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Vote Green


1:01 pm - March 29th 2010

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Guest post by Peter Tatchell. Originally at Hagley Road from Ladywood.

Labour has lost its heart and soul. It has become the party of war, privatisation and the erosion of hard-won civil liberties. The Lib Dems support free market capitalism, use dirty tricks during election campaigns, and when they get into office they always drift to the right. The Conservatives are split between modernisers and the reactionary old guard. Their green-friendly image is contradicted by their anti-green policies of supporting new motorways, aviation expansion and more nuclear power stations – just like Labour.

As I see it, the Green Party is the most progressive force in British politics, with a visionary agenda for democratic reform, social justice, human rights, global equity, environmental protection, peace and internationalism.

With an empowering new political and economic paradigm, the Greens offer the best hope for radical reform, as set out in our Manifesto for a Sustainable Society.

Unlike the far left, the Greens often win. We’ve got elected representatives in local councils all over Britain, and in the London Assembly and the Scottish and European Parliaments. Opinion polls suggest that the Greens are poised to win their first MPs. Caroline Lucas is leading in Brighton Pavilion and the Greens are also polling well in Norwich South and Lewisham Deptford.

The Greens are not just an environmental party. We are also a social justice party, with commitments to industrial democracy, workers cooperatives and trade union rights. Our aim is a democratic economy, which gives all employees a real say in how their institution is run and which utilises their accumulated skill and experience to improve private enterprises and public services.

We want to make society fairer and more equal, and to redistribute wealth and power. This democratisation and socialisation of the economy is necessary, we argue, to improve productivity, prevent a repeat of the reckless decisions that led to the economic meltdown and to reorient production to meet people’s needs. This includes switching from weapons production to the manufacture of renewable energy and advanced medical technologies, which are socially useful and have huge export potential.

The Greens are not retreads of the old Left. Traditional socialism is flawed. It is based on a left-wing version of big business growth-driven economics, with the goal of producing more and consuming more. This uncritical drive to maximise economic expansion is destroying our planet, causing life-threatening pollution, climate chaos and species extinction. It is also dramatically depleting reserves of natural resources, such as oil, that are vital to the global economy and to the long-term maintenance of a decent standard of living. This old-style growth-fixated economics, which is shared by both the left and the right, is outdated and reactionary. It is time for fresh thinking.

The Greens argue that quality of life and fair shares for all are more important than the left’s simplistic agenda of spending more on public services. Greens would, of course, invest more in health and education. But we also believe that government needs to radically rethink basic premises, like shifting the focus in the NHS from curative to preventative medicine. Our aim is to ensure that many fewer people get sick in the first place, rather than merely throwing more money into treating people once they become ill.

The Greens realise that the whole economic system has to change, in order to meet people’s needs and to ensure the survival of life on this planet. We propose a synthesis of the best bits of red and green, combining social justice with sustainable economics.

A good example of how we would do this is our proposed Roosevelt-style Green New Deal. It would stimulate the economy through large-scale government investment in socially and environmentally valuable energy conservation, renewable energy and cheap, hi-tech public transport. This would slash carbon emissions and tackle climate change, as well as creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

We’d fund the Green New Deal by axing Labour and Tory plans to waste £160 billion on Trident nuclear missiles (£76bn), super aircraft carriers (£4bn), Eurofighter aircraft (£20bn), A400 air transporter (£3bn), national identity register (£10bn), the Afghan war (£5bn), motorway building and widening (£30bn) and NHS computerisation (£20bn).

The Green Party rejects the failed neo-liberal economic policies that are backed by the three main parties – policies that recently pushed the world to the brink of a second great depression and which leave billions of people malnourished, illiterate, homeless, diseased and impoverished. But amid the gloom, we say: A different world is possible. The future is bright – bright Green.

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Reader comments


Yes, I will vote Green.

I will also do what I can to help Green deputy leader Adrian Ramsay (no relation) get elected against Charles Clarke in Norwich South – including donating:

http://www.adrianramsay.org.uk/sites/adrianramsay/donate.html

You must be insane.

