Discussing trans rights with people who don’t care

Some people do not know what LGBT stands for. Being online gives a false perspective. Being interested in trans rights, we could scroll for hours a day and still read only a tiny proportion of the insane hatred devoted to rolling back trans rights, and the resistance to it. Twitter, facebook, etc, are desperate to show us transphobia in the hope we will engage, but usually only those already invested look.

I wanted Greens to know Shahrar Ali was making his pitch to anti-trans campaigners, so shared my blog. Mad haters plunged in: one alleged that Ali was being targeted by Zionists for his support for the Palestinians. Unfortunately, I called them “mad haters”, which makes me seem angry and confrontational, not good on a Green forum. Another went to the drafter of the Labour Party Transphobes’ Declaration and passed on her scurrilous accusations against me.

By using the term “mad haters” I had a tactical loss. I defended it- they are “mad” in that they are divorced from reality, only caring about opposing trans rights and not any other party issue; and they are haters, demanding the exclusion of absolutely every trans woman from all women’s spaces. And I was still rebuked, and warned to use constructive language, by people who apparently thought claiming a Jewish conspiracy was absolutely fine. She’s not attacking Jews, she’s attacking “Zionists”. Yeah, right.

Then someone wrote, “I certainly wouldn’t be happy with a Green party that didn’t support trans rights, but it doesn’t seem to me Shahrar wouldn’t. He explicitly says he supports the Equality Act.”

I wasn’t sure about that. Was this an anti-trans campaigner who had the knack of appearing reasonable? Ali does not say he supports the Equality Act, only “all the protected characteristics”. Anti-trans campaigners say they “support trans rights”, meaning trans rights as they define them- a right not to be harassed in the street or be sacked for being trans, but not a right for trans women to use women’s loos. But if someone could not recognise a trans flag, they would not spot that nuance by themselves.

So I explained, and met another question: How is ‘sex based rights’ code for excluding trans women? I explained that too. To my slight surprise she accepted my argument, saying people should accept the “single-sex” services in the Equality Act should include trans women. Then, rather than putting an argument, she was thinking out loud as she typed, she said some women felt vulnerable and threatened by trans inclusion. Could we work together?

No, is the answer to that. They make it a zero sum game- no trans women in women’s spaces, ever. They could see what they gain by trans inclusion, and work for a range of spaces, but they would be affronted to be restricted to some out of the way loo which was for trans-excluders, with the women’s for all women. But this woman has Green sympathies- For the Common Good- and likes to think people can always work together.

And then she said, if Shahrar supports the EA, surely he supports trans women in women’s spaces? I had to explain the other code he uses, around “politically homeless” women and “sex-based rights”. She still thought there was some doubt, and a need to help both sides of the “debate” to understand each other. Only a direct question to “Shahrar” would clear it up, but he isn’t answering.

-Do you still think there is doubt?
-The vast majority would not read Shahrar’s site the way you do. And trans people need to listen to the excluders, and hear their concerns.

She is right on that. People would not read it that way, unless they are engaged with the debate. They do not read it closely, and don’t particularly think about the bits they don’t understand- of course no novelist should receive a death threat for writing a think piece, and they don’t bother asking which novelist he means.

From Sara Ahmed, I get the understanding that people do not like to believe their social group contains bad people such as sexual predators, or those who discriminate on gender, colour or sexuality. So, they find accusations of bad behaviour a threat. The accusations and the accusers threaten their comfortable illusion that everything is OK. Surely Professor Smith would not do such a horrible thing? Diversity policies are put in place as proof that the organisation acts properly on diversity, not as a template for action against discriminators.

So I asked her directly. Now I have explained the code, do you accept Ali is calling for trans exclusion? I explained the whole screed again. And I was rewarded. “I think the issue here is exactly as you say.” But then, she immediately qualified. She still wanted a straight answer from Ali to “clear things up” and could see that Ali’s site could be interpreted as innocuous.

Even LGBT+ people disagree on what letters to add to the end, or what they stand for. QIA- Allies? Asexual? Both? I have seen a strong argument that Allies are definitely not included. The mad haters have created a jargon all their own. “Sex is Real” they say, and only the trans excluders and trans people, only people who have scrolled for hours and hours, see the pure nastiness they put in that phrase. It is hard to persuade the unengaged, and has to be done with great care.

