Congratulations to the 11,000 new members of Britain’s greenest party

The post-election membership surge is an opportunity to renew and refocus our party. We can show off its core values, which have been seen recently only through the distorting glass of coalition policy. The Tories have held us back in the environmental arena more than others, so I want to make my pitch for all members, new and existing, to also consider joining the Green Liberal Democrats

The Green Liberal Democrats is the Associated Organisation I have been privileged to chair for the past couple of years.We exist to:

Ensure that the Liberal Democrats’ proud record of environmental leadership at all levels of government continues
Establish and develop links with the wider green movement
Inform and educate party activists, policymakers, candidates and elected representatives on environmental issues
Support individuals within the party who are advancing the agenda of environmental stewardship and generational justice

We’ve been around a while, as the Liberal Ecology Group founded in 1977 by the late Tony Beamish (pdf) and then the Green Liberal Democrats via a couple of more unweildy titles during the SDP merger.

In the 38 years since then, we have influenced nearly every policy paper. Our environmentalism is integrated into every policy. However, the twin demands of being acceptable to the voters and practical to implement are never forgotten.

This is why I believe and repeat the claim that we are Britain’s Greenest Party #BritainsGreenestParty. Our policy as a combination of principles, popularity and practicality. Without all these, we cannot hope to achieve our goals in a democratic society.

We have been led by our principles and come up with popular green policies that have been possible to implement. Councils run by Libdems are known as the greenest of any councils, leading the way in renewable energy, energy efficiency, wildlife protection, recycling and pollution control.

The other contender for the title of Britain’s Greenest Party – the Green Party – has failed to put forward policies that are both popular and practical. They are principled, certainly, but their tendency to frame policy in authoritarian and anti-progress terms means they rarely have the opportunity to implement them. When they do get into power they fail in their efforts to implement their policies.

This was summed up, a bit viciously, by David Mitchell during Channel Four’s election night programme.

So, for those new party members that wish to see the five green laws enacted, with improvements and updates, who want to push the green agenda locally, our organisation stands ready to help them and include them in the discussion. We have a regular magazine, strong presence at every federal and many regional conferences, and our own conference is coming up in Manchester on June 27th.

See our website for more information, including benefits of membership and how to join and visit our Facebook page. @GreenLibDems is our twitter account.

* Simon Oliver is the chair of Green Liberal Democrats

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This entry was posted in Lib Dem organisations and News.


  • Jim Hodgson 15th May '15 - 3:43pm

    Well said Simon. Although we do need to begin a sensible dialogue about the doctrine of limitless growth on a finite planet. The Greens do manage to challenge that…but in an ultimately damaging way as Mitchell points out. Climate change has to be prioritised as the key issue, and that can only happen through a market mechanism…if we sit around waiting for an anti-capitalist revolutuon to build momentum it will be too late.

    Follow me @Hodgeflex

  • Dave Orbison 15th May '15 - 4:35pm

    Greener than the Greens? Really?

  • Dave Orbison 15th May '15 - 4:43pm

    Sorry I forgot to add that the article is surely ironic? Are the LibDems really in a position to lecture the Greens about the need for ‘popular policies’? Then, having propped up this most right wing Govt. (more so even than Thatcher) because, that let’s face it that was exactly the result of the Coalition, the article criticises the Greens for being authoritarian. I suppose someone will come in with the ‘tried and tested’ or rather ‘tired and failed’ excuse that the Coalition succeeded in stopping the Tories from being too horrible. Well that worked well didn’t it? Still it’s nice to see you still have your sense of humour.

  • I was very surprised to find when reading the Green Manifesto that they have morphed pretty much into a neo-communist party – something that most of their voters have not realised actually, I imagine! They go very far beyond environmentalism.

  • Simon Oliver
    I think you make a very good, positive case and you could point to many examples of practical local action by majority groups of Liberal Democrat councillors. I sincerely hope that we can get back to the party being the exemplary party on Green issues.

