Wednesday 22 May 2019 8:21 am

The extremist Green party is trying to overthrow capitalism

Harry Phibbs is a journalist at Conservative Home.

The Green Party is doing well. It gained nearly 200 council seats in the recent local elections and is hoping for a strong showing in the European ones this week.

Publicity over school children going “on strike” to protest about climate change has helped. With politicians competing to fawn over the truants, the Green Party makes an easy claim to moral superiority compared to the mainstream parties.

It has managed to hit the balance of being anti-establishment, but also worthy and respectable.

Yet the Green Party is a thoroughly extremist outfit. Like the watermelon, it is green on the outside but red inside.

Of course there are genuine environmental challenges to be faced. But the only solution the Green Party is interested in is a miserabilist agenda that would include the overthrow of the free enterprise system.

Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP, has been a long-standing supporter of the oppressively Marxist regime in Venezuela.

Back in 2007 she signed a letter to the Guardian, along with Labour’s Ken Livingstone and Diane Abbott, declaring: “We believe that the lives of millions of Venezuelans have been transformed by the progressive social and democratic policies of Hugo Chavez’s government. Extreme poverty has been halved, illiteracy nearly eliminated, participation in education has more than doubled and free basic healthcare extended to nearly 20m people. Unemployment has fallen to a historic low.”

She went on to be a patron of the Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign.

Then we have Molly Scott Cato, a Green MEP. When Fidel Castro, the mass murderer and Communist dictator of Cuba, died, she tweeted the following tribute: “RIP #Fidel, last of the great revolutionaries. Inspiration to many to fight for social justice and bulwark against worst excesses of market.”

These sentiments are an outrage to all who believe in freedom and democracy. Yet within the Green Party, there is nothing odd about them. Cheerleading for totalitarian regimes is the norm.

However, Green supporters should reread their history. The socialist states not only brought tyranny and poverty – they also proved ecological catastrophes.

The state-owned factories of the Soviet Union and the rest of the Warsaw Pact were great sources of pollution.

One estimate from the 1980s found that particulate air pollution was 13 times higher per unit of GDP in eastern Europe than in western Europe. The Aral Sea between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was devastated to fit the demands of the central planners.

Eco-warriors decry profits. But the profit motive encourages efficiency. That includes keeping the use of energy and other scarce natural resources to a minimum. A command economy stops the price mechanism from functioning effectively to send such signals.

The Green Party’s very ideology prevents it from being open-minded about how the environment can be safeguarded. New technology and innovation offer exciting opportunities to improve our environment, but these are dismissed as ideological deviations.

The Times recently reported on the efforts of Sir James Dyson to have his cyclonic filter added to car exhaust systems to trap pollution particulates. It could provide us with much cleaner air.

But why should the Green Party be interested in pushing for a solution from a billionaire Brexiteer?

Then there is the fracking revolution. Natascha Engel, who resigned after just seven months as the government’s shale gas commissioner, says that “fracked gas with half the emissions of coal” is “an essential element in any transition to a renewable future”.

She adds: “If environmental groups really cared about reducing carbon emissions quickly, they would be fracking’s biggest supporters.”

But backing that would put the Green Party on the same side as another billionaire Brexiteer, Sir Jim Ratcliffe. So its supporters protest against it.

Speaking of Brexit, it is unclear why the Green Party is so keen on the EU. The environmental damage of both the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy is well established.

A US think tank, the Property and Environment Research Center, champions free-market environmentalism. Its work includes a comparison of privately-owned and stated-owned forests, analysis of applying property rights to marine assets, and in particular a report on the bee population that shows how market mechanisms have prompted beekeepers to counter the impact of Colony Collapse Disorder.

As bee mortality rates increased, so did pollination fees. More healthy colonies need to be split to replenish numbers – and the supply from queen breeders has increased to cope with demand with no great difficulty.

Capitalism is not the entire answer, of course. The government also has a role in providing legal protection. But the message of miserable despondence should be challenged.

It is perfectly possible for us to have a future that is richer and greener. The ingenuity of free enterprise will allow both to happen, if it is given the chance. But not if the Green Party gets its way.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.