Still, it’s lovely to think of someone who gets sympathy when she whines on a mad hater group, “I can’t go out, because there are no single-sex toilets anywhere! I haven’t bought new clothes in five years because there’s only mixed sex changing rooms to try them on!” Then she tries that with unengaged people, and meets perplexity and derision. If instead she stokes paranoia- trans women are dangerous, penises in women’s loos, etc- she may put off the Left-wingers, as she is more clearly spreading hate.

Shahrar Ali

Shahrar Ali would be a disaster for the Green Party if elected leader, or even if he got a significant vote. His “Elect Shahrar” page says almost nothing about the climate crisis, and a great deal of lightly coded argument against trans rights.

He starts with four bullet points. The first refers to “climate and ecological emergency”. If anyone would not prioritise that, they should not be in the Green Party. The second promises to reach out to “politically homeless women”.

Who are these women? Not all anti-trans campaigners are “politically homeless”. Nobody agrees with everything a party would do in government, as the Greens soon will be in Scotland. Anti-trans campaigners could vote Green despite the party’s trans inclusive policies, if they too would prioritise the climate emergency. They are only “politically homeless” if they make their campaign against trans rights the most important political issue. The other two points refer to his race, and his popularity.

Then there are 224 words on the climate crisis. Why can’t humans co-operate, he asks. “We are the last generation able to save the planet from ourselves”- a stirring call, but with very little on policy. He mentions short-haul flights, but would he ban them? The Greens should be more popular, he says.

Then there are 342 words, all dogwhistles against trans rights.

“We are fractious,” he says. Well, yes. Ali and others turned the Spring conference into a series of demands to fight against trans rights. He lost, but he sought to mandate misgendering. This wastes time and creates the “fractious” atmosphere he claims to oppose.

He wants “Services provided on same sex lines”. This is an anti-trans dogwhistle. Services are provided on same gender lines. Trans women are women. This is how the Equality Act works. “Same sex” is the wording used to make anti-trans campaigners angry and resentful, as if they might lose something. Trans women are in women’s spaces already.

He opposes “bullies”. So do I. Does he mean any bullies in particular? Trans people and our allies. This is clear from the next paragraph- he refers to an author receiving death threats “for publishing a thought piece”. Who could that possibly be but JK Rowling, who has said some pretty nasty things about trans people. It’s the most provocative way of putting it. All women on the internet get death threats. I have had a death threat, though my twitter is moribund. Any anti-trans campaigner, or trans ally, will get the reference immediately.

I would take a stand against abuse of women. Any Green voter would. That does not mean opposing trans rights. Trans women get abuse too.

He will defend all the protected characteristics, he claims. Someone trying to fool a person who was not transphobic, but did not understand the debate, might claim that means he is pro-trans. However, he qualifies it, by saying he will support “sex-based” rights. That is the anti-trans campaigners’ argument that cis women’s sex is female, and while a trans woman’s gender may be feminine her sex is still male. In other words, he would oppose trans people being treated badly as he defines it, but excluding all trans women from women’s spaces is absolutely fine by him. Then he refers to those “politically homeless” women again.

The page is deeply dishonest. If he were honest, he would say straight out that he wants to exclude trans women from all women’s services. Instead he says that in code, wanting to get all the votes of anti-trans campaigners while alienating as few as possible of the members who are vaguely pro-trans but don’t follow his coded references.

The website is almost entirely aimed at getting the votes of anti-trans campaigners. Ali is a front bench speaker for the party already. If he gets a significant vote, either trans people and our allies will leave, or the debate about trans rights will consume the party, crippling its ability to affect local politics or campaign on environmental issues. Shahrar Ali’s election would be a disaster for the climate.

1 September: Siân Berry dared to say Green party members should not vote for him, and this made him produce a ridiculous, long-winded reply. He condemned her for tweeting that, an uppity woman daring to express a political opinion he did not agree with, and then made the scurrilous accusation that because she disagreed with him she would not perform her last duties as acting leader properly. His grievance and sense of entitlement is as great as that of the extremist haters who would drive all trans women out of all women’s spaces.

1 October: the results were as follows.

First round:
Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay: 5062
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond: 3465
Transphobe Ali: 2422.
Others: 554.
Reopen nominations: 22
1349 votes were not transferrable- there was no second preference marked. 1627 votes transferred.

Second round: Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay: 5062+1212=6274.
Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond: 3465+437=3902.

