Greens get General Election ready – UK Green news round up week 44
Isle of Wight Green Party boosted by Lib Dems standing down
The campaign to elect the UK’s second Green MP stepped up a gear this week. With the General Election being called on Tuesday, local Green Parties have begun their campaigns on the ground.
And Green prospects on the Isle of Wight have been given a major boost. The Liberal Democrat candidate on the Isle of Wight has stood aside, giving the Green Party’s Vix Lowthion a free run at the seat.
In an email sent to Isle of Wight party members, the previously selected Liberal Democrat candidate said his decision was informed by wanting to “maximise the remain vote”. He said:
I will not be standing in this General Election on the Island. The Liberal Democrats nationally have decided that a electoral alliance with the Greens to maximise the remain vote is the best cause of action on the Isle of Wight.
This is good news for Lowthion’s chances of becoming the UK’s second Green MP. The Isle of Wight saw the second highest Green vote share in 2017 – at 17.3%. And the Greens are confident of increasing that still further this time around.
The Isle of Wight is currently a Tory seat. But the Tories are at risk of having the Brexit Party eat into their vote share. In 2015, UKIP came second, with 21.2% of the vote. Should the Brexit Party poll at a similar level this time round, the seat could become a three way toss up between the Tories, the Brexit Party, and the Greens.
Bristol Greens launch crowdfunder to get Carla Denyer elected in Bristol West
The Isle of Wight isn’t the only place the Greens could win a parliamentary seat. Bristol West is also high on the agenda for the Green Party of England and Wales.
And this week, the Bristol Green Party launched a crowdfunder to fill its election war chest. Bristol Green Party are hoping to raise £30,000 to get its candidate Carla Denyer elected as an MP. At the time of writing, over £4,000 had been donated.
Unlike the other political parties, the Green party doesn’t have backing from wealthy corporate donors or trade unions to rely on. Our support comes from grassroots activists and supporters giving small amounts that add up to big wins.
The Green Party dramatically outperformed expectations in the recent local elections, helping to topple numerous Conservative council administrations across England and Wales. The recent European elections saw them win across the city of Bristol, ahead of the Liberal Democrats and knocking Labour and the Conservatives into fourth and fifth place respectively.
This is the breakthrough moment. People want to send a clear message that they want a People’s Vote on Brexit, a strong campaign to remain in the EU, and real action to tackle climate change. The Green Party, and only the Green Party, is offering all three of those things. My message to voters is “Yes to Europe. No to Climate chaos.” The Greens can win in Bristol West, so get involved! The time is now!
Scottish Greens to contest more than 20 constituencies
In a significant step up on the 2017 campaign, the Scottish Green Party has announced it will stand in 20 constituencies in the General Election.
In 2017, the party had a strong showing in Glasgow North, winning 9.7% of the vote. However, their vote share was substantially depressed across the rest of Scotland due to standing just three candidates.
According to the Scotsman, Green MSP Ross Greer said:
The UK Government’s own climate advisors have said the next 18 months are absolutely critical if we want to make the changes we need over the next 10 years.
So the parliament elected in December will be dictating our response to the greatest crisis we have ever faced – which is what the climate crisis is.
Brexit is a debacle that distracts from all other issues we should be doing something about.
And when you look at the SNP’s record on the climate, they are still a party committed to maximum extraction of North Sea oil and gas past 2050.
Greens stand down in Calderdale and Scarborough
While the Lib Dems are standing down on the Isle of Wight to back the Green Party, Greens have also been withdrawing their candidacy elsewhere to help beat the Tories.
In Calder Valley, the Greens have stood aside to help get the Labour candidate elected. The Tories narrowly held onto the seat in 2017, and the Greens polled 1% of the vote. Labour fell just 609 votes short of winning the seat from the Tories – a margin smaller than the number of votes cast for the Greens.
Calderdale Green Party chair Finn Jensen said:
The Green Party in the Calder Valley today announces that it will be recommending a vote for the Labour Party Candidate, Josh Fenton Glynn, in the next general election.
We call on all the people of Calder Valley to support our opposition to a hard Brexit and increasing austerity.
Josh Fenton Glynn agrees with us on these policies. He, and the Calder Valley Labour Party, also agree with us on the urgent need for a fairer and more proportional voting system to strengthen our democracy.
The Green Party has also agreed not to stand a candidate in Scarborough and Witney. While this is a Tory-Labour marginal, the Greens haven’t backed the Labour candidate.
Anthony Slaughter sets out Green vision for Wales
With the election campaign now in full swing, prominent Greens are setting out the party’s vision for the country. This week, Wales Green Party leader Anthony Slaughter outlined what a Green Wales would look like.
In an article for Bright Green, Slaughter called for a Green New Deal for Wales. He wrote:
A Green New Deal would revive and restore devastated communities across Wales who have long suffered the effects of an unjust industrial transition and the politically driven austerity agenda. From providing sustainable, affordable housing for all, supporting community owned renewable energy schemes to creating a reliable, efficient nationwide public transport system, Green policies would have a transformative impact at every level of society.