The Green Party is the anti-science party.

E.g. 1. Policy is to “End all animal experiments, replacing them with more reliable non-animal alternatives.”

http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/animal-protection.html

Small problem. The only “more reliable non-animal alternatives” are experiments on humans (assuming you don’t count humans as animals in this context). Some people talk about computer simulations or “petri dish” style experiments. These are massively less reliable than animal experiments, and will be for the foreseeable future.

See http://gimpyblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/the-green-party-are-dangerously-wrong-on-animal-rights/ for more on this.

E.g. 2. The Green Party have a history of supporting alternative medicine. Presumably they fell for the old “it’s natural so it must be good” rubbish.

Here’s a blog post from Green Party leader Caroline Lucas:

http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:aWlDa_1DWaEJ:www.carolinelucas.com/cl/blog/102.html

I’m linking to the Google cache because the article was removed from her website. See – the Green Party are just as secretive and untrustworthy as the mainstream parties.

So Lucas’ article talks about “acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, reflexology and aromatherapy” being integrated into NHS services. Let me paraphrase for you: the Green Party leader supports the use of magic to cure diseases. That is horrific and dangerous.

If you want an example of how dangerous. Look at the use of traditional medicine to combat AIDS in Africa. Yes, Mr Tatchell. It’s not just the Catholic Church that has to take some of the blame for AIDS deaths in Africa. There’s also the people promoting “natural” medicine. Due to their scientific illiteracy and natural-is-good dogma, I couldn’t trust the Green Party to do the right thing and reject this junk science absolutely and at the first instance. My guess is that a good proportion of the Party would be very reluctant to condemn it at all, and would make excuses, causing more deaths.

@6, the Party changed its health policy at the spring conference and work is underway on other anti-science parts. It’s something the membership has been quite open about changing after the investigations by bad science bloggers woke everyone up to the problem last May & June:

http://jimjay.blogspot.com/2010/02/green-party-conference-animals-science.html

The health policy, for example, is now quite clear the political party “will not make judgements on individual treatments or medicines” and will ensure that all medicines are properly regulated and subjected to the same controls “based on the best clinical evidence available”.

4. Shatterface

Well, it didn’t take long for this thread to get hijacked, did it?

Anyway, I’m broadly sympathetic to many Green aims and they have started the process of distancing themselves from the worst excesses of woo but their refusal to even consider nuclear power, GM, embryonic research or animal testing rules them out for me.

Vote Green? Maybe next time.

(And always good to hear from Tatchell)

You’re a great man, Peter Tatchell, but no, I won’t.

@10 Shatterface

Good points, but they’ve made progress. They’d make a good partner in a coalition government, don’t you think?

I’m still undecided myself but if they put up a good candidate in my constituency I would seriously consider them.

When is the Plaid one?

And who is writing us?

A few plaid bloggers have been asking me…

Marcus

Marcus, the Plaid one is scheduled for tomorrow, though it is already over at Claude’s place if you’d like to have a look.

Do drop me a line if you’d like to write a piece as well, I know that Welsh politics is one of the things we don’t cover enough.

Hi Don,

Will do so.

Excuse my ignorance, but where is Claude’s place?

11. Shatterface

‘Good points, but they’ve made progress. They’d make a good partner in a coalition government, don’t you think?’

Yes.

Shatterface are you sure about the Greens? They don’t hate Muslims or Islam, nor do they subscribe to the view of Israel that you would say is “closer to the BNP than the liberal left”. Their official policy is to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Indeed.
Another reason not to vote for them.

Their economic policy is still insane. They seem to want to spend money on everything under the sun while reversing economic growth. Recipe for stagnation and hyperinflation I’d have thought.

Don Paskini,

Can I assume there is to be an SNP thread too?

