Green Media

This afternoon I’m teaching Green Party folk about media work. You may have heard about media training, how it teaches you to spin, bluster, avoid awkward questions, and take over the subject to talk about your agenda, not what was asked? That’s not what I’m teaching, because that’s not Green media policy. I think this is worth sharing.

The very first thing I learned when I became a press officer for the local Green Party, is that we do not do spin. We do not lie or wilfully mislead. This is very much at odds with the norms of the modern political world. It means I take pride in being able to do my job honourably and honestly.

Green politics explicitly does not go in for the shouting, braying, name calling and rude rubbishing tactics favoured by mainstream politics. If we can manage it, we’ll have a quiet, civilized debate with anyone willing to talk about the issues. I hate aggressive and rude behaviour in politicians, because it shuts down debates and intimidates those who do not agree into shutting up. The person who won’t even listen to a counter argument cannot be moved, and there is little point even trying to talk to them. That’s not democracy. So on Twitter I’ve found that my local Labour hopeful is endlessly rude and unpleasant if I try to talk issues with him. The local Tory will occasionally have a conversation with me, and tends to go quiet rather than nasty if he can’t answer a question. I don’t take a bullying stance when he can’t answer me, because I’m hoping he’ll go away and have a think. That would be way more productive. I do not agree with him or his party, but I respect the fact that he communicates with manners.

The Green Party does not have a whip. There is no pressure to hold the party line in the same way other parties must. We favour consensus approaches, so if you don’t agree with a policy, you get scope to say so. You have the option of saying ‘what I think is this,’ in public and it’s the decent thing to acknowledge if the general opinion in the Party is different. If it is the case that your specific local situation requires unique handling for some reason, working out what the Green approach is there will be more appropriate than just coughing up a standard party line. If in doubt, we have core values and principles, from which it is easy to work out the sort of direction to take on any given issue. Let me just reiterate that. We have values, and they are consistent. That matters a great deal to me. Those values are more critical than doing whatever it takes to get a person to Westminster. It’s not about naked lust for power, it’s about standing for something you care about.

We’re an evidence-led party. Reason, based on the best evidence available, underpins our thinking. It’s not about bending the facts to fit what we want to have be true, its about responding to reality. I like that a lot.

The only reason I can combine being a Druid with being a press officer, is that I’m working for a party where this in no way requires me to act dishonourably. It is my job to be truthful, to speak well (and for me, good speech is a virtue). It is my job to try and grapple with complicated and confusing things, and get them into the public domain in ways that make sense. I can be a political Druid because I am not asked in my political work to do anything that would in any way be at odds with my spiritual values.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Green Media

  • bish

    I like this a lot. You’re almost selling it to me. Particularly the last paragraph, which resonates too strongly to resist. Perhaps, come the revolution, some politicians might not need immediate inhumation. ;-)

  • Iulia Flame

    I find this fascinating — the last time I voted in this country, it was for a green party candidate– and I wonder if the same holds true here. Thanks.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    The Dali Lama said, “Be the change that you want to happen.”

    Whether we like it or not, everything, including our right to practice our religions, is affected by politics. Ignore politics and you give your right to decide on things, even in your own life, to some stranger. All rights last only so long as you an hold on to them. Once lost, it often takes bloodshed to restore them.

  • ohnwentsya

    Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Thank for sharing this. When I first read about the Green party in Germany in 1981, I jumped around my house dancing and laughing. I thought with the innocence of the adolescent mind that such a wonderful thing would quickly spread to all countries and rapidly change the dynamic in politics and industry to respect for all living beings.
    The reality, tho a great deal slower than my childish hopes, is transforming public discourse in many ways.
    I have not yet been lucky enough to encounter any other political druids in person-and would joyfully settle for a few ReClaiming Dianic Wiccans instead of the depressing masses of apolitical sex obsessed pagans:-) but I am very grateful for the chance to read your blog and know I’m not alone in feeling my spiritual principles demand a greater responsibility than simple self gratification. (No offense at all intended to the many responsible caring active pagans who may see this-my disappointment is entirely related to a relatively small number of people who are just another facet of Carl Hiaasen’s Florida-which some people think exists only in his novels but which in fact millions of us actually live in:-)

  • literaryvittles

    I’m curious what you mean when you say “We’re an evidence-led party.” I often seen this sentiment touted in the press, and understand “evidence” as being in opposition to “intuition.” I’d love to know your interpretation about this.

    • Nimue Brown

      Policy is led by evidence. Which is a commitment to change tack were the best evidence available to suggest we’d been previously going the wrong way. If your policy is not supported by evidence (think outcomes of badger culls, austerity costing money and so forth) then sticking to it is a matter of ideology, not reason. So, starting from the actual evidence, not reading your agenda into the evidence, and being willing to act if the thinking changes. Current austerity policy is underpinned by some maths the economists who came up with it have since said was wrong. evidence-led policy should have responded to this and evolved to keep up.

      • literaryvittles

        Thanks for responding, but that’s not quite what I was getting at… We might have a different political relationship to “evidence” here in the United States. I my experience, I’ve seen lack of evidence used to justify inaction–i.e., something along the lines of, “We don’t have a study that proves X causes poverty, and since we don’t have evidence, we shouldn’t do anything about X.” The relationship between evidence and ideology can also be a tricky one. It’s good if the evidence is interpreted rationally (though even “rational” is a tricky word to use), but sometimes it seems that evidence is cherry-picked to support a particular worldview. Evidence doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it is constantly being interpreted and warped and bent to fit into our pre-existing ideas about the world… these are just some observations I’ve made. Not sure if this explained anything or just made it more confusing!

  • Nimue Brown

    I think I see what you’re getting at. evidence is not always clear, either, which doesn’t help. An approach that values evidence, that seeks it, and uses it is going to be a big improvement over what normally happens, where facts are cheery picked, or stats interpreted to fit an agenda, rather than have what needs doing shaped by what appears to be actually going on…

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