Thursday, November 20, 2008

Its not easy being Green

As is my habit at the moment I came home from work today and put on my youtube playlist, the first song that broke through my "sitting on the couch having a beer mental shield" was Kermit's old classic, "Its not easy been Green" . As I will explain this amused me for many reasons, but also frustrated the hell out of me and made me realise how disappointed I am with the Green Party. Through stubborn idealism they have over the last 10 years that I have been voting missed an amazing opportunity to make a huge difference to New Zealand and progress the principles of their charter. As much as I respect most of their MP's as individuals for their activism and opposition as a team they seem unable to project competence to govern and make positive pragmatic change.

I am a bottom line green centrist who supports free trade (the worlds best chance for peace and sustainability) and genetically engineered food (the worlds second best chance for peace and sustainability) This year when I went to tick green I couldn't, I knew it would be a wasted vote. The Green Party could have been positioned between Labour and National and picked up 20% of the vote, instead it was way out left Where the Wild Things Are. The Green Agenda has no need for a left or right, and neither does one concerned with social justice, communism has proved that. They require education, pragmatic politics and action. They need to be mainstream and where is mainstream...the centre.

Why when many key green themes like energy efficency, polluter pays and recycling have drifted to the centre is the green party still way out left?

I also worry about their future in the next few years, with an interesting government and a strong and organised opposition the space for green headlines may be few and far between. Their two new MP's are unlikely to make waves as good a people as they may be. Catherine Delahunty is Jeanette Fitzsimons mini-me while Kevin Hague has the unfortunate position of coming from the role of CEO of one of the least respected organisations in the country, the West Coast District Health Board. On "Frogblog" the thought is that, "I think one or all of the minor parties to this five headed monster will rue the day they signed on the line. It is the big risk of signing up - getting swallowed by the big fish…". My thought is that at least those parties signing on the line are using the leverage that their supporters gave them to attempt to get as much positive change as possible.

But back to the lyrics,

It's not that easy bein' green; Having to spend each day the color of the leaves. When I think it could be nicer being red, (ironic)or yellow (like Rodney's Jacket)or gold- or something much more colorful like that. (the government)

It's not easy bein' green. It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things. (Or will) And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water- or stars in the sky. (or Stars in Their Eyes)

But green's the color of Spring. And green can be cool and friendly-like. And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why? Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful! And I think it's what I want to be. (its the truth of the last two verses that exposes the tragedy)


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Jamie,
I was a bit disappointed in the Green campaign as well, but while I thought they let some opportunities pass by, I still gave my party vote to them. Moving to centre and taking a punt could very well have gotten them 20%, but I think there is still just too much hard core radical left agenda that scares too many people who really want to vote Green. I think the greens need a strong leader to emerge, not leadership by committee. It will be interesting to watch the result of the Maori move to the right.
The best version of Being Green I have ever keard is by Van Morrison believe it or not. Have a great day.

Jamie said...

Hey Robb,

I'll have to look the Van Morrison version up on youtube!

I agree with you about the leadership of the Greens and wonder how much their current leadership model constrains them. They serve their membership well but necessarily the silent chunk out there who want to vote for them!

Anonymous said...

Interesting you both talk of leadership; when it seems to me most of the new zealand vote in this apathetic evolution of democracy has very little to do with voting for an inspirational captain of our ship and more like an obligation to vote knowing none of the options satisfy your desires.

the, ironically, good thing is that new zealand produces its leaders deep in its communities and the wrong alignments of the party receiving my vote or the inevitable sell off of SOE's, etc voted in by short sighted tax cut grabbers will never stop them.

we deserve the right to be lead well as much as the majority/minority that voted in a government we did not desire. it will be the unchanged leaders of the important things in our country that keep us moving. the ebb and flow of policy and legislation, the history markers that stick for too long, will always be superseded by steady influence and will of the true leaders with no election to justify their position.

don't despair at a public politics. you're close to conquering yourself which is something a national government will never be able to do...

it's been too long between drinks Jamie.