Greens: free membership for ex-Lib Dem, ex-Labour members

For immediate release 12 May 2010

The coalition deal announced last night between the Tories and the Lib Dems should be a wake-up call to their supporters, the Scottish Green Party today said. Likewise, the failure of Labour to work in good faith with other parties to prevent this outcome means they share responsibility for what comes next.

The Scottish Green Party today issued an invitation to Lib Dem and Labour activists and voters come and join the Greens and to campaign for real democratic change, real action to tackle poverty, and real action on climate change. A year's free membership of the party will be available to anyone leaving the Liberal Democrats or the Labour party, an offer that will run over the next fortnight until midnight on Wednesday 26th May. (1)

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"This is an extraordinary decision by the Lib Dem leadership, and thousands of their activists and voters will feel heavily betrayed today. Many explicitly campaigned as the best way to keep the Tories out of power, as a party of radical change and a party of principle, and they have now been completely let down by Nick Clegg and his top team. These members and supporters did not work hard over the last weeks and months to see their party become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tories.

"Likewise, Labour tore itself apart at the last moment, at a point when it could have made a difference and blocked this right-wing alliance. Labour voters were desperate to avoid a Tory adminstration, but the self-indulgent MPs they elected would rather fight each other in a leadership contest than stand up for progressive government.

"We would therefore like to make a big, open and comprehensive offer to Lib Dem and Labour supporters to come now and talk to the Greens instead. Many former Lib Dem members have already found a long-term home with the Greens, including former Lib Dem Councillors. Thousands of Labour supporters will be unable to stomach this decision to hand power to David Cameron, and it's time for them to consider backing the Greens too. That's why we're today offering a year's free membership to everyone cutting up their Labour or Lib Dem membership cards.

"With the election of Caroline Lucas as the UK's first Green MP, we've shown that radical Green politics can also win popular support at all levels. We are also a truly democratic party, our members set policy in public at conference, and we can be relied on not to sell out. Above all we would never deliver power to the Tories, a party still alien and unacceptable to most Scots. This Lib Dem-Tory deal is the final confirmation that those wanting change will always be failed by the three big parties at Westminster, and today's decision will put Labour and the Lib Dems under extraordinary pressure here in Scotland."

Councillor Martin Ford, former Lib Dem Councillor and now member of the Scottish Greens, said:

"This deal will dismay many in the Liberal Democrats who have campaigned tirelessly for PR and against the Tories - only to find that their party has now delivered the exact opposite, no PR and a Tory government. While I accept that there were no easy options for the Liberal Democrats, many of their members and supporters will see today's outcome as the worst of all possible worlds."