Green, it seems, is the new Red.
The SNP, with their centre-left, populist, catch-all stance and mainly pragmatic approach to policy, have proven to be a formidable electoral force, and have provided a relatively sensible, effective and progressive Government for Scotland during the past seven years. On the whole, they are doing a good job,and if the referendum result is a YES they are well-placed to become the ‘natural party of government’ in Scotland.
The Scottish Labour Party, meanwhile, has been reduced to a self-seeking, closed-minded, infighting, corrupt and lazy rabble, without ideas, principles, or purpose (sorry if I’m speaking from the heart here, but I’m telling it like it is, unfortunately).
And this is a problem. Other than the Conservatives, who with their small but stubborn base of support are likely to remain a ‘third party, there is no intelligent, competent opposition. Without a good opposition to challenge the agenda, provide alternatives, and offer a sound choice to the electorate, even the best of governments is likely, over time, to become complacent and corrupt.
Ben Wray, of the Reid Foundation (whose work has consistently impressed me), has argued recently that Scotland needs a new party of the left to carry on where Labour gave up. It seems to me, however, that such a party already exists, is already contributing to the Scottish policy agenda, and already had two members of the Scottish Parliament. I refer, of course, to the Scottish Green Party. In a previous post I laid out my criteria for a party that would get my vote. The Scottish Green Party fulfils most if not all of those criteria. The question is whether it can break out of its organic fair-trade latte drinking heartlands and win votes amongst those who would really benefit most from its policies: the alienated poor in Scotland’s grey concrete jungles.