Why the Green Party should elect me as leader


4:18 pm - August 2nd 2012

by Guest    


      Share on Tumblr

contribution by Peter Cranie

I don’t come from the kind of background which allows me to be dismissed as a typical Green. My uncle was a miner, and my grandfather a miner too. My great-grandfather was blacklisted during the General Strike and didn’t work again until the outbreak of the Second World War.

My family migrated from Scotland to England during the recession of the 1980s, and I’ve spent time employed as a social worker in some of the most deprived areas of Liverpool. I’ve also been involved with the Green Party on local, regional and national levels for a decade.

In the first seriously contested leadership election in the Green Party’s history, I am a candidate.

On core policy issues, there are not massive differences between the candidates. We are all signed up to the progressive, left of Labour agenda which was enshrined in 2010’s General Election manifesto.

All of us believe in a massive programme of Keynesian investment in jobs and infrastructure for an environmentally sustainable future, and all of us are active opponents of privatisation and the neoliberal economic model.

The important debate to be had within the Green Party is not over policy, but on how best to connect with the electorate.

Despite regularly prevailing over the mainstream parties when our policies are presented to voters in ‘blind’opinion polls, we have – generally speaking – not yet found a way to present ourselves in language which is easily understandable and relevant.

Too often, we have been easily written off as the party of middle-class do-gooders – harmless enough, but of limited interest to most people in their normal lives.

It frustrates me that, while our policies are popular, Greens are still seen as somehow removed from everyday concerns. We are nothing of the sort. If elected as leader, I intend to speak out from the left on the economic crisis which faces our country, with a particular focus on the ongoing insanity and economic illiteracy of the austerity agenda.

The public is unlikely to ever forget that Greens care passionately about the environment – but that’s not the subject most people are motivated to vote on. If we focus on our excellent economic policies – which would by their nature make the transition to a sustainable economy – we will broaden our vote, as we did when we won Brighton Pavilion.

Voters have had enough of politicians who are removed from the communities they purport to represent, who have never had experience of life outside of politics, and who are incapable of speaking from the heart.

I firmly believe that the coming few years hold massive opportunities for the Green Party – as long as we are courageous enough to examine how we communicate our values, and to engage with the voters on their own ground.


Liberal Conspiracy will be running pieces by all the candidates running to be leader of the Green Party.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Green party ,Westminster

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Worth saying that Peter doesn’t choose the headline. I’m not sure he’d choose to say that Green Party members ‘have’ to do anything. He’d just suggest strongly. 🙂

I heard the other day (and it’s second hand so correct me if I’m wrong) that the Greens are expecting their new party leader to get by on £14k a year.

Whilst I’m disgusted by the pampering many politicians enjoy – seriously, if you’re on £14k, how are you going to live comfortably if you don’t have another source of income? Isn’t the green party blocking the kind of people who share your background from getting to the leadership?

I think we should be pushing up low incomes not legitimising them in this way.

Ooops – that headline was me trying to do several things at once. Have amended

@Redshift,

The figure is wrong. The figure we expect to be paying the leader is significantly higher than that. Unless – of course – they don’t need it.

5. orangebooker

Do any of the Green candidates have any experience, say running a business?

@orangebooker

Yes, at least one of them does have experience of running a business. Why do you think that matters?

@6. Green Christian

Because business is the engine room of our economy. I provides the jobs we need to support ourselves as well as produces the goods we need to live. At the moment business is in the s**tter and we need someone with a good understanding of business to enable plausible and useful plans to be put in place.

What we don’t need is some career politician who has studied geography and learnt to speak in public.

On the issue of pay conference will decide next month whether the role should be remunerated (most think it should) and how much it will be paid. Not sure where the 14k figure came from but I think that’s meant to highlight it’s a part-time role (since most leaders also hold elective office – Caroline Lucas e.g.)

The media is whats important in a leader. if someone had a few opinion pieces in the guardian, a column in the mirror, a well read blog and good twitter following and supported green policy…they should get the job.

@7 Freeman

None of the leadership candidates could be reasonably described as a career politician. All of them have real-world experience of various kinds outside of politics.

11. Planeshift

“At the moment business is in the s**tter and we need someone with a good understanding of business to enable plausible and useful plans to be put in place. ”

Like a leadership team comprised of an ex-public schoolboy who has never had a real job and has lived off his parents multi-million pound fortune, and an ex-public schoolboy whose previous job was in PR for a TV company.

