This is a transcript of a recent Twitter exchange between myself (@Nimue_B) and local Labour candidate David Drew (@DavidEDrew). I think it raises some important points and illustrates some critical issues about the very nature of modern political debate. As it’s difficult to follow conversations on Twitter sometimes, I am reproducing the whole thing. I have not sought David’s permission, but as he is a local political figure and the whole thing took place in that most visible public sphere – Twitter – I think this is ok. Other people have been participating in the conversation, but not in a way that has affected the overall direction, so for clarity I have not included those other voices. Anyone very keen to know can no doubt squeeze the whole exchange out of Twitter.
There was also some debate between David Drew and Molly Scott Cato before I became involved, again, for clarity I’m starting at the point where I came in on the 13th October. I do not believe that distorts anything. Typos all included, extra @s left out for ease of reading.
David Drew: Much more point than Greens which has no roots in working class politics!
Nimue: My Gran was a Labour councillor. I'm Green cos I see more social justice from Greens than Labour.
David Drew: Deluded then!
Nimue: show me the policies and evidence to prove otherwise, David.
Nimue: I also like the respectful behaviour of Greens, good manners are worth a lot. Respect, at all?
Nimue (18th Oct) : Still waiting to hear about social justice policies from @DavidEDrew what should I be reading, David? What should I know?
David Drew: Read RH Tawney and then you're get it!
Nimue: just to confirm you mean the chap who died in 1962? Was hoping for contemporary policy statements.
Nimue: Looing at The Acquisitive Society by R. H. Tawney online, cannot square it to modern Labour policy
David Drew: Since when are we not supposed to draw on important historical individuals; oh forgot Greens have no history which is their problem
Nimue: please talk to me about how Tawney's thinking manifests in modern labour policy, am interested.
Nimue: Surely we all draw on the same radical roots. We all choose our roots. Would they have chosen us? I cannot say. I'm with Ruskin.
David Drew: Christian socialism very strong in Labour whereas Greens don't want either Christians or socialists.
Nimue: actually I think we have an abundance of both.
Nimue: A strong Quaker presence, locally, and they have a long history of socialism, political radicalism etc. An inspiring tradition.
David Drew: Golly even the Tory trolls are having a go now! Clearly haven't got anything better to do.
Nimue: If Labour had social justice policies I could respect & David Drew directed me to them, I would thank him & recognise their value.
(This last one was not directed to him, the odds are that he did not see it.)
Here we are on the 21st October, and I still do not know what David Drew thinks there is by way of modern social justice policy from the Labour Party that explains why I would be ‘deluded’ to consider the Greens more of social justice party. He did not apologise for being rude to me, and did not substantiate any of his claims. This is not, in my opinion, how politics ought to work, but he’s following the lead of Westminster, and actually I think we should be challenging that with better manners and more emphasis on facts rather than noise.
More to follow in future blogs about the history of Green thinking…