Four days until polling day – UK Green news round up week 20
Greens continue to surge in opinion polls
As polling day edges closer and closer, the Greens’ fortunes look strong. For the first time ever a national opinion poll put the Green Party ahead of the Tories. Then, a second, and a third showed exactly the same thing.
The unprecedented polls – all by YouGov – have been matched by a similar rise shown by other pollsters, albeit to a lesser degree. The pro-Corbyn polling aggregator Stats for Lefties has the Greens averaging 8%.
These polls give the Greens a boost in the run up to the election, in which a small swing in the Green vote could see the Greens end up with anything between 0 and 7 MEPs.
Maggie Chapman claims her election could ‘transform politics’
Entering the final week of campaigning for the European elections, lead Scottish Green Party candidate Maggie Chapman has claimed that electing Scotland’s first Green MEP would “transform politics”. Speaking in an interview with Scotland on Sunday, Chapman said:
Getting one Green MEP elected will transform our politics in a way that getting a third or a fourth SNP MEP probably won’t.
It would be a statement of intent that Scotland is serious about being a world leader in tackling the climate crisis, and creating a different kind of country, a different kind of way about thinking about the future.
In the last European election, Chapman narrowly missed out on entering the European parliament, falling less than 2 percentage points behind UKIP, who claimed the final Scottish seat.
Green Party and England and Wales release elections broadcast
This week also brought the arrival of the Green Party of England and Wales’ election broadcast. Featuring Green MP Caroline Lucas, the Green Party leadership team and lead candidates in four regions, the broadcast focuses on a number of key themes. These include taking bold action on climate change, resisting the far right, standing up for migrant rights and defending the UK’s membership of the European Union.
In the broadcast, party deputy leader Amelia Womack says:
These are the things we’ve been saying for decades when no one else was interested, when others didn’t take climate change seriously. We couldn’t be happier that other parties are finally waking up to our ideas. Where we lead, others follow. If you want real action on climate change, then vote Green.
You can watch the full broadcast here:
Green Party in Northern Ireland shut out of Euro debate
While its sister parties in Scotland and England and Wales have been receiving relatively significant media coverage in the run up to Thursday’s elections, the Green Party in Northern Ireland have been less lucky. The party has been excluded from a forthcoming BBC debate.
According to a statement on the Green Party in Northern Ireland facebook page, Traditional Unionist Voice, the Ulster Unionist Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Fein, Alliance and the Social Democratic and Labour Party have all been invited.
Due to their exclusion from the debate, a petition was set up to demand the Greens are included. At the time of writing, the petition has received more than 100 signatures.
Sian Berry lays out policy for European minimum income
This week, the Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Sian Berry laid out a flagship policy for the European parliament elections. Writing in the New Statesman, Berry called for the introduction of a European minimum income directive.
Rallying against inequality, poverty and the Conservatives’ draconian welfare policies, Berry argued the policy would “tackle the scourge of poverty” by guaranteeing a minimum income of £17,040 per year for everyone in the UK. Berry wrote:
In these European elections only one party has pledged to use the European Union to tackle the scourge of poverty, with the aim of lifting millions up to security and a decent standard of living. The Green Party manifesto commits the party, with its sister parties across Europe, to pressing the European Parliament for a minimum income directive.
This measure would enshrine in European law a decent minimum income for citizens in all member states. It would force the British government to increase benefits to levels that would secure decent living standards – and a security net that people can build their lives from.
Caroline Lucas parks car on Labour’s lawn
In the closing stages of the election campaign, everyone is battling out for the final few votes. And this week, Green MP Caroline Lucas wrote an appeal to remain supporting Labour voters. Writing for Left Foot Forward, Lucas argued that the Greens are the natural party for such voters in the forthcoming European election. Arguing that the Labour Party was presently failing to represent them, she wrote:
We know many of you hate the Tories’ austerity, but you also value freedom of movement and want to remain in EU. If that’s you, Labour isn’t really offering you a home.
Young voters came out strongly for Labour in 2017, but we know you also are also overwhelmingly in favour of staying in the EU. While Labour may reflect your progressive values, Jeremy Corbyn’s ambiguous stance on Europe is letting you down.
Asking Labour remainers to give their support to the Greens, she continued:
No-one wants to abandon a party which they supported in the hope of a better future. But Labour and Jeremy Corbyn are not offering the future you deserve if you want to stay in Europe. We are. The Green Party is offering you a home. Please give us your support.
Outgoing Green MEPs slam government’s aviation strategy
While all the attention is currently on who could be the new politicians entering the European parliament, the Greens’ outgoing MEPs have been continuing their work. And this week, Green MEPs have hit out at the government’s aviation strategy. The strategy suggests that the UK could expand its aviation industry.
Responding to the strategy, South East England’s MEP Keith Taylor said:
Given that our planet is in the midst of a climate emergency, it’s a disgrace that the Government would consider expanding the aviation industry – a sector which is currently responsible for 25% of the UK’s total emissions.
Its new aviation strategy shows utter contempt for people and the planet – even seeking to scrap the critical safety measures currently in place, such as limits on night flights and caps on runway traffic.
This aviation strategy is not just a blow to the millions of people living near airports in the UK, but for the planet and future generations.
My constituency, London, already suffers some of the worst levels of air pollution in Europe. Breathing in this filthy air poisons our children’s classrooms, damages our lungs, and leads to thousands of premature deaths every year
The Government has already been referred to the European Court of Justice over its continued failure to tackle illegal levels of air pollution. Yet, this strategy is more evidence of the Government clinging to policies of the past instead of facing up to today’s reality.