Natalie Bennett, Jenny Jones, Stalin – and a day to forget for the Greens


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Indy Politics

To underline the much-mentioned “green surge” – “and yes, that’s the hashtag”, announced Greens’ leader Natalie Bennett – the party today displayed the names of many of its 54,500  members – Darius from Horsham; Cordelia from London; Marisa from Glastonbury, etc. This was very much what this campaign launch was about.

What it very much wasn’t about, as steely chairperson (Baroness) Jenny Jones pointed out, was policy. “You can ask as many questions as you like about our manifesto but we won’t be answering them today,” she said sternly.

This may have been connected with Ms Bennett’s having spectacularly lost the plot on LBC radio about how the party would fund 500,000 new social homes. “Man,” the Baroness pronounced fiercely at one reporter, after clarifying she would be taking questions in strict “man-woman” rotation to preserve gender balance.

“Man”, from Sky News, suggested that the interview had been “excruciating” – Ms B nodded engagingly – and asked her whether she had let the party down. “She’s not going to answer that,” announced Jones. “Yes I will,” said Ms Bennett. “No, no, no ,” insisted Lady Jones.


This schism within what would be, if Jenny Jones had her way, the Greens’ equivalent of Stalin’s politburo,  with her playing Stalin, was actually resolved in favour of Ms Bennett, who defied the baroness by gamely pursuing the self-criticism option, explaining she had had a “mind-blank”.

“This happens,” she added, which is true, though not usually as epicly to party leaders. Let’s look on the bright side. While much sketchier on the err... detail than the fortunately present Caroline Lucas MP – she is super-imbued with the vision thing.

Jenny Jones

“The old way of doing things is falling apart,” she declared, in what could have been a reference to the art of being interviewed, but wasn’t. “The politics of hope is triumphing over the politics of fear.”

Secondly, it’s unlikely that most Green votes are cast on the basis of what she insisted would be “a fully costed manifesto” once the party’s “supreme policy-making body” had considered it.

Earlier, chairperson Jones had introduced Darren Hall “the next MP for Bristol West”, who had been working “in the green fields for some time now”. This bucolic image conjured a herdsman, but in fact referred to his recent environment-minded job on Bristol City Council.

Illustrating the breadth of the party’s appeal, Hall said he was not a “deep Green person”. More pistachio perhaps, or chartreuse. That’s the diversity of a party on the rise. Fifty shades of Green!