This almost certainly means that some voted for Ali first, Womack and Omond second. Very few people are extreme enough anti-trans campaigners to join the party in order to vote for an anti-trans campaigner. I suppose that’s a mercy. I am glad the nonbinary person thrashed the transphobe. The new leaders say they will oppose the misinformation and false fears which is mobilised against trans people, and support GRA reform and improved trans health care.

5 February 2022: the man has finally been kicked out as a Green Party spokesman, for trampling on Green Party values. He has threatened court action. See how the anti-trans haters lose all reason: he used to support the Green Party because, presumably, of the climate crisis, but he would rather see it burn than allow it to support trans people, and our LGB and women allies.

Trans Rights at the Green Party Conference

The Green Party of England and Wales conference, ended today, has supported trans rights. They passed this, which will now be part of their policy document:

RR531 The Green Party believes that trans, non-binary, genderqueer, third gender and intersex people should have their gender legally recognised and be empowered to update their birth certificate and any other official documents, without medical or state encumbrance. We support the right for individuals to update their legally recognised gender by self-determination, the only requirement being a statutory declaration, to how they would describe their gender, including having the option to change their name on all documents.

A similar paragraph came up at the Autumn 2020 conference. “Self-declaration” has been replaced by “self-determination”, because declaration might imply choice, and we are who we are. But “without requiring approval from a doctor or a judge” has been replaced by “the only requirement being a statutory declaration”. A statutory declaration has a penalty of perjury for falsehood. The new version adds the bit about changing the name on documents. In 2002, my university agreed to give me a degree certificate in my new name.

When Theresa May announced her proposal in 2017, that was what I hoped the law would be. We are not ill. ICD11, which comes into force next year, acknowledges we are not ill. To require us to produce a letter from a specialist psychiatrist stating that we are not ill in a particular way is ridiculous. Unfortunately, the Tories have moved even to the right of Theresa May, and believe culture war is a good way for them to retain power.

The Green Party also passed a motion to recognise trans parents on their children’s birth certificates as father or mother appropriate for their gender.

However, they have a large number of anti-trans obsessives, as if their main aim was ending trans rights rather than stopping the climate disaster. They had motions

  • To prevent medical treatment for trans children, disingenuously titled “To prevent irreversible damage to children with gender dysphoria”. They also had an emergency motion to prohibit GenderGP from operating in the UK, when the High Court has stopped the NHS from providing treatment.
  • To “ensure gender and sex are not conflated” by mandating misgendering of trans women in all government data, forcing the disclosure of birth sex of trans people.
  • To kick trans women out of women’s sports, claiming that women have “physically diminutive stature and strength”.

There was also an amendment proposed to RR531 which would have turned its meaning around. With this level of obsession, anyone would think the climate was absolutely fine.

Siân Berry, the co-leader and London mayoral candidate, was delighted. So was Caroline Russell, member of the London Assembly.

Unfortunately, a large minority voted against trans rights at the conference: about 230 of just over 500 voting. Shahrar Ali, their home affairs speaker, tweeted darkly about “things that move us away from recognising truth and reality”. It is as if he cannot see the truth before his eyes, that trans people exist, that we always have done, and that trans recognition increases freedom by subverting gender stereotypes. He moved the motion against GenderGP. Ali says this is about child safeguarding.

I am a trans woman. I would have hoped that the Green Party would support trans rights because trans people are a harmless minority. Unfortunately, some people are riled up to prevent trans rights, and become obsessive as if this was the most important issue in politics. I am glad the Green Party voted the right way, and appalled that so many Greens wanted to waste time persecuting trans people.

The Green Party and trans

I was a member of the Green Party. Now, I am committed to the success of the Labour Party, because with first past the post only Labour can defeat the poisonous Tory MP in my constituency. In considering what the party should do, from my almost powerless position as an active member I only want its electoral success. In Brighton, or in a proportional system, I would be an enthusiastic campaigner for the Greens.

The Green Party says welcoming things about trans people in their long, detailed policy statements. The Green Party recognises that there are many gender identities that are within, and outside of, the traditional gender binary of man and woman. The Green Party recognises that trans men are men, trans women are women, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid. We shall respect transgender and non-binary people’s identities as real. The Green Party shall include, and push for further acceptance of, transgender and non-binary people within all areas of society. They would increase NHS provision to “empower rather than demean” us. They would extend the protected characteristic beyond those who intend to transition, (probably that means to non-binary, but may mean to cross-dressers) and remove exemptions in the Equality Act, so women’s services could not exclude us. They have no power to carry out any of this, but it still shows we are welcome.

