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Criticism not crucifixion – a Lefty’s apology

August 5, 2010

It’s been a good week for Caroline Lucas. Parliament has recessed which I hope has given her a break from  the stuffy halls of our democracy. She has formed (or played a part in the formation) of a formidable ‘coalition of resistance‘ against the Tories hefty cuts.  She has tabled an EDM drawing grassroots support from all political quarters about Ian Tomlinson’s death and not one right-wing blog that I found railed against or criticised her homeopathy gaff.  



I call it a gaff because Lucas usually shows excellent judgement by not touching ‘deep green’ policy areas with a barge pole.  Instead she uses her position as leader of the Green Party and their first representatvie in Parliament to carve out a new vision of what it means to be green. People who noticed her intelligent advocacy for equality during her political career have been impressed and refreshed by the clarity of her vision as she uses her role in Parliament to highlight areas of social injustice and British responsibility: voicing a different, more local, more accountable way of doing politics.  

In our coalition government of compromise (where compromise is an agreement between two sides to do what both agree is wrong), her voice has been something to rally towards, a voice that the left, all of the left, can be proud of, and surprisingly (from a Greenie) can relate to.

So I found it slightly odd when, one week ago, a plethora of angry lefties, tweeting, retweeting and blogging, forced the spotlight on Caroline’s first mistake (a left-wing blog’s name for her misdemeanour, not mine). In EDM 284 Caroline betrayed some vague support for homeopathy. She joined 24 signatories from 6 parties to ask that those for whom homeopathy works (and there are many) still be allowed to receive it on the NHS. Such a stance is unsurprising perhaps for an MP being paid to represent the homeopathic-heavy constituency of Brighton and Hove. 

The best criticism that the Lefties levied was for a party that asks politics to heed scientific consensus (ie. climate change is real and a big threat) should heed scientific consensus when it comes to medical science (or lack thereof).  It’s a criticism that I can’t find a comeback to, and perhaps neither can Lucas.

We saw in our latest election what happens when the Left splits the Left. A centre-right party co-opted our language, won our support and has now destroyed on of the Left’s many parties.  If Lucas’s friends harry her for the times she does not impress them nor represent them, then she has no need for enemies.

This is not an apology for Lucas, nor a demand that she be beyond criticism.  It is only a request that we control our harping voice, especially when our voices are the only ones raised in outrage.  Moral outrage should be confined, as much as possible, to the Daily Mail rather than seeping into our criticisms of the Left.  

We don’t all need to pile in after every mistake Lucas makes (and there will be many – 4 years is a long time).  Instead perhaps we should pile together before piling in on the more significant mistakes made by the right.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 12:09 pm

    This is an excellent piece. Factionalising left-parties are one of the problems with British politics. Some good sense espoused in this piece!

  2. August 5, 2010 12:17 pm

    More on this here: http://greenerblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/bma-homoeopathy-homeopathy-debate.html
    and here:
    http://greenerblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-to-undermine-big-pharmas-influence.html

    Follow the Reilly link. He details positive results from H trials, which are rejected on scholastic grounds (i.e. “There is no material there, so H cannot work, so positive results must be erroneous).
    Cheers
    Richard

  3. August 5, 2010 12:38 pm

    You ran against a Green Party candidate. You also split from one climate activist group to form your own. And you want to preach about leftist unity?

    • August 6, 2010 1:44 pm

      Thanks for the comment Comrade Fury. It’s true that I was involved in two political initiatives. Starting something new is different from gunning something down. It’s a constructive distinction.

      • August 12, 2010 4:02 pm

        you justify it to yourself however you like, but your real motivation is clear: self-publicity

  4. August 5, 2010 1:40 pm

    Hello,

    yup, I agree – we comissioned the http://www.brightgreenscotland.org blog on homeopathy alongside a whole load of other pieces on Green Party things, most of which say – implicitly or explicitly, that Caroline is getting things right. It’s important that, as a party and movement, we recognise our mistakes early so we learn and move on, rather than ignoring them now and waiting for them to come back and bite us later.

    So, yes, well done Caroline for lots of great things she’s done this week, and before. And lets not talk about the homeopathy nonsense any more.

    Adam

  5. August 6, 2010 9:57 pm

    I have been critical of Tamsin in the past and equally no one including Caroline should be above criticism however this is an excellent post, the homeopathy hysteria is totally over the top.

    The EDM is pretty mild, let people have choice and members of six parties signed, yet Caroline has been singled out.

    Well done Tamsin

  6. Richard P permalink
    August 12, 2010 8:48 pm

    You observe that 4 years is a long time. You’re right, but unfortunately it’s worse than that: the Coalition doesn’t plan to hold the next election under 2015 and if it gets its way, elections will be at fixed 5-year intervals thereafter. Which is something the left should argue strongly against, in favour of 4-year or perhaps (as in Australia and NZ and formerly in Sweden) 3-year terms instead.

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  1. Why we chose to criticise Caroline Lucas over Homeopathy | Liberal Conspiracy

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