In this instalment of Elections for Dummies our Political Sub-Editor, Shaun Balderson, gives a short introduction to the green party’s recent history, ideology and current manifesto commitments.
Through grit and determination, The Green Party has exploded onto the mainstream political scene, featuring in the leaders debates, endless radio interviews and gaining a rapid increase in membership early this year, in what’s be dubbed as the ‘green surge’. This party is hoping to cause an ecologically friendly earthquake in Westminster. While not realistically aiming for a majority or even double figure seats, The Greens are hoping to gain more committed Green Party MP’s like Caroline Lucas, the Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion, fighting for the ending of inequality and environmental degradation.
The Green party of England and Wales current leader is Natalie Bennett. The party presents a core environmentalist message, along with a more left wing alternative to Labour. To all extents, as previously stated by Natalie Bennett the Green Party are Social Greens. The fundamental principle of this ideology is that social and environmental problems are inseparable from one another, and that the only solutions are a combination of radical economic and social policy. The Greens identify western overconsumption, industrial development and market mechanism as the primary actors in perpetuating these crises.
What’s in the Green Party’s 2015 manifesto? Below are the most divisive and crucial manifesto commitments that could dramatically transform – for better or for worse – the country that we live in.
It is first appropriate to directly talk of the Green Party’s commitments to the environment. The Greens will make the main foreign policy priority of the UK to secure a global agreement on climate change and they wish to work cooperatively with other countries to stop global temperatures from rising by more than 2C. Domestically, The Greens will invest £85 billion into home insulation, renewable electricity generation & flood defences, reduce till non-existent fossil fuel based energy generation and nuclear power, ban fracking and promote cycling and walking to reduce pollution and improve people’s health.
Beyond this, The Greens commitments to reducing inequality are diverse. The Greens wish to end austerity, as well as introduce a living wage of £8.10 an hour in 2015 and £10 by 2020. They also wish to end the bedroom tax, scrap university tuition fees, introduce rent caps, build 500,000 new homes by 2020, return the railways to public hands, create one million public sector jobs and ban zero hour contracts. There’s also a significant focus in the ending of the privatisation of the National Health services, and removing market mechanism such as performance related pay from schools.
However, The Green Party also wish to increase tax revenues. They will do this by; cracking down on tax dodging, a wealth tax of 2% on people worth £3 million or more, introducing a 60% tax rate on all incomes above £150,000 a year, as well as enforce a ‘robin hood tax’ on financial transactions within banks. Furthermore, The Greens argue a significant chunk of public funds could be saved by refusing to renew the UK nuclear weapons system Trident.
Other commitments from the Green Party include; the stopping of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US, the decriminalisation of cannabis, establishing proportional representation within UK elections and giving the right to vote to 16 year olds.
This has been a short introduction to the Green Party; for more information the Greens manifesto is here; https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/manifesto/Green_Party_2015_General_Election_Manifesto_Searchable.pdf