And, some Green Party members are gender critical feminists, including apparently two prospective parliamentary candidates. I asked Dawn Furness what the Green policy on trans inclusion was, and she refused to answer unless I confirmed I was in her constituency. Then I said I heard you are trans exclusionary. If so, I hope you do not bring the Green Party into disrepute.

It’s not an entirely friendly way of putting it, but her response was OTT. That sounds an awful lot like threats and intimidation… Perhaps you could explain your defamatory statement “I heard you are trans exclusionary.” before I pass the matter on to my solicitor?

-Your angry response disturbs me.
I think you are confusing my polite and civil responses with your own anger and intimidation.

More heat than light there, as with the trans “debate” on telly, after which a Green party candidate, Olivia Palmer, was suspended for allegedly engaging in transphobic abuse.

If you google Olivia Palmer or Dawn Furness, you find their twitter profiles. Both appear to be talented individuals, but they have no press coverage or interest as candidates. Palmer is quoted as saying “It is immensely damaging to give credence to climate change deniers and biological sex deniers alike”. So, that’s me told, lumped in with the Bad People like Donald Trump in one pithy quote.

What can I say to these people? Please, please shut up. You might not like your party’s position on trans people. It was made in a different time, before this damaging battle was fomented by your party’s enemies. If you persist (yes, that word which has resonance for feminists) you will have some press coverage, delighted at the Greens fighting amongst themselves and poking fun at the arcane nature of their battles. Twitter warriors will tweet angrily from the extremes of both sides, and gender critical feminists and trans people will resign from the party in high dudgeon. Local parties will be split, with activists unable to work with each other.

My ideal solution for Palmer’s suspension would be for her to state that she should not be abusive, and for her suspension to be lifted. No-one should be abusive. I doubt it will happen. So people for whom this is the only important political battle at the moment will pile in, and the authoritarian hard Right will rejoice.

7 February 2021: Kathryn Bristow, a trans woman, and Emma Bateman, who “stands up for sex-based rights”, are co-chairs of Green Party Women, elected in December. The Daily Mail claimed “dozens” of activists were leaving the Green Party over Bristow’s election. That is, some “sex-based rights” campaigners are so obsessive they think excluding trans women is more important than the climate crisis.

Sian Berry, London Mayoral candidate, tweeted “I want London to be the most trans-inclusive city in the world”.

7 March 2021: The party conference passed a motion for self-determination of trans people. However, anti-trans obsessives brought motions, all defeated, to attack trans rights.

27 August 2021: Shahrar Ali produced a campaign site where his opposition to trans rights, sometimes expressed in coded language, took more words than the climate crisis and was the only substantive issue, apart from climate, mentioned. Fortunately, he was clearly defeated for the party leadership.

May General Election Predictions in Full

My general election predictions, in order of likelihood:

1. Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party come out with around 280 seats each. With no other viable coalition, they enter a grand coalition. A quarter of the MPs of each can leave in disgust and they still have an overwhelming majority. The Labour Party is annihilated in the 2020 election.

2. The Labour Party, slightly ahead, forms a coalition with the Greens, Scottish Nationalists and Welsh Nationalists. David Cameron, proclaiming the slogan English Votes for English Laws and declaring the government illegitimate, boycotts Parliament, supported by the Tory councils across England and Tory Police Commissioners.

3. The Green Surge continues, increasing geometrically not arithmetically and buoyed by the success of Syriza in producing the first economic growth in Greece in five years and of Podemos in the Spanish elections. A Green majority government abolishes nuclear power generation and scraps British nuclear weapons. Foreign nuclear energy companies sue Britain for hundreds of billions of pounds in lost profits through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement procedure of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Britain refuses to pay up, and the USA invades to enforce payment backed by a UN resolution and the gleeful concurrence of Mr Putin and Mr Xi, who hope America will stop being so holier than thou at last. Jacques-Louis David, Helen and Paris

Dr Richard Milne on climate change

In this video, Dr Richard Milne explains the clear evidence for human-created climate change, the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, and the nature and actions of the true sceptic. The lecture is an hour long, followed by twenty minutes of questions. Or, read my summary.

It is socially acceptable to put all that CO2 into the atmosphere because of ignorance and disinformation. Deniers blur vital distinctions between the basic science, which is proven, and advanced science, which is still under debate, and between true sceptics who advance science and deniers, who retard it; and between politics- What should we do?- and science- What are the facts? Though some scientists are also environmentalists, urging political action, these two roles can be distinguished.

