|IS THE GREEN IDEA POLITICALLY DEAD? |
The question is valid because, for the first time in 30-odd years, no Green party is sharing government in a major European country. The Latvian Greens are one quarter of a four-party coalition; there is a self-styled "Red-Green" alliance now running Norway, but that doesn't count because the official party has denounced it; the Finnish Greens pulled out of power over the nuclear question; the Germans - so long the standard bearers - are kaput.
While there are still thousands of elected Greens in European, national and local parliaments, the idea of them participating in the running of countries now seems quaint.
To be fair, their fall has been outside their influence. There is little evidence that the green vote has seriously dropped off, and plenty to show that it is rising in places such as Scotland. Rather, it seems that support has dropped for the big left-leaning parties that have wooed the Greens to join them in power. It's not your fault if your big partner fouls up.
But equally the idea is growing that green ideas suit political opposition better. When your stated intention is not just to achieve power but to totally reform human governance to fit the constraints of the biosphere, then you are not really in the same political ideas field as, say, New Labour or the Greek socialists. Philosophically, you might as well as be Venusians or Martians.
GREEN THINKING SHAPING POLITICS?
- kind permission
John Vidal is the Guardian's environment editor.