Green energy company Ecotricity donate £250,000 to Labour


Labour’s election coffers have received a welcome boost in the form of a quarter million pound donation from green energy company Ecotricity, LabourList reports.

The founder of the company, Dale Vince, slammed the approach of David Cameron’s Government towards environmental policies, and said he felt “compelled to act”.

The company say they back “Green Labour” and feel that green policies are vital to ensuring that the UK regains its “energy independence”, rather than relying on energy from other oil-rich countries.

The move makes Ecotricity, who are a windfarm energy company, one of Labour’s biggest donors. Ecotricity have never donated to Labour before, but have given money to the Green Party, including towards Caroline Lucas’ re-election campaign in Brighton Pavilion.

This is a major boost to Labour’s green credentials – and a blow for the Conservatives, whose 2010 campaign partly relied on spurious claim that they were eco-friendly. It seems we all know better now!

Even more telling is the fact that this company has previously donated to the Green Party. What does this move say about their credentials?

Perhaps Ecotricity is just fed up with Green attempts to run Labour down using lies and misinterpretations.

Is it time to make peace and fight the real enemy of the environment – the Conservative Party?

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16 thoughts on “Green energy company Ecotricity donate £250,000 to Labour

  1. Steve

    This donation appears to have upset the Green Party?..I guess they think it goes against the principles of being green?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The point I was making was that Ecotricity had turned away from the Greens and towards Labour.

  2. Andy

    The wind farm industry is dependant on government subsidy. Cameron has made a commitment to take this away, and even if they could survive without subsidy it’s unlikely that a Tory government would give permission for any more to be built. The industry would be “dead in the water” in this country. They need Labour to win to save the renewable energy business in this country. This is not a reflection on the Green party or their policies but more an act of desperation to try and save their industry. Ecotricity are still funding Caroline Lucas’ campaign. With the Green Party only likely to get 8% of the vote, I look at this as being a pragmatic business decision.

    1. Daniel

      That’s exactly what I thought when I read the article, sorry Mike, I really enjoy reading your blog and agree with much of what you say, but recently you’ve put as much energy into attacking the Green Party and SNP as attacking the Tories, while slating them for doing the same. This plays perfectly into the Right Wing agenda, as evidence that the Left are split. Since both SNP and the Green Party have stated that they WANT to work with the Labour Party to help undo the damage the Tories, with their Lib Dem lapdogs, have inflicted, we should be working to ensure the Left win, not make sure Labour win above all others! Time to tone down your attacks maybe?

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        My defences, you mean.
        I would not be saying anything about those other parties and their supporters if they hadn’t set about attacking Labour – the main party of the left and the one with the best chance of winning the election – in attempts to woo voters away.
        It is, therefore, a bit rich for anyone to come to me, asking me to stop pointing out the flaws in their arguments and the strengths of Labour.
        What did these other parties – and/or their supporters – think would happen if they attacked the best chance of removing the Tories from office?
        Did they honestly think everyone with an interest in having the Tories kicked out would just roll over and let them?

  3. Daniel

    Really? Stating (and I quote)

    “The point I was making was that Ecotricity had turned away from the Greens and towards Labour”

    How is that defending Labour against “attacks” from the other left-leaning parties and not an anti-green policy?

    How is not reporting on Nicola Sturgeon’s speech about the failure of austerity politics (which I’m sure you agree with, even if you dislike the person making the speech, not partisan?

    It’s your blog, you can write what you like, but this “defend Labour at all costs” is costing you readers, especially as Labour started the attack on the Greens by identifying Caroline Lucas’ seat as a key target, just to remove the only other English socialist party from Parliament! (Yes, that WAS an implied aim)

    We all have the same aim, getting the Tories out of government before the key institutes and social securities we rely on are damaged beyond repair, it’s time the Left parties and bloggers stopped knifing each other?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Do I really have to spell out for you that if Ecotricity had turned away from the Greens and towards Labour, it indicates that the company’s bosses disagree with the Green Party’s anti-Labour claims?