If we focus on our excellent economic policies – which would by their nature make the transition to a sustainable economy – we will broaden our vote, as we did when we won Brighton Pavilion.

Hilarious, sustainability the economic equivalent of homeopathy and the wonderful notion that winning Brighton Pavilion represents a broadening of the Green vote. The place is about as untypical of the rest of the country as it’s possible to be, how close did you come to winning anywhere else ?

Peter, what’s your opinon of Edinburgh Pirates’ policy of affordable housing for all — where everyone is entitled to ask for a council house and the council would have to let them one within a year, and which they could subsequently buy?

This could be just the thing to end the perception of the Greens as “middle-class do-gooders – harmless enough, but of limited interest to most people in their normal lives”.

Question
‘Do you think the world is overpopulated?’

15. Northern Worker

So, Peter, what you’re basically saying is that you have absolutely no experience of the real world of adding value and producing the wealth which pays for the social programmes we enjoy in the UK. More than that, you seriously believe that ‘green jobs’ – whatever they are – will save the UK economy. And all of this will be funded by borrowing loads of money, which you don’t tell us how you will pay back.

All of this, yet your family history is of people who worked in real jobs, added value and provided this nation with wealth.

I, too, grew up in far from ideal circumstances in the NE. But I started as an engineering apprentice, educated myself, worked hard and along the way I’ve learned a few things. I’m no capitalist nor Tory, but a lapsed Labour voter (thanks to Gordon Brown and Ed Milliband). The most important thing I’ve learned is that the man who makes the nut and bolt is the most important person around. Without him – and yes, it’s usually a ‘him’ – we end up like Greece.

Okay, okay, I know Chaise, Shatterface, Sunny and everyone else will pull me apart for what I’ve said, but I stand by it because in the end I know I’ll be proved right.

Peter, please recognise that the future wealth of this country is important to our children and grandchildren – certainly to mine and I trust yours – and your ideas will do nothing but impoverish us.

“My uncle was a miner, and my grandfather a miner too.”

a) so what?

b) if they were miners today you would be namecheking them as above or, as a green, wanting to put them out of work becuase they were digging up the earth’s precious fossil fuels?

Northern Worker

A continuation of the current fossil fuel dependent economy is what would impoverish your children and grandchildren. Why do you beleive a change to a combintion of renewables, using less energy & materials to produce consumer goods etc would impoverish them? The transition to a green economy, and maitaining it would require literally millions of people working to implement it, in advanced forms of engineering, biotech etc, because it is the whole of our infrastructure that needs upgrading…

18. Northern Worker

Dissident @17

Very simple, renewables are considerably more expensive than the likes of shale gas or just gas. Renewables presently require massive subsidies, which you and all of us are paying. Such overheads make us even more uncompetitive than we are and absolutely guarantee more good jobs, real apprenticeships (not Tory apprenticeships in the deli at a supermarket) and employment for young people will be exported to China, where, as you might have noticed, they don’t care tuppence about windmills or solar panels (except to export them to us – green jobs?). Is that what everyone wants? Then what do we all do for a living? I mean a real living adding value and creating wealth.

Do you really want to end up like Greece, or Spain with 25% unemployment and 50% of kids unemployed? Because that’s what happens when the wealth-creating sector becomes uncompetitive (because of the euro in these cases).

This world, often with this country in the vanguard, has been through an economic revolution at least once per century – 300 years ago it was the agricultural revolution, 200 years ago it was the industrial revolution, a century ago it was the era of mechanisation/mass production and the oil based economy, since the 1980s it has been an information revolution and with the advent of the 21st century we’re seeing the beginnings of another – towards a low-carbon sustainable economy.
Saying, as Northern Worker does, that the economy rests on being able to produce nuts and bolts is a little like people 100 years ago saying that we need men with scythes to mow the fields. Economies change. Yes we need to be able to meet our own needs but as Adam Smith’s observations on pin making attested the number of people needed to take on certain tasks is transformed by changes in technology and working practices. The centre of gravity in an economy shifts. Our needs are pretty constant but our wants change radically.
Green jobs are a reflection of the need to build an energy secure economy that’s not dependent on fossil fuels imported from unstable areas of the world. They aren’t a panacea but they could play a significant part in reviving construction and the domestic energy sectors.
Meanwhile Greece’s problems are equally a reflection on the fact that the culture of paying your taxes hasn’t yet been embraced by many of the more wealthy inhabitants of the PIIGS.
As for Lamia – Peter is merely making the point that he doesn’t fit the stereotype of a middle class Green. If it’s OK for Labour to elect a string of solidly upper middle class leaders I’m sure it’s OK for the Greens to elect someone who doesn’t fit that mould.

