David is a candidate for Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
I am running for leader because I think we need to have a serious debate in the party, first and foremost, about finance and economics. It seems to me that one of the defining facts of our time is that around the world the established political parties have surrendered to the idea that economics and finance no longer need to be under democratic control. This is wrong and dangerous.
In the UK, one major party is happy that economics is beyond democratic control and the other is seemingly paralysed by the fact. I believe the Green Party needs to say clearly that bringing our economy, our financial structures, corporate tax and our currency back under effective democratic control, is a central issue. In fact I believe these issues need to be seen by the electorate as lying at the core of what the Green Party stands for.
Why? Because unless we bring finance back under democratic control then we will not be able to do any of the other things we want to do. Unless we control our right to tax effectively, to regulate banks properly and to control our money supply as we see fit – unless we can do these things, then all our other promises are in fact empty. The electorate already know the other parties’ promises are false. Let us not join them.
The electorate are crying out for a party that is willing to stand up to the stifling uniformity of the main parties and their backers. We can be that party – but only if we convince the electorate that we are more than nice people who care for the environment.
I have spent a lot of time in local, county and national elections campaigning on the doorstep. The most common thing people say is that they can’t vote for the GP because they don’t believe we know much about anything beyond saving the whales. They do not believe, partly because they have not heard, that we understand economics, or finance, or international affairs. They would vote for us locally but never nationally.
This is what we must change and change now. We must be able to speak clearly about what people worry about most, the economy, and the banks. We must be able to tell them, clearly and passionately that we understand finance and the economy. That we understand that this nation faces a double crisis: Of the environment and of democracy. We cannot save one without the other.
I also believe the GP should speak more clearly and more forcefully about rejecting globalism. We must seize control over the terms of this debate. It is not outward looking people versus xenophobic little-Englanders. It is about accepting that the markets dictate and force a race to the bottom in everything from working conditions to food standards versus a people’s ability to decide what standards there should be for their working lives, and the goods sold to them.
I believe the next election will not be about left or right, but about neoliberal globalism versus democracy. The trade deals, CETA, TTIP and TISA, will be major issues. You can see a public talk I gave on the TTIP called The Death of Democracy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fDCbf4O-0s
We must be ready to oppose them clearly, cogently and radically. And that last word is important. I believe the era of reformist politics and parties is over. I think none of our problems in the environment or the economy are gong to be solved by tinkering with the economic and political systems as they are now. Those established systems are the problem. We do not have a few bad apples, we have a diseased orchard. And from it we have had one diseased harvest after another. Time to re-plant. Which means not allowing the main parties get to dictate the same old terms of the debate.
In the next election the GP needs a leader that can articulate what is so disastrously wrong with the assumptions that all the main parties share and how they perpetuate our problems rather than solve them. To give an example, all the major parties assume that economic recovery depends on saving the banks and that if that means cutting all public expenditure, then this is a necessary policy. We can and must attack those assumptions.
I am not for one moment suggesting that other vital issues should be downplayed. Not at all. The Green Party has always been at the forefront of the fight for gender equality and the rights of minorities however they identify. We campaign for animal rights and against racism. All of these people know about us. What they don’t know, is do we know everything else it takes to run a country? We must make sure they know we could.
I believe I could help communicate this. These issues of democracy and economics are issues I know about, speak about and I care deeply about. I have been writing about them since 2007 sometimes for The Guardian and Thomson Reuters and often for my own blog which is now one of the country’s more respected financial blogs.
These are the issues which will decide my children’s future. Give me the chance to fight for them.
Candidate statement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQjNHpzl7j8
Financial/politics blog: http://www.golemxiv.co.uk