The suggestion that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 was wrong, but was a minor point about the timing of future effects- the most advanced and controversial scientific question. It does not discredit the assertion that the Earth is actually warming. The true sceptic prunes away that false assertion, but the denier seeks to destroy public trust in climate science as a whole. The sceptic produces evidence to convince the scientific community, the denier ignores or attacks the scientific community and uses whatever arguments s/he can to convince the public, with books and articles rather than peer-reviewed papers. Good science follows the evidence, bad science is too much attached to one desired outcome and cherry-picks the evidence.

There are four clear facts, and two causal relationships:

1. CO2 absorbs more heat from reradiated light than air does.
2. Humans have emitted over one trillion tonnes of CO2.
3. There has been an increase in atmospheric CO2 of more than half a trillion tonnes since 1850
4. Global temperatures have increased over the past century.

We have known CO2 is a greenhouse gas since the 19th century. For climate change to be caused by humans, fact 2 must cause 3, and and 1 and 3 together must cause fact 4. Deniers say volcanoes cause the increase in CO2, but humans emitted thirty billion tonnes in 2008, and volcanoes emitted about 100m. Animals breathe out CO2, but plants absorb it. There is no explanation of what has happened to CO2 emitted by humans, other than that much of it remains in the atmosphere.

We know the CO2 absorbs energy, because satellites measure the light energy leaving our planet, and the reduction matches the absorption wavelengths of CO2 and CH4. Does the Sun also contribute? The Sun’s emission of heat grew in the first half of the 20th century, but not since- so it could contribute to temperatures rising then, but not after then.

Deniers also dig up discredited evidence and produce false experts. They call climate change a scare story, implying it is not true. The scary hole in the ozone layer reduced, because people reduced CFC emissions. Many natural factors affect the climate, but over different timescales than the 150 years of increased CO2.

Denialists use logical fallacies such as correlation implying causation. There has been climate change before- it can be natural- but that does not mean that it is natural now, or that it is nothing to worry about- it caused the Permian/Triassic mass extinction. Greenland was warmer in the Mediaeval Warm Period, but Siberia was colder.

He explains the Climategate scandal, of leaked emails. There was no conspiracy. The most incriminating email said, I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last twenty years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.  The denier points to the words “trick” and “hide the decline”, and spins this as deceit by a scientist. The sceptic finds out that the email concerned tree ring data tracking temperature- trees grow better in warm years- until about 1980, but thereafter does not. This is called the divergence problem. Since 1980, something else is limiting tree growth- but if there were a conspiracy, scientists would cover up that divergence.

Why do people deny climate change? Because it is too scary; because some profit from emitting CO2 now; and because right wing politicians oppose communal action generally, and communal action is the way to reduce CO2 emissions.

Milne recommends this site. Painting from here.

Crab Nebula 1, by Berta Rosenbaum Golahny

Citizens’ Income

Grace 1I find this Green party policy attractive. My sister called it ridiculous, because unaffordable and not giving proper incentives, as well as that the party had no power to implement it. I feel that it will appeal to a particular kind of personality, and rational persuasion of its value will be more difficult for others.

It will appeal to communal people, like me. We like “everyone to get along”, and have a high level of altruism. Perhaps altruistic is a better word. Altruistic people build strong communities. Individualists look out for themselves. This is not because they are bad, but because of their character, and has advantages for the whole community as the individualist seizes advantages no other has seen- as long as those advantages are not to the detriment of others, but benefit the Relative Least Advantaged Person.

Grace 2The communal person will see that only a hurt or damaged person will seek to be a freeloader, or feel unable to better themself by working for additional income. The individualist might see attraction in freeloading and be suspicious of others being tempted. The Green party sees the informal sector- people doing each other favours- growing, a highly communal view.

Initially, the citizens’ income would be partial, not including housing costs, and housing benefit would remain means tested. HB would be extended to cover contributions towards mortgage repayments. Eventually, the CI would cover housing costs, taking account of the variation of housing costs across the country, from high to insanely high.

Grace 3To me, the stress of the constant threat of loss of income to benefit sanctions makes a person less likely to find work. There were 554,000 sanctions in eight months to June 2013, a 10% increase on a similar period in the previous year, on 2.5m JSA claimants at any one time. We need more carrot, less stick. The CI would achieve Beveridge’s ideal of a reliable safety net which would not stifle initiative or incentives. Now, we have no safety net. There would be incentives to take part time work. More people could undertake higher education or training. The tax system would be simpler. Redistribution of income from the wealthy to the poor would increase the flow of money, as the poor spend more of their income on basic services.