    However, we are stuck with a legacy which will be hard to live down and is summed up by what my son said to me after he had voted Green last Thursday — he said ” I have voted Liberal Democrat at every possible opportunity in the 20 years since I was 18. But I am against nuclear power and I am against nuclear weapons so this time I voted Green. ”

    My daughter 250 miles away at University also voted green and worked to help the green candidate on campus, which makes up an entire local council ward.
    Of course, she is of the cohort of students especially aware of the tuition fees debacle (the presentation of it – not the actual policy).
    Her view is that “The Greens are more Liberal Democrat than the Loberal Democrats.”. I can see her point.

  • Helen Dudden 15th May '15 - 5:29pm

    Obviously, they don’t follow your web page unless you have been seriously moderating comments..

  • @Andrew
    You are right. When they reported a massive increase in membership I was surprised that so many people are unable to read!

  • As soon as I read that the last government was more right-wing than Thatcher, for some reason, my eyes just start to glaze over.

  • Roger Heape 15th May '15 - 8:34pm

    We need to look at the big picture ,.There are now three protest parties in England-UKIP on the right wing and Lib Dems and Greens to the left.Competition between Greens and Lib Dems and Greens will prevent both from making progress.We should consider joining up as the Green and Liberal Alliance( GALA for short)

  • I rejoined the Lib Dems on Friday (last week) & then the next thing I did was rejoin the Green Lib Dems . I intend to be active at all levels too!
    Quite right about the Green Party in the remarks above – shame but its down to us to be the Party of People & Planet.
    Ps – Having the name Greenfield is always an opener to discuss the environment!

  • Peter Chivall 15th May '15 - 10:34pm

    Interesting that every critic of LibDems above does so based on social and economic policies, not environmental or energy policies, with the possible exception of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. They take it as axiomatic that to be ‘green’ you must also be ‘red’. Now I see myself as a radical liberal, so some might say I’m red also, but I believe it is possible to be ‘green’ winout having to be an authoritarian statist, and that is where I part company with my Green Party friends.

  • Neil Sandison 16th May '15 - 12:03pm

    The only way we will convince the armchair green activist that the Liberal Democrats are delivering on green policy is to demonstrate the advantages of a circular economy and how that will provide jobs and sustainability for communities.That old fashioned state ownership and high taxes does not lead to improved productivity or improve the quality of life or our environment. Indeed some of the slowest moving bodies I have had to deal with in adopting more sustainable policy have been County Councils who have the power of direction on issues like waste management .We need to own the circular economy agenda if we are to deliver a genuine understandable policy platform that is not dominated by outdated 1970s solutions currently being by the Greens.

  • Stephen Bolter 6th Jun '15 - 3:40pm

    To John Tilley’s son, and all of the who are concerned about nuclear matters.

    The Lib Dems are committed to multilateral nuclear disarmament, but while some in the party would like to maintain some sort of nuclear weapon, but without a constant instant availability, a significant movement within the party would like to go further and scrap the Trident system without replacement.

    The Lib Dems recognise the urgency of need to drastically cut fossil fuel use. We do not see nuclear power as a long term solution, but as renewable energy output increases, we wish to prioritise its use it to replace fossil fuels. Only when fossil fuels are reduced to a minor role, would I want to use further renewables to replace nuclear. Realistic assessments show that, with a large proportion of our existing nuclear generation is approaching the end of its original design life, or running on beyond it, our nuclear output would so fall fast as to make a rapid reduction in fossil fuel use impossible, unless we build a small number of new nuclear power plants.
    The Germans found that the Green Party inspired early closure of a fraction of its nuclear power stations led to a huge increase in the use of highly polluting brown coal.

    In my opinion quite rightly, campaigners against nuclear weapons have used every possible means to oppose them, but this has had the unfortunate effect of creating fear of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
    An assessment which included the long term effects of the much publicises accidents (and misadventures) in the life of the industry showed that nuclear fission is safer than every major method of electricity production except onshore wind. If one takes into account the cost of the pollution produced by fossil fuels it is one of the cheapest methods too. It has a very low carbon intensity.

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