The Greens are offering a real choice in policies in Brighton Pavilion

With the hype around the Leaders debate this evening – the one that excludes the Green Party – there is a danger that the launch of the Green’s manifesto this morning at the Metropole Hotel will be overshadowed.

The three ‘big beasts’ of the Party, are presenting the manifesto.  Darren Johnson, the party’s national spokesperson on trade and industry and its candidate for Lewisham Deptford, is chairing the event. The party’s manifesto will be introduced by Caroline Lucas who is tipped to win the Brighton Pavilion constituency, and Cllr Adrian Ramsay, deputy leader and candidate in the party’s Norwich South target seat.

So here is a brief outline of my understaning of the key points from the Green manifesto: Key pledges include a “living wage” of £8.10 an hour, a “citizen’s pension” of £170 a week and £44bn of investment in transport, housing and energy schemes.

Of course the cynical national media will dismiss the manifesto as pie in the sky, but what the manifesto does do, and to a more limited degree does the Lib Dem manifesto, the Party is calling the lie that the cuts that the Tories and Labour will implement must be in public services.  Trident, and an increase in the top rate of tax, for a start, will go some way to redress the public finances.

Politics is the art of priorities. There is a choice between cuts in public services and cuts in Trident, between investment in Green technologies and war in Afghanistan.  The policies of the Greens enjoy the most support by the 100,000 or so people who have completed the VoteForPolicies survey.  The challenge for the Greens is to persuade voters that they can win seats in parliament.  That battle is being won in Brighton Pavilion.

9 Responses

  1. Electing one Green MP will not lead to those policies being implemented; quite irrespective of all the statistics which demonstrate that their policies do not add up.

    We need practical solutions, not pipe-dreams.

  2. Alex,

    The Greens have a fully costed manifesto. We argue for the kind of radical, robust solution that FDR implemented during the Depression.

    There is a real threat of a double-dip recession. Unless we see massive investment into new, green jobs, then it will just be business as normal for the markets.

    Having that Green MP, or MPs, in Parliament can ensure that the other parties take the climate seriously. Having that Green MP can and will make an overwhelming difference to where climate change is on the Government’s agenda – that in itself would be a massive victory for everyone.

  3. Walter,

    The evidence points in the other direction. Notwithstanding the lack of coherence in your manifesto promises, the statistics show that the Greens’ policies just do not add up.

    You seem to ignore the fact that we have already experienced a fiscal stimulus of New Deal proportions. This has been effective in so far as it has restored economic growth, there are now measures in the Labour manifesto to create more jobs and boost the advanced manufacturing and eco-effecient industries.

    But borrowing and spending has its limitations. The budget deficit and interest on government borrowing cannot be resolved through clamping down on Lord Ashcroft’s tax affairs whilst continuing to spend excessive amounts on everything from a “citizen’s income” to buying up the railways, as your manifesto would have it.

    A touch of reality is needed.

  4. 15 + Labour canvassers in Hanover today including our candidate. The Greens had 5, according to the nice girl in the Green rosette in the Napier and no candidate.

    The problem with trying to run a national campaign, and wow a nation, is that you forget that it’s people who matter. Candidates and volunteers need to be on doorsteps. Not just Radio 4, Sky News, BBC 1.

    Gotta say. Candidly. After some good canvassing session this past week, that anyone expressing cenrtainty avbout a Green win, isn’t out there enough.

    It’s a close and winnable fight for Labour and Green.

  5. Have to say the Tories are also running a positive campaign in Pavilion – so very tight all round. The Green manifesto launch was wiped off the news agenda by the leaders debate, although I think the success of Clegg in that debate will help the Greens on balance – positive response to the ‘alternative view’.
    The Green manifesto is clearly a fantasy which would bankrupt the nation in days. If they were a serious party then it would be dismissed as a successor to Michael Foot’s ‘longest suicide note in history’, but the reality is that they are not.

    I was contemplating – what would the Greens prefer – a Tory government with Caroline Lucas as an MP, or a Labour government without Caroline as an MP? Given the self indulgent nature of their politics I fear it would be the former, although if it were the latter they would see more policies to their liking implemented.

    The answer has to be vote Labour –

    • There seems to be a paragraph missing there? Not sure how you got from “Greens want an MP” to “The answer has to be vote Labour”.

      The option you don’t mention – a minority Labour government with Caroline Lucas as an MP – is the one which is looking most likely. Labour supporters should be happy enough with that, and vote tactically for the candidate on the left most likely to defeat Charlotte Vere.

      • My point is that the Green Party’s prime aim above all is to get an MP elected – without regard to the outcome of the election for the country as a whole. For me, this exposes the self indulgent nature of their politics – only really interested in their own cause – and continuing to revel in oppositional politics. With a Tory Governement and a Tory Council they would be in their element. Their own policies would completely sink any other party if exposed to widespread scrutiny – 50% rise in alcohol duty, massive hike in petrol costs, a ‘community based and relatively informal’ criminal justice system – to say nothing of the fantasy economics.

        A minority Labour Government is very unlikely. If Labour ‘lose’ the election then they will have lost the moral right to form a government, even if they could form a majority with the Lib Dems. A minority Tory Government is far more likley – but I suspect that would be preferred by the Greens, provided they win Pavilion on May 6.

        If you want a minority Labour Government then again, I suggest that voting Labour is the best way to bring this about.

  6. Labour has betrayed millions and millions of people. The reason Labour are losing votes is their own fault, you can’t blame the Greens for Labour losing votes.

    This is the fundamental flaw in the argument. Why blame the Greens when Labour have had 13 years to do so much, but instead have done so little to keep the progressive vote. The Greens have emerged as a credible, realistic progressive alternative in Brighton.

  7. Has Labour betrayed those now in receipt of a minimum wage; those able to receive hospital treatement so much more quickly; those who’s lives have been improved by a reduction in crime; children in receipt of increasingly better, and more varied, education?

    I’m not blaming the Green’s for any of that (except maybe their cynical approach to the school admissions policy, when they chose not to do something positive for some children, preferring electoral gain) – but the reality is that they will not be in power on May 7, and so you have to decide who is more able to take forward some, if not all, of the policies that you support.

    I would also question the idea that the Greens have emerged as ‘credible and realistic’. The economics are a disaster – we seriously would be bust within days of them being implemented as money would rush out – no doubt you would comfort yourself with the thought that it was all the fault of those horrible bankers – and the social policy a heady mixture of liberalism and nannying. It’s all rather reminiscent of Labour in the early 1980’s.

    Of course, like Labour in 1983, there is no chance of government.

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