you answered it for me Johnothan Kent…

What I would add, is every single technology we posess started out expensive. Renewables are merely following that trend! Even nuts & bolts were, when first developped. Or look at solar photovoltaics, their cost at first was literally astronomical, with only one application – satellites. Now they are nearly as cheap as fossil fuels in cost per unit of electricity. Tim Worstalt needs to contribute here about that!

21. Northern Worker

Jonathan Kent @19

Please define a ‘green job’. Because out here in the mucky world of manufacturing and commerce, I don’t see any that don’t require massive subsidies. As such, these jobs are uncompetitive. Besides, the major components for windmills are made in China – the same for EVs (electric vehicles) – and China is the main producer of solar panels. What else had you in mind?

About Greece, paying their taxes is the least of their problems, and it’s not not just the rich not paying, it seems that every cafe and restaurant is avoiding tax too. The country is totally uncompetitive because it’s in the euro. That’s its principal problem apart from the fact it has very few wealth-producing industries apart from farming, tourism and shipping.

Spain is in a better position than Greece with some semblance of wealth producing industries, but it’s foray into green technologies has been a disaster.

Successful economies are built on adding value and that’s the only way we can guarantee employment and the future of of children. Yes, we engineers are creative people and we may well find ways and means.But we must have an industry to employ us and invest in our ideas. The way things are going, there will be nothing left to build on.

Trust me, I’m an engineer!

Northern Worker

You do touch upon a problem with our modern economy – the fact that everything seems to have a “Made in China” stamp on it. A truly green economy would have only ways & means, ie designs & manufacturing protocols traded, with actual manufacturing done locally, with local resources used (as much as practical anyway – some hitech stuff requires rare earths for example)

I do query your assertion that renewables are inneficient, and your assumption that a fossil fuel based economy has no subsidies, or is efficient…

23. Northern Worker

It’s impossible in a few words to describe all the reasons why the ‘green economy’ is a delightful idea but unlikely because countries such as China can do the real work so much cheaper. Dissident, your notion than we can do the brain work and the Chinese do the brawn work is good, but we still need companies here to employ engineers. Besides, the knowledge economy doesn’t employ that many people. Tim Worstall will probably shoot me down for saying so!

Northern Worker: So, Peter, what you’re basically saying is that you have absolutely no experience of the real world of adding value and producing the wealth which pays for the social programmes we enjoy in the UK.

The idea that only private businesses “create wealth” is a fallacy.
http://timharford.com/2011/12/you’re-wrong-–-we-are-all-wealth-creators/

The rest of what you say is incomprehensible gibberish too.

I like Peter’s piece because it is honest and straightforward – the difference between the main candidates isn’t on policy (though others may say this is untrue) – but how they change their image and connect with more people.

Admitting the party needs to do more on that front, rather than assuming people will automatically shift to them, is I think a great start.

25. Northern Worker

Sunny @24

We’ll probably have to disagree.

I see people in good jobs adding value and producing wealth. I see near full employment and apprenticeships for kids. I just don’t see what is gibberish about that. Please explain. And while you are about it, perhaps you can ask Peter about all these green jobs, which are going to save us all from the work house.

Must go to work now.

26. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 Freeman

“What we don’t need is some career politician who has studied geography and learnt to speak in public.”

Agreed that’s not what we need, but unfortunately that’s what we tend to vote for, probably because they’re selected to not be too offputting, plus that aforementioned ability to speak in public. And that’s a reality that any democratic party has to deal with.

“The idea that only private businesses “create wealth” is a fallacy.”

Actually Harford’s argument is that the idea that only private businesses CAN create wealth is a fallacy:

“There’s no logical reason why an economy couldn’t be 100 per cent public sector. ”

Which is correct, but trivially so. Because, as he also said: “communism … collapsed because the incentives were thoroughly screwed up”.

And there we have it. Public sector organisations can function like private sector ones, so long as they are operating as market actors in the same way, with the same economic incentives, etc.

