Smoke-filled Rooms, Antisemitism and The Greens.
Years back students of history or politics will remember how the term, smoke-filled rooms was coined.
It meant how political decision-making was conducted behind closed doors, where Joe (or Josephine) Public were excluded, whilst political wheelers and dealers decided things.
It is something that newer political parties try to argue that they are against.
They try to argue that they represent a new form of politics, more transparent, more open, involving people, ordinary people, not just politicos in (non-smoke-filled) rooms deciding what is what, or as one political leader put it:
“[We have] promoted a new style of politics emphasising transparency,accountability and consensual ways of working…”
That’s what such parties would have you believe, but the reality is more prosaic. This is ably illustrated by the Green Party’s discussions on antisemitism.
Within the past few weeks a Green Party decision-making committee has decided that there should be no Green Party policy on antisemitism.
That is despite a Green Party conference decision to implement one.
A policy paper was even drawn up, it was not perfect, but a good start and it at least showed that the Green Party was serious about antisemitism.
Then, it was withdrawn for “corrections”, or some such nonsense.
Whilst in the background those opposed, to any firm Green party policy on antisemitism, worked their manoeuvres emulating those smoke-filled rooms of old.
Low and behold in January 2011, when the topic came up again it was decided to shelve any concrete policy on antisemitism by the Greens.
Which I suppose shows that politics rarely ever changes, in spite of all the fine words.
It also means that the Greens will have to work very hard to convince non-members that they are serious about anti-racism and their opposition to antisemitism.
Update 1: The issue of antisemitism has some history in and around the Green party so it’s helpful to remember some of the previous posts:
“We now have a situation where GPRC have officially accepted that there is a problem but have resolved to do absolutely eff all about it.”