral compass or the gift of the gab?