“It frustrates me that, while our policies are popular, Greens are still seen as somehow removed from everyday concerns”. Mr Cranie is on record(Better Nation website 30/6/12) promoting “a liberal immigration policy on the grounds that everyone is equal, whatever the colour of their passport.” In other words a completely open doors immigration policy, far removed from the everyday concerns of ordinary people. Was this policy ever presented to voters in a blind opinion poll, and if so what was the result?

29. Elliot Folan

@ 28

Nice to know that you don’t believe everyone is equal no matter the colour of their passport.

Unfortunately Peter, as you say, you are seen as middle class do-gooders – the type that will almost lecture you on how bad something is before actually finding out your opinion on it. A deeply unattractive trait. I love your policies but can’t really get on with some members’ holier than thou approach. Science policies are rapidly improving though (minus the Jenny Jones GM debacle recently. Ramping up allotment fees in Brighton was a bit dim though.

You do seem to be falling into the ‘it’s how we get our message across’ trap. What if people know your message (they like your policies don’t they?) but they just don’t like you because of the hectoring middle-class do-gooder thing? The message becomes almost irrelevant then, and you have a real problem.

The greens are unfortunately seen as middle class do gooders, yet i think they are the party of the future. I worry we cannot sustain our standard of living. Things are not made to last, where as they could be if we were not slaves to a capitalist system. People are now made to work till they drop when there’s no need for it. There’s not enough jobs for the young, it’s crazy!

The three main parties have no answers to our problems. I think the greens have the answers, they need to get their message out to the masses.

I do think people care about the environment,they are however dubious about the causes of climate change.

Do the Greens still favour zero or, even better, negative GDP growth?

If so, presumably they are celebrating the advent of George Osborne.

No political movement outside of socialism has any value.

Unfortunately the ‘harmless enough’ label disappeared when your leader showed her idiotic attitude to important scientific research. Jaded by the other parties I joined the Green Party about a month before that debacle. Now I feel foolish. I’ve read all the statements here by the candidates, not one mentions science, for a party supposedly more in tune with environmental worries for the future this is illuminating.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Peter Phizacklea

    Intriguing post by Green Party candidate @PeterCranie on why he should take over from @CarolineLucas http://t.co/60zQ3TeO

  2. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Why the Green Party should elect me as leader http://t.co/5Dg0anCc

  3. eric the hamster

    Intriguing post by Green Party candidate @PeterCranie on why he should take over from @CarolineLucas http://t.co/60zQ3TeO

  4. sunny hundal

    Trying again… – 'Why the Green Party should elect me as the new leader' by @PeterCranie – http://t.co/60zQ3TeO

  5. Owain Fitz-Gibbon

    Trying again… – 'Why the Green Party should elect me as the new leader' by @PeterCranie – http://t.co/60zQ3TeO

  6. Christopher Snowdon

    "All of us believe in a massive programme of Keynesian investment…" Taxi! http://t.co/cDmGBXS6 #greenparty

  7. Christopher Snowdon

    Aspiring Green Party leader accuses *other people* of "insanity and economic illiteracy" http://t.co/cDmGBXS6

  8. Ken MacLeod

    Aspiring Green Party leader accuses *other people* of "insanity and economic illiteracy" http://t.co/cDmGBXS6

  9. Christopher Snowdon

    @pdboxer @S8mB Comment number 16 on this: http://t.co/cDmGBXS6

  10. BevR

    Why the Green Party should elect me as leader | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/7DujqMhj via @libcon

  11. Tim Gee

    Intriguing post by Green Party candidate @PeterCranie on why he should take over from @CarolineLucas http://t.co/60zQ3TeO

  12. Warren Niblock

    Why the Green Party have elect me as leader http://t.co/4eJKDUmE

  13. RupertRead

    http://t.co/qhqy8bqo Useful piece by @PeterCranie in @libcon on the #gpleader race.

  14. Green leadership election: We needs to revive our campaigning spirit | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] Cranie: Why the Green Party should elect me as leader Natalie Bennett: My ‘first 100 days’ plan for the Green […]

  15. Green party leadership: ‘I am different from the rest’ | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] Cranie: Why the Green Party should elect me as leader Natalie Bennett: My ‘first 100 days’ plan for the Green Party Romayne Phoenix: We need to […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.