Now, employers pay low wages and the state makes them up with tax credits, but with a CI it would be easier to change jobs, and so employers would have to pay realistic wages to retain staff.

How would it be paid for? By replacing current benefit payments, reducing administration costs in the tax and benefits systems, and improving economic efficiency. Because fewer people would be caught in the poverty trap, more would be practically available for work. Multinational companies do not pay tax on profits created in Britain under the current system.

Much of this is cribbed from the Citizens’ Income Trust.

Green policies

Botticelli-primavera- Venus and CupidSurely the Green Party’s policies are a waste of time? It wants a citizen’s income and the decommissioning of British nuclear weapons, neither of which are remotely likely to happen. At best, with a Green cohort of twenty MPs holding the balance of power and entering coalition with Labour, would Labour accept either of these, even if the Greens agreed to support all other Labour policies as the price of them? This is an optimistic view of the potential election outcome.

If the Greens have practically no chance of implementing nuclear disarmament, why bother announcing it as a policy?

I find nuclear deterrence ridiculous. It might have some value in a world with five nuclear powers, but when North Korea might develop a bomb and a missile system to deliver it, it seems reasonable that Kim Jong Un would not be deterred by the destruction of his country from firing off the missiles, if he felt his grip on power slipping. If he cared about his people’s suffering, he would not be governing as he does. I do not want a Prime Minister who is willing to destroy all life on Earth, even if provoked by the destruction of all life in the UK. Having a submarine hidden somewhere under the Atlantic, hidden well enough that it can emerge and destroy the World, revolts me. It is a sin, demanding repentance and cleansing.

Saving the money- whether £15-20bn as the Government claims, £34bn says Greenpeace, £100bn for lifetime costs says the Scottish Government– would be good too. £16 666 for every person in the country, a good contribution towards a citizen’s income.

I want that policy to be articulated, with as loud a voice as we have. Whatever result it may have- losing the UN Security Council permanent seat, perhaps, or offending our allies; whoever many oppose it- all the other parties, though 63% of voters support scrapping Trident. I want it to be part of the national conversation, a nagging doubt at the back of the most militaristic mind, a named possibility so that others might see the rightness of it and come to support it. This is a long game, but politics has to last more than a week.

And, the policy says who we are. It arises from our principles. It is the kind of thing Green MPs would seek. We would turn away from fear and hatred to trust and hope.

The Green Party

Natalie BennettWhy did I join the Green Party? Because I loathe UKIP. This is not quite as negative as it sounds.

I am concerned that the Green Party may take votes from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Labour is one of two possible parties for a Government or coalition leader. It is the traditional left wing party. The Lib Dems in coalition have been a moderating influence on the Conservatives, and have by being in Government got some of their policies implemented, such as the increased personal allowance for income tax, now supported by the other parties. The former model, that two parties fought for the centre ground, and included the radical fringes, meant that some form of national consensus was achieved, whichever party was in power.

This did not prevent strong party loyalty. “The thing is,” my father told me, while still working, “that for Conservatives it is the Country first, then the party, then myself, but for Labour politicians it is self first, then party, then country.” I lapped it up at the time.

Caroline LucasI fear an electoral result like that of Greece. It is insomnia politics- you lie awake, unable to get comfortable, either lying on your Right or your Left- so voters reject both main parties, and turn to the extremists. All sixteen Golden Dawn MPs are in custody pending trial. The extremists will find themselves as constrained by “Events, dear boy” as the others, without the experience or the mandate to deal with them appropriately.

But given that voters might reject both main parties, I want them to have an alternative other than UKIP. The UKIP message- “They’re all crap, you’re angry, vote UKIP”- is a simple way to channel disaffected voters, and I want those voters to have a left-wing alternative too. I don’t want them to be taken as votes for cutting foreign aid and abolishing the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The large number of disaffected voters changes my calculation. I would have voted Labour to retain my Labour MP and make a left wing government more likely, but the necessity of winning back those disaffected voters from the bad men of UKIP lets me campaign for policies which can give me hope and make my heart leap, such as the Citizens’ Income and nuclear disarmament. See how those policy statements are written for adults! They are simple and persuasive.