Monday, 11 March 2013


Our parent’s always told us that what is really important in life can never be bought, that love and true happiness  are not products to be consumed, or simply commodities to be purchased.

And yet for the last 30 years we have all sat back and witnessed an orgy of world wide spending, in a consumer led world where buying a new car, a bigger TV, a larger house all seemed to define who we were, and made us slaves to a society hell bent on reaching the point where the world eventually consumed itself.

But then came the crash, and we now live in a world of consumers who could no longer consume, without the money and without the credit, and increasingly without the security everyone relied on to ensure that the mortgage and credit card bills were paid, and we started to  think again as to what is really important to us.

People have started to redefine, who they are, and what it is they really value, and in the current cold light of austerity they realise, as our parents warned us, that life cannot be bought, and they now look to reorder their lives, and set new priorities.

This cultural shift in life pattern is happening all around us, it is redefining not just who we are as a society it is also educating us, making us reevaluate ourselves and our lives, making us question things such as what we should and should not be eating, how we should be living, who we should be helping, how we should use our free time to enrich ourselves not make ourselves.

The current recession has also made us ask some critical questions about trust, the two big players in our lives the banks and the politicians all of a sudden seem far less wise, we don't trust them with our money anymore and we certainly don't trust them with our vote.

But in communities like the one I represent in Castle Ward, austerity and hard times are unfortunately no strangers, and we are  better prepared than most to deal with the consequences of recession.
We are people more likely to be sociable to our neighbours, more protective of the vulnerable, more likely to step in rather than stand aside when the time comes for us to act. Studies find that despite having the least, communities like ours are where you are most likely to find people more social, face to face, more likely to lend a few bob to an acquaintance outside of our family, more willing to befriend others rather than retreat into our own homes.

From my vantage point as a Cllr and MP representing the people of Castle Ward at all levels, I have learnt that true power, true control, can only ever come from within, and I am fed up of fighting against politico’s for votes rather than fighting alongside the community for real change.

I left the Labour Party, and then discovered that really it had left me, I have battled on as an Independent to try to make a difference for local people and have had some successes,  but now it is time to truly give the power back to the people.

For this reason, recently the local Green Party and myself have been holding discussions as to how we might join forces and together offer a real alternative to Castle Ward’s voters and non voters alike, 

I have now joined the Green Party as a statement of my commitment to them, they in return have acknowledged my long standing political independence and agreed that we should now both campaign together locally under an “INDEPENDENT GREEN’ banner, and I will stand at the election as a Green Party candidate

Interestingly enough, the Green Party is the only Party in the UK which you can be a member of and yet still stand at an election as an Independent (but not against an official Green candidate) But as I say above I have chosen to campaign and as an Independent Green and proudly display the Green Party Logo on the ballot paper.

I am now in a party once again whose policy objectives support high-quality public services run for people not private profit. A party willing to protect the NHS and Post Office from privatisation and return our energy, water and rail networks to public ownership, supporting our education system by providing free school meals, abolishing tuition fees and ensuring all schools are accountable to parents. Committed to separating  retail and investment banks and empowering communities with a network of not-for-profit lenders, supporting cooperative, diverse and resilient local economies, reversing the status-seeking wealth concentration that is deepening social divisions and destroying our natural world. 

A big move for me? Well funny enough when reading the Green Party Policy documents and manifesto, I actually found myself rejoining the Labour Party I first joined in the 1980's ! How times change!


  1. Tony, I wish you all the best, I would love to vote labour, but a) I am not sure that I would be voting for anything different now
    b) Locally, what has happened to Labour?

    If I lived in the Castle Ward, I would vote for you.


  2. Steven Richards11 March 2013 at 13:21

    That'll be a new colour drum needed for the risograph then :p

    Interesting read, makes sense of an 'Independent Green' thing I saw the other day too.

    Very best of luck in May, the area, and the county continues to need someone prepared to be awkward and look for the real story behind briefing papers/announcements.

  3. Thanks Guys,

    Gary, locally the Labour Party imploded and nationally they are but a shadow of themselves, in many ways the Green Party are a natural replacement!

    Steve, I have solved the riso problem by printing black on green paper! What Independent Green thing did you see?

  4. Steven Richards11 March 2013 at 14:15

    Good thinking on the paper!