      I had intended to report on the Sturgeon speech but other matters pushed it back.

      What makes you think I’m losing readers? Vox Political’s stats are extremely healthy. In January – last month – VP had more visits and views than ever before. The last week in January was our strongest individual week. I mentioned this on the Facebook page and expressed my gratitude to readers at the time.

      Caroline Lucas had a majority of only a little more than 1,000 votes at the last election. That makes Brighton Pavilion a target seat for all of the main Westminster parties. It is disingenuous of you to suggest that Labour started to attack the Greens because of this. Don’t the Greens have their eye on any Labour seats, then?

      1. Daniel

        Where’s the evidence that Ecotricity have turned away from the Greens? I read nothing of the sort in the statement they gave. The idea that they have dumped the Greens is YOUR interpretation!

        As Andy above has suggested, it’s more probable that they are making a donation to Labour as they know the Green party is not likely to be in a position to form a government in May, though there’s no reason why they might not in the future, so have hedged their bets hoping a Labour coalition will reverse the damaging changes to energy subsidies made by the Coalition so far (shifting subsidies from renewables to fossil fuels, then lying to the populace suggesting that they’ve scrapped energy subsidies altogether). Hell, Natalie Bennett knows she won’t be PM in the foreseeable future, as the current voting system won’t allow it.

        I’m not intentionally attacking you by the way, as I said earlier, I really enjoy reading your blog and usually agree with everything you say, my “lashing out” (which is normally unlike me) is more out of frustration with the way you report things – funny that you “meant” to report on Sturgeon’s speech, but other things got in the way, just like you usually fail to report any positive things about the Greens/SNP, like that they’ve both stated on record that they WANT to work with Labour, yet are so quick to report on any perceived attacks by those parties on Labour. (There’s another blogger we both know of that does that, but we’ll leave it there!).

        Oh, and yes, the Greens are targeting Labour seats, like any political party would, but they’ve never gone to the MSM stating it would be “a major scalp” if they took those marginals – I think the Greens would be delighted if they gained 3-4 seats in parliament, they’re not looking to obliterate any perceived competition!

        Like I said though, we’re wasting energy arguing with each other, we should be teaming up against the real enemy! I like your blog, fully intend to stick around, and hope you have many more years sticking it to the Tories!

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Are you trying to say that a donation to Labour, in the knowledge that the Green Party won’t be in a position to change anything after May, isn’t turning away from the Greens? That’s an interesting piece of Doublethink – as is your statement that you’re not attacking me, followed immediately by questions about my motives in not writing about Sturgeon’s speech or “positive things about the Greens/SNP”. I have been positive about both in the past, but the headline-grabbers recently have all been about the negative campaigning they have been carrying out. Your complaint is with those parties and/or their supporters – not me.

        I don’t want too many more years sticking it to the Tories – just a few more months getting them out of government, then a few more years making sure people know they should never be allowed back in. Then it’ll be about making sure they become a part of history and can never regain any foothold in Parliament…

        Actually, it does look like a long-term project, doesn’t it?

  4. Daniel

    Where’s the evidence that Ecotricity have turned their back on the Greens? Or is it a legal requirement that companies are only allowed to donate to one party?

    As Andy pointed out, Ecotricity are hedging their bets – they know that the Greens will not get enough votes to be the majority party in a coalition in May, even Natalie Bennett has said the same, but they want to reverse the changes to the energy subsidies made by the coalition, so are supporting Labour. Not instead of, but as well as the Green party. There’s nothing in their statement that suggests they “disagree with the Green Party’s anti-Labour claims”, that’s YOUR interpretation.

    It’s funny that you’re saying you meant to report on her speech, but other matters pushed it back, just as you seem to neglect reporting on any stories where the Greens or SNP state they want to work with the Labour party, yet you are so quick to highlight any perceived slights by them against Labour.

