Private Eye spies Greens

Further to the leakage of the British National Party membership list there’s a piece [pdf] in Private Eye in which Greens Engage are mentioned.

It is important to remember that the leaked BNP list also contained former minor Labour and Liberal Democrat officials. The thing is, when Conservatives forsake the the Conservative Party for the BNP it makes the Conservative Party look less bigotted. When Labour members are attracted away to the BNP, this is also straightforwardly explained in terms of Labour’s failure to respond to the needs of the white working classes. But when Greens – particularly prominent Greens like Keith Bessant – defect and all the Green spokesperson can muster in response is something like “The BNP had a more radical climate change policy”, that looks pretty bad. As the Private Eye piece illustrates, it reminds people of the first European government to promote environmentalism, back in the 1930s.

Greens have worked hard to lose our earlier reputation as the party of romantics and cranks with fringe of far right support, and for good reason we were successful. The danger is that we get it back in the ways set out in Private Eye. Basically, in order to keep on the right side of the credibility gap, we have to exorcise the spectre of David Icke which has been making its presence felt lately.

Hull Greens link to reports blaming 9/11 on Mossad and the CIA. A 9/11 conspiracy believers’ motion to Conference was defeated by just two votes. Tony Gosling gives a glaringly far-fetched and antisemitic conspiracy theory a fair hearing because it chimes with his own beliefs.

If we want to do something about this – and as a political party which aspires to the mainstream we must – we need to respond sharply to people with homophobic, antisemitic values and unassailable conspiracy beliefs when they attempt to build power bases.

If we fail in this we will attract people like Tony Gosling and Keith Bessant and force away gays, Jews, people who care about gays and Jews, and people wish us to pursue serious, stately international relations.

(Private Eye got something wrong though – Greens Engage are not a splinter group, and although we care about Jews I’m certain that not all of us are Jewish.)

UPDATE 28/11: from the comments below: further to a complaint against Tony Gosling by his local party, he has been suspended [update: Bristol Greens have removed reference to Gosling from their site – try Derek Wall’s blog instead] pending investigation of homophobic comments. This is very welcome indeed. There is no reference anywhere about antisemitic statements made by Gosling. Don’t these also matter in the Green Party?


10 thoughts on “Private Eye spies Greens

  1. miravogel Post author

    Environmentalism was well-developed in 30s Germany and many Nazis were also environmentalists. But there’s not a linear relationship between today’s Greens and Nazis. Nazis weren’t ‘proto-Greens’ in any sense. Nazis believed that human problems would be solved if we could cleanse ourselves of everything alien and return to a notional natural state again. “Politically-applied biology”. There’s none of that in our Manifesto.

  2. raphael

    I have seen it Pippa. What do you make of the fact that it ignores Gosling antisemitism?

    I am glad that Gosling is suspended during the investigation. As a member of the GP, I am proud that the GP has finally taken public and firm action on this case.

    However, I am amazed that confronted with a case of a member who has made antisemitic and homophobic statements, the Green Party decides to communicate only on the homophobic statements and ignore the antisemitism. Does the GP think that homophobic statements cause offense but antisemitic do not? Does the GP has a scale in how serious various forms of racism are?


  3. Pippa

    Hi Raphael,

    I’d rather not express any opinions on this case until after the official processes are over as I’m a member of soc, but I’m sure others will wade in 😉


  4. Gordon

    I’m willing to give Keith Bessant a bit of a break given that he seems to have had a nervous breakdown. It’s the 9/11 cranks, malthusians, and anti-Semites and homophobes we can do without (not in that order, necessarily).

  5. miravogel Post author

    On the international list there is some satisfaction – of the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ variety – that we have been noticed by Private Eye.

    Whistling in the dark.

  6. Bristol Green

    We are well aware here of the Anti-Semitic nature of much that Gosling links to, and that he could well be anti-semitic himself.
    The document (Muslim news) that brought Gosling to our attention contained a homophobic statement, hence the way the statement has been phrased.
    As we all know defining anti-semitism can be a tricky thing, whereas he is “banged to rights” on the homophobia!
    All good reason why we don’t want him in the GPEW
    (Anon as official investigation ongoing)

  7. miravogel Post author

    Thanks Bristol Green. It is good not to tolerate homophobia and it is probably a clearer-cut prejudice, you’re right. Do you know whether the investigation will also take in Gosling’s blatant antisemitic views, or is it strictly tied to the homophobia mentioned in the complaint?

  8. bristolgreen

    Hi Mira,
    We became aware of the homophobia when we were alerted to the Muslim News article and acted on it the same day.
    As to his anti-semitism, he certainly is involved with the type of conspiracy theory garbage that often has anti semitic roots, I haven’t myself read his stuff (better things to do) but I do belive you when you associate him with anti-semitism.
    He hadn’t been active in Bristol GP since I have been here (2 years nearly) and the first I heard of him was this sorry tale.
    We acted on the Homophobia issue because we has it in print as a direct quote from him, the anti semitism is there no doubt, but perhaps harder to pin him down in an effective way.


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