Greens in Wales will continue to oppose all plans for airport expansion and environmentally disastrous road building schemes. Current Welsh Government proposals for increasing flight numbers from Cardiff airport are incompatible with declarations of a climate emergency and a betrayal of future generations.
John Finnie calls for overhaul of Scotland’s transport
The battle against climate change must centre a radical overhaul of transport. That’s according to Scottish Green Party transport spokesperson John Finnie.
Laying out the Scottish Greens’ General Election pitch for transport in Bright Green, John Finnie argued:
Radical transformation of transport will have to form the bedrock of any meaningful response to the climate emergency. Transport is the single biggest source of net carbon emissions in Scotland and these emissions have increased since 1990 rather than gone down. This is frustrating not just because of the obvious environmental impact but because the solutions are so clearly within our grasp.
Elsewhere in the article, Finnie called for both buses and railways to be brought into public ownership. And he concluded by writing:
While it would be madness to pretend that we aren’t facing a crisis it would also be unnecessarily fatalistic not to see the opportunities that exist in the way we respond. A greener economy will be better for everyone. Public transport will be cheaper and more efficient. Our streets will be cleaner and air less polluted. We will be all be safer and healthier. Fundamentally green policies are about making a better world for everyone. One that’s built to last. Given the mire that capitalist orthodoxy has placed us in its no surprise that getting to that point requires a radical overhaul of the way our country works.
Greens select General Election candidates in York, Coventry, Hull and Penrith
With a General Election now weeks away, the final Green candidates are being selected in constituencies across the country.
This week, saw the following candidates selected among others:
- Former councillor Las Kramm for York Outer.
- History teacher Becky Finlayson in Coventry South
- Matthew Handley for Coventry North East
- Stephen Gray for Coventry North West
- Engineer Richard Howarth for Hull North
- Drama teacher Angela Stone for Haltemprice and Howden
- Academic Isabel Pires for Beverley and Holderness
- Michael Jackson for East Yorkshire
- Chris Spencer for Brigg and Poole
- District councillor Ali Ross for Penrith and the Border
Catherine Rowett argues animal welfare is at the heart of the Green Party’s agenda
Animal rights and welfare rarely feature in national political discourse. But according to Green MEP Catherine Rowett, this is at the heart of the Green Party’s agenda.
Writing for Bright Green, Rowett – the Greens’ aninal welfare spokesperson – explained why she believes animal welfare to be central to Green thinking. She wrote:
Greens have a unique position and a unique and very urgent message. We have to have a holistic vision, in which human consumption and economic interests are not allowed to take priority over the health, wellbeing and sheer life of other creatures—or indeed of the working people in our own community. That means a change in our entire outlook as a society. Outlawing cage farming is just a start: we need to go further, and only a Green vision will offer the chance to heal our planet by treating our fellow creatures, human and non-human alike, with due respect and care.
Gina Dowding makes the case for a Green New Deal
Dowding’s report focuses on how a Green New Deal could benefit the North West of England. It lays out a series of recommendations, including:
- Ending the de facto ban on onshore wind farms
- Launching a multi-billion pound deep retrofitting scheme for homes
- Utilising public sector procurement to increase support for and consumption of local food
- Passing a Clean Air Act to enshrine the right to clean air in law
Alongside the report, Dowding wrote for Bright Green on the Green Party’s vision for industry as part of a Green New Deal. In the article, she called for an expansion of the role of co-operatives in the economy:
Giving workers more input into the decisions that affect them is a key part of a just and fair transition. Co-operatives, community enterprises and employee-owned businesses are growing steadily in the UK as awareness increases of the societal damage that pursuing profit above all else can cause.
Greens welcome moratorium on fracking
Climate campaigners were given some good news this week. The government announced a moratorium on fracking. And it was welcomed by prominent Greens.
Green MP Carline Lucas congratulated campaigners who had fought against the fracking industry:
It’s taken 10 years but we’ve done it! Fracking is banned in UK – congrats to all campaigners!
We’ve long said it’s not consistent with tackling #ClimateEmergency
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) November 1, 2019
Lucas has played a big role in the anti fracking movement – having previously been arrested protesting fracking in Balcombe.
Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Sian Berry also congratulated campaigners. But she also criticised the fact that the government has only paused fracking indefinitely, rather than banned it outright. She quipped that “banning fracking is for life, not just for Christmas”:
Fracking moratorium is thanks to years and years and years of work by local communities, campaigners and fierce *political* pressure.
Banning fracking is for life, not just for Christmas.
— Sian Berry (@sianberry) November 2, 2019
And Green member of the House of Lords Natalie Bennett joined the chorus of praise for the anti-fracking movement. In an article for Bright Green, she wrote:
Everyone who contributed, from those who’ve essentially put their lives on hold to live in the cold and mud and physical challenges of anti-fracking camps, those who’ve stood for days, weeks, months and years as witnesses to the resistance, to those who’ve cooked to feed those campaigners, who’ve supported them online and through social media, all have cause to celebrate – and be congratulated.
We don’t do that enough as campaigners, so let’s start there. Hugely well done!