Caroline Lucas’s election as the Green Party Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion is a significant accomplishment and a beacon of hope in an otherwise dismal election. Listening to her on BBC Radio 4’s “Any Questions” reinforces my view of her as an articulate and capable politician. She’s more than proved herself to be an able leader in a country which is in dire need of truly visionary thinking.
I make no secret of my support of the Labour Party because I see from its history, including from the last government, that it’s a progressive social force which has championed virtually every positive change in the UK. In order for me to consider any support for the Green Party I’ve also got to see similar — and I don’t mean exactly the same — track record of real political accomplishments.
But there’s been a nagging thought in the back of my mind about the strategy of becoming an MP rather than persevering as an MEP, as she was until her election to the British Parliament.
Yes, the UK Parliament is the heart of democracy in this country but increasingly we live in an international world and in particular we live in the European Union. So, why give up a power base in the EU for an albeit different one in the UK? I’m mindful that animal welfare represent in some way many other issues in that there is simultaneously UK and EU legislation with the latter in certain circumstances trumping the former. When I look to the future I see a UK which is increasingly integrated into the EU. Clearly, what happens in Parliament as well as the Assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will influence what happens in the EU.
But if Caroline wants to be at the forefront of an international stage providing truly transnational leadership that matters, why give up the EU for the UK when her leadership could take more than just the UK but also the rest of the EU to new horizons?
By asking this question I’m not impugning Caroline’s character or motives in any way. As I say, it’s just a nagging thought.