The Green party is set for its most successful general election result so far on the 7th May and is likely to retain its one MP – former party leader Caroline Lucas, in her Brighton Pavilion seat. The Green candidate for Norwich South, Lesley Grahame, stands a very real chance of becoming the party’s second elected MP. Despite this imminent success, however, the media coverage around the Greens often focuses on questioning how their policies would be paid for, as well as branding them unrealistic. Current party leader Natalie Bennett stated in numerous interviews that the funding would be spelled out in great detail in a fully costed manifesto, which has now been launched and is available to read online. The mainstream media may pursue questioning the merits, but the policies the Green party aims to implement are logical ways to reduce inequality, improve the quality of life of the population and to combat climate change. Green policies are not utopian, they are reasonable and realistic ways to change the country, because the Green vision is one based on sustainability.
There is a huge issue of growing economic inequality around the world and in the UK. Oxfam calculated that the richest 1% of people in 2014 hoarded 48% of the world’s wealth. Everyone can see that this is an unfair way for society to exist. It is completely ridiculous that those 1% of humans control so much while hundreds of thousands of people in the UK must use food banks. The Green party will introduce a wealth tax on the richest 1%, taking surplus money and using it to create living wage public sector jobs. This is not a utopian idea, this is simply making the country fairer.
The living wage is what the Living Wage Foundation calculates as the minimum amount of money that a person can actually live on. Unfortunately, successive governments so far have chosen to allow companies to continue paying workers below this and, as a result, we have a huge number of working people requiring benefits just to survive. That is a blatant example of a failing system, as paying people the minimum amount that they can actually survive on has to be a priority in a fair society. The Green party wants to implement a living wage and to combat the current economic model being based on infinite growth in the economy, which clearly is impossible on a planet with finite resources.
This finite planet is still being stripped unsustainably of its resources, with little consideration towards fighting climate change.
We know that we face a major crisis in the form of climate change, but despite constant campaigning and appealing to the government, they still do not do enough to fight it. Sadly, the economy remains largely dominated by people with interests in oil firms, and consequently the mainstream political parties allied with such people refuse to act. It is thought that we could transition to having renewable energy sources as our major energy supplier within 15 years if we tried to. If we can move away from the dependency on fossil fuels, then that is definitely the most logical course of action. The Green attitude is not about a utopia, it is about making sure the planet we have survives.
By scrapping tuition fees, we can build a sustainable economy, for the present and the future. Studies suggest that 45p per pound of student debt will never be repaid, which produces an inevitable funding problem 30 years in the future when such loans have to be written off. Tuition fees are a way of freeing up and redistributing some government funds in the short term, but will create a long term crisis. The Green party will fund higher education through general progressive taxation, because it is a public good and should therefore be paid for as one, as part of a significantly more sustainable system.
With a hung parliament a near certainty there is a clear movement in British politics away from the two main parties that dominate the arena. The Green party is a genuine alternative, a party that puts people first, not money. A party that has a realistic vision for making the country a sustainable one that we can actually be proud of. This election will be a major platform for the Green party. A vote for the Greens is not a wasted vote, it is a vote for the change that our country desperately needs.