Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Serious Choice?

Derek Wall
Take me to your leader...
or principal speaker...whatever
I've been catching up on a few regular reads/views/listens and was astonished to find I had missed an excellent episode of TrampFightCross Talk on 18DS. It features, as ever, Iain Dale (from the right) and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (from the loopier end of the left) interviewing some hapless victim. For this particular episode the interviewee was Derek Wall, leaderPrincipal (one of two) Speaker for the British Green Party.

As it happens I have a number of friends who suffer from leftism despite my best efforts, and at the last general election many of them, disillusioned with the Blair government, they voted for their local Green party candidate. In a couple of cases I got to read their campaign literature and in both cases they seemed like decent enough people playing heavily on local issues from a reasonably pragmatic green perspective; so were the candidates from the mainstream parties, but that's another story.

Anyone thinking of following in their wake should really click the programme link above and listen and learn a little more about the party at a national level. The bloke is truly astonishing, and let it not be forgotten that he is not some Dennis Skinneresque character on the fringe of the party, he is as close to being party leader as you get with the Greens.

There are many highlights, but my personal favourite is his bizarre attempt to link nuclear energy to civil liberties, based apparently on the fact that France has nuclear power stations, and France also has ID cards. As anyone who has read any significant part of this blog will know, opposition to ID cards is a cause close to my heart. Perhaps a little more surprising is that I'm actually a little in two minds about nuclear power, especially as the economics of nuclear power plants over a full lifespan, including decommissioning, seem to be a little opaque at the moment and do need greater consideration in my opinion. I am sure though that the links between the two issues are far beyond tenuous. Even Ms Alibhai-Brown, renowned for some rather bizarre statements from her own lips seemed somewhat astonished by this particular suggestion.

Alibhai-Brown was equally scathing over Mr Wall's somewhat drippy explanation over why the Greens have no leader. She and Mr Dale trashed his argument, that it was the only way to have gender equality in party leadership, outlining much more sensible ways it could be achieved, whilst having a single leadership position.

Green Party
Unable to shake off the weirdo image?
I did at least come some way to having a personal question Mr Wall answered. When I was researching my posting on the alma maters of our party leaders. I found it almost impossible to find any information on which institution saw fit to award Mr Wall a PhD, and so had to decide, on the Green's behalf, to opt for Mr Wall's female counterpart, Siân Berry, instead. While Mr Wall didn't reveal the missing information, at least we got to find out what the subject of his thesis was...a treatise on direct action. It puts some of bold statements on the Green's scientific analysis of the climate change debate, on the rare occasions they even deign to debate the matter, into a new light.

And then, at the end of the day, there's the image...anyone who has always thought that Greens are well, just a bit weird, won't go away disappointed.

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