    I’ll apologise now for the “losing readers” comment, it was referring to the various posters who support SNP who have expressed dissatisfaction. I’m pleased your blog is getting more popular, last thing we need is the only credible left-wing voices being silenced. I certainly intend to stick around for longer, but just felt I needed to highlight my frustration with the way you occasionally portray Greens and SNP in your blog, including here. I’ll retract this, of course, if you have evidence that Ecotricity are dumping Greens in favour of Labour, but I read no such thing in their statement.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The evidence is in the amounts offered. Sure, Caroline Lucas received some thousands, but Labour received £250,000. Big difference!
      Look at what Ecotricity’s boss said about Labour. If he didn’t actually say he disagreed with the Green Party’s claims, it can certainly be inferred. Otherwise why would he offer Labour his support? That would not be logical.
      I have reported on the Sturgeon speech now – contradictory as it was; and I do report on stories where other parties say they want to work with Labour. You’ll have seen several about the SNP in the last few days, I hope.

  5. Daniel

    OK you’re right, the comments on Sturgeon does look a bit like Doublethink, and I’ll endeavour to edit my posts more appropriately. I have a tendency to write things as I think of them, then move bits around to how I see the debate in my mind, as if I were in front of you discussing. Doesn’t work so well when written down.

    To your first point, how is suggesting that an absence of any statement from Ecotricity that they are supposedly dumping the Greens in favour of Labour doublethink? You’re taking the view that entities support just one party, and that the recent donation means they are “unhappy with Green policies/actions”, and propagating that view in a popular public forum, as if that is gospel, with no supporting evidence. Sorry, I’m not buying it! Especially as the Ecotricity website still carries the banner “Switch your energy supply to us and we will donate up to £60 to the South West Green Party” – hardly evidence that they are changing allegiance.

    I’m not going to continue the argument about negative reporting – lets leave it as you have your view, I have mine, and neither of us are going to convince the other they are wrong. We’re in danger of crossing the line from healthy debate to unhealthy arguments, I’d rather avoid that if possible.

    Not that I’m agreeing you are right 🙂

    Oh, keeping the Tories from government needn’t be a long term project – the Conservative Party used to be a reasonable party, until the neo-liberals hijacked it. The same happened to Labour under Tony Blair, but Miliband seems to be taking it back. Who knows, the same might happen to the Conservatives!

    We just need these current clowns banned from public office.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No I’m not taking a view that entities support just one party; Ecotricity didn’t support Labour last time but did support the Greens, and is continuing to support them with £20,000 for Caroline Lucas’s campaign. Handing £250,000 over to Labour – twelve and a half times as much – therefore denotes a massive shift of support towards Labour.

      I don’t agree with you about the Tories! They have always been overprivileged parasites and a burden on the rest of the population.

      1. Daniel

        Thank you, that is exactly what I have been trying to say. Yes, the donation is a massive thumbs up for the Labour Party, but it does not imply that Ecotricity are ditching the Greens in favour of the Labour Party, but that they are making a significant contribution to a party that [i]they hope will be in a position to help them recover subsidies and market share[/i]

        That’s not the view you were expressing before, in your comment below Steve’s, and that is what I took exception too!

        For the record, I’m a paid-up member of the Green party, but as I live in a Tory marginal, I’ll be voting Labour (as they have the best chance of ousting Mr Buckland) but if I was in a Tory safe seat, I’d be voting Green. Why, you might ask? Because, if everyone followed the advice being propagated by your blog (and elsewhere) and voted Labour, even in Tory safe seats, no one would have any concept of how “fringe parties” are doing, and thus there would be no call for electoral reform, meaning we’re stuck with the undemocratic FPTP system. Voting Green in a safe seat is a way of highlighting that THERE IS A PROBLEM with our democracy – most votes simply do not count! And this is why so little of the electorate are engaged. They don’t see the point of voting in so-called safe seats, because they have little hope of ousting the MP, and there is no political will to address this. If the Green party secure the 8% they are predicted, and are left with just 1 MP, yet other parties (i.e Labour, I hope) secure 200+ seats with 35-40% of the vote, it highlights the problem with democracy and FPTP.

        Are you in agreement with me on that last point, at least? 🙂

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