Reply to Brian Heatley who linked my comments on the 2014 Election results with pieces by Adam Ramsay giving a Green-Left perspective and Sandy Irvine raising issues from a Forest-Green point of view. I don't have links to Adam and Sandy's originals - maybe I'll create a Guests section to re-post them in.

Thanks for copying me in Brian, nice to know someone reads something one writes! (and on the members website too - I thought that was a real graveyard)

I tend towards the Sandy position on the wider issues. I haven't looked at the results in detail but my impression is that Adam is painting an over optimistic picture, and even if he is right it seems that trying to energise a left of labour activist base about an ecological emergency is going to be a tough task.


If things play out the way the science and the trends are telling us then people are going to get seriously hurt - both by forces of nature and by necessary human actions to mitigate the effects of those forces, and one thing the bulk of the left do not like is hurting people. As Sandy points out PSS is chock full of commitments that are essentially based on a business-as-usual 3 planet resource utilisation.

The eco-socialist position seems to me to be based on the idea that tackling inequality by hurting the 1% and corporations and using the proceeds to bring the bottom 20% up to the standard of living of the next 30% will somehow magically make everyone do their bit for the environment - I don't see this myself, more likely that tackling the inconvenient underlying ecological imperatives will get forgotten once workers are liberated from their alienation...

I fear that one consequence of the GP falling for positioning itself on a left-right axis is that it will render itself unable to take the hard actions that are implied by a one-planet necessity and become just another faction of the fragmented socialist left.

Personally I think that the space we need to occupy is to become the guiding party for collapse.

If the decline and fadeout of fossil fuel powered industrial civilisation is going to happen (and the evidence is not only that it is inevitable - all civilisations mature, grow old and die - but also that significant steps down the road will happen in your and my lifetime - ecological changes will force the issue) then it would be sensible to have a group of people - a political party might be one manifestation of such a group - who are dedicated to easing the transitions and identifying and preserving what is of value from the old order.

Whether the complete collapse takes a few centuries (most likely) or a few decades (not impossible) there will probably be sustainable human societies existing in the ruins and from these a new civilisation will rise. I do believe that it will be possible to live a full and satisfying life at every stage of the process, including the decline and collapse phase which we have now entered.

I think we do need to be talking far more about what a one-planet life and society would look like, and painting a vision of how to get from here to there.

It seems to me that attempting to get electoral success by playing down ecology in favour of a cuddly form of socialism is a dead-end street. Even if it did produce a mass of Green representatives you would have to question both where their priorities would lie - saving the NHS or managing a declining civilisation - and how those who elected them would react if they saw them taking decisions that did not accord with ideal socialist principles on which they elected them.

We will be living in an age of pragmatism and if there is not enough energy to go round then maybe life-prolonging medical interventions are something that we would have to let go of...to pick just one example.