Norfolk’s Green Group Leader defects… to the Tories

Courtesy of Andrew Sinclair, BBC East’s political correspondent

Philip Hardy, the Group Leader for the Greens on Norfolk County Council, and councillor for Thorpe Hamlet has defected to the Conservatives, the first Green councillor thought to have done so. Elected to the council in 2009, he gained the seat from the Liberal Democrats, before becoming Group Leader in July last year.

From the Eastern Daily Press;

Derrick Murphy, leader of Norfolk County Council hailed Mr Hardy’s move as a “major coup”. He said: “Philip is a fantastic councillor who has already managed to make Norfolk a better place through his work on the Energy Services Company amongst other projects.

He is a dynamic, passionate and hard working individual and I am confident he will make an excellent contribution to the Conservative Group at County Hall.

We have worked out that he is the seventh most senior Green Party politician in the UK and one of the first group leaders in local government to join another political group.”

This is the third defection to the Conservatives on Norfolk County Council in recent months, following those of Paul Rice (Liberal Democrat, South Smallburgh) and David Callaby (Liberal Democrat, Fakenham).

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  • they realise that they might as well go to the real thing rather than Tories-lite

  • @Simon, the Greens are Tory-lite?

  • Grammar Police 20th Dec '11 - 1:55pm

    The main thing they have in common with the Tories is their euroscepticism (we have one of the only Green Parties that is that way inclined). Given that issues such as environmental protection don’t respect national boundaries, this seems to me a ridiculous position. I suspect their sister party colleagues overseas agree too.

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Dec '11 - 2:18pm

    “The main thing they have in common with the Tories is their euroscepticism”
    — I don’t think the Greens’ euroscepticism is really comparable with the Tories’: it’s about the nature of the institutions rather than opposition to multinational sovereignty as such. And it’s an odd thing for a Councillor to defect over. Very peculiar. 😕

  • You can be a “green” fascist or a “green” trotskyite, and anything in between – liberal, conservative, anarchist, socialist, whatever. That’s why I’m a Liberal, not a Green.

  • Richard Swales 21st Dec '11 - 11:01am

    The green party is very much like that. Even on the environmental agenda they range from Gaia worshippers to hardheaded respectable scientists carrying research data.
    To what extent is this not true of us though? I have a test question. If I stay at work for an extra hour tonight (teaching English as a foreign language), I make an extra 10.00 – of this, how much of this extra money should belong to me and how much to the rest of society?
    I don’t mean it rhetorically, I would actually like people to post answers. Reading the posts on these boards, I get the impression that the answers will range from almost 0.00 for me (i.e. it should be split as evenly as possibly between everyone to ensure equality and avoid psychosocial stress), all the way up to around 8.00 for me (i.e. it’s my money and why should I lose it). I also get the impression that if I wasn’t teaching English but working in some hate-profession such as banking then the answers would also be different.

    If the range really is a wide as that, then can’t we say that we have LibDem communists, and LibDem conservatives and everything in between?

  • I love the phrase ‘competitive recycling’, Daniel – it’s got such a poetic succinctness.
    Richard, the range of opinion amongst Liberal democrats is not as wide as as 0% to 80% as I’m sure you know. What Liberal democrat has ever suggested that people should be taxed “until the pips squeaked”, as a well-known former Labour Chancellor did? I therefore don’t think that you could conceivably have LibDem communists – unfortunately conservative LibDems are another matter!

  • Richard Swales 22nd Dec '11 - 10:34am

    @TonyHill – maybe not, but then my question is how far should this “equal=fair” agenda go then? There are plenty of people on this site whose posts lead only to the logical conclusion that I am in the wrong because in staying later at work to earn more money for my family I am pushing other people into relative poverty and their children into child poverty.

    I think you also have to make the distinction between the percentage people would choose as their “ethical” position and their “tactical” position. There are people who don’t have an ethical problem with calling some people donkeys and making them pull along the rest of society, and would see income equality as a fair ideal, but they know it is difficult to implement without guns, fences and watchtowers (as was pretty quickly discovered in Eastern Europe), so instead they argue for taxes as high as practically possible (in other words to go for the peak on the Laffer curve). It’s true that I have never heard a “Senior Lib Dem” argue for making the pips squeak, but I have also never heard one describe any level of taxation as unfair on the grounds that “It’s not our money”, as distinct from inexpedient on the grounds that “Incentivization will be lost”.

  • Richard Swales 22nd Dec '11 - 11:56am

    Daniel: Yes, but in the UK at least poverty is usually defined in relative terms, so if some people earning more money pushes up national average income, then other people are pushed into poverty. This is the idea behind a book called the spirit level that has been name-checked by posters on this site at least twice in the last few days, which states that equality per se (as distinct from raising the minimum level of income) is the most important goal as it is inequality that leads to lower health outcomes, psychosocial stress and so on. The implications of that are of course, horrendous.

    The tax-avoidance/Africa point is true, but once you fix that then you still have to decide what the fair tax levels should be. Actually those are some of the points that really divide liberals from conservatrives, who care much less about those issues.

    It also should remembered that opportunites in a country (such as where I live, Slovakia) with no real financial services sector beyond retail banking are much more limited than in the UK as inevitably all but very few businesses of any size are foreign-owned (who generally import their own nationals into top positions) or belong to rich families (who favour their relatives). So it is questionable whether banks and particularly the markets they operate are really depressing national welfare in the UK or not.

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