For many years the Greens—or at least some of them—seemed to be to the left of Labour.
During the 2015 general election campaign and the preceding years the Green Party positioned itself to the left of the austerity-lite offered by Ed Miliband’s Labour.
Lots of people supported the pro-refugee, anti-austerity message the party put forward.
Its membership grew from some 28,000 in December 2014 to 63,000 in 2015. However, it dropped back down to 53,000 in 2016.
The rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party led many of the Greens’ newly-politicised members and voters to turn to Labour in support of him.
The party’s rise and partial fall in membership has left the leadership scrambling to plug the leak. The principal way they have decided to do this is by pushing the idea of a “progressive alliance”.
The Greens have placed themselves at the head of an anti-Brexit coalition including Liberal Democrats and elements of the Labour right.
Such a policy could rehabilitate the Lib Dems after their five years propping up a Tory government, and give them a fake left-ish gloss.
Co-leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas attacked the Labour leadership on Tuesday of last week for refusing to be part of a “progressive alliance” with the Greens and the Lib Dems.
Lucas argued that Labour “have a responsibility to protect people in this country from the worst of harsh, cruel Tory policy.
“The fact they won’t even sit down and talk about it from the top is a real betrayal of people. The absence of real principle is desperately disappointing.”
By doing this she has placed herself to the right of Corbyn and lost the right to expect radicals and socialists to vote Green.
The Greens’ number one target seat is in Bristol West—a Labour seat.
There have always been some counter-arguments to voting Green. It is not in any sense a class-based party or linked to the trade unions.
In office Greens have shown that they can implement cuts as effectively as any mainstream party.
In Brighton in 2014 they tried to push through pay cuts of £4,000 a year for bin workers. Lucas did not support the attacks, but the perpetrators weren’t driven out of the party.
In Leeds council in 2011 the Greens entered a coalition with the Tories and Lib Dems, pushing through vicious cuts.
In Scotland the Greens did vote for another independence referendum, enabling it to be passed by the Scottish parliament. But they have not blocked the Scottish National Party’s cuts.
The Greens’ progressive face has slipped away. We should vote Labour, not the Greens.