Dead Men Left

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Greens in coalition with Tories

Why did this escape my notice until now? Having spent much of the election campaign in London targetting the "unholy alliance" of Respect, Green Party councillors in Leeds have entered into a coalition with the Tories and the Lib Dems. This from the Yorkshire Evening Post, June 19th 2004 (restricted access online):

THE LEADERS of a coalition preparing to take control of Leeds City Council have pledged to put their differences behind them.

Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Green councillors will take the reins following the end of Labour's 24-year rule.

Coun Mark Harris (Lib Dem), Coun Andrew Carter (Con) and Coun David Blackburn (Green) say they will work together to give the people of Leeds what they deserve.

Coun Harris said: "The people of Leeds have voted against Labour. They want to see change and that is what we will give them.

"The people of Leeds have asked for this change."

The three parties, which between them have 53 of the 99 seats, have agreed to form a coalition to run the authority following Labour's heavy losses in last week's local elections.

I am unsure whether this is quite breathtaking hypocrisy, or hopeless naivete. (I am inclined to hope it is the latter.) Leadership of the council will be held by Tories and Lib Dems in turn, with Greens acting to support this ridiculous arrangement; they are thus left in the position of the weaselly child who tries to hang around with the bigger boys' gang: barely tolerated, treated with contempt, and shamelessly used for unpleasant tasks when necessary.

According to Councillor Carter:

"If you look closely, the three parties have similar local policies. We will work together to change the city for the better.

We all agreed that our differences can be ironed out to make way for improvements which we can work on together."

So there you have it. "Lower than vermin," was Anuerin Bevan's preferred description of the Conservatives. Quite where this leaves those currently prepared to succour the Tories is uncertain; it is to be hoped the Leeds Green Party comes to its senses at some point. There are any number of decent and principled Green Party members - to say nothing of their voters - who it seems difficult to believe would tolerate this.