Green expectations

Green expectations

Limitless optimism is an essential tool in a politician’s mental kitbag, while voters would be wise to heed the warning issued by the French philosopher Raymond Aron: “What passes for optimism is most often the effect of an intellectual error.”

Ireland’s Green Party leader Eamon Ryan looks on the bright side.

A Green Party taoiseach, he says, is possible, not after the next general election, but perhaps within the next decade. Really?

He looks for inspiration to Germany where, he says, the Greens form “almost the largest party” in the Bundestag.

That is an intellectual error: The Greens currently have 67 seats in that parliament, somewhat fewer than the 90 held by the far-Right Alternative for Germany.

The Greens have some sound policies, many of which will in time be purloined by our main legacy parties.

Mr Ryan, though, could do worse than take a careful look at what happened this month to the leader of Britain’s small and imperfectly formed Liberal Democrat party.

Jo Swinson opened her general election campaign by saying what she would do when swept by a landslide into Downing Street.

At the campaign’s end, the Lib Dems had fewer Commons’ seats than it had at the outset. Having lost her own seat, she resigned.

As Enoch Powell said, all political careers end in failure… some much sooner than others.

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