The Guardian has reported this morning that:
Momentum, the grassroots group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn, is directing its campaigning muscle into urging Labour to adopt a series of “radical and transformational” pledges in its next manifesto, including a green new deal and the four-day week.
Momentum wants to use its 40,000-strong membership to influence the direction of policy on other issues.
But more worryingly notes:
It also hopes to act as a bulwark against the influence of MPs from the social democratic wing of the Labour party.
Becky Boumelha, a Momentum spokesperson, said: “Radical and transformational policy can’t only come from the halls of Westminster. It must come from and draw upon the collective wisdom of Labour’s half a million members, who live and work in every community across the country. This is especially true when Tom Watson’s new group of MPs are intent upon watering down and blocking Labour’s most transformational policies.”
This, for me, leads to the obvious question of how radical the Green New Deal really is?
I admit to surprise that the idea is now so commonplace when once I thought it only really existed on this blog. I am delighted that it is. But what is so radical about wanting to save the planet for future generations? Or building social housing that is carbon neutral (or better). And transforming transport so that we get rid of the curse of the car as we know it now? Let alone wanting to create jobs in every constituency in the country? And to make every building a power station so that we can leave fossil fuels in the ground, where we now know they belong?
I genuinely do not see this as radical. I see this as an idea whose time has come. I see it as what is glaringly obviously needed. I really cannot see why Tom Watson would not want to support it. Nor can I see why the LibDems, SNP, or others who think they are on the left might wish to do so.
I can see that the parties of vested interests might wish to oppose it. Those whose well being is invested in burning carbon might not want a Green New Deal. That I accept. And those people we simply have to oppose. There is no choice but to do so. And if that is political, so be it. But I would not cast it as such: survival is not a matter of left or right. Survival is one of the most primal instincts we have. And opposing those who stand in the way of our chance of doing so is simply necessary, wherever the objection comes from.
In this case I'd make a plea. Please do not make supporting the Green New Deal a test of left-wing credibility. Of course it is about making a better world for us all. But precisely because it is so important it has to be a policy for all, and not an issue for internal party politicking. That threatens the goal. And we haven't got time for that.