Non-alignment

It seems to me quite often legitimate, even necessary, where truth and justice are at stake, to push issues in the direction of ‘for or against’. Who, or what, in any particular matter is ‘on the side of the angels’. This is often relatively easy to work out. Take for example, the need to improve air quality in our cities. It is not easy to be against this. But of course there are plenty of people – people who make cars for a start – who would rather not do anything about it, and some who are even prepared to run false tests in order to confuse the situation!

Having said this, I wonder whether the right response on some occasions is what we might call non-alignment. Sometimes we need to say: ‘this dispute is nothing to do with me. I am not aligning myself either with the pros or cons, either with the establishment or those trying to resist it’.

Looking back at world history one can see what a good position was taken up by the non-aligned movement during the Cold War (the phrase ‘non-aligned first became popular at that time). There were nations who did not want to be counted as either on the Soviet or the Western side of the argument, and why not?

In terms of current politics, I continue to appreciate the position of the Green Party. If the establishment is Tory and the opposition is the Corbynist Labour Party, I would undoubtedly be on the side of Labour. But the Green Party is the party of active non-alignment. This is better still. It is against economic growth at all costs, in favour of a citizen’s income and so on. In other words it has a clear political programme, but it is different from that of either of the big players.