Election fever – UK Green news round up week 46
Isle of Wight Greens launch General Election campaign
There’s less than a month until polling day. And local Green Parties are kicking off their campaigns to get more Green MPs in parliament.
This weekend, the Isle of Wight Green Party launched its campaign to get Vix Lowthion elected as the first Green MP for the island. More than 30 people attended the launch on Saturday, and they were joined by party deputy leader Amelia Womack for a day of canvassing voters in Cowes.
Speaking at the launch, Womack argued that the Isle of Wight campaign was particularly exciting because of the real prospect of unseating a Tory. She went on to describe voting Green as “one of the most powerful things you can do”.
Lowthion also explained how the Isle of Wight could play host to the UK’s second Green MP, as well as setting out how tackling climate change needs Greens in parliament. She said:
If we do not get Greens elected, we will not be able to tackle the climate crisis!
The Isle of Wight saw the Greens pick up their second highest vote share anywhere in the country in 2017. And now the party is running its most ambitious election campaign ever, with volunteers travelling from across the island to help out, as well as from the mainland. Among the places campaigners at the launch had travelled from were Gosport, Brighton, London and Oxford.
The launch coincided with a Young Greens ‘big weekend’ on the island. Almost twenty Young Green activists campaigned for the Greens on the Isle of Wight between Friday and Sunday, doubling a similar effort in the 2017 election.
Greens make ambitious pledge for £12 minimum wage
Alongside launching local campaigns, the UK’s Green Parties have this week been making election pledges. This week saw the Green Party of England and Wales commit to delivering a £12 an hour minimum wage within three years. Such a rise would see the wages of the lowest paid workers increase by nearly 50%.
The new minimum would not only apply to workers over a certain age, but to anybody over the age of 16. This would redress a long-running discrimination in employment law in which younger workers can legally be paid less than older workers.
Green Party co-leader Sian Berry said this was part of delivering a real living wage:
The Living Wage must mean what it says on the tin, and the Government has made a mockery of this concept by simply renaming the minimum wage, while not using the evidence to set the rate at a level people can build a life on. I’m proud that the Green Party will set this right and make sure all workers in the UK receive at least £12 an hour.
The Green Party will end the discrimination against young people where it is legal to pay under-21s a genuine pittance for doing exactly the same work as someone older. It isn’t fair, it doesn’t make sense, and it must stop.
The £12 an hour wage would also be given to apprentices. Currently, people on apprenticeships can be paid as little as £3.90 an hour.
Anger as Scottish Greens shut out of leaders debates
The now routine argument about the General Election leaders debates is once again in full swing. In Scotland, a BBC debate is scheduled for December 10. But despite being the forth largest party in the Scottish Parliament, there will not be no Greens in sight for the debate. Only Labour, the Tories, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats have been invited to participate.
Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie hit out at the decision from the BBC. According to the Sunday Post, he branded the decision “ridiculous”:
We are electing MPs who will sit for up to half of the time climate scientists tell us we have left to tackle this crisis, and the BBC is holding a debate where everyone agrees with each other.
All four parties support extracting fossil fuels until 2050 and beyond.
They all want to expand major roads and aviation. Only the Greens recognise this can’t happen, so this debate is ignoring the biggest crisis facing us.
But it’s not just on climate. The Scottish Greens are the most influential opposition party in Scotland.
We have changed the tax system, granted new powers to councils and only last week, John Finnie’s bill on the equal protection of children received royal assent.
To leave us out of the debate is ridiculous.
Greens pledge £89 a week Universal Basic Income by 2025
It wasn’t just on wages that Greens were making bold commitments this week. The Green Party of England and Wales also outlined a radical overhaul of the welfare system.
This came in the form of a commitment to deliver a Universal Basic Income by 2025. The Universal Basic Income would see every adult receive an £89 a week non-means tested payment. Additional benefits would be delivered for those with additional needs, such as disabled people, pensioners and carers.
The Greens’ Universal Basic Income would see the controversial Universal Credit scheme scrapped, which party co-leader Sian Berry described as resulting from a “cruel ideology”. Berry said:
Our message is clear, poverty is a political choice. Only the Green Party has the policies and ambition to eliminate the cruelty of the benefits system and tackle poverty head-on. A guaranteed minimum income for every UK resident is a further building block of the Green New Deal that will transform all our lives.
Nine years of Conservative Government has targeted and demonised people who face unemployment, disability and low incomes as the scapegoats of austerity. The switch to Universal Credit and unfair benefit sanctions have caused huge suffering for so many people, and are underpinned by a cruel ideology which is focused on punishment instead of society as a whole helping people when things go wrong.
The Green Party will take a totally different approach based on the principle of real social security. Our policies will improve everyone’s lives while fighting the climate emergency.
Liam Gallagher backs the Greens
The Greens’ election campaign was this week boosted by a celebrity endorsement. Oasis and Beady Eye frontman Liam Gallagher came out in support of the Green Party.
Speaking to the Mirror in its climate edition, Gallagher said the Greens were the “only party that makes sense”. He also described the other parties standing in the election as “selfish and clueless”. Gallagher said:
I’m voting for the Green Party: the rest of them are all selfish and clueless.
I’m a big fan of David Attenborough and watching his show on the Antarctic recently was really sad.
It’s worrying. We need to do more to make this world a more healthy environment to live in.”
The endorsement came as a surprise as Gallagher had backed the Labour Party in the 2017 election. His brother Noel famously visited Tony Blair in Downing Street and described both Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn as communists.
Jean Lambert elected to European Green Party executive
Jean Lambert stood down as an MEP in 2019. Lambert had served 20 years as Green MEP for London, first being elected in 1999. And this week, she’s taken on a new role in the European Green Party.
She’s been elected to the European Greens’ executive – the body responsible for the day to day running of the party. The role will see her continue to take an active role in European green politics.
Greens campaigning across the country
With the election now truly underway, local Green Parties are ramping up their efforts on the campaign trail. Here are a handful of highlights:
Dozens of people turned out in Bristol to help get Carla Denyer elected:
Loads of posters taken too. Want one for your window? Get in touch💚 pic.twitter.com/1K4lupbJTf
— Carla Denyer (@carla_denyer) November 16, 2019
Edinburgh Greens were out in force:
Our local teams were busy over the weekend: demanding climate action; spelling out the benefits of a Scottish Green New Deal. Get involved! #ActiveGreens #VoteGreen2019 #VoteGreen pic.twitter.com/ocOuhiMXK4
— Edinburgh Greens (@EdinburghGreens) November 11, 2019
Hackney Greens have been getting creative with their campaigning:
Last night we had a great time, creatively getting our message out to voters in #Hackney… (with the permission of the shop’s owner of course).
Remember to #VoteGreen2019 for our candidates@alexjarmitage @Eco_Ty. pic.twitter.com/BINS6FUY7y
— Hackney Green Party (@hackneygreens) November 13, 2019
And Greens were out talking to voters across all three constituencies in Brighton & Hove:
@BHGreens a huge thank you 🙏💕 to those who attended our Hove, Kemptown and Hanover & Elm Grove Action days.
— B&H Greens (@BHGreens) November 16, 2019