Meanwhile in the Green Party.
My radar has been coming out in little green dots this week. Not only was the leader of the Green Party visiting my patch of the South West but I also forgot to take my recycling out.
I left my pile of cardboard and milk bottles and attended a couple of Natalie Bennett’s talks and lectures to see what the other ‘Fourth Party’ of British politics had to say.
…Britain is failing to meet it’s green energy targets…
She started by saying that we are living beyond our means. Yes, yes, we’ve heard this before. That banks and multinationals need reining in. Well most people agree with you there. That Britain is failing to meet it’s green energy targets. With the coalition supporting research into fracking that is hardly surprising.
I was about to turn off until Ms. Bennett started to talk about what had been achieved by the Green Party, and this is where it got a bit more interesting. The Green Party do not have an impressive political presence, with one representative in Westminster and another two in Brussels but they have been busy.
…4th in Best of Britain’s competition for Greatest Living Woman…
Dr. Caroline Lucas has been busy winning polls since her election for Brighton Pavillion in 2010. Most recently she came in at 4th in Best of Britain’s competition for Greatest Living Woman and before this she won “MP of the Year” in the Women in Public Life Awards in September 2011 and Best UK Politician in The Independent Green Awards in April 2010.
But aside from the awards, what has she actually done? Most recently she tabled amendments for the government’s proposed Justice and Security Bill, which she wrote in light of a trip to Guantanamo to visit 11th year in residence British resident Shaker Aamer. Last year she proposed a Land Value Tax Bill which is currently entering its second reading in the House of Commons. The proposal follows reports from think-tanks which argues that the current tax system is unfair and inefficient and if passed would force the Secretary of State to commission research into alternative tax systems.
…it’s going to provide jobs and reduce the fuel bills…
What is probably most impressive is what the Green’s have been doing at the local government level. At one of her lectures last Wednesday Natalie Bennett talked about councillor Andrew Cooper of Kirkleese. We were told how he had scraped together millions of pounds worth of funding for a project which will provide free insulation to every home in Kirklees over the next three years. Isn’t that great? Not just because it provides a healthy looking tick in the green targets box but because it’s going to provide jobs and reduce the fuel bills for those people in Kirklees.
It’s initiatives like that which are exciting and the most promising in terms of votes for the Green Party because it changes the image of the Green Party from one of a single issue campaign group to one of governance and real political consequence.
…where the community, through the council, fund a windmill…
Ms. Bennett pointed out a possible future for wind energy in Britain. She pointed out that more often than not wind turbines are funded by large companies who then take the money and the electricity out of the community who have to put up with the windmill. Instead she would rather we do what she has seen in Germany, where the community, through the council, fund a windmill and the money generated stays in the community, funding a new roof or a playground, “and all of a sudden, that windmill on the hill is seen differently.”
Case studies and fresh ideas like this are what the Green Party are hoping will transform a green vote from a wasted vote into one that has political consequence. Especially in local council elections the Greens are hoping to make the biggest impact.
…trebling the number of Green MEP’s from two to six…
In last years 2012 local elections the Greens contested 43 seats in 119 councils and today they are running 134 elected councillors in local government. And in the recent London Mayoral elections the Green Party candidate, Jenny Jones, beat the Lib Dem candidate into third position.
Natalie Bennett is hoping that a record number of candidates will go towards trebling the number of Green MEP’s from two to six in the 2014 elections, placing the Greens in a strong position for a 2015 general election.
…UKIP are finding it difficult to become more than a protest group…
Although the Green Party don’t find themselves in the press as much as the other contestant for the title of Britain’s Fourth Party they cannot be accused of resting on their laurels, busy campaigning on a range of issues from bicycle lanes to tax reform. They do have an MP, quite a good one by all accounts, where UKIP have none but they have less MEPs than UKIP, who boast six times their presence in Brussels.
But the party, much like UKIP are finding it difficult to become more than a protest group. Where UKIP are picking up the votes of those who are disillusioned with the leftist swaying the Conservative Party so the Green’s are hoovering up those voters who are disappointed with the Liberal Democrats.
So, lessons from this week: now I will think of more than just my recycling when I take my rubbish out next week.