    I saw the Independent Green Facebook page

  5. On the 19 October 2009 on this very blog you wrote that a new independent groups had been set up on the council (all three of you) with the very imposing strap line 'vote for a person not a party'

    Your recent move to the Green's kind of suggests you stood as a person and was happy with that when elected. Now the shine has come of that and you are losing more elections that winning we seem to have gone back to 'vote for a party'

    I'm all for people changing their minds, but their principles leaves a rather different taste on the pallet.

    Anyway - good luck to you as a green. I see from their website they sit on a platform of bringing water back into nationalisation. In these auster times could you explain how a Green Government will pay the shareholders for their shares?

    1. Dont pay them. All financial investment in the market is a risk.

  6. Anon, the Green Party are a member of the LGA Independent Group, the 2009 group you talk about was on the Borough, the Independent Group I lead on the County now (3 members) is made up of 2 Independents and a UKIP member (also part of the LGA group.

    If you read the press release, you will see that my new party value my independence and I value their beliefs, they are so different from any of the main political parties that is for once refreshing to be part of something more important than simple left/right party politics.

    On water, gas, electric, yes the Green Party believe that these should be national public assets again as they once were as too affordability, where do you want to start? Trident? The £7m a day we spend on the war in Afghanistan (not to mention the 450 lives lost) The £1bn aircraft carriers with no planes?

  7. now afona,how will you announce tony as xspctcxmpxnbcxnccgncc.or cllr tony clarke[green party].

    best of luck tony keep trying.

  8. That's Great. I hope you will be joining us in Green Left comrade. A group for socialists and anti-capitalists who are members of GPEW - which includes some prominent members of the party - including our very well respected Deputy Leader Will Duckworth, our Campaigns Coordinator Howard Thorp, and Dr Derek Wall our International Coordinator.

    Lynton North

  9. Lynton,

    I look forward to joining.


  10. Ah those housesold names Will Duckworth, Howard Thorp, Dr Derek Wall .....

    Are you serious Tony when you write "...the Independent Group I lead on the County now is made up of 2 Independents and a UKIP member (also part of the LGA group) ..." Tell me thats irony please?

    I read somewhere that this may be a convenient way in which you can stand for Parliament (again) with the deposit paid for by a national party? Any truth in there?

  11. CastleWardMafia12 March 2013 at 16:37

    Good to be back and so much to say if the wry smile on my face wasn't getting in the way.

    Anons comments aside re Independent groups. You are now in a group of 2 Tony at NCC with Cllr Glynane in 'collecting political parties and groups to be part of'

    From my knowledge he went from Labour to Independent to Lib Dem. Your good self has gone from Labout to Independent to Green(ish).

    I wonder who could be the first to four?

  12. Anon/CWM Sorry to add insult to your anonymity, but you are both just plain wrong on all accounts (surprise surprise)

    1) The LGA is split into four groups, the big three and the 4th Independents, Residents Assocs, Greens and UKIP, and I am their regional representative (East Midlands, The East, The South East, London, The South and the Isle of Wight) as far as offering advice to their Cllrs.

    2) You didn't read anywhere that this was some Machiavellian plot to stand for parliament and get my deposit paid, what would be the point? I have never lost a deposit in all of the 8 elections I have contested.

    3) Brendan Glynane has never been a member of the Labour Party, (not in my day at least) and once stood on a Floods ticket.

    4) First to four? four what? as Independent is not a party? David Palethorpe (Lab) though is the first Cllr to be Leader of then Ruling Group and switch to the opposition. The party'sand some individuals do keep moving and adjusting themselves whereas I can say hand on heart that I am in the same place politically as when I first started and entered into local politics in the late 80's

    Anyhow good to hear from you CWM I thought the Labour Party were still sleeping?

    Anyone want to talk about Cllrs being arrested in Corby?

  13. Tony, Welcome to the party - really great to have you on board.

    Do you mind if I cross post your blog on - which, despite the name, is a UK wide green/left blog? Or perhaps you'd fancy writing something else about why you joined?

    Anyway, great to have you on board.


    1. Adam, thanks for the comments, and please go ahead and link.

  14. Great news, welcome to the Greens, Tony. I'm sure you will find yourself very at home, particular after this

    Hope to see you at a conference sometime soon!

    All the best
    Josiah Mortimer

  15. CastleWardMafia13 March 2013 at 09:22

    You've got to stop thinking that anybody that disagrees with you is doing it as they are Labour Party members. I have mentioned that before.

    Good to see you lining up your new colleagues to support you though. Bet you can't wait for that conference. Standing room only I imagine.

    You write:

    1) The LGA is split into four groups, the big three and the 4th Independents, Residents Assocs, Greens and UKIP, and I am their regional representative (East Midlands, The East, The South East, London, The South and the Isle of Wight) as far as offering advice to their Cllrs.

    How on earth can an Independent Group have UKIP as members? A group in Independents by its nature can not be independent.

    2) You didn't read anywhere that this was some Machiavellian plot to stand for parliament and get my deposit paid, what would be the point? I have never lost a deposit in all of the 8 elections I have contested.

    You are right you have never lost a deposit but came very close at the last General Election when you promised here on this blog that you would win.

    3) Brendan Glynane has never been a member of the Labour Party, (not in my day at least) and once stood on a Floods ticket.

    I had heard Cllr Glynane was a Labour member but can't be sure. I dont remember him on a floods ticker. I do remember him standing as an independent, not winning and then joining a main stream party so he could win (sound familiar?)

    4) First to four? four what? as Independent is not a party? David Palethorpe (Lab) though is the first Cllr to be Leader of then Ruling Group and switch to the opposition. The party'sand some individuals do keep moving and adjusting themselves whereas I can say hand on heart that I am in the same place politically as when I first started and entered into local politics in the late 80's

    If you really believe this and worse still expect us to believe this then it is worrying. I think you have got to 4 as it has been Labour, NIV (who can forget them), Independent and now Green. Thats four.

    What did happen to NIV?

  16. CWM, NIV was a description not a party, it was never registered, and Independent is also not a party so its 2.

    You are still wrong on the other three points.

  17. CastleWardMafia13 March 2013 at 11:51

    ....NIV was a description not a party....Independent not a party (but it does have an official group) .... that's all clear then!

    Thanks for adressing the others points (!) I think the one thing you can't avoid is when saying your political morals have never changed but by your own admission you are part of the same group as that great socialist banner waving party UKIP!

  18. I've just seen a link to 'Red Pepper' on this blog site. Is that what UKIP are reading these days?

    1. Well UKIP are increasingly appealing to Labour(or should that be ex-Labour)voters. Broadening - or civilising - their focus away from the previous 'more right-wing than the Tories' demographic.

      Fact is, the average voter wants policies that have stereotypically been ascribed to both "left" AND "right". Many want a party that is "left-wing" on the NHS and utilities, for example, at the same time as being "right-wing" on, say, law and order and immigration.

  19. sameoldpolitics.com13 March 2013 at 16:45

    I've just read the C&E website story on this and then read the comments. Would you believe one of the Leaders of the Green Party in the UK has accidently found the Chron website and then accidently found the story on Tony Clarke and then commented on it. Would you credit it? Either that or do we perhaps think he was 'encouraged' to take part in the debate? politics as usual then .....

  20. Good to hear this news, Tony.

    Can I ask why you didn't go for the Socialist Party, or TUSC?

  21. CWM, UKIPS place on the LGA independent group is simply a matter of agreed representation at the LGA table.

    Sameoldpolitics, I appreciate that it is hard to believe in these days of uberspin and soundbites, but I have never met or spoken to Will Duckworth (Green Party Dep Leader) but I was delighted that he commented on the Chron. I don't believe it was by accident though, I think he searched and found it because he was interested, I am happy to have joined the Green Party and they it seems are equally content. I only wish more party heads would take their heads out of their central offices and comment on local newsites! But his input was 100% genuine, so definitely not politics as usual.

    Graham thanks for the comment, I have friends in both the SP and TUSC, but I find the debate lacks the community activity that should follow. I firmly believe that the Green PArty can challenge the big three and I cant see either the SP or TUSC have such a wide appeal. I am still a trade unionist, but prefer these days to pay into a Unite Community Branch rather than a workplace.

  22. I see that, Tony, and I'm not just trying to argue. In fact, the reason I asked is because I'm facing similar questions myself.

    However, I'm must not convinced that the GP have a robust and consistent critique of capitalism. If they did, I'd join in a heartbeat!

    In reality, I think they'll end up like the Lib Dems. They look ethical in theory, but in practice Power corrupts.




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