If someone sends me one – sadly the otherwise excellent Hagley Road series from which these have been crossposted didn’t include a vote SNP, but any pro-SNP bloggers – 500-600 words on why to vote SNP to donpaskini AT liberalconspiracy DOT org tks

A good example of how we would do this is our proposed Roosevelt-style Green New Deal. It would stimulate the economy through large-scale government investment in socially and environmentally valuable energy conservation, renewable energy and cheap, hi-tech public transport. This would slash carbon emissions and tackle climate change, as well as creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

We’d fund the Green New Deal by axing Labour and Tory plans to waste £160 billion on Trident nuclear missiles (£76bn), super aircraft carriers (£4bn), Eurofighter aircraft (£20bn), A400 air transporter (£3bn), national identity register (£10bn), the Afghan war (£5bn), motorway building and widening (£30bn) and NHS computerisation (£20bn).

It’s not a “Roosevelt-style Green New Deal” if it’s funded via savings from elsewhere, rather than through deficit spending.

And many of those figures are to large e.g. most of the ID card money has already been spent.

You had me up until “Greens would, of course, invest more in health and education”, lovely to hear but I fear you’re living in dream land. Expenditure in the period 2009/2010 on heath and education was £199bn and £88bn respectively, not forgetting the rest of the 13 years of Labour government where mostly non-targeted spending has been thrown at public services and partially soaked up with a lot of wastage. How do you intend to pay for this and where is it coming from?

Oh yes, by withdrawing from Afghanistan putting the lives of Afghan citizens, many who have already had to live through the casualties of war for the last 8 years, at risk of a Taliban insurgency taking hold of their towns and villages, punishing them and enslaving them under their regime yet again. Is this fair, is this social justice, “The Green Party will implement a truly ethical foreign policy, with real progress on international social justice” as you say?

Then there’s the complete dismantlement of the NHS IT systems. I can understand wanting to halt excessive spending on something which doesn’t work and which no amount of money Labour have thrown at it, still doesn’t work after 4 years of trying, but this is rediculous. Halt and review, not throw it away.

There are many reasons I wouldn’t vote Green: their lack of know-how on half of the political big issues that effect the UK today, and for the most part having adequate knowledge only in the less important ones (aside from environmental issues, although they often use excessive hyperbole, exaggeration and disputed claims which worry me to get across their hardcore eco agenda); the contradiction of their policies on over-population; the anti-science nature of some of their policy; their dictatored structure which goes against the original ethos of the Party’s working; the uncosted policies (not cuts).

If there’s one thing that would serve them in good stead I’d suggest getting a good economist to speak out on behalf of the Greens and on how we ensure a permanent recovery and diversify our economy for the future.

At least I guess they’re talking about what cuts they’d make unlike Osbourne or Darling.

Alex @ 17,

…most of the ID card money has already been spent.

Most of ~£5bn? I don’t think you’re right.

Here are two sources:

http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/03/live-blogging-the-chancellors-debate/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3127696.stm

Lib Dems, Tories and Labour agree savings from scrapping ID cards won’t be much.

Vote Green?….hmmnnn.. as a protest perhaps it’s tempting given the lack of a “None of the above” box on the ballot paper. Give that I live deepest darkest blue Sussex tho, the only sensible vote is LD in a (probably vain) attempt to keep the Tory out.

Altho I don’t expect to agree (or disagree!) with everything in the manifesto of any party, the sad thing about the Greens is that so much of their platform is still just pie in the sky. Have they learnt nothing from Labour’s “longest suicide note in history” experience?

Unless the (hoped for) hung parliament delivers electoral reform, the outlook for minor parties like the Greens remains bleak. Sadly the positive aspects of their platform will be offset by the wilder extremes of the “knit your own yoghurt pot” brigade, so even if they were in a position to contibute in a future coalition, they won’t be taken seriously until they get real and stop grandstanding with ill-considered policies which are aimed at moving us back to some pre-industrial helotry.

22. Philip of Loughborough

The Greens are the only party which understand the laws of thermodynamics. If only the main parties had a handle on science we would not be heading for global environmental collapse. If you think we can carry on with unrestrained economic growth you are the dreamer, and the pies in the sky are red, yellow and blue.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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