I’m going to talk about politics.
Hold on… I promise it won’t be boring, and I promise it’ll be skeptical. Specifically, I’d like to talk about the Green Party.
For those of you of a foreign persuasion or who have had their head in the political equivalent of Narnia for the last few years, the Greens are the political party who make the Lib Dems look like brownshirts, with their talk of fairness, equality and sustainability.
The Greens are often portrayed as a bunch of kaftan wearing hippies who live solely on a diet of homemade tofu sprinkled with dried mung beans, while living in a hastily constructed treehouse on the site of a proposed motorway.
A few years ago, these perceptions may well have been more accurate, but recently the Green Party have gained massive increases in support due to their anti-austerity stance and pledge for free education for all, amongst other things.
This has led to the #GreenSurge which has seen the party’s membership eclipse that of both UKIP, who appear to be the political wing of the Keystone Cops, and even the Lib Dems, who’s only votes are likely to come from Nick Clegg’s mum, and whoever Charles Kennedy can find down the pub.
‘This is all good’ I hear you say.
‘I like equality’
‘Fairness is great’
‘Sustainability is the key to our future.’ And you be right.
Unfortunately there’s a problem.
The hippies. They’re a stubborn bunch.
The greens have some policies that could be seen as, shall we say ‘questionable,’ to the rationalists and skeptics out there. They’re anti-GMO, against any form of nuclear power, even including research into new generation nuclear, and they show hand-wavey support of hand-wavey ‘holistic’ approaches to healthcare, including complementary and alternative medicines.
It looks like they might get a few seats in the next parliament and it’s not unfeasible that those few seats could be included in a coalition government.
However, a number of the hardcore green membership can’t understand that with a massive influx in members, the party – and its policies – are bound to evolve – and herein lies their problem. If these central tenets aren’t free to change, then they’re likely to stay a fringe group for the foreseeable future.
So, what can be done about this ‘good politics dressed in woo shaped clothing?’
Well, we could all get together and start a ‘Rationalist’ party… but that sounds like a lot of hard work, and unless you’ve got a few hundred thousand kicking around in the back of the sofa, funding could be a issue.
So I suggest this: Join the Green Party. I did.
There’s a group of Scientific Greens. Hunt them out and have a chat. The group is small at the moment, but you could change that.
There are two really good things about the Green Party-
Any member can suggest a policy change, and it will be voted on. If enough members agree – you have a new policy
They claim that their policies are evidence based.
Now – as we all know, there’s ‘evidence’ and there’s ‘evidence’ and some of the greens policies seemed to be based on ideological dogma, rather than what I’d call scientific evidence, but that’s where there’s potential for change.
It’s not easy – I’ve suggested that GMOs may not be sent by satan, and actually could see major benefits, citing numerous studies in support, and the cry has generally been, NO – GMOs are evil because Monsanto.
But once you get over that and explain that it’s a bit more complicated than that, people tend to listen. Sometimes.
But just imagine, going into the 2020 with the real prospect of a card carrying skeptic becoming an MP – that’d be real progress.
And if not, well there should be enough Scientific Greens